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This is a guide to the State of Minnesota. Admitted on May 11, 1858, Minnesota was the 32nd state in the United States of America.

Minnesota is a border state, south of the Canadian provinces of Winnipeg and Ontario. On the west, it is bordered by the states of North Dakota and South Dakota, to the south by Iowa, and to the east by Wisconsin and Lake Superior, for which it has a water border with the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The capital city of Minnesota is Saint Paul, and the geographic center of the state is Crow Wing, about ten miles southwest of Brainerd. Its highest point is Eagle Mountain, and its lowest point is Lake Superior. Minnesota has 90,000 miles of shoreline, more than California, Florida, and Hawaii combined. Nicknames that are associated with the state include the Land of 10,000 Lakes and the Star of the North.

Before French explorers, missionaries, fur traders, and other Europeans began exploring the region in the early 17th century, it had been inhabited by indigenous people for thousands of years. The oldest burial site in the state, the Big Stone Moraine, near Browns Valley, is believed to be about nine thousand years old, which would have been before the state was covered by glaciers.

When the first white settlers came, the land was inhabited by the Dakota and Ojibwe people, who were frequently at war with one another. The cultural and political center of the Dakota people was the area around Spirit Lake, which was later named Mille Lacs. The origins of the Ojibwe people were in the valley of the Saint Lawrence River, which flows in a northeastern direction, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean, crossing the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. When whites first came to Minnesota, the Ojibwe had a major settlement at the western tip of Lake Superior and were trapping beaver along the Saint Croix River.

After the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress, which governed the United States for nearly a decade, was too weak to exert control over the Lake Superior region, and this was further weakened by the fact that the British had retained military posts in the region, particularly at Detroit and Mackinac Island.

President Jefferson's purchase of the Louisiana Territory from the French in 1803 led to the formation of the Wisconsin Territory, which included Minnesota, in 1818. In 1849, when Minnesota was split off to become the Minnesota Territory, it included only three cities: Saint Paul with 900 residents, Stillwater with 600, and Saint Anthony with 250. Most of the region was inhabited by the Dakota and the Ojibwe. Alexander Ramsey served as the first Territorial Governor.

The displacement of the Dakota and the Ojibwe from Minnesota was carried out in stages, beginning with the Dakota people in 1837. A succession of treaties eventually forced the indigenous people off of their lands and onto smaller reservations. As conditions worsened for the Dakota, tensions led to the Dakota War of 1862, a six-week war that resulted in the deaths of about eight hundred white settlers and one hundred and fifty Dakota, ending in the execution of thirty-eight Dakota, and the expulsion of most of the rest of the Dakota to the Crow Creek Reservation in Dakota Territory.

Today, there are seven Ojibwe (Anishinaabe, Chippewa) reservations and four Dakota (Sioux) communities in Minnesota. These include the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Grand Portage Band of Chippewa, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, White Earth Band of Ojibwe, Red Lake Band of Chippewa, Prairie Island Indian Community, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Lower Sioux Indian Reservation, and Upper Sioux Community - Pejuhutazizi Oyate.

A significant issue in the recognition of Minnesota as a state in 1858 was a desire on the part of anti-slavery members of Congress to maintain a balance between slave states and free states, Minnesota being admitted as a free state. Henry Hastings Sibley became the first Governor of the State of Minnesota, serving a two-year term. He did not seek reelection.

In 1861, Minnesota was the first state to volunteer soldiers for the Union Army in the American Civil War, two days before President Lincoln issued a call for three-month enlistments. Within a few days, a thousand volunteers reported to Fort Snelling. The following month, when Lincoln called for three-year enlistments, the First Regiment of Minnesota Volunteers were the first three-year regiment to join the Union Army.

Today, Minnesota's standard of living is one of the highest in the country, and its population is among the wealthiest and best educated. The state ranks first in the nation in owner-occupied home ownership.

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