Issue Date: May 17, 2008
City: St. Paul, MN
On May 11, 2008, Minnesota celebrated 150 years of statehood. The first evidence of human inhabitants in the area dates back to about 7500 B.C. near Mille Lacs Lake. Various Native American tribes, such as the Dakota and Hopewell, lived in this area for thousands of years.
In the mid-1600s, Ojibwa Indians and French explorers arrived. The majority of the state was purchased by the United States from France in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
After discovering the high value of the white pine trees that were common in the northeast section of the state, the logging industry became a prominent business in Minnesota.
As a result of the efforts of territorial delegate Henry M. Rice, Minnesota joined the Union as the 32nd state on May 11, 1858. Advancements in the milling industry, particularly flour, helped to bring people and money to the Minnesota area.
The name Minnesota comes from the Dakota Indian word Minisota, which means “sky-tinted waters.” The state motto, “The North Star,” comes from the French words L’Etoile du Nord. The Minnesota state tree is the Norway Pine (Pinus resinosa), the state flower is the Pink and White Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedum reginae), and the state bird is the Common Loon (Gavia immer).