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About Minneapolis, MN
Prior to European contact, the Dakota Sioux were the region's sole residents. In Dakota, the city's name is Bdeóta Othúŋwe ('Many Lakes City').
The French explored the region in 1680. Gradually, more European-American settlers arrived, competing for game and other resources with the Native Americans. Following the Revolutionary War, the 1783 Treaty of Paris made British land east of the Mississippi River part of the United States. In 1803, the US acquired land to the west of the river from France in the Louisiana Purchase.
Fort Snelling was built in 1819 by the US Army at the southern edge of present-day Minneapolis to direct Indian trade away from the British-Canadian traders, and to deter warring between the Dakota and Ojibwe in northern Minnesota. The fort attracted traders, settlers and merchants, spurring growth in the surrounding region. At the fort, agents of the St. Peters Indian Agency enforced the US policy of assimilating Native Americans into European-American society, encouraging them to give up subsistence hunting and to plow for cultivation. Missionaries encouraged them to change their religion to Christianity.
The US government pressed the Dakota to sell their land, which they ceded in a succession of treaties negotiated by corrupt officials. In the decades following the signings of these treaties, their terms were rarely honored. During the Civil War, officials plundered annuities promised to Native Americans, leading to famine among the Dakota. Facing starvation, in 1862 a faction of the Dakota declared war and massacred settlers. The Dakota were interned and exiled from Minnesota.
Outwitting the fort's commandant, Franklin Steele laid his claim on the east bank of Saint Anthony Falls, and John H. Stevens built his home on the west bank. Residents had divergent ideas on names for their community. In 1852, the city's first schoolmaster, Charles Hoag, proposed Minnehapolis, with a silent h, combining the Dakota word for "waterfall", Mníȟaȟa, and the Greek word for "city", polis, which became Minneapolis, meaning 'city of the falls'. The Minnesota Territorial Legislature authorized Minneapolis as a town in 1856, on the Mississippi's west bank. Minneapolis incorporated as a city in 1867 and later joined with the east-bank city of St. Anthony in 1872.
Minneapolis developed around the power source of Saint Anthony Falls, the highest waterfall on the Mississippi River. A lumber industry was built around forests in northern Minnesota, and seventeen sawmills operated on power from the waterfall. By 1871, the west river bank had 23 businesses, including flour mills, woolen mills, iron works, a railroad machine shop, and mills for cotton, paper, sashes, and planing wood. Due to the occupational hazards of milling, six competitors manufactured artificial limbs by the 1890s. Grain grown in the Great Plains was shipped by rail to the city's 34 flour mills. A 1989 Minnesota Archaeological Society analysis of the Minneapolis riverfront described the use of hydropower in Minneapolis between 1880 and 1930 as "the greatest direct-drive waterpower center the world has ever seen". Minneapolis led the world in flour milling for 50 years.
A father of modern milling in America and founder of what became General Mills, Cadwallader C. Washburn, revolutionized his business from gristmills to "gradual reduction" by steel and porcelain roller mills capable of producing premium-quality pure white flour very quickly. Some ideas were developed by William Dixon Gray and some say[who?] they were acquired through industrial espionage from Hungary by William de la Barre. Charles A. Pillsbury and the C.A. Pillsbury Company across the river were barely a step behind, hiring Washburn employees to immediately use the new methods. The hard red spring wheat grown in Minnesota became valuable ($0.50 profit per barrel in 1871 increased to $4.50 in 1874), and Minnesota "patent" flour was recognized at the time as the best in the world. Later consumers discovered the value in the bran that "... Minneapolis flour millers routinely dumped" into the Mississippi.
A single mill at Washburn-Crosby could make flour for 12 million loaves of bread each day, and by 1900, 14 percent of America's grain was milled in Minneapolis. By 1895, through the efforts of silent partner William Hood Dunwoody, Washburn-Crosby exported four million barrels of flour a year to the United Kingdom. When exports reached their peak in 1900, about one third of all flour milled in Minneapolis was shipped overseas.
