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State nickname: North Star State

Other U.S. States
CapitalSaint Paul
Largest City Minneapolis
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water
 - % water
Ranked 12th
225,365 km2
206,375 km2
18,990 km2
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 21st
Admittance into Union
 - Order
 - Date

May 11, 1858
Time zoneCentral: UTC-6/-5
43°34'N to 49°23'N
89°34'W to 97°12'W
400 km
645 km
701 meters
365 meters
183 meters
ISO 3166-2:US-MN

Minnesota is the 32nd state of the United States, having joined the Union on May 11, 1858. Its name is commonly abbreviated as 'MN' or 'Minn.', and is taken from the Dakota (Native American tribe) words for 'sky-tinted water'.

The USS Minnesota was named in honor of this state.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Law and Government
3 Geography
4 Economy
5 Demographics
6 Education
7 Professional Sports Teams
8 Miscellaneous Information
9 External Links


History prior to joining the United States

  • Originally inhabited by Native Americans, in particular the Ojibwe (Chippewa, Anishinaabe) and Dakota.
  • Economy originally consisted of hunter-gather lifemode, which changed over time as Europeans settled in the area and further exploited the state's natural resources.
  • First European settlement was the area now known as the city of Stillwater, on the St. Croix River.
  • Fort Snelling, located at the confluence of the Minnesota River and the Mississippi River, was one of the earliest U.S. military presences in the state. It is now a historic site.

Joins the US

Minnesota was designated a territory on March 3, 1849, but that territory was not coextensive with the present state, since the territory included what later became the territory of Dakota, and later still became the states of
North Dakota and South Dakota. The eastern half of the territory of Minnesota became the present state of Minnesota -- the 32nd state -- on May 11th, 1858.

Law and Government

  • Executive. The current governor – Tim Pawlenty, a Republican – started his term on January 6, 2003. The full list of governors, and the dates they took office, is available at List of Minnesota Governors.
  • Legislature. Minnesota has a bicameral legislature (senate and house). The state has 67 districts, each covering about 60,000 people. Each district has one senator and two representatives (each district being divided into 'A' and 'B'). Senators serve for four years, and representatives serve for two years.
  • Judiciary. The state court system has three levels:
    • Trial courts. The state is split into 10 judicial districts, with 257 judges. Most state cases start in the trial courts.
    • Minnesota Court of Appeals. This body hears appeals on cases tried in the trial courts. There are 16 judges, who divide into three-judge panels to hear appeals in courts across the state.
    • Minnesota Supreme Court. The seven justices on the Supreme Court hear appeals from the Court of Appeals, the Tax Court, and the Worker's Compensation Court. The court automatically reviews first-degree murder convictions, and settles disuputes over legislative elections.
    • The state has two special courts created by state law as executive-branch agencies:
      • The Tax Court deals with non-criminal tax cases across the state. It has three judges appointed by the governor to six-year terms, following approval from the state Senate
      • The Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals deals with cases involving worker injuries referred to it on appeal, or transferred from district court. It has five judges appointed by the governor to six-year terms, following approval from the state Senate
    • Federal cases are heard in the federal district courts in Minneapolis, St Paul or Duluth. Minnesota is part of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is located in St Paul. Appeals beyond this level go to the US Supreme Court in Washington, D.C
  • Constitution


List of Minnesota counties

  • Minnesota covers 79,610 square miles (2.25% of the United States). It is famous for its lakes, having in excess of 15,000, depending on the source of the count. Much of the state is flat, having been eroded during repeated glacial periods (most recently the Wisconsin Glacier). The Minnesota portion of Lake Superior is the largest body of water in the state.
  • Minnesota is home to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA), as well as a number of state and county parks, most notably Itasca State Park, the source of the Mississippi River. Apart from its lakes and rivers, there are few other prominent physical features.
  • It is bordered on the north by Canada (Manitoba and Ontario); on the east by Wisconsin and Lake Superior, on the south by Iowa, and on the west by North Dakota and South Dakota. It is the northernmost of the 48 contiguous states (excluding Alaska and Hawaii), reaching to 49 23' 4" north latitude, due to a small piece of the state known as the Northwest Angle.
  • The capital is St. Paul, which sits on the opposite bank of the Mississippi River to the largest city, Minneapolis, (together known as the Twin Cities). Other prominent cities include Duluth, St. Cloud, Mankato, Rochester (home of the world-famous Mayo Clinic), and Bloomington.
  • The state's average elevation is 1,200 feet, with a high point at Eagle Mountain (2,301 feet) and a low at the surface of Lake Superior (602 feet)
  • The state is famously cold, with a record low of -60F measured at Tower, MN on February 2, 1996. As part of the Great Plains region, however, it also experiences warm summers, with a record high of 114F reached in 1917 and 1936. The average temperature in January (the coldest month) is 11.2F, and the average in the warmest month of July is 73.1F. The average annual precipitation is 28.32 inches, with a snowfall figure of 49.6 inches.



  • The state population, as of 2000, is 4,919,479 (1.75% of the nation), with a growth rate of 12.4% in the last 10 years (compared to 13.1% for the nation).
  • 88.2% of the state is white (excluding Hispanic/Latino), 3.5% Black/African American, 2.9% Hispanic/Latino, 2.9% Asian. Minnesotans traditionally count themselves as of Nordic descent (approximately 1.5 million people claim Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish ancestry), though more families originated in Germany (approximately 2 million). More modern immigrant communities include the third-largest Hmong population in the United States (from the Laos/Cambodia/Vietnam region), and a large presence from Somalia.
  • The population distribution by age is (Northeast Midwest Institute):
    • 0-18 - 1,361,616 (27.7%)
    • 19-34 - 1,068,850 (21.7%)
    • 35-64 - 1,894,747 (38.6%)
    • 65+ - 594,266 (12.1%)
  • Religious makeup of state
    • Minnesotans are largely Catholic and mainline Protestant. The largest Protestant body in the state is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In recent years, new immigrants have added to the religious mix in Minnesota. There are now mosques throughout the state, as well as Buddhist temples and Hindu mandirs.


Colleges and Universities

  • Minnesota Bible College
  • Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU)
    • Bemidji State University
    • Minnesota State University Mankato
    • Minnesota State University Moorhead
    • Metropolitan State University
    • Southwest Minnesota State University
    • St. Cloud State University
    • Winona State University
  • North Central University
  • Northwestern College
  • Oak Hills Christian College
  • Pillsbury Baptist Bible College
  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
  • Saint Olaf College
  • University of Minnesota System
  • University of Saint Thomas
  • Walden University
  • William Mitchell College of Law

Professional Sports Teams

Miscellaneous Information


  • State Bird - Loon
  • State Butterfly - Monarch
  • State Drink - Milk
  • State Fish - Walleye
  • State Flower - Pink-and-white lady slipper
  • State Gemstone - Lake Superior Agate
  • State Grain - Wild Rice
  • Territory Motto (intended) - Quae sursum volo videre ("I wish to see what is beyond")
  • Territory Motto (actual) - Quo sursum velo videre ("I cover to see what is above" is the closest translation)
  • State Motto - L'Étoile du Nord ("Star of the North")
  • State Muffin - Blueberry (adopted as part of a school project on how a bill becomes law)
  • State Mushroom - Morel (sponge mushroom; honeycomb morel)
  • State Picture - Grace
  • State Song - "Hail! Minnesota"
  • State Tree - Red or Norway Pine

External Links

This article is from Wikipedia. All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.