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Derived from the Dakota Indian word minisota, meaning "water that reflects the sky" or "sky-tinted water."


Organized as a Territory - 3 March 1849

Entered the Union - 11 May 1858 (32nd state)

Capital - Saint Paul

Capitol - Current building was finished in 1905; it was designed by Cass Gilbert

Area - 84,068 square miles (12th largest state)
Land Area - 79,289 square miles

Width - 385 miles
Length - 405 miles

Highest Point - Eagle Mountain in Cook County, 2,301 feet
Lowest Point - the surface of Lake Superior, 602 feet

License Plate Motto - "10,000 Lakes"

Actual Number of Lakes - 15,291 that are larger than 10 acres

Largest Lake - Red Lake, 451 square miles

Population (2000 census) - 4,919,479 (rank: 21); density per Square Mile - 61.8

Largest Cities (2000 census) - Minneapolis (382,618), Saint Paul (287,151), Duluth (86,918),
Rochester (85,806), Bloomington (85,172)

Minnesota Governors - For biographies and portraits of Minnesota's governors, quick facts on the lieutenant governors and first ladies, and gubernatorial events & traditions (like the Fishing Opener)

State Symbols

State Bird - Loon (Gavia immer), adopted by the legislature in 1961 (Minn. Statute 1.145); an official photograph of the common loon is kept by the Secretary of State.

State Butterfly - Monarch (Danaus plexippus), chosen in 2000 (1.1497); an official photograph of a Monarch butterfly is kept by the Secretary of State.

State Drink - Milk, designated in 1984 (1.1495).

State Fish - Walleye (Stizostedion v. vitreum), adopted in 1965 (1.146), first proposed in 1953; an official photograph of a walleye is kept by the Secretary of State.

State Flag - The design for the state flag was adopted in 1893 (1.141); an official photograph of the state flag is kept by the Secretary of State; an article on "The Origin of the Minnesota State Flag" appeared in the spring 1992 issue of Minnesota History.

State Flower - Showy Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium reginae), also known as the pink and white lady slipper, designated in 1967 (1.142); had been the state flower by resolution since 1902; an official photograph of the state flower is kept by the Secretary of State.

State Fruit - Honeycrisp apple, adopted in 2006 (1.1475); an official photograph is not required by statute but the Secretary of State has a photograph; the University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, which developed the Honeycrisp apple, has put Minnesota Report 225-1992 online.

State Gemstone - Lake Superior Agate, chosen in 1969 (1.147); an official photograph of the Lake superior agate is kept by the Secretary of State.

State Grain - Wild rice (Zizania aquatica), designated in 1977 (1.148); an official photograph is kept by the Secretary of State.

State Motto - L'etoile du Nord (French for "Star of the North"), was formally adopted in 1861. Selected by Henry Sibley for the state seal, the legislature approved both the seal and motto at the same time, Minnesota Laws 1861, Chapter 43.

State Muffin - Blueberry muffin, chosen in 1988 (1.1496).

State Mushroom - Morel (morchella esculenta), designated in 1984 (1.149).

State Photograph - "Grace," by Eric Enstrom, taken in 1918, adopted in 2002 (1.1498); an official copy of the photograph is kept by the Secretary of State.

State Quarter - In 1999, the United States Mint began a ten-year initiative to honor each of the 50 states by issuing a commemorative quarter featuring a design of each state’s choosing. The state quarter designs are intended to depict a unique aspect of each state. The Denver mint began production of the Minnesota state quarter in March, 2005. The Secretary of State has an image of the Minnesota quarter design.

State Seal - The original design was drawn by Seth Eastman in 1849 and was adopted by the territorial legislature. In 1861 the state legislature adopted the seal (Minn. Laws 1861, Chapter 43). In 1983 the seal was redesigned, adding Norway pines behind Saint Anthony Falls and changing the direction the Indian was riding. Minnesota Statute 1.135 describes the design of the seal, the symbolism, and uses of the seal. The Secretary of State has an image and a downloadable jpeg of the current seal.

State Song - "Hail! Minnesota," adopted by Minnesota Laws 1945 Joint Resolution Number 15.

State Tree - Norway pine (Pinus resinosa), also known as the red pine, chosen in 1953 (1.143); an official photograph of the state tree is kept by the Secretary of State.

Information relating to Unofficial, Proposed, or Facetious Symbols can by found on the Legislative Refernce Library's website.