Minnesota History - the history of Minnesota
   
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Minnesota   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Minnesota History

   
 

Minnesota History


Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the area that has since become the state of Minnesota was populated by a variety of Native American peoples including the Anishinaabe and the Sioux. French fur traders, who reached the area in the 17th century, were the first Europeans to arrive. Later in the century, they were followed by Ojibwe Indians who migrated Westward into the area.

Fort Snelling, Minnesota The lands that were later to form the state of Minnesota was acquired by the United States in a two step process: the lands East of the Mississippi River were acquired by the 1783 Treaty of Paris at the end of the American Revolution (1775 to 1783), whereas the lands to the West of the Mississippi were purchased from France as part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.

The first American settlement of the region began in 1805, when Zebulon Pike acquired land in the area. This was followed by the construction of Fort Snelling, which took place between 1819 and 1825. The Minnesota Territory was formed on March 3rd 1849 by combining parts of the Iowa and Wisconsin Territories. The state of Minnesota, consisting of the eastern portion of the Minnesota Territory, was admitted as the 32nd state of the Union on May 11th 1858.

Treaties made between white settlers, and the Sioux and Ojibwe, gradually forced the Native Americans off their lands and into smaller and smaller reservations. The deteriorating conditions suffered by the Native Americans, eventually culiminated in the Sioux Uprising of 1862. The Sioux were defeated after a war lasting just 6 weeks, and, following the war, 38 Indians were executed in a mass execution and most of the rest set into exile in Nebraska.

Minnesota's economy was initially centered around logging and farming. However in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, industries began to emerge principally flour milling and iron-mining. Following World War II, farming was mechanized, and a number of new high technology industries began to emerge in the state.


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A Popular History of Minnesota

By Norman K. Risjord

Minnesota Historical Society Press
Paperback (256 pages)

A Popular History of Minnesota
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What do Paul Bunyan, Charles Lindbergh, and Jesse Ventura have in common? Minnesota, of course! In A Popular History of Minnesota, historian Norman K. Risjord offers a grand tour of the state's remarkable history. This highly readable volume details everything from the glacial formation of the land to the arrival of the Dakota and the Ojibwe people, from Minnesota's contributions to the Northern cause during the Civil War to the key players in reform politics who helped sculpt the identity the state retains today.

A Popular History of Minnesota highlights the historical significance of Minnesota's natural resources—the bountiful north woods, the treasured iron ranges, the impressive Mississippi waterfall on which the Mill City was built. It details the powerful marks left on the state by such luminous figures as Oliver H. Kelley, founder of the national Grange movement, Hubert H. Humphrey, champion of civil rights, and Betty Crocker, aid to homemakers everywhere. Lively side trips outline noteworthy subjects, from the Kensington runestone to the devastating forest fires of the 1890s and 1920s, from the rise of the Mayo Clinic to the preservation of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Handy travelers' guides highlight historic destinations for readers who enjoy seeing where history happened.

Fast-paced and informative, with generous illustrations, A Popular History of Minnesota is a must-read for newcomers and established Minnesotans alike.

The History of Minnesota and Tales of the Frontier

By Charles Eugene Flandrau

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (438 pages)

The History of Minnesota and Tales of the Frontier
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It has been a little over fifty years since the organization of the Territory of Minnesota, which at its birth was a very small and unimportant creation, but which in its half century of growth has expanded into one of the most brilliant and promising stars upon the union of our flag; so that its history must cover every subject, moral, physical and social, that enters into the composition of a first-class progressive Western state, which presents a pretty extensive field; but there is also to be considered a period anterior to civilization, which may be called the aboriginal and legendary era, which abounds with interesting matter, and to the general reader is much more attractive than the prosy subjects of agriculture, finance and commerce.

Having lived in the state through nearly the whole period of Minnesota's political existence, and having taken part in most of the leading events in her history, both savage and civilized, I propose to treat the various subjects that compose her history in a narrative and colloquial manner that may not rise to the dignity of history, but which, I think, while giving facts, will not detract from the interest or pleasure of the reader. If I should in the course of my narrative so far forget myself as to indulge in a joke, or relate an illustrative anecdote, the reader must put up with it.

Nature has been lavishly generous with Minnesota,—more so, perhaps, than with any state in the Union. Its surface is beautifully diversified between rolling prairies and immense forests of valuable timber. Rivers and lakes abound, and the soil is marvelous in its productive fertility. Its climate, taken the year round, surpasses in all attractive features that of any part of the North American continent. There are more enjoyable days in the three hundred and sixty-five that compose the year than in any other country I have ever visited or resided in, and that embraces a good part of the world's surface. The salubrity of Minnesota is phenomenal. There are absolutely no diseases indigenous to the state. The universally accepted truth of this fact is found in a saying, which used to be general among the old settlers, "that there is no excuse for anyone dying in Minnesota, and that only two men ever did die there, one of whom was hanged for killing the other."

