Minnesota History Timeline

By | May 12, 2022

Minnesota is the northernmost contiguous US state and the only state lying north of the 49th Parallel of the contiguous 48 US states.

Referred to as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, there are 11,842 lakes within its borders, as well as 6,564 natural rivers and countless streams. The name Minnesota was derived from the Dakota Indian word for “sky-colored water”.

Minnesota History

Prior to the arrival of French fur traders in the 17th century, Anishinaabe, Dakota and other Native Americans inhabited Minnesota.

After the end of the American Revolutionary War, the part of the state east of the Mississippi River was acquired by the United States from England.. Land west of the Mississippi was acquired with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803.

In 1825 Fort Shackle, the first major US military establishment in the state, was built at the convergence of the Minnesota and the Mississippi River. In addition to serving as a military post, it became a center of industry.

Fort’s most famous leashing (or infamous) role was the housing of the slaves of Dred Scott and his wife.

Settlers who used the timber and let their animals graze near the fort inhabited the area near the fort. They were moved downstream to the Mississippi River, establishing the present moment of St. Paul.

A large number of immigrants arrived in Minnesota in the 1830s to work in the agriculture and lumber industry. Most were from the Eastern United States, Canada, and Northern Europe. By 1900, almost half of all Minnesota residents were of German ancestry.

Minnesota, USA

May 11, 1858 Minnesota became the 32nd state with St. Paul as its capital.

As time passed, the Native Americans were forced off their lands and onto smaller reservations. Finally, in 1862, the Dakota War broke out with the result being the execution of 38 Dakotas and the deaths of nearly 800 white settlers. The Dakota was removed from Minnesota to the neighboring states of South Dakota andNebraska. In the late 1800s, industrial development grew at a rapid pace. Iron ore was discovered in the Vermilion and Mesabi Ranges, railroads expanded, wheat farms were started in southern Minnesota, and Minneapolis grew to be one of the world’s leading flour centers. Duluth became the largest port city and in Rochester, the Mayo Clinic was founded.

Minnesota Commerce and Population

The Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) became a center of commerce in the 1900s. The Minneapolis Grain Exchange and the founding of the Federal Reserve Bank along with other industries helped spawn the area’s growth.

By the 1980s, Minnesota was home to many Southeast Asian refugees from Vietnam,Cambodia and Laos due to the Vietnam War and its aftermath. Today, St. Paul is home to one of the largest contingents of urban Hmong in the United States.

Minnesota is rich in natural resources. More than 75% of the nation’s iron ore is from the northern region in the Mesabi, Cuyuna and Vermilion ranges. Agriculture is also a key contributor to the state’s economy, resulting in large volumes of grain, wheat, rye, alfalfa, sugar beets and other agricultural products.

Minneapolis is considered to be the trading center of the Midwest, and St. Paul’s is the home of the largest publishers of calendars and law books. Of the top 1,000 US publicly traded companies, 33 more are headquartered in Minnesota, including Target, 3M, General Mills, Hormel, Land O’Lakes, Best Buy, Cargill, Carlson Companies along with many.

Minnesota travel

Tourism, a major income generator, attracts millions of visitors each year. Minnesota’s climate features four distinct seasons, each offering unique opportunities for fun and exploration.

With a variety of things to see and do, including cultural venues, fishing, hunting, water sports and winter sports, Minnesota is a favorite travel destination.

Minnesota timeline


  • (1659 – 1660) French fur traders, Grosseilliers and Radisson, explored the western end of Lake Superior, surrounding area
  • (1673) French explorers, Marquette and Joliet, discovered the upper Mississippi River
  • (1679) A Frenchman, Daniel Greisolone Sieur du Loux, met the Indians of the Dakota near Lake Mill Lax
  • (1683) Catholic Missionary Father Louis Hennepin, held captive by Dakota Indians, returned to France; wrote Description de la Louisiane, order about Minnesota first


  • (1763) Spain received Louisiana Territory from France, included Minnesota west of the Mississippi River
  • (1783) Republic of the United States of America received eastern Minnesota from Great Britain during the American Revolution
  • (1787) Eastern Minnesota designated part of the American Northwest Territories of the United States; first mapping of Minnesota completed by David Thompson of the North West Company


