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

Norman K Risjord
Paperback (256 pages)

A Popular History of Minnesota
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  • 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.

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

Ben Welter
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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  • Minnesota Mayhem A History of Calamitous Events Horrific Accidents Dastardly Crime and Dreadful Behavior in the Land of 10 000 Lakes
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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.

Minnesota's Lost Towns Northern Edition

By Rhonda Fochs

Rhonda Fochs
Paperback (240 pages)

Minnesota s Lost Towns Northern Edition
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  • Minnesota s Lost Towns
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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-six 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.

Minnesota: A History (Second Edition) (States and the Nation)

By William E. Lass

William Lass
Paperback (336 pages)

Minnesota: A History (Second Edition)  (States and the Nation)
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  • Minnesota A History
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A comprehensive history of a state thought by many to be the most livable.

In this volume, William Lass tells the story of Minnesota, a state that evolved from many cultures, from its beginnings to the present. This history not only provides descriptions of the essential events of Minnesota's past but also offers an interpretation of major trends and characteristics of the state and its distinctiveness within the context of the nation's story. Illustrated with photographs

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.

Little Minnesota in World War II: The Stories Behind 140 Fallen Heroes from Minnesota's Littlest Towns

By Jill A. Johnson

Ingramcontent
Paperback (192 pages)

Little Minnesota in World War II: The Stories Behind 140 Fallen Heroes from Minnesota s Littlest Towns
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  • Little Minnesota in World War II
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Small towns. Big heroes!

During World War II, men from Minnesota’s smallest towns gave their lives for our country. Several were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Silver Star, or Bronze Star. All received the award no one wanted: the Purple Heart. Little Minnesota in World War II, by Jill A. Johnson and Deane L. Johnson, honors 140 brave men from the smallest rural towns. From John Emery (who died December 7, 1941, on board the USS Arizona) to Herman Thelander (who was lost in the Bermuda Triangle, a mystery unsolved to this day), this unique book allows you to experience the war through personal accounts of the men and their families. Photos from the war, scans of actual letters, journal excerpts, and family memories create a one-of-a-kind book that brings history to life with stories from Pearl Harbor, the Pacific, the Invasion of Normandy, and beyond, and that combines local history with World War II nostalgia.

First Avenue: Minnesota's Mainroom

By Chris Riemenschneider

Minnesota Historical Society Press
Hardcover (240 pages)

First Avenue: Minnesota s Mainroom
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One of the longest running clubs in American rock 'n' roll, First Avenue in Minneapolis finally gets the rock-star treatment it deserves in print. This book chronicles the club's storied past, beginning with its impressive inaugural show in April 1970 (Joe Cocker's "Mad Dogs & Englishmen" tour) and through its oft-maligned disco era of the late 1970s. In the 1980s, it earned global attention as the hub of Prince's "Purple Rain" and the incubator for widely revered, wild-eyed indie-rock bands such as the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, and Babes in Toyland. The Ramones and R.E.M., Chrissie Hynde and Lauryn Hill, Wilco and the Wu-Tang Clan, and hundreds more played the hallowed halls of First Avenue and 7th Street Entry, and all are immortalized in this volume.

First Avenue survived corporate competitors, bankruptcy, and a bitter ownership battle to become one of the most successful independent clubs in the country and ground zero to Minneapolis's thriving community of hip-hop and indie-rock acts. Amidst all that history, the book is interlaced with anecdotes, quotes, and occasionally cloudy memories from musicians, employees, and regulars—many of whom are as unique as the club itself. Chock full of concert photos and memorabilia collected from professional photographers and average fans alike, the book is a lavish celebration of a rock 'n' roll landmark.

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.

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

By Chel Anderson

Anderson Chel
Hardcover (632 pages)

North Shore: A Natural History of Minnesota s Superior Coast
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  • 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.

Lost Minnesota: Stories of Vanished Places

By Jack El-Hai

Brand: Univ Of Minnesota Press
Paperback (160 pages)

Lost Minnesota: Stories of Vanished Places
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Architecture/Regional

The first book to tour forgotten landmarks throughout the state of Minnesota.

Believe it or not, Minnesota's architectural landscape has included a house made from the fuselage of a B-29 bomber, a hotel that spent its final years as a chicken hatchery, a Civil War cemetery, a treehouse built and occupied year-round by an eccentric university professor, and a railway that once carried passengers up Duluth's steep incline from Lake Superior.

They are all gone now, along with countless houses, parks, bridges, theaters, sports stadiums, courthouses, and farm buildings in which Minnesotans have worked, played, and lived their lives. Though other books have looked at the lost architecture of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Jack El-Hai's Lost Minnesota is the first book to tell the stories of buildings and landmarks from rural and small-town Minnesota, as well as those of the residential and suburban areas of the state's largest cities.

From Rochester's Hotel Zumbro and the Charles H. Mayo House to the Hastings Spiral Bridge and the Lyceum Theater of Duluth, El-Hai rediscovers a lost landscape and the values and lifestyle of a bygone era. He tours not only Twin Cities buildings, such as the Fairoaks mansion, the Wilder Baths, and the Beyrer Brewery, but also its sites, such as the Wonderland amusement park, in order to re-create not only where but how Minnesotans lived.

Lost Minnesota presents eighty-nine beautifully illustrated stories about these fascinating places and those who built them, lived in them, and tore them down. This is a book sure to delight the Minnesota history enthusiast and anyone who is curious about the state's changing urban, small-town, and rural landscapes.

Jack El-Hai is a freelance journalist and columnist for Architecture Minnesota magazine, and the author of Minnesota Collects (1992) and (with Barbara Degroot) The Insiders' Guide to the Twin Cities (1995). He lives in Minneapolis.

Translation Inquiries: University of Minnesota Press



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