Minnesota is known for a lot, but perhaps most notable are its 10,000 lakes! Well, if we’re being exact, there are actually 11,842 total lakes. The state is located in the upper Midwestern USA. It borders two Canadian provinces (Manitoba and Ontario), Lake Superior, and four states: Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota.
Many archeologists (scientists who study human history by digging up human remains and old objects called artifacts) believe that the first humans entered Minnesota between 9,000 and 12,000 years ago.
The state has strong Native American roots. Before the late 1600s, the two main groups living here were the Dakota or Sioux, and the Anishinaabe peoples. The latter were also known as the Ojibwe, Chippewa, Ojibway, or Ojibwa. The name Minnesota means “cloudy water” or “sky-tinted water.” It comes from the Sioux words “minni”, which means water and “sotah”, which means sky-tinted or cloudy. The name was first given to the Minnesota River.
Today, there are approximately 5.6 million people living in this 32nd state of the US, which includes seven Anishinaabe reservations and four Dakota or Sioux communities.
What really happened…
- The first Europeans to arrive in Minnesota were the French. In 1679, the Minnesota region was claimed by French explorer Daniel Greysolon on behalf of France.
- Since then, Minnesota has changed hands two more times. In 1762, France gave some of the state to Britain. Then, after the American Revolution in 1781, the US took control of the area.
- In 1803, the United States bought land from France, an infamous deal known as the Louisiana Purchase. It involved land from what now represents 15 US states, including Minnesota.
- The first major U.S. outpost in Minnesota was Fort Snelling, which was completed in 1825. It was built at the point where the Minnesota and the Mississippi Rivers come together. Two major cities eventually were built up on each side of the Mississippi River. The city on the west side was called Minneapolis and the city on the east side St. Paul. Today, these two cities are often referred to as the “Twin Cities” and represent the two largest cities in Minnesota.
Stuff you should know…
- The largest mall in America is located in Minnesota. The Bloomington Mall of America is the size of 78 football fields!
- Many daily household items were invented in this state, including: scotch tape, toasters, grocery bags with handles, and even water skis.
- There are 69,200 miles of rivers and streams in Minnesota. That’s enough to circle the equator 2 ¾ times!
- Minnesota has more coastline than the combined states of California, Florida, and Hawaii. No, this isn’t a lie!
- Minnesota is the most northerly of all the states, except for Alaska. The state’s motto is L’Etoile du Nord, which means “Star of the North” in French.
Crazy, funny, or just plain weird…
- In June 2022, nearly 4,000 customers in the Prior Lake area lost power for a time due to a squirrel that wandered into a substation and played with, or maybe even nibbled on, the equipment.
- On July 4th, 1859, what should have been an otherwise warm, sunny day, the temperature dropped below freezing. BRRR!
- In 2015, then three-year-old James Tufts became the youngest mayor of Dorset, Minnesota. The tot’s name was drawn from a hat at the annual Taste of Dorset food festival to serve as a ceremonial head of the tiny northern Minnesota town of 22 people!
Tell me more…
- The Los Angeles Lakers basketball team is called the “Lakers” because they were originally from Minnesota – the land of lakes!
- Minnesota produces more turkeys each year than there are people in California.
What other interesting tidbits or anecdotes do you know about Minnesota? Send us an email at email@example.com and we’ll consider featuring your knowledge in a future social post and even give you a shout-out!