The state of Minnesota is located in the Midwestern United States and is one of the northwestern central states. It is bordered by Canada (with Ontario and Manitoba) to the north and by Michigan to the northeast (the water border is on Lake Superior), Wisconsin to the east, Iowa to the south, South Dakota and North Dakota to the west. Minnesota is the northernmost state in the continental United States, with only Alaska further north.
Minnesota is located in two physiographic regions of the United States. The northeastern part of the state is part of the Laurentian Upland, a region characterized by numerous rock outcrops with a thin layer of soil and thousands of lakes and streams. The rest of Minnesota is part of the Inner Plains. The northwestern counties of the state are covered with mixed forests; the southeastern counties are predominantly hardwoods. The west and southwest of Minnesota are prairie, grass- and shrub-covered steppes.
In the “Land of Ten Thousand Lakes,” there are actually even more, over twelve thousand. There are also some six and a half thousand rivers and streams in Minnesota, including the headwaters of the largest river in the United States, the Mississippi.
Minnesota has a continental climate with cold, snowy winters and hot summers. The counties near Lake Superior are greatly influenced by this vast body of water, which softens their weather conditions somewhat. It is within Minnesota that the coldest place within the forty-eight “continental states” is located. The southern part of Minnesota, located in the “tornado alley” area, is quite often struck by destructive whirlwinds.
Minnesota gets its name from the river of the same name, given to it by the natives of the region. In the language of the Dakota Indians, mni sota means “clear blue water,” and mníssota means “muddy water.” There are many geographic sites in Minnesota whose names are related to the name of the state: a tributary of the Mississippi River, the Minnehaha Creek, Lake Minnetonka, Minnehaha Falls, the largest city in the state, Minneapolis, and others.
There is a version that as early as the fourteenth century, North America (including Minnesota) was explored by Scandinavian Vikings. However, it is believed that the first European explorers came to Minnesota in the second half of the seventeenth century, they were French hunters, merchants, and missionaries. Since then Minnesota has been part of the colony of New France, and as a result of the victory in the Franco-Indian War in the sixties of the eighteenth century, control of the “Land of Ten Thousand Lakes” formally passed to Great Britain.
After the American Revolution the lands of Minnesota east of the Mississippi River became part of the Northwest Territory of the United States. Most of the remainder of the state passed from France to the United States as a result of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Border disputes between the United States and British Canada continued until 1842.
In 1825, to protect the northwestern borders of the state, the U.S. government established Fort Snelling at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, on the site of which the modern city of Minneapolis grew. The lands of Minnesota were successively included in the territories of Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa. In 1849 the territory of Minnesota was created. On May 11, 1858, Minnesota became the thirty-second state of the United States.
Now Minnesota’s largest city, Minneapolis, is home to about 430,000 people. The capital of the “North Star State,” the city of St. Paul has about 310,000 residents. The Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, known as the Twin Cities, has about 3,650,000 people (16th largest metropolitan area in the United States).
Minnesota’s economy is characterized by diversity, with no clear-cut areas of leadership, but plenty of well-established industries. Minnesota is the largest producer of sugar beets, sweet corn, and green peas in the United States. The state has a well-developed poultry industry, with turkeys raised primarily on Minnesota’s poultry farms. Much of the state’s agricultural production is processed here. Forestry and mining have traditionally been important to the economy. Minnesota has a strong industrial base including high-tech industries.
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National Parks in Minnesota
Voyagers National Park is located in northern Minnesota near the city of International Falls and the Canadian border. The park takes its name from the voyageurs, French fur traders who were the first Europeans to explore the region.
Voyageurs Park is famous for its reservoirs; there are four large lakes (in whole or in part) on its territory, as well as many small ones. Visitors to the park include many kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts. Unlike other U.S. National Parks, much of Voyagers Park can be accessed only by water.
Voyagers National Park was established in 1975.
National Monuments in Minnesota
Grand Portage is a roughly fourteen-kilometer long drag that skirts numerous waterfalls and rapids along the Pigeon River before it empties into Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota. The Grand Portage area was important to the Native American peoples who lived in the region and later became a major center for the fur trade with Europeans. It was designated a National Monument in 1958.
Pipestone is a southwestern Minnesota quarry where for centuries Native Americans mined the mineral catlinite, traditionally used to make ceremonial pipes (“pipestone”). Pipestone was designated a National Monument in 1937 and is now restricted to Indigenous people.
