Minnesota is a state in the Midwestern United States. Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd state on May 11, 1858, created from the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and part of the Wisconsin Territory. Its name comes from the Dakota word for "clear blue water." Owing to its large number of lakes, the state is informally known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes." Its official motto is L'Étoile du Nord (French: Star of the North).
Minnesota is the 12th largest in area and the 21st most populous of the U.S. States. Nearly 60 percent of its residents live in the Minneapolis–Saint Paulmetropolitan area (known as the "Twin Cities"), the center of transportation, business, industry, education, and government and home to an internationally known arts community. The remainder of the state consists of 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.
Minnesota is known for its relatively mixed social and political orientations and its high rate of civic participation and voter turnout. Until European settlement, Minnesota was inhabited by the Dakota and Ojibwe/Anishinaabe. The large majority of the original European settlers immigrated from Scandinavia andGermany, and the state remains a center of Scandinavian American andGerman American culture. In recent decades, immigration from Asia, the Horn of Africa, and Latin America has expanded its demographic and cultural composition. Minnesota's standard of living index is among the highest in the United States, and the state is also among the best-educated and wealthiest in the nation.
State of Minnesota
|Nickname(s): Land of 10,000 Lakes;
North Star State; The Gopher State
|Motto(s): L'Étoile du Nord (French: The Star of the North)|
The word Minnesota comes from the Dakota name for the Minnesota River: Mnisota. The root mni (also spelled mini orminne) means "water" and "tō" ("ta") means "blue". Mnisota can be translated as clear blue water or clouded blue waterdepending on pronunciation. Native Americans demonstrated the name to early settlers by dropping milk into water and calling it mnisota. Many places in the state have similar names, such as Minnehaha Falls ("laughing water" (waterfall)),Minneiska ("white water"), Minneota ("much water"), Minnetonka ("big water"), Minnetrista ("crooked water"), andMinneapolis, a combination of mni and polis, the Greek word for "city."
Minnesota is the second northernmost U.S. state (after Alaska). Its isolatedNorthwest Angle in Lake of the Woods county is the only part of the 48 contiguous states lying north of the 49th parallel. The state is part of the U.S. region known as the Upper Midwest and part of North America's Great Lakes Region. It shares a Lake Superior water border with Michigan and a land and water border with Wisconsin to the east. Iowa is to the south, North Dakota and South Dakota are to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba are to the north. With 86,943 square miles (225,180 km2), or approximately 2.25 percent of the United States, Minnesota is the 12th-largest state.
Minnesota's leading fine art museums include the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, theWalker Art Center, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, and the The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA). All are located in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra are prominent full-time professional musical ensembles that perform concerts and offer educational programs to the Twin Cities' community. The world-renowned Guthrie Theater moved into a new Minneapolis facility in 2006, boasting three stages and overlooking the Mississippi River. Attendance at theatrical, musical, and comedy events in the area is strong. In the United States, the Twin Cities' number of theater seats per capita ranks behind onlyNew York City; with some 2.3 million theater tickets sold annually. TheMinnesota Fringe Festival is an annual celebration of theatre, dance, improvisation,puppetry, kids' shows, visual art, and musicals. The summer festival consists of over 800 performances over 11 days in Minneapolis, and is the largest non-juried performing arts festival in the United States.
The rigors and rewards of pioneer life on the prairie are the subject of Giants in the Earth by Ole Rolvaag and of the Little House series of children's books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Small-town life is portrayed grimly by Sinclair Lewis in the novelMain Street, and more gently and affectionately by Garrison Keillor in his tales of Lake Wobegon. St. Paul native F. Scott Fitzgerald writes of the social insecurities and aspirations of the young city in stories such as Winter Dreams and The Ice Palace (published in Flappers and Philosophers). Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem The Song of Hiawatha was inspired by Minnesota and names many of the state's places and bodies of water.
Minnesotan musicians of many genres include folk musician Bob Dylan, rock starPrince, harmony singers The Andrews Sisters, rockabilly star Eddie Cochran, surf band The Trashmen, garage rock band The Castaways, heavy metal bassist David Ellefson, pop songwriters Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, indie rock artists Jonny Langand Soul Asylum, independent hip-hop labels Rhymesayers Entertainment andDoomtree and cult favorites such as Hüsker Dü and The Replacements.
Minnesotans have made significant contributions to comedy, theater, and film.Garrison Keillor is known around the country for resurrecting old-style radio comedywith A Prairie Home Companion, which has aired since the 1970s. Local televisionhad the satirical show The Bedtime Nooz in the 1960s, while area natives Lizz Winstead and Craig Kilborn helped create the increasingly influential Daily Show decades later. Actors from the state include Eddie Albert, Judy Garland, Jessica Lange,Seann William Scott, Josh Hartnett, Garrett Hedlund, Jessica Biel, Vince Vaughn, Rachael Leigh Cook, Steve Zahn, Kevin Sorbo, Cedric Yarbrough and Winona Ryder. Joel and Ethan Coen, Terry Gilliam and Mike Todd contributed to the art offilm, and others brought the offbeat cult shows Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Let's Bowl to national cable from the Twin Cities.
The PBS Saint Paul, MN station-Twin Cities Public Television-also created a weekly arts series, MN Original, which showcases the diverse culture and arts scene in Minnesota.