What should I know before visiting Minnesota
Minnesota - The US state of 10,000 lakes
Forests, prairies, low mountain ranges, the Mississippi and more than 10,000 lakes. All this and more is Minnesota, the 32nd state in the USA, which is located on the border with Canada in the north of the USA. As well as being a great destination for outdoor activities, Minnesota has a rich cultural heritage too.
Table of Contents
Minnesota in Numbers, Dates, and Facts | Geographical location and extent of the North Star States | Weather and Climate in Minnesota | Minnesota population | The 10 Biggest Cities of Minnesota | Minnesota for tourists | The Mall of America - the largest adventure and shopping center in North America | Minnesota Economy and Infrastructure | Minnesota and Politics | History of minnesota
Minneapolis | Saint Paul
The state owes its name to the term “Mnísota”, which in the Sioux (Dakota) language means “cloudy water”. Minnesota is also affectionately known as the North Star State and The Gopher State, the latter name being derived from the word for the thirteen-striped croissant that is widespread in Minnesota.
Minnesota in Numbers, Dates, and Facts
- surface: 206,229 km²
- Residents: 5,629,416 (2018)
- Member of the USA since: 11.05.1858
- Time zone: UTC − 6 (CST) or UTC − 5 (CDT)
- Highest elevation: 701 m (Eagle Mountain)
- Deepest point: 183 m (Upper Lake)
- Average height: 365 m
- Capital: Saint Paul
- State motto: L’Étoile du Nord (French: "Star of the North")
- governor: Tim Walz (DFL)
Geographical location and extent of the North Star States
Minnesota is the 32nd state in the USA and forms the so-called Northwest Angle of the United States. This means that the state is not only the northernmost state of the USA after Alaska, but also the only part of the 48 contiguous states that extends beyond the 49th parallel in the north. In terms of area, Minnesota is the twelfth largest state in the United States and the second largest in the Midwest. The state is located in the northeast on the shores of Lake Superior and shares borders (sea borders) with Canada (Province of Ontario) and the states of Michigan and Wisconsin. The rivalry between the college football teams of the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Wisconsin Badgers is legendary.
Iowa borders Minnesota to the south while Wisconsin is to the east and southeast. North Dakota and South Dakota join in the west and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba lie across the border in the north. In the north-south direction, the state also expands to about 660 kilometers, in the east-west direction to about 560 kilometers.
Some of the oldest rocks on earth
The Gopher State is very interesting from a geological point of view, as the state is home to some of the oldest rocks on earth. Some of the gneisses found in this area are up to 3.6 billion years old!
Weather and Climate in Minnesota
Minnesota has a continental climate with very cold winters. Temperatures as low as -11 to -16 degrees Celsius are not uncommon in Minnesota, which makes the state the coldest US state after Alaska. The annual average temperature in this area is only two to eight degrees Celsius. However, the summers can be hot and humid, especially in the south of the country, and it is more moderate in the regions in the northeast near Lake Superior. Rainfall is relatively common in Minnesota, with February being the driest month and July being the month with the most rainfall. The highest temperatures are recorded in July with an average of 22.5 degrees Celsius. The coldest month is January with an average of -10.3 degrees Celsius.
Population of Minnesota
In 1850, Minnesota had only 6,100 residents. In 1900 at the beginning of the 20th century there were already 1.75 million and the population continued to grow. Today over 5.6 million people have found homes in the North Star State. The proportion of male and female residents is balanced at 49.6 percent to 50.4 percent. The majority of the population (62.9 percent) is between 18 and 64 years old.
A large part of Minnesota's population has settlers from Western Europe as ancestors, with Germans making up the largest group at 34 percent. Among the languages spoken in Minnesota alongside English, German is currently in fourth place. In addition, many people in Minnesota are descendants of Norwegian, Irish, and Swedish settlers. In recent years, however, there have also been many African American, Hispanic and immigrants from Asia, the Middle East and the area of the former Soviet Union.
Currently, the state's population in the Midwest is made up of 83.1 percent White (with European roots), 5.2 percent African American, 4.7% Hispanic Americans or Lations, 4.1% Asian and Pacific Islanders, 1.1 % Indigenous people (Indians and Inuit) and 2.4% people with several ethnic groups combined. Around two thirds of the population live in and around the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
In addition, 77 percent follow a Christian denomination. Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus make up a comparatively small proportion. 14 percent of Minnesota's population is not religious.
