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Minnesota State History

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1660- France explores Minnesota shores of Lake Superior

1679- Frenchman Daniel Greysolon explores northeastern Minnesota

1680- Father Hennepin discovers the Falls of St. Anthony in Minneapolis

1689- French build St. Antoine trading post near Lake Pepin

1762- Spain gains control of land west of the Mississippi River

1763- England gains control of land east of the Mississippi River

1783- U.S. gains control of land east of the Mississippi River

1803- Louisiana Purchase gives the U.S. all of Minnesota

1825- Fort Snelling is built near Minneapolis

1832- Henry Schoolcraft discovers Lake Itasca, the source of the Mississippi River

1849- The Minnesota Territory is created

1851- Land west of the Mississippi River given up by the Sioux

1858- Minnesota becomes the 32nd state

1889- The Mayo Clinic is founded in Rochester

1918- The Farmer-Labor party is formed

1993- Severe flooding around the Mississippi River

Native American Sioux and Chippewa Indians lived in Minnesota when French fur-traders landed in Two Harbors in 1660. Daniel Greysolon, also a Frenchman, came into Minnesota through Lake Superior in 1679. He claimed the entire region for France.

In 1762, France gave all the land west of the Mississippi River to Spain. However, Spain did little to explore or settle the region and France continued fur trading. At the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, Britain controlled all land east of the Mississippi River, including eastern Minnesota.

The end of the Revolutionary War gave the land west of the Mississippi River to the United States. In 1787 this land became the Northwest Territory. Land east of the Mississippi River was acquired in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase. All of Minnesota was now owned by the United States.

In 1825 Fort Snelling was built where the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers meet. Fort Snelling became a place of industry and growth rather than just a military post. In 1837, land was purchased from the Sioux Indians around the St. Croix River. Loggers and farmers settled the first small towns of Minnesota, including St. Paul, St. Anthony (Minneapolis), and Stillwater.

Minnesota belonged to many territories before it became its own on March 3, 1849. The boundaries were almost as they are today, with the western boundary extending to the Missouri River. Soon afterward, Minnesota’s Native Americans signed two treaties that gave up their lands in exchange for food sent to the reservations where they would live.

Minnesota became the 32nd state on May 11, 1858, with St. Paul as the state capital. The Civil War began two years later and Minnesota became the first state to offer troops for the Union armies. During this time, the Indians angry from lack of food went to war against Minnesota. With many of the men gone to fight for the Union, federal troops had to come help stop the war.

During the late 1800s, industrial development rapidly took place. Wheat farms were started in southern Minnesota and Minneapolis became one of the world’s leading flour centers. Railroads expanded and their advertisements brought thousands of immigrants from Europe to settle the state. Iron ore was discovered and shipped from the Vermilion Range and the Mesabi Range. Duluth became a great port city and the Mayo Clinic, a general medical center that would become one of the world’s leading medical research centers, was founded.

In 1917, Minnesota sent wheat and iron ore to help soldiers fighting in World War I. The following year, a huge forest fire killed more than 400 people and destroyed $25 million in property. Minnesotans formed the Farmer-Labor party to help farmers and factory workers.

The Great Depression left 70% of ironworkers without jobs. Farm income fell. State and federal governments helped people to keep their farms and provide them with jobs. World War II (1939-1945) helped the economy to recover from the Depression. Factories were busy making parts for airplanes, weapons and ships.

Industry expanded and changed after the war. Some of these industries are electronic equipment, computers, chemicals, and heavy machinery. The iron ore industry changed and began to develop taconite ore. Farms decreased and many people moved to the cities.

Minnesota’s state government has also made changes. Laws were passed favoring industry and protecting the environment from pollution. Districts were changed to provide the city equal representation in state legislature. Education received an increase in financial aid and beginning in 1987 families could choose which schools they wanted their children to attend.