National Scenic Rivers in Minnesota
The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area is a stretch of the upper reaches of America’s greatest river, 116 km long, including passing through the “twin cities” of Minneapolis and St. Paul. It is home to several natural and historic attractions.
The St. Croix National Scenic Byway is located in eastern Minnesota and northwestern neighboring Wisconsin. It is a system of more than four hundred miles of river trails (the largest of which are the St. Croix and Neumkagon Rivers), as well as adjacent lands.
National Trails in Minnesota
The North Country Trail (“Northern Trail”) is a hiking route from New York State in the east to North Dakota in the west.
Why Minnesota is called the Land of a Thousand Lakes
Detailed information and everything you need to know about Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” as well as the 32nd largest and 12th largest state in the United States.
On May 11, 1858, Minnesota became the 32nd state of the union. The peculiar ledge to the north is the result of a border agreement with Great Britain before the territory was thoroughly explored.
The state’s geography
Minnesota’s landscape stretches from the edge of the subarctic forest to the heart of the Corn Belt. Much of the land has been covered by glaciers several times, and its surface has been shaped by constant freezing, thawing, and ice movement. Prominent geomorphological reminders of that time are the continuous farmlands, thousands of lakes, steep slopes, glacial lakes, and undulating plains that make up Minnesota’s modern landscape. The state’s rich soils developed on crushed mineral rocks left by retreating glaciers. The average elevation of the landscape ranges from 184 m above sea level (Upper Lake) to 701 m at Eagle Mountain.
Thousands of rivers in Minnesota flow north, east, and south before flowing into Hudson Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico, respectively. The state gets its name from the word Dakota (Sioux), a major tributary of Minnesota.
Interesting fact! Dakota literally means “sky colored water.”
America’s northernmost and largest state is made up of vast tracts of forests, fertile prairies, and countless bodies of water. The latter served as the basis for one of Minnesota’s countless nicknames, “The Land of 10,000 Lakes.” In fact, there are slightly more (about 12,000). Together, the lakes cover more than 10 acres (4 hectares). The state’s main feature is nearly 13,000 square kilometers (5,000 square miles) of inland freshwater.
Minnesota on the world map
It is one of the largest states in the United States. On the north side it is surrounded by the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario and the Upper Lakes. To the east it neighbors Wisconsin.
The southern and western sides are surrounded by Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota.
Climate and weather
Minnesota’s temperature changes not only seasonally, but also from one part of the state to another. It’s hot in the summer, and frost is possible any month in the northern areas.
In July, the average daily high reaches +29°C in southern Minnesota and +21°C near the shoreline of Lake Superior. January’s average daily high ranges from -4 °C in the south to -9 °C in the north. The minimum ranges from -15 °C to -21 °C. The frost-free period lasts less than 90 days in the northern parts of the country and more than 160 days in the southern parts.
Average annual precipitation ranges from 500 mm in the northwest to more than 750 mm in the southeast. Seasonal snowfall ranges from 1,000 mm in the western part of the state to more than 1,800 mm in the northeast.
From about mid-December to mid-March, nearly all of Minnesota is covered by solid snow.
Nature of the state
The original vegetation is divided into three main categories: coniferous, deciduous forest, and prairie. Coniferous vegetation occupies the northeastern part of the state. It includes pine, spruce, and fir, as well as tamarack, which grows in swampy areas. A belt of hardwoods extends from southeast to northeast to the Canadian border, bypassing Minneapolis/St. Paul and placing it on the south and west sides of the coniferous forest. The deciduous forests range in width from 65 to 130 km. It consists mostly of oak, maple, linden, ash, elm, poplar, and elder. To the south and west of the deciduous forests is the prairie. Much of it is occupied by farmland, but one-third of Minnesota is still forested.
Mammals found in every corner of the state include: deer, foxes, raccoons, porcupines, mink, weasels, skunks, muskrats, marmots, and squirrels. In the north, black bears, elk, wolves, coyotes, bobcats, otters and beavers are found. Common year-round birds include tits, woodpeckers, grosbeaks, cardinals, sparrows, and jays. Migratory birds are represented by ducks, geese, gulls, coots, thrushes and herons.
Interesting fact! The symbol of the state is the Arctic loon.
Also common among the game birds are grouse, quail, partridges, wild turkeys, and pheasants. Major raptors include hawks, eagles, owls, and eagles. The tree rattlesnake is found in several southeastern counties.