The resources of Minnesota principally consist of the products of the farm, the mine, the dairy, the quarry and the forest, and its industries of a vast variety of manufactures of all kinds and characters, both great and small, the leading ones being flour and lumber; to which, of course, must be added the enormous carrying trade which grows out of, and is necessary to the successful conduct of such resources and industries,—all of which subjects will be treated of in their appropriate places.

Minnesota Mayhem: A History of Calamitous Events, Horrific Accidents, Dastardly Crime & Dreadful Behavior in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes (True Crime)

By Ben Welter

The History Press
Released: 2012-06-05
Paperback (160 pages)

Minnesota Mayhem: A History of Calamitous Events, Horrific Accidents, Dastardly Crime & Dreadful Behavior in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes (True Crime)
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Turn back the yellowing pages of Minnesota's past and explore the best of the state's worst moments, as chronicled in the Minneapolis Tribune and its successor newspapers. These stories and photos, culled from the Star Tribune's microfilm archive by author Ben Welter, range from the catastrophic to the merely curious. From a fire that destroyed the State Capitol in 1881, to a wordless fistfight that broke out on a Minneapolis street in 1898, a flu outbreak that killed more than 10,000 Minnesotans in 1918 and the arrest of Frank Lloyd Wright at a Lake Minnetonka cottage in 1926.

Creating Minnesota: A History from the Inside Out

By Annette Atkins

Brand: Minnesota Historical Society Press
Paperback (336 pages)

Creating Minnesota: A History from the Inside Out
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Winner of a Spur Award, presented by the Western Writers of America (WWA), for the Best Western Nonfiction Historical Book.

Renowned historian Annette Atkins presents a fresh understanding of how a complex and modern Minnesota came into being in Creating Minnesota. Each chapter of this innovative state history focuses on a telling detail, a revealing incident, or a meaningful issue that illuminates a larger event, social trends, or politics during a period in our past.

A three-act play about Minnesota's statehood vividly depicts the competing interests of Natives, traders, and politicians who lived in the same territory but moved in different worlds. Oranges are the focal point of a chapter about railroads and transportation: how did a St. Paul family manage to celebrate their 1898 Christmas with fruit that grew no closer than 1,500 miles from their home? A photo essay brings to life three communities of the 1920s, seen through the lenses of local and itinerant photographers. The much-sought state fish helps to explain the new Minnesota, where pan-fried walleye and walleye quesadillas coexist on the same north woods menu.

In Creating Minnesota, Atkins invites readers to experience the texture of people's lives through the decades, offering a fascinating and unparalleled approach to the history of our state.

The North Star State: A Minnesota History Reader

Brand: Minnesota Historical Society Press
Paperback (486 pages)

The North Star State: A Minnesota History Reader
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Two hundred years of Minnesota history spring to life in this lively and captivating collection of essays. The North Star State encompasses the wide range of Minnesota's unique past—from the Civil War to the World Wars, from frontier life to the age of technological innovation, from Dakota and Ojibwe history to the story of St. Paul's black sleeping-car porters, from lumber workers and truckers' strikes to the women's suffrage movement.

In addition to investigative articles by the state's top historians, editor Anne Aby has assembled captivating first-person accounts from key moments in Minnesota history, including George Nelson's reminiscences of his years in the early nineteenth-century fur trade; the diary of Emily Goodridge Grey, an early African American settler; and Jasper N. Searles's letters home from the Battle of First Bull Run.

Frozen in History: Amazing Tales from Minnesota's Past

By Curt Brown

Star Tribune Publishing, LLC
Released: 2015-11-02
Kindle Edition (204 pages)

Frozen in History: Amazing Tales from Minnesota s Past
 
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Escaped Nazis in northern Minnesota. A jilted countess on the prairie. A Minneapolis mobster. Each Sunday, columnist Curt Brown gives Star Tribune readers a look back at their moving, entertaining and inspiring history. Those columns are collected in “Frozen in History: Amazing Tales from Minnesota’s Past.” Guided by reader tips, Brown uncovers the unexpected – from the state’s beginnings to its out-sized impact on computers and the space race.

North Shore: A Natural History of Minnesota's Superior Coast

By Chel Anderson

Univ Of Minnesota Press
Hardcover (632 pages)

North Shore: A Natural History of Minnesota s Superior Coast
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Propelled by wings, fins, legs, and the wind, life has found a way to Minnesota’s North Shore for more than twelve thousand years. Some plants and animals have taken up residence in the region’s ancient mountains, others in its lakes and flowing rivers. Together, they weave a living fabric of sublime and fascinating beauty. These organisms come to life in North Shore, a comprehensive environmental history of one of Minnesota’s most beloved places.

