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Minnesota is a state of the United States in the Midwest, on the
upper Mississippi, bordering the north to Canada (Manitoba, Ontario), east
to Lake Superior and Wisconsin, south to Iowa, and west to North
Dakota and South Dakota.
The state is often called The North Star State, the "North Star
State ", following the motto of the state's coat of arms : L'Étoile du
Nord, or The Gopher State, after gopher, a species
of ground grain.
The name comes from sioux memory, "water,"and sota,
"sky-blue, blue,"and then refers to the state's many lakes, which on clear days
reflect the blue color of the sky.
Minnesota has an area of 225,182 square miles (the 12th largest state in
the United States) and has 5,576,606 inhabitants (US Census, 2017). The capital
is Saint Paul.
Nature and climate
Minnesota consists of rolling plains, averaging about 370 feet above sea
level, intersected by many rivers. The highest point is Eagle Mountain (701
meters above sea level) furthest to the northeast. The area forms the watershed
between the Mississippi, which flows south into the Gulf of Mexico, the Great
Lakes, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean, and the Red River and Rainy River,
which flows northward and into Hudson Bay.
Distinct inland climate with cold winters and relatively hot
summers; Minneapolis has an average temperature of -11 °C in January and 22 °C
in July, while International Falls in the far north has –16 °C and 19 °C,
respectively. Annual rainfall varies between 500 millimeters in the northwest
and 750 millimeters in the southeast.
Minnesota was first colonized by settlers from New England in the 1860s,
later by German, Norwegian and Swedish immigrants who came in large numbers
especially in the 1880s. The population had already passed two million by
1910. Growth has slowed down later. Between 1990 and 1995, the population
increased by 5.3 per cent; in the period 2000-2010 7.8 per cent; in both periods
somewhat below the average for the entire United States.
Of the population, 84.4 percent are considered white, of which 5.4 percent
are Hispanic (Hispanic / Latino), 6.5 percent as African American and 5.1
percent as Asians. There are approximately 50,000 indigenous people living in
the state, mainly ojibwa.
About 70 percent of the population lives in cities or urban areas. The
largest cities are Minneapolis with 422 331 inhabitants and the capital St.
Paul with 306 621 inhabitants, which with adjacent areas and Bloomington form a
metropolitan area Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington ("Twin Cities") with
3,600,618 residents (US Census, 2017).
Minnesota is known for its progressive politics and has had many prominent
Norwegian chains such as Floyd Bjornstern Olson, Hubert Humphrey and Walter
Mondale. Minnesota sends two senators and eight representatives to Congress.
Although industry and service industries have long passed agriculture in
terms of production value, Minnesota is still an important agricultural state,
and is the United States' largest producer of sugar beets, and one of the
largest in butter, milk and dry milk, turkeys, oats and sweet corn. Other
important products are flaxseed, corn, wheat, soybeans, peas and cheese. The
animal husbandry is substantial and includes cattle, pigs, chickens, turkeys and
sheep. The importance of the state as a mining state has diminished in recent
years, partly because of competition from abroad and because the high-value
deposits of iron ore in the Mesabi Range have come to an end.
Alongside mills, slaughterhouses and other companies in the food industry,
hardware and metal products factories, electrical, chemical and graphic
industries and computer companies are the most important. Substantial forestry
provides raw material for a large timber processing industry.
Minnesota offers ample opportunity for hunting, angling and winter sports,
and tourist traffic is great. There are a number of institutions for research
and higher education, including the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Saint Olaf College
and Carlton College in Northfield and the State University of Minneapolis.
French traders and missionaries were the first to enter Minnesota in the
1690s. The land east of Mississippi was surrendered by France to the United
Kingdom in 1763 and came under the United States in 1783. The land west of the
Mississippi came under the United States in 1803 as part of the Louisiana
Purchase. Minnesota was organized as territory in 1849 and became a member of
the Union as the 32nd state in 1858.
The population, which in 1850 was still only about 6,000, reached 780,000 in
1880 and 1,750,000 in 1900. Several hundred thousand inhabitants are of
Norwegian descent, and a large part of the state was built and governed by
Norwegians and Swedes. It was not until 1908 that it gained a non-Scandinavian
governor, even though the Germans are the largest immigrant population.
Voss No Knute Nelson became governor in 1892 and three years later became the
first Scandinavian ancestry senator in Congress in Washington. In St. Paul a
monument has been erected above him. In recognition of Norwegians' efforts in
developing Minnesota, the red pine tree Red Pine - also known as Norway
Pine - was legislated in 1953 as the state's symbol tree.