Pikeperch is the most popular fish in the state. It holds an honorable first place with fishermen. Other commercial fish include northern pike, maskinong, perch, lake trout, crappie, moonfish and eel. Brown and rainbow trout live in many streams. Cod, coho salmon, king salmon, salmon, herring, and whitefish can be found in the deep, cold waters of Lake Superior.
Population of Minnesota.
Canadians and people of English, Scottish, and Scots-Irish descent first settled in Minnesota in the early 19th century. Most were businessmen who helped build institutions and participated in town meetings to discuss legislative issues. They were held in several localities even before Minnesota became a state in 1858.
The first major immigrant groups in the second half of the nineteenth century were Germans, Swedes, and Norwegians, who cleared forests, built railroads, worked the soil, and sold. German settlers dominated numerically at that time. They occupied the central and south-central Minnesota area. Norwegian settlers moved westward, forming the main ethnic group in the west-central region of the state and in the Red River Valley. Swedish settlement settled north of Twin Cities in west-central and northwestern Minnesota. Significant numbers of Finns settled in the northeast; Poles in southeast and central Minnesota; Gypsies south of Twin Cities; Irish in the south; French and French-Canadians in northwest Minnesota; Dutch and Flemish in southwest Minnesota; Icelanders in northwest Minnesota; Danes, Welsh and Swiss throughout the state.
Interesting fact! The Indian population is represented by the Ojibwa (also Chippewa or Anishinabe) people, half of whom are located in the Twin Cities area. The rest live on reservations in rural Minnesota.
Each ethnic group brought its own religious traditions. Residents of central and south-central Minnesota (mostly of German, Polish, and Romani descent) are Roman Catholic. Germans and Scandinavians are Lutherans. Muslim and Buddhist communities are found in the cities, and Jews predominate in the Twin Cities area.
Ten Cities in Minnesota
Minnesota is a huge state, ranking 12th in size. According to 2009 data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, Minnesota ranks 21st out of 50 in terms of population, so there is more land than people.
Minneapolis: 413,651 people
Minneapolis is the state’s most recognizable city. Three of the four major sports teams are located here. The city hosted the 2008 Republican National Convention.
It is the most underrated place in the northern United States. Delightful skyline views from the waterfront, three professional sports stadiums, many art centers and theaters. Sophisticated brewing technology, the best park system in the country, and a foodie paradise with Scandinavian cuisine for breakfast, Ethiopian cuisine for lunch, and “hot food” for dinner, as well as cocktails on the Ferris wheel.
St. Paul: 302,398 people
St. Paul is the state capital and home of the Minnesota Wild hockey team.
Rochester: 208,880 people
Rochester is home to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, which employs 33,179 people.
Duluth: 86,293 people
Duluth is located in the northeast corner of the state and borders Wisconsin and Lake Superior, which is the largest freshwater lake in the world. The city is also adjacent to the Superior National Wildlife Refuge and is known for its four-season climate.
Bloomington: 84,465 people
Bloomington is home to the Mall of America, the largest shopping complex in the United States. According to bloomingtonmn.org, this center is so large that it can hold 32 Boeing 747s. To the south Bloomington borders Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Brooklyn Park: 79,707 people
Brooklyn Park is located in Hennepin County and borders the Mississippi River to the east. It has more than 8 million square feet of parkland.
Plymouth: 73,987 people
According to the city’s website, in 2008 Plymouth was ranked number one in Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live. Cities with populations between 50,000 and 300,000 were considered. In 2010, it made the top 12.
Woodbury: 65,659 people
Much of the city of Woodbury is away from freeways. In 2014, it was ranked 12th in Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live.”
Egan: 65,453 people.
Egan was once called the “Onion Capital of the United States” because of its large amount of cropland.
Maple Grove: 65,406 people
Maple Grove is home to seven lakes, many parks, and 48 playgrounds.
Minnesota’s transportation infrastructure is concentrated in the Twin Cities area. Regional and transcontinental rail and highway systems emanate from the center of the Twin Cities. Northeastern Minnesota trains carry iron ore and taconite products, which are then shipped by ship to Wisconsin.
Since the opening (1959) of the Great Lakes waterway, products from the Midwest have spread around the world. In many parts of the state, river transportation has become the primary means of moving passengers and freight. Mississippi River barges carry bulk commodities to the major inland ports of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Coal, oil, and salt are carried upstream. Grain, sand, and gravel are transported in the opposite direction.
