The name "Minnesota" comes from Dakota Indian words meaning "sky-tinted waters" or "sky-blue waters."
Capital: St. Paul
Statehood: Became a state in 1858, the 32nd state in the union
Size: 12th-largest state in U.S.
Length: just over 400 miles
Width: varies from about 200-350 miles
Location: Upper Midwest, in north central U.S. Along the U.S.-Canada border
Total: 5.5 million
State rank: 21st
Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area: 3.5 million, 16th-largest metro area in the U.S.
Five Largest Cities
Minneapolis, largest city in Minnesota: 412,517
St. Paul, state capital: 300,353
Rochester, home of Mayo Clinic: 111,907
Bloomington, home of Mall of America: 87,224
Duluth, major shipping port on Lake Superior: 86,597
Minnesota's lakes and rivers are part of what this state is all about. One of Minnesota's nicknames is "Land of 10,000 Lakes," but it really has lots more. It's on the shore of the biggest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior. And, it's where the world's third-largest river, the Mississippi, begins.
Here are some facts about Minnesota's waters:
Number of lakes: 11,842 (over 10 acres)
Rivers and streams add up to 69,200 miles
Mississippi River: 680 miles of its 2,552 total miles flow through Minnesota.
Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake. It's at the end of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which brings boats from around the world to the port of Duluth, Minn.
Minnesota's rivers and streams flow in three directions: north to Hudson Bay in Canada, east to the Atlantic Ocean, and south to the Gulf of Mexico.
Other major industries: healthcare and medical equipment, high technology, finance and insurance, forest products, printing and publishing, food products, iron ore mining
Minnesota businesses: Minnesota is home to some of the biggest companies in the U.S., including Target, Best Buy, 3M, General Mills, Medtronic, Hormel Foods, Ameriprise Financial, Ecolab and St. Jude Medical.
Agriculture: Top crops include corn, soybeans, sugar beets, wheat. Major livestock includes hogs, dairy cows, beef cattle, turkeys.
Twin Cities average temperatures: High – Low
January: 24°F / 7°F (-4.4°C / -13.9°C)
May: 70°F / 48°F (21.1°C / 8.9°C)
August: 80°F / 61°F (26.7°C / 16.1°C)
October: 59°F / 39°F (15°C / -16.1°C)
Average annual snowfall: 36-70 inches (91-178 cm)
Normal annual precipitation: 18-32 inches (46-81 cm)
Temperatures are usually slightly warmer south of the Twin Cities, and cooler in northern parts of the state.
State Motto: "L'Etoile du Nord," which means "Star of the North" in French
State Nicknames: North Star State, Land of 10,000 Lakes, Gopher State
State Bird: Common Loon
There are more loons in Minnesota than in any other state except Alaska.
State Flower: Pink and White Lady's Slipper
The flower looks like a moccasin, or slipper, and grows in damp, wooded areas.
State Fish: Walleye
Found in lakes throughout Minnesota, the walleye is a favorite among anglers.
State Tree: Red Pine (also called Norway pine)
State Gemstone: Lake Superior Agate
Ann Bancroft, explorer: first woman to cross the ice to both the North Pole (1986 by dogsled) and South Pole (1993 by skis)
Robert Bly, poet/author: won National Book Award for Poetry
Bob Dylan, singer/songwriter: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; Grammy, Oscar and Nobel Prize winner
Louise Erdrich, author: numerous novels, poetry, short stories and more
Judy Garland, actress/singer: played Dorothy in the movie "The Wizard of Oz"
Hubert H. Humphrey, U.S. Senator, 1949-64 and 1971-78; U.S. Vice President, 1965-69
Garrison Keillor, author/humorist/radio personality: host of "A Prairie Home Companion"
Charles A. Lindbergh Jr., first person to fly alone over the Atlantic Ocean, 1927
Walter F. Mondale, U.S. Senator, 1964-76; U.S. Vice President, 1977-81
George "Pinky" Nelson, astronaut: flew space missions in 1984, 1986 and 1988
Karen Nyberg, astronaut: 2008 space shuttle flight
Prince (Rogers Nelson), singer/songwriter/actor: Grammy Award winner, Oscar for Best Soundtrack; known for his movie "Purple Rain"
Charles Schulz, cartoonist: created Peanuts series
Lindsey Vonn, only American woman to win gold in downhill skiing (2010)
Laura Ingalls Wilder, author: "Little House on the Prairie" series of children's books
Roy Wilkins, civil rights leader: director of the NAACP, 1955-1977
Dave Winfield, baseball player: 12-time MLB All-Star; Baseball Hall of Fame inductee