The story of this region unfolds through the five interconnected areas of Minnesota’s North Shore watershed—the meandering rivers of the Headwaters, the deep and dense forest of the Highlands, the rocky Nearshore, the drama of Lake Superior, and its mysterious islands, including Isle Royale and Susie Island archipelagos. Each section begins with an overview of the forces that have shaped the area, then the focus turns to a wide range of inhabitants, such as chorus frogs and star-nosed moles, butterworts and coaster brook trout, jeweled diatoms and pitcher plants, black bears and blue-spotted salamanders. Each chapter links to the region’s broader history, from the sculpting of the land by mile-high glaciers to the role of scientific exploration, the advent of logging, the development of tourism, and the changing global climate.

North Shore reminds us that the natural history of this extraordinary region is still being created and that each of us—individually and collectively—are the authors of this ongoing narrative. Compelling and accessible, the book will provide readers with a science-based knowledge of the Minnesota North Shore watershed so that together we can write a new, hopeful chapter for its inhabitants, both human and wild.

North Country: The Making of Minnesota

By Mary Lethert Wingerd

Univ Of Minnesota Press
Hardcover (448 pages)

North Country: The Making of Minnesota
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In 1862, four years after Minnesota was ratified as the thirty-second state in the Union, simmering tensions between indigenous Dakota and white settlers culminated in the violent, six-week-long U.S.–Dakota War. Hundreds of lives were lost on both sides, and the war ended with the execution of thirty-eight Dakotas on December 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota—the largest mass execution in American history. The following April, after suffering a long internment at Fort Snelling, the Dakota and Winnebago peoples were forcefully removed to South Dakota, precipitating the near destruction of the area’s native communities while simultaneously laying the foundation for what we know and recognize today as Minnesota.
 
In North Country: The Making of Minnesota, Mary Lethert Wingerd unlocks the complex origins of the state—origins that have often been ignored in favor of legend and a far more benign narrative of immigration, settlement, and cultural exchange. Moving from the earliest years of contact between Europeans and the indigenous peoples of the western Great Lakes region to the era of French and British influence during the fur trade and beyond, Wingerd charts how for two centuries prior to official statehood Native people and Europeans in the region maintained a hesitant, largely cobeneficial relationship. Founded on intermarriage, kinship, and trade between the two parties, this racially hybridized society was a meeting point for cultural and economic exchange until the western expansion of American capitalism and violation of treaties by the U.S. government during the 1850s wore sharply at this tremulous bond, ultimately leading to what Wingerd calls Minnesota’s Civil War.
 
A cornerstone text in the chronicle of Minnesota’s history, Wingerd’s narrative is augmented by more than 170 illustrations chosen and described by Kirsten Delegard in comprehensive captions that depict the fascinating, often haunting representations of the region and its inhabitants over two and a half centuries. North Country is the unflinching account of how the land the Dakota named Mini Sota Makoce became the State of Minnesota and of the people who have called it, at one time or another, home.

Minnesota Mysteries: A History of Unexplained Wonders, Eccentric Characters, Preposterous Claims & Baffling Occurrences in the Land of 10,000 Lakes

By Ben Welter

The History Press
Released: 2013-11-19
Paperback (160 pages)

Minnesota Mysteries: A History of Unexplained Wonders, Eccentric Characters, Preposterous Claims & Baffling Occurrences in the Land of 10,000 Lakes
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Any Minnesotan worth his lutefisk has heard of the Kensington Runestone. But have you heard of Victor Setterlund? In 1949, he uncovered another runestone less than ten miles away. How about Newmann the Great? In 1909, the Kenyon-born illusionist astonished Minneapolitans by driving a team of horses blindfolded across town to find a key hidden in a drugstore safe at Lake and Nicollet. How about little Mary Weinand? In 1915, her father demanded justice when the "meanest boy" at her one-room schoolhouse in Corcoran cut off her luxurious auburn curls. These little-known stories, along with dozens more culled from Minnesota newspaper archives, are presented here in their original form.

Minnesota's Lost Towns Central Edition

By Rhonda Fochs

North Star Press of St. Cloud
Paperback (240 pages)

Minnesota s Lost Towns Central Edition
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The long-awaited second book in the Minnesota’s Lost Towns series is now available. Travel along as we visit and learn about more than 125 central Minnesota locations. The book covers twenty-seven of Minnesota’s central corridor counties, from east to west. Read how the towns were created, how they developed and lived, and why they died. Discover the people and places of Minnesota’s past. Filled with tales and photos, the book is a fun and educational read for anyone who loves history or a good story.


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