Minnesota, state in the north central United States. Near the geographic center of North America, it is bordered on the north by the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, on the west by North Dakota and South Dakota, on the south by Iowa, and on the east by Wisconsin and Lake Superior. Minnesota entered the Union on May 11, 1858, as the 32nd state.
The state’s name comes from a Sioux word meaning “cloudy water” that was applied to the Minnesota River. The state’s most famous nickname, Land of 10,000 Lakes, is an understatement, for Minnesota has more than 15,000 lakes, three-fourths of which are 4 hectares (10 acres) or more in size year round. Minnesota is also known as the Gopher State.
There are varying interpretations about the source of the nickname. Some say it comes from the gophers commonly found in the southern part of the state; others say it is from a political cartoon in the 19th century that depicted dishonest railroad union organizers as gophers. Minnesota is also known as the North Star State, a translation of the French inscription on the state seal, L’Etoile du Nord.Rich in minerals, farmland, and waterways, Minnesota has also become an important industrial state, specializing in food products, machinery and electrical goods, printed materials, medical products, and fabricated metals. Its principal cities are the famous Twin Cities, Saint Paul (the state capital) and Minneapolis (the state’s largest city). Encarta Encarta © "United States" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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