The 10 largest cities of Minnesota
- Minneapolis (population 428,483)
- Saint Paul (313,010 inhabitants)
- Rochester (117,444 inhabitants)
- Bloomington (89,654 inhabitants)
- Duluth (87,213 inhabitants)
- Brooklyn Park (population 75,781)
- Plymouth (70,576 inhabitants)
- St. Cloud (65,842 inhabitants)
- Eagan (64,206 inhabitants)
- Woodbury (population 61,576)
Minnesota for tourists
66 state parks, 57 state forests, numerous nature reserves and of course the more than 10,000 lakes make Minnesota a popular travel destination, especially for fresh air fanatics and water sports enthusiasts. But the North Star State also has a lot to offer in terms of culture and entertainment. The metropolitan region of Minneapolis-Saint Paul deserves a special mention here. The metropolitan region consists of the Twin Cities and the surrounding cities and townships. The beautiful lake landscapes with the largest lakes in Minnesota by area are located in the northwest of the country.
Cultural Monuments and Landmarks in Minnesota
The metropolitan region around the Twin Cities, which has the highest per capita density of theaters after New York City, is considered the cultural center or upper Midwest. Music ensembles can be found there that are among the most important in the United States. The best known here are without a doubt the music ensembles of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra. The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra alone plays over 130 concerts a year in the capital. Famous artists with roots in the North Star State are for example Bob Dylan, Prince and Judy Garland.
Some cultural institutions worth visiting
- Charles Lindbergh House and Museum: This is the home of Charles A. Lindbergh, the famous inventor and aviation pioneer. Today the house is a museum where you can learn more about the famous American and his life on the Mississippi River.
- Mayo House: The Mayo House was once home to two of the most influential families in Minnesota history: the Mayo Clinic's Mayo family and the Green Giant Company's Cosgrove family. The house was built in 1859 by Dr. Mayo in the Gothic style, who ran his medical practice there. After the events of the US-Dakota War of 1862, the family moved to Rochester in 1864 to build the world-famous Mayo Clinic. Today the venerable house can be visited.
- Weisman Art Museum: The well-known Weisman Art Museum is located in Minneapolis and houses mostly American art from the 20th century. The more than 17,000 exhibits include works by Roy Lichtenstein and James Rosenquist.
- Walker Art Center: The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis was once the first public art museum in the upper midwest of the United States. It is considered one of the best contemporary museums in the country and has, among other things, a sculpture garden that is well worth seeing.
- Minneapolis Institute of Art: The important art museum is located in Minneapolis and offers over 80,000 objects from over 5,000 world history on an area of 32,000 square meters. You can see paintings, photographs, prints, drawings, textiles and architecture here when you visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art in the metropolitan area around the Twin Cities.
National parks and natural landmarks in Minnesota
Prairie grasslands in the west and southwest, deciduous forest in the southeast and boreal forests in the north, Minnesota's vegetation is typical of North America and provides a habitat for many native species. Among other things, the second largest wolf population in the USA is at home here. Those who love nature should definitely pay a visit to the following national parks and natural monuments. Much of the forests in the north have been cut down, but about a third of Minnesota is now forested again. The southern two-thirds of the state are prairie.
Minnesota is also on the shores of Lake Superior, which makes many water sports activities possible. If you want, you can also go hiking on the shores of the lake and enjoy the nature of the region.
- Grand Portage - National Monument Minnesota: This National Monument is a memorial on Lake Superior in Cook County and preserves an important foothold for the fur trade on the Great Lakes. In addition to the visitor center, a warehouse and the Indian-run Heritage Center, which serves as museums on the history of the Indians and the fur traders, can be visited. A historic Indian village will also be built in summer. A garden with historical useful plants can also be found within the palisade.
- The Historic Gardens: The historic gardens of the Grand Portage are outside the palisade walls by the village of Ojibwe. Many of the vegetables grown there date from the 18th and 19th centuries and have survived to this day because the Indians and early settlers kept seeds from their crops for planting the following year and the seeds from one generation to the next next have passed. Today the historic gardens consist of two raised beds, the original gardens are under the beds.
