MINNESOTA

1237

MINT

ing. The population, made up of settlers from New England, other eastern and middle states and foreigners, mostly from northern Europe, Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, Germans, Russians, Icelanders, Lapps and Finns — with 10,225 Indians of the Ojibwa tribe, — numbers 2,075,708.

History. Minnesota was first visited by Groseilliers and Radisson, French fur-traders, in 1655-56 and 1660. The part of the state west of the Mississippi came into our hand by the Louisiana purchase. The part east of the Mississippi had been ceded to Great Britain by France in 1763 and belonged afterward to Virginia, who ceded it to the United States. Fort Snelling was built in 1820. After the Ojibwas and Sioux in 1837 surrendered their lands east of the Mississippi, immigration set in. In 1849 Minnesota became a territory, in 1858 a state. The capital is St. Paul, population 214,744.

Minnesota, a river which crosses the state of Minnesota. It rises near Lake Traverse, on the Dakota border, and widens into Big Stone Lake, which stretches 30 miles along the same border, flows southeast until nearly across the state, then with a sharp turn flows northeast into the Mississippi at Fort Snelling, five miles above St. Paul. It is 450 miles long, 300 navigable.

Min'now, the name commonly applied to small slender fishes. The true minnows belong to the family Cyprinidæ. They are abundant in the Old World and in North America. Although numerous in species, they are difficult to distinguish on account of great similarity. Like birds, the male minnows often put on bright colors during the breeding season, and some kinds have the head ornamented with tubercles. The so-called American minnows (Notropis), with upward of 100 species, are confined to the waters east of the Rocky Mountains. Minnows are of importance as food for larger fishes, and they are extensively used as bait by fishermen.

Minor'ca, one of the largest of the Balearic Islands (a. v.), in the Mediterranean, belonging to Spain. It lies north of Majorca (a. v.), is 28 miles long and about 10 wide, and covers 290 square miles. It has a rocky coast, with many inlets, and a fertile soil. It also has a great number of ancient remains and stalactite caves. The principal cities are Port Mahon and Ciudadela. It was ceded to Spain by England in 1802. Population about 38,000. See Balearic Islands by Bidwell.

Minotaur (mïn'ô-tar), in Grecian myth was a man with the head of a bull. He was fed with seven youths and seven maidens, sent from Athens at certain periods, until slain by Theseus with the help of Ariadne.

Mint, a general name of species of the great family Labiatæ, but specially applied to the species of the genus Mentha, ordin-

arily recognized by their peculiar fragrance and their clusters of small purple, pink or white flowers. The genus contains about 30 species, all native to north temperate regions, 12 of which either are native or naturalized in North America. Their characteristics are square stems, opposite or whorled leaves, a spicy fragrance or "minty odor" and four-lobed ovary. In little glands in the leaves is secreted a volatile oil, which gives the plant its pungency. Peppermint (M. piperita) is the most important species in cultivation, and is one of the most important of plants in the production of essential oils. The leaves are dark green veined with purple; the stem is often purplish; the flowers are purple. The chief regions of peppermint cultivation in the United States are certain portions of Michigan, Indiana and New York. Spearmint (M. spicata) is also cultivated for its essential oil, but this is not so much in demand as peppermint oil. It is spearmint which is cultivated largely for table use in the making of mint sauce and mint julep. It is frequently cultivated in the vicinity of large cities to supply this demand. The leaves are wrinkled, serrate, short-stemmed or sessile; the small flowers are crowded around the stem in whorls.

Mint, the place where money is coined by the government of a country, though in early times in England the bishops and barons had the privilege of coining. Until the middle of the 16th century coins were made from pieces of metal cut and hammered. In 1662 the use of the screw or mill became common in England. It was the invention of Antoine Brucher, a French engraver. The gold or silver to be coined is melted and has added to it the amount of copper needed to make it hard enough for use, and is formed into bars. In the United States the silver coins are one tenth copper and nine tenths silver, and in the gold coins one tenth is an alloy or mixture of silver and copper and nine tenths gold. The bars are then passed between rollers which flatten them into strips or ribbons of the right thickness. The gold bars are usually rolled ten times before they are thin enough and the bars of silver eight times. The strips are finally drawn between steel blocks to make them straight. The strips are then cut into pieces of the right size, or blanks, which in the gold coins are weighed by hand before being finished off. If too light, they are sent back to be melted again, and if too heavy the edges are filed off. This is usually done by women, as their delicacy of touch fits them for the work. The blanks are now passed through the milling machine, which finishes the rims of the coins, and then into the coining press, where they are stamped with the figures and letters of the different coins. After careful weighing and inspection and counting, they are put