The Twin Cities area, served by several commercial airlines, is also the air hub of the Upper Midwest. The Minneapolis-St. Paul airport has a well-established satellite connection.
Interesting laws in the state
You can’t make airplane landings in city parks. On odd-numbered days, you can’t water plants. The exception is the thirty-first day.
It is the duty of police officers to exterminate cats seen in any public place.
People are not allowed to go up or down narrow alleys. Red cars cannot drive on Lake Street.
You may not drive a truck with dirty tires or place stickers on the sidewalk. It is illegal to convince another person to go to a massage therapist after 11 p.m.
You may not eat hamburgers on Sundays.
Main attractions in the state of Minnesota
In addition to the Bloomington Mall and the Minnesota Zoo, the state boasts many attractions and cultural sites. The traveler will learn about the rich history of the Midwest, explore nature and enjoy the Minnesota lifestyle.
Split Rock Lighthouse.
Split Rock Lighthouse is a historic site located in the town of Tu Harbors. According to the Minnesota Historical Society, it is one of the state’s most famous landmarks and was built in 1910. Those who come here to vacation often climb the hills, walk along the base of the lighthouse, and enjoy the scenic view of the lake. “Split Rock” can be visited from May 15 through October 15. As of January 2018, tickets are $10 USD for adults; $8 USD for seniors and students; $6 USD for children ages 6 to 17. Children ages 5 and under are admitted free.
Walker Center for the Arts.
The Walker Art Center is an important cultural attraction in Twin Cities with a large collection of sculptures, paintings, photographs, as well as art, digital works and other exhibits. The center features more than 11,000 works of art and 1,200 art books. There’s also a sculpture garden, where visitors can take a self-guided tour and admire the strange works. Among them is the “Spoon Bridge,” as well as a magnificent greenhouse. As of January 2018, admission to the gallery is $15 USD for adults and $13 USD for seniors age 65 and older. The cost for students and teens with ID is $10 USD. Admission to the sculpture garden is free for all visitors.
ValleyFair is a 90-acre amusement park located in the city of Shakopee. It offers fun for young children and teens as well as adults of all ages. Valleyfair is equipped with a Soak City water park, roller coasters, extreme rides, and a Challenge Park that features go-kart tracks, arcades, and an 18-hole miniature golf course. Visitors can experience classic carnival rides, including a traditional carousel, Ferris wheel, inflatable boats and hot air balloon rides. A one-day package for visitors ages 3 to 61 is $45 USD (as of January 2018). Children under the age of 2 are admitted free.
Minneapolis Waterfront District.
The waterfront (the city’s oldest neighborhood) is home to several local cafes, trendy bistros, the historic Theater de la Jeune Lune, a soap factory, and the new Guthrie Theater. Visitors can enjoy the fresh air at Boom Island Park or walk the Great River Birding Trail, relax at Tuggs River Saloon or Vic’s Restaurant. At the Open Book Center, you can follow the publishing process. The Minneapolis River District is managed by the Minnesota Historical Society, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the Minneapolis Department of Planning and Economic Development, and other community organizations.
Paul Bunyan Waterpark.
Paul Bunyan Waterpark is located at The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes. It is a family-friendly resort offering visitors cabins and spacious suites decorated in Midwestern style. The water park is located on the property and is 2,800 square feet. It features a holographic water slide, a 222-square-meter play center, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, and a ring-shaped indoor pool. As of January 2018, daily admission Friday through Sunday is $17.95 USD and Monday through Thursday is $11.95 USD.
The state of Minnesota covers an area of 225,181 square miles. It is the northernmost state in the United States, as only Alaska is further north. A cold climate prevails here, many mammals and migratory birds live here, and the whole territory of Minnesota is covered with forests and parks. A quarter of the state’s population is Scandinavian, but most residents are of German descent, as it is the largest ethnic group. By the end of the twentieth century, Minnesota’s economy had become dominated by the service sector. It had surpassed agriculture, mining, and manufacturing, which had been the main sources of income in the state since settlement.
St. Paul is the capital of Minnesota, and the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul) area is the principal administrative, economic, and cultural center of the state.
Infrastructure and transportation are well developed. Like any state, Minneapolis has its own laws, and sometimes very strange ones. Attractions such as the Split Rock Lighthouse, the Minneapolis Waterfront District, or the Walker Center for the Arts are not to be missed.