- Pipestone National Monument: The Pipe National Monument is a memorial in southwest Minnesota near the South Dakota border. The National Monument preserves the “holy claystone” quarries where the Plains Indians cut the heads of their peace pipes (calumets) and still do today. The quarries were sold to the US government by the Yankton Sioux in 1928 and have been a National Monument under the administration of the National Park Service since 1937.
- Voyageurs National Park: Located in northern Minnesota on the Canadian border, Voyageurs National Park is a haven for hikers, kayakers, and skiers. Dense, lush green forests, winding waterways and, last but not least, the sparkling starry sky and the aurora borealis make the national park a worthwhile travel destination for all those who love nature.
- Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness: Large glaciers formed today's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It is an area that is rather lonely. You will rarely see many people or motorized vehicles there. But there are numerous animals at home in this wilderness.
- Itasca State Park: Itasca State Park was established in 1891, making it the first state park in Minnesota and the second oldest state park in the United States. There in Itasca State Park in the northwest of the state is, among other things, the origin of the Mississippi. In addition, the state park has a very beautiful landscape and some historical sites to offer, which makes it a perfect destination for active vacationers in the region.
- Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge: Minnesota has over 55 state forests, and pretty much each of those state forests is worth a visit. The forest is located on the upper reaches of the Minnesota River in the heart of the historic high grass prairie range. Today only a small part, less than one percent, of the original high grass prairie is left. The state forest is a great place to spot ground-breeding waterfowl.
- Schoolcraft State Park: The serene park in Minnesota's North Woods offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Here in this comparatively small park, it is great to relax. If you want, you can hike here, paddle fishing on the Mississippi or watch the waterfowl that are native to the park. The park was named after the American geographer, geologist and ethnologist Henry Rowe Schoolcraft.
- Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge: Part of the reserve is located in Carver County, which in turn is part of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area. The green belt of large marshlands is divided into eight different units that are home to many wild animals, waterfowl and migratory birds. The metropolitan region around the Twin Cities also benefited from this nature reserve. Because it offers residents of Carver County and the metropolitan area a nearby opportunity to spend time in nature. If you want, you can hike, cycle, fish or just take your dog for a walk here.
The Mall of America - the largest adventure and shopping center in North America
The Mall of America in Bloomington is the largest adventure and shopping center in North America and offers more than 520 stores, so everyone should find something there. There is also an extensive range of entertainment. Inside the mall, for example, there is the Nickelodeon Universe®, the largest indoor theme park in the USA, a sealife with sharks, sea turtles and other animals that live in the water, a flight simulator and the Crayola Experience, an exciting world of colors.
Minnesota Economy and Infrastructure
Minnesota's economy has changed dramatically over the past 200 years. After the fur traders were the pioneers in the economy of today's state, agriculture and forestry gained importance and influence in addition to the trade in goods. Today, the service sector and the manufacturing industry in particular play a role.
But despite the industrialization, the state in the Upper Midwest region of the USA is still one of the largest producers of agricultural products such as sweet corn, peas and sugar beet. Up until 1930, sweetcorn was mainly grown in the Minnesota River valley. Minnesota is the largest producer of sweet corn in the United States. Minnesota also leads the way when it comes to sugar beets. However, the state suffered a very poor harvest last year as the sugar beets could not be harvested in time due to the wet soil. When it comes to peas, the state's agriculture ranks first among producers. Most of the green peas harvested in Minnesota are processed further.
Forestry and woodworking industries also continue to play a major role in the state's primary sector in the Upper Midwest region. The importance of forestry is explained by the fact that Minnesota has approximately 17.3 million hectares of forest. Around thirty percent of the wood fibers come from forests managed by the DNR. The products are mainly used in the manufacture of paper, pulp, pallets and similar goods.
In the course of industrialization, the extraction of mineral resources also became more and more important in Minnesota. As part of industrialization, Minnesota's economy relied for a long time on the iron ore deposits that were discovered in the Mesabi Range in 1887. The Mesabi Range is the largest of four iron ore deposits in the state and the most important iron ore deposit in the United States. The iron ore deposits were intensively mined in the first half of the 20th century until the 1970s. After the dismantling in this sector had decreased, it was started again from 2005. Today mainly taconite is mined by the workers there.
