Minnesota (/ˌmɪnɪˈsoʊtə/ (listen)) is a state in the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, and northern region of the United States. Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd U.S. state on May 11, 1858, created from the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory. The state is known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”. Its official motto is L’Étoile du Nord, French for “The Star of the North”).
Minnesota is the 12th largest in area and the 22nd most populous of the U.S. states. Nearly 55% of its residents live in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area (known as the “Twin Cities”), the state’s main hub of transportation, business, industry, education, arts, and government. Urban centers in “Greater Minnesota” include Duluth, Mankato, Moorhead, Rochester and St. Cloud. The state’s geography is defined by western prairies now given over to intensive agriculture; deciduous forests in the southeast, now partially cleared, farmed, and settled; and the less populated North Woods, used for mining, forestry, and recreation.
Before Europeans arrived, Minnesota was inhabited by various indigenous peoples going back to the archaic hunter-gatherers of the Woodland period. During the Middle Woodland Period two areas of Hopewell tradition existed in Minnesota. The Laural Complex covered part of the north while the Tremplau Hopewell was in the Mississippi river Valley (BCE 100–500 CE). After that was the Upper Mississippian culture, which in Minnesota was the Oneota people. It is believed the Siouan languages derive from them. French voyageurs, explorers, and missionaries entered the region in the 17th century, encountering the Dakota and Ojibwe/Anishinaabe tribes. Much of what is now Minnesota was part of the vast French holding of Louisiana, which the United States purchased in 1803. After the territorial reorganizations of Missouri, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota, the state was admitted to the Union in 1858. Minnesota’s growth was centered on timber, agriculture and railroads.
During the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, European immigrants began settling Minnesota. Many of them came from Scandinavia, Germany, and Central Europe (such as Czechs and Slovaks). Minnesota remains a center of Scandinavian American, German American, and Czech American culture. Historical evidence suggests that many people immigrated to Minnesota as a result of the failed European Revolutions of 1848.
Minnesota’s standard of living index is among the highest in the United States, and the state is among the best-educated in the nation. In recent decades its economy has diversified, shifting from traditional industries such as agriculture and resource extraction to services and finance. While Minnesota’s population is still mostly Scandinavian- and German-American, domestic migration and immigration from Asia, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America have broadened its demographics.