Minnesota Economy and Infrastructure
Minnesota’s economy has changed dramatically over the past 200 years. After the fur traders were the pioneers in the economy of today’s federal state, agriculture and forestry gained importance and influence in addition to the trade in goods. Today the service sector and the manufacturing industry play a major role.
But despite industrialization, the state in the Upper Midwest region of the USA is still one of the largest producers of agricultural products such as sweet corn, peas and sugar beet. Up until 1930, sweetcorn was mainly grown in the Minnesota River valley. Minnesota is the largest producer of sweet corn in the United States. Minnesota also leads the way when it comes to sugar beets. However, the state had to accept a very poor harvest last year as the sugar beets could not be harvested in time due to the wet soil. When it comes to peas, the state’s agriculture ranks first among producers. Most of the green peas that are harvested in Minnesota are processed further.
Forestry and woodworking industries also continue to play a major role in the state’s primary sector in the Upper Midwest region. The importance of forestry is explained by the fact that Minnesota has approximately 17.3 million hectares of forest. Around thirty percent of the wood fibers come from forests managed by the DNR. The products are mainly used in the manufacture of paper, pulp, pallets and similar goods.
In the course of industrialization in Minnesota, the extraction of mineral resources became more and more important. As part of industrialization, Minnesota’s economy relied for a long time on the iron ore deposits that were discovered in the Mesabi Range in 1887. The Mesabi Range is the largest of four iron ore deposits in the state and the most important iron ore deposit in the United States. The iron ore deposits were intensively mined in the first half of the 20th century until the 1970s. After the dismantling in this sector had decreased, it was started again from 2005. Today the workers there mainly mine taconite.
Well-known companies include Target, the UnitedHealth Group, Cargill and Medtronic. In addition, the Pine Bend Refinery is the largest oil refinery in the states in Minnesota.
North Star State was the first American state to default in 2011 and two-thirds of its public sector employees were forced to take leave.
In terms of infrastructure, the metropolitan area of the Twin Cities around Minneapolis and the capital St. Paul is the main hub. The Interstate Highways I-35 and I-94 run through the metropolitan area. There are also over 20 railway lines. Amtrak’s Empire Builder connects various cities in Minnesota and the American Midwest. The largest port in the state is in Duluth. Shipping traffic is mainly carried out via the Mississippi and the Upper Lake.
According to getzipcodes, the largest airport in Minnesota is Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. It is the tenth largest airport in the USA. Other major airports are located in Duluth and Rochester.
In terms of local public transport, buses are the main ones. There is a light rail only in the Twin Cities. In addition, buses from Greyhound, Jefferson Lines and Coach USA are on the way in Minnesota.
History of Minnesota
The first people came to Minnesota during the last Ice Age. It is believed that they followed large game herds to what is now the state. The rock carvings, known as petroglyphs, that can still be seen in Minnesota state parks today, also came from these early residents. When the Europeans arrived in what is now Minnesota, the Dakota and Ojibwe Indians (also called Chippewa or Anishinabe) lived there. Many Dakota, Ojibwe, and other American Indians still live in Minnesota today.
The first Europeans to arrive in the area were men from France in the late 17th century. French fur traders and explorers soon followed, who further explored the area of what is now Minnesota and traded with the Native Americans and bought beaver pelts from the Indians, among other things. These fur traders and explorers, including the well-known Jonathan Carver, also mapped what is now the state. One of these pioneers who mapped today’s state was Daniel Greyson, who built a fort on the shores of Lake Superior in 1679 as part of an expedition and claimed the territory of northern Minnesota for France.
However, France had to cede the area to Great Britain in 1763 as a result of the Seven Years’ War in North America. The peace of Paris and the surrender to Great Britain sealed the end of French rule in North America and paved the way for the Declaration of Independence and the emergence of the United States in general.
With the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the United States entered the history of Minnesota. With the Peace of Paris (1783) and the Declaration of Independence, northwest Minnesota between the Great Lakes and Mississippi became part of the Northwest Territory and thus the United States for the first time. The southern and western areas of the state fell to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 was the largest real estate deal in history. Thereafter, the entire area of the former Louisiana colony, which included parts of Minnesota, was part of the United States.
The first permanent European-American settlement was established with Fort Snelling in 1825. The fort in the Unorganized Territory of Hennepin County can still be visited today on guided tours. After a territorial but unorganized period, on March 3, the Territory of Minnesota was finally established in this sector, which lasted until May 11, 1858. As a result, the Union recognized the eastern portion of the Territory and a small portion of the Wisconsin Territory as the State of Minnesota.
Numerous immigrants poured into the sector in the 1860s of the previous century. Most of the settlers who poured into the state in the mid-19th century came from Germany, but there were also many Scandinavians among them.
Due to the strong population growth of the white settlers, the Indians, especially the Sioux and the Dakota, were increasingly displaced from their land in reservations. The resulting tensions were released in the Sioux uprising of 1862. As a result of the tensions and the war that lasted over six weeks, 38 Indians were executed. The largest mass execution in US history. Most of the remaining Sioux were subsequently exiled to the Crow Creek Reservation in Nebraska.
After Minnesota experienced an economic boom from the end of the Civil War, it was hit hard by the Great Depression. In addition, there were droughts between 1931 and 1935 which led to major crop failures. From the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, the Indian tribes were able to form their own tribal governments and thus better integrate themselves into the population. Industrial development accelerated rapidly after World War II, and Minnesota developed into a center of the chemical, aerospace, food, and mechanical engineering industries.