Well-known companies include Target, the UnitedHealth Group, Cargill and Medtronic. In addition, the Pine Bend Refinery is the largest oil refinery in the states in Minnesota.
North Star State became the first American state to default in 2011 and had two-thirds of its public sector employees on compulsory leave.
In terms of infrastructure, the metropolitan area of the Twin Cities around Minneapolis and the capital St. Paul is the main hub. The Interstate Highways I-35 and I-94 run through the metropolitan area. There are also over 20 railway lines. Amtrak's Empire Builder connects various cities in Minnesota and the American Midwest. The state's largest port is in Duluth. Shipping traffic is mainly carried out on the Mississippi and the Lake Superior.
The largest airport in Minnesota is Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. It is the tenth largest airport in the United States. Other larger airports are located in Duluth and Rochester.
In terms of local public transport, buses are the main ones. There is a light rail only in the Twin Cities. There are also long-distance buses from Greyhound, Jefferson Lines and Coach USA in Minnesota.
Minnesota and Politics
Minnesota is firmly in democratic hands. The Democrats have won all presidential elections since 1980. But here, too, there is a change and the influence of the Democrats has diminished somewhat over time. Today, Minnesota is seen as a conservative suburb of Minneapolis / St. Paul as a swing state.
History of minnesota
The first people came to Minnesota during the last Ice Age. It is believed that they followed large game herds to what is now the state's territory at the time. The rock carvings, known as petroglyphs, that can still be seen in Minnesota state parks today, were also made by these early residents. When the Europeans arrived in what is now Minnesota, the Dakota and Ojibwe Indians (also called Chippewa or Anishinabe) lived there. Today, many Dakota, Ojibwe, and other American Indians still live in Minnesota.
The first Europeans to arrive in the area were men from France in the late 17th century. French fur traders and explorers soon followed, who further explored the area of what is now Minnesota and traded with the Native Americans and bought beaver pelts from the Indians, among other things. Through these fur traders and explorers, including the well-known Jonathan Carver, the area of what is now the state was also mapped. One of these pioneers who mapped today's state was Daniel Greyson, who built a fort on the shores of Lake Superior in 1679 as part of an expedition and claimed the territory of northern Minnesota for France.
However, France had to cede the area to Great Britain in 1763 as a result of the Seven Years' War in North America. The peace of Paris and the surrender to Great Britain sealed the end of French rule in North America and paved the way for the Declaration of Independence and the emergence of the United States in general.
With the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the United States entered the history of Minnesota. With the Peace of Paris (1783) and the Declaration of Independence, northwest Minnesota between the Great Lakes and Mississippi became part of the Northwest Territory and thus the United States for the first time. The southern and western areas of the state fell to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 was the largest real estate deal in history. Thereafter, the entire area of the former colony Louisiana, which included parts of Minnesota, was part of the United States.
The first permanent European-American settlement was established with Fort Snelling in 1825. The fort in the Unorganized Territory of Hennepin County can still be visited on guided tours today. After a territorial but unorganized period, the Territory of Minnesota was finally established in this sector on March 3, 1858, which lasted until May 11, 1858. As a result, the Union recognized the eastern portion of the Territory and a small portion of the Wisconsin Territory as the State of Minnesota.
Numerous immigrants poured into the sector in the 1860s of the previous century. Most of the settlers who poured into the state in the mid-19th century came from Germany, but there were also many Scandinavians among them.
Due to the strong increase in the population of the white settlers, the Indians, especially the Sioux and the Dakota, were increasingly displaced from their land in reservations. The resulting tensions were released in the Sioux uprising of 1862. As a result of the tensions and the war that lasted over six weeks, 38 Indians were executed. The largest mass execution in US history. Most of the remaining Sioux were subsequently exiled to the Crow Creek Reservation in Nebraska.
After Minnesota experienced an economic boom from the end of the Civil War, it was hit hard by the Great Depression. In addition, there were droughts between 1931 and 1935 which led to major crop failures. From the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, the Indian tribes were able to form their own tribal governments and thus better integrate themselves into the population. Industrial development accelerated rapidly after World War II and Minnesota developed into a center for the chemical, aerospace, food, and mechanical engineering industries.
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