Minneso'ta (an Indian name, signifying 'sky-tinted water'), one of the north-central states of the American Union, the northernmost in the Mississippi valley. It is bounded by Manitoba, Ontario, Lake Superior, Wisconsin, Iowa, and North and South Dakota. Its area is 83,530 sq. m., or nearly as large as Great Britain. In Minnesota are the remote sources of the great rivers Mississippi, Red River of the North, and St Lawrence, whose waters flow in different directions to the Gulf of Mexico, Hudson Bay, and the Atlantic. Within the state the Minnesota River is the largest tributary of the Mississippi. Between the St Croix River and Red River of the North are hundreds of clear lakes, the largest of which are Red Lake (530 sq. m.), Mille Lacs, and Leech Lake. Over a half of the land area is under farms, but in the north there are extensive pine-forests, and in the north-east great marshes. The minerals include iron (which is profitably worked), slate, granite and other rocks, and the red pipestone. The climate is bracing in winter, very dry and equable. Minnesota is an agricultural and especially a wheat-producing state ; its principal manufactories are flour and lumber mills. The Mississippi is navigable as high as St Paul; the lakes, with Duluth for a port, open a water-way to the Atlantic ; and there are over 7000 miles of railway in the state.
Minnesota was visited by French explorers in 1659-60, and the portion west of the Mississippi was part of the province of Louisiana purchased by the United States from France in 1803. In 1837 the Chippeway Indians surrendered all the land east of the Mississippi; immigration then began, and Minnesota became a territory in 1849, a state in 1858. In 1862 occurred a terrible massacre by the Indians, who in ten days killed some 800 persons. The principal cities are the capital, St Paul, Minneapolis, and Duluth. Pop. (1860) 172,023; (1880) 780,773; (1900) 1,751,394, including many Scandinavians and Germans.