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Duluth, Minnesota is the fourth most populated city in Minnesota and the second largest city on Lake Superior, after Thunder Bay, Ontario. It is located in southeastern Saint Louis County, for which it serves as the county seat. The earliest inhabitants of the region were the Sioux and Ojibway tribes. French explorers began coming into the region in the 1600s, followed by trappers and traders. One of these, Daniel Greysolon, Sier du Lhut, made strident efforts to secure trading and trapping rights from the Native American tribes, and became the city’s namesake: du Lhut. By the latter part of the 1800s, Duluth was the only U.S. port accessing both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, with the opening of the canal at Sault Ste. Marie in 1855, and the arrival of the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad further enhanced the city’s position as a shipping and transportation center. In 1869 and 1870, Duluth was the fastest growing city in the country. However, the stock market crash of 1873, the city’s economy was devastated. By the latter part of the decade though, the continued importance of lumber and mining, along with the railroads, carried the city through. In the early 1900s, Duluth was shipping more product than New York City and Chicago. Duluth was not without racial strife. On June 15, 1920, a white mob lynched three black circus employees who had been wrongly accused of raping a white teenage girl. In 2003, a statue was erected to commemorate that tragic event. Duluth again experienced economic decline in the 1950s, when high-grade iron ore ran out on the Iron Range north of Duluth, and in the 1970s a general recession in the steel market resulted in the closure of steel manufacturing plants in Duluth. Today, while the city is not without industry, it has turned to tourism, banking, retail shopping, and medical care. The city has seen a steady decline in its population each census year since its peak population in 1960.


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