  • (1803) US bought Louisiana Territory from France, included western Minnesota
  • (1805) Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike led the first American expedition through Minnesota
  • (1815) Peace treaty negotiated between the Dakota Indians and the American government; first American fur traders entered Minnesota
  • (1818) Northern boundary of Minnesota set at the forty-ninth parallel
  • (1832) Henry Schoolcraft and Ojibwa guide, Ozoindib, found the source of the Mississippi River at Itasca Lake
  • (1836) Wisconsin Territory established, included Minnesota
  • (1849) Minnesota Territory formed with present day eastern and southern fixed boundaries
  • (1850) Agreements carried out with Dakota Indians for lands east of Red River, Lake Crossing, and the Great Dakota River and south between Dakota and Chippewa; wheat became the main crop
  • (1858) Minnesota became 32nd state
  • (1862) Dakota Indians attacked settlers for failure of land agreements and financial mistreatment by merchants, 486 settlers killed; 38 Indians hung in Mankato; first railroad between Minneapolis and Saint Paul completed
  • (1873) Three-day blizzard struck, 70 killed
  • (1878) An explosion at a flour factory killed 18
  • (1880) Telephone connection established between Saint Paul and Minneapolis
  • (1881) Saint Paul destroyed by fire
  • (1883) Mayo Clinic founded in Rochester; tornado ripped through Rochester, 35 killed
  • (1884) Iron ore export started
  • (1886) Sauk Rapids flattened by tornadoes, 79 killed
  • (1887) First Midwest ski tournament held in Paul
  • (1888) Western Minnesota hit by major blizzard, 109, died
  • (1893) Virginia, Minnesota destroyed by fire
  • (1894) Major wildfire engulfed Hinckley and several other communities, killing over 400


  • (1900) Virginia destroyed by fire again
  • (1908) Chisholm destroyed by wildfire
  • (1918) Influenza killed 7,521; Cloquet and Moose Lake – destroyed wildfires
  • (1919) 19th Amendment ratified; tornado hit Fergus Falls killing 59
  • (1927) Minnesota native, Charles Lindbergh, flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris
  • (1931) Ancient remains of 20,000 year old skeleton called “Minnesota Man” found in Otter Tail County
  • (1933) “Brown Valley Man” remains, estimated to be 8,000 to 10,000 years old, discovered in Brown County
  • (1934) Businessman Edward G. Bremer of Paul kidnapped by Barker-Karpis gang, $200,000 ransom one of the largest ransoms in the US; John Dillinger avoids the next shootout with FBI agents in St. Paul
  • (1936) Temperatures remained below zero for a record thirty-six days
  • (1939) The roof of the Duluth Amphitheater collapsed under the weight of snow during a hockey game
  • (1940) Blizzard hit Minnesota, over 16 inches of snow fell in 24 hours, 49 residents died, over $1,500,000 property damaged
  • (1954) Koya Knutson became the first Minnesota woman elected to the US Congress
  • (1959) Duluth gained access to the Atlantic Ocean with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway
  • (1963) Last ore shipment left Bright Red Iron Range
  • (1964) Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey elected U.S. Vice President.
  • (1969) Paul local, Warren Berger, called to US Supreme Court
  • (1976) Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale elected U.S. Vice President
  • (1980) Last ore shipment left Cuyuna iron row
  • (1982) 34 inches of snow fell on the Twin Cities in two days
  • (1984) Last ore shipment left Mesabi iron row ending Minnesota iron ore industry
  • (1987) Minnesota Twins won the World Series
  • (1988) Indian Gaming Regulatory Act sparked a boom in Indian casinos and gambling; major drought occurred
  • (1991) Minnesota Twins win World Series; blizzard hit bringing 24 inches of snow in 24 hours
  • (1991) Mall of America opened, largest mall in the US.
  • (1996) Coldest official temperature recorded (-60 degrees F) near the Tower
  • (1998) Minnesota became home to the largest Hmong population in the US; the tobacco industry has agreed to a $4 billion settlement for medical costs; Jessie Ventura elected the first “party” governor since 1936


  • (2003) 18 years old, accused of releasing the vaiant worm MSBlast, caused the crash of hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide
  • (2004) Minnesota produced 75% of the nation’s usable iron ore
  • (2005) Teenager killed nine, injured 12 at school shooting on reservation; partial government shutdown over budget dispute affected 9,000 workers
  • (2007) Part of an I-35B Bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River, killing seven; snowstorms have caused eight deaths, over 300 auto accidents; statewide smoking ban for bars and restaurants mandated
  • (2008) GOP Convention held in St. Paul; the contested US senatorial race between Al Franken, Norm Coleman, settled by the Minnesota Supreme Court in Franken’s favor; Northwest Airlines merged with Delta Airlines
  • (2010) Nurse accused of assisting suicide over the Internet; Tom Petters convicted of biggest fraud ($3.65 billion) in Minnesota history, sentenced to 50 years in prison
  • (2011) 26-year-old Omer Abdi Mohamed of Minneapolis, admitted to helping Somalia terror plot
  • (2011) Representative Michel Bachma announced a run for the American presidency
  • (2012) Congresswoman Bahma ended the presidential campaign after a sixth seat finish in the Iowa caucuses

Minnesota History