Minnesota, state in the Great Lakes region of the midwestern United States; bordered by Canada to the north, Lake Superior and Wisconsin to the east, Iowa to the south, and South Dakota and North Dakota to the west.
Land and climate
Minnesota's 4 main land regions are the Superior Upland, the Young Drift Plains, the Dissected Till Plains, and the Driftless Area. The Superior Upland, in northeastern Minnesota, includes some of the most rugged and isolated parts of the state. The gently rolling Young Drift Plains cover most of the rest of the state. This region has the state's most important farmlands. In the Dissected Till Plains, at the state's southwestern corner, the soil is a thick mixture of sand, gravel, and clay. Parts of this region are good farmland. The Driftless Area in the southeastern corner is nearly flat in the east, but with deep valleys cut by swift streams in the west. Minnesota has as many as 22,000 lakes; more than 15,000 of them are 10 acres or larger. The nation's greatest river, the Mississippi, has its source in Minnesota. Other major rivers include the Red River of the North, the Rainy River, and the St. Louis River. Minnesota has long, cold winters and warm-to-very-hot summers. Principal cities are Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth.
Minnesota's principal industries are agri-business, forest products, mining, manufacturing, and tourism. The chief manufactured products are nonelectrical machinery, food products, fabricated metal products, chemicals, paper and paper goods, and adhesive tapes and industrial adhesives. Livestock and dairy products account for about more than half of the state's farm income; chief crops are corn, soybeans, hay, and wheat. Chief mineral products are iron ore, taconite, granite, limestone, and clay.
Minnesota's constitution was adopted in 1858. The governor serves a 4-year term. The state's Legislature consists of 67 senators serving 4-year terms and 134 representatives serving 2-year terms. In the U.S. Congress, Minnesota is represented by 2 senators and 8 representatives.
Sioux were living in the region when the first whites arrived in the late 1600s; Chippewa came soon after. French fur traders and missionaries settled the area. At various times, parts of Minnesota were held by France, Spain, and Britain. Some of Minnesota became part of the U.S. after the American Revolution, the rest with the Louisiana Purchase. In 1851, the Sioux were forced to sign treaties that opened most of Minnesota to white settlement, which boomed. Minnesota, which became a state in 1858, supported the Union during the Civil War. In 1862, the Sioux rose in a bloody uprising that the U.S. Army and state militia eventually quashed. After the Civil and Indian Wars, industries developed rapidly and immigration increased. World War I raised demand for Minnesota's iron and steel, but the Depression of the 1930s devastated the state's economy. World War II brought recovery. Since then, industry's importance has grown, while farming's has declined. During the 1970s and 1980s, a major concern was finding ways to develop Minnesota's rich resources without damaging its environment, especially the lakes and rivers, wooded parks, and ski areas that draw millions of vacationers a year.