Minnesota: Then and Now|
The State of Minnesota was the 32nd state to join the Union in May 11, 1858. The name was derived from “mini sota”, a Dakota people’s name for the Minnesota River, which is translated into several terms such as "smoky-white water" or "sky-tinted water". It is geographically located at the Midwestern part of the United States and in the Upper Midwest sub-region of the country. It is the largest state in terms of land mass at this part of the country with 206,375 km² surrounded by Iowa at the south, North Dakota and South Dakota at the west, Wisconsin and the Lake Michigan at the east, and Ontario, Canada at the north. The total territorial area of Minnesota is 225,365 km², 12th in the country.
The history of Minnesota dates way back in the Stone Age. Archaeological findings shows that the State we know as Minnesota was first inhabited by “pre-historic people” in 8,000 to 9,000 BC now famous for Browns Valley Man. Other findings also include the evidence of life that could have lived 27,000 years ago with the discovery of the skeleton of a girl that was found near present day Pelican Rapids. Later history told that the area of Minnesota was inhabited by Ojibwe, the third-largest group of Native Americans in the United States, next to Cherokee and Navajo, and Dakota another Native American. The Winnebago tribe on the other hand occupied the southern part of the region.
The European settlers first occupied Minnesota in the fourteenth century and were then followed by permanent residency in the area for the next three centuries. Most of the territory was owned by France as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Minnesota formally established its land area in March 3, 1849, although there are land assessments in later years.
Today, Minnesota has the “twin cities”: St. Paul which is its capital and Minneapolis its largest city. These two cities signify the economic dominance of Minnesota in the United States. The twin cities and the neighboring area are the most populated district in the State and 15th-largest metropolitan area in the country. The Twin Cities houses some of the largest business industries in the world. The Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. or what is known today as 3M Co., Medtronic, Ecolab, Best Buy, Cray Computers, Imation, Target Corporation and the Northwest Airlines are some prominent firms that have established offices at the Twin Cities.
Minnesota produced an estimated total state product of $211 billion in 2003 according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Per capita personal income in 2003 was $34,031, 10th in the country. The household income in 1999 was approximately $48,000, eighth in the nation. Lowest income is $17,369 at Todd County and the highest is Hennepin County at $42,313.
Though Minnesota is a highly urbanized state primarily because of the Twin Cities, the large portion of the state is still agricultural. Ironically, more or less 2 percent of the population consider themselves to be farmers.
Like most of the states as well as the country, Minnesota government is divided into three main branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The executive branch is led by the state governor and the lieutenant governor. Both have four-year terms. Commissioners or the governor’s cabinet hold various government agencies in the state. The legislative is composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Judicial power resides in court with three levels: trial court, Minnesota Court of Appeals, and the Minnesota Supreme Court. Minnesota has two additional courts: the Tax Court and the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals.
Minnesota people are estimate to have reached more than 5 million in 2004 comprising the 1.75% of the national population. Majority is White with almost 90% of the state population. The remaining percentages are divided into Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and other races. Christians compose 84% of Minnesota which is divided in Protestants and Roman Catholics. Protestants are further divided in Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and others. One percent of the state has other religion while 15% are Agnostic or not religious.