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Minneapolis is the largest city in Minnesota and the county seat of Hennepin County. Together with Saint Paul, the Twin Cities metropolitan region is the second largest economic center in the Midwest, after Chicago. Minneapolis is situated on both sides of the Mississippi River, just north of its confluence with the Minnesota River. Within the city are thirteen lakes, wetlands, the Mississippi River, creeks, and waterfalls. Minneapolis is a powerful business center, containing the fifth highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the United States. Minneapolis was authorized by the Minnesota Territorial legislature as a town in 1856, at which time it was on the West Bank of the Mississippi River, around Saint Anthony Falls, which was a source of power for its early industries. The town became a city in 1867, the year that rail service began between Minneapolis and Chicago. In 1872, St. Anthony, the city on the east bank of the Mississippi, was joined to Minneapolis. The population of Minneapolis declined from its peak population of 521,718 in 1950 through the 1960s, 70s and 80s, increasing slightly each census year since.

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