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.

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.

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

By William E. Lass

W. W. Norton & Company
Multicolor Paperback (336 pages)

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

Minnesota's Lost Towns Northern Edition

By Rhonda Fochs

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

Minnesota s Lost Towns Northern 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-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 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.

Minnesota's Lost Towns Southern Edition

By Rhonda Fochs

North Star Press of St. Cloud
Paperback (256 pages)

Minnesota s Lost Towns Southern Edition
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Pack your bags and come along as we journey to over 125 lost towns in Southern Minnesota. Read how the Civil War, changes in transportation, county seat disputes and other historical happenings changed Minnesota’s landscape. Learn how and why lost towns and communities were created, how they thrived and why they eventually faded into history. Visit the people and places of Southern Minnesota in this fourth edition of the Minnesota’s Lost Towns series. Be sure to check out the other titles in the series: Northern, Central, and Northern II.

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.

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.

Minnesota History Along the Highways: A Guide to Historic Markers and Sites

Brand: Minnesota Historical Society Press
Paperback (322 pages)

Minnesota History Along the Highways: A Guide to Historic Markers and Sites
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For more than 125 years Minnesotans have been marking the places where significant historic events occurred. This travel guide presents the locations and texts of 254 historic markers, 60 geologic markers, and 29 historic monuments in all corners of the state. The markers honor fur traders and settlers, explorers and miners, Civil War soldiers and entrepreneurs; they explain waterfalls and sand plains and glacial potholes. Some have stood for over a century, marking the sites of the Dakota War of 1862. Others, more recent, enhance the interstate highways with brief, informative histories of Red River trails, immigrant communities, and important industries.

Each entry includes the location of the marker or monument along the state's highways and county roads. For the traveler's ease of use, the entries are grouped by region and by county and many photographs convey a sense of the history to be found at these places. This handy and informative guide is the perfect traveling companion for your next road trip.

Minnesota, 1918: When Flu, Fire, and War Ravaged the State

By Curt Brown

Minnesota Historical Society Press
Released: 2018-02-15
Hardcover (304 pages)

Minnesota, 1918: When Flu, Fire, and War Ravaged the State
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In 1918, Minnesota and its residents were confronted with a series of devastating events that put communities to the test, forcing them to persevere through untold hardship. First, as the nation immersed itself in the global conflict later known as World War I, some 118,000 Minnesotans served in the war effort, both at home and "over there"–and citizens on the home front were subjected to loyalty tests and new depths of government surveillance. While more than 1,400 Minnesotans were killed on the battlefields, an additional 2,300 soldiers were struck down by another destructive force working its way across the globe in 1918: the influenza pandemic, which left more than 10,000 dead in Minnesota alone. Then, in mid-October, fires raged across 1,500 square miles in seven counties of northeastern Minnesota, leaving thousands homeless and hundreds dead.

In Minnesota, 1918, journalist and author Curt Brown explores this monumental year through individual and community stories from all over the state, from residents of small towns up north obliterated by the fire, to government officials in metropolitan centers faced with the spread of a deadly and highly contagious disease, to soldiers returning home to all this from the "war to end all wars."


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