The city made changes to rectify discrimination against unmarried women in 1886 when Martha Ripley founded Maternity Hospital for both married and unmarried mothers. Known initially as a kindly physician, mayor Doc Ames made his brother police chief, ran the city into corruption, and tried to leave town in 1902. Lincoln Steffens published Ames' story in "The Shame of Minneapolis" in 1903. The gangster Kid Cann engaged in bribery and intimidation from the 1920s until the 1940s.
Bigotry during the early 20th century presented in several ways. In 1910, a Minneapolis developer wrote restrictive covenants based on race and ethnicity into his deeds. Copied by other developers, the practice prevented Asian and African Americans from owning or leasing certain properties. Though such language was prohibited by state law in 1953 and by the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968, restrictive covenants against minorities remained in many Minneapolis deeds as recently as 2021, when the city gave residents a means to remove them. The Ku Klux Klan succeeded by entering family life, but effectively was a force in the city only from 1921 until 1923. After Minnesota passed a eugenics law in 1925, the proprietors of Eitel Hospital sterilized about one thousand people at the Faribault State Hospital to the south of Minneapolis.
From the end of World War I until 1950, Minneapolis was a site of corrosive antisemitism—Carey McWilliams called the city the anti-Semitic capital of the United States. A hate group called the Silver Legion of America held meetings in the city around 1936 to 1938. Mount Sinai Hospital opened in 1948 as the community's first hospital to accept members of minority races and religions on its staff.
When the country's fortunes turned during the Great Depression, the violent Teamsters Strike of 1934 led to laws acknowledging workers' rights. Mayor Hubert Humphrey helped the city establish fair employment practices and a human relations council that interceded on behalf of minorities by 1946. In the 1950s, less than two percent of the population was non-White. In 1966–1967, years of significant turmoil across the US, bottled-up anger in the black population was released in two disturbances on Plymouth Avenue. A coalition was able to reach a peaceful outcome but failed to solve black poverty and unemployment; a law and order candidate became mayor. Minneapolis contended with White supremacy, participated in desegregation and the civil rights movement; in 1968, it was the birthplace of the American Indian Movement.
Between 1958 and 1963, as part of urban renewal in America, the city razed roughly 40 percent of downtown, destroying the Gateway District and its significant architecture, including the Metropolitan Building. Efforts to save the building failed but sparked interest in historic preservation.
Video captured the May 25, 2020 murder of George Floyd, an African-American man, by a White Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin who knelt on Floyd's neck and back for more than nine minutes while he struggled to breathe and died. The incident sparked national unrest, riots, and mass protests. Local protests and riots resulted in extraordinary levels of property damage in Minneapolis, including of a police station that was overrun by demonstrators and set on fire. The Twin Cities experienced prolonged unrest from 2020 to 2022 over racial injustice.
The history and economic growth of Minneapolis are tied to water, the city's defining physical characteristic. Long periods of glaciation and interglacial melt carved several riverbeds through what is now Minneapolis. During the last glacial period around ten thousand years ago, ice buried in these ancient river channels melted, resulting in basins that would fill with water to become the lakes of Minneapolis. The glacial River Warren, fed by the meltwater of Lake Agassiz, created a large waterfall in what is now downtown Saint Paul that eroded upriver past the confluence of the Mississippi River, where it left a 75-foot (23 m) drop in the Mississippi. The new waterfall, later called Saint Anthony Falls, in turn eroded up the Mississippi about eight miles (13 km) to its present location, carving the Mississippi River gorge as it moved upstream; Minnehaha Falls also developed during this period via similar processes.
Lying on an artesian aquifer and flat terrain, Minneapolis has a total area of 59 square miles (152.8 km2) and of this six percent is water. Water supply is managed by four watershed districts that correspond to the Mississippi and the city's three creeks. Thirteen lakes, three large ponds, and five unnamed wetlands are within Minneapolis.
A 1959 report by the U.S. Soil Conservation Service listed Minneapolis's elevation as 830 feet (250 m). The city's lowest elevation of 687 feet (209 m) above sea level is near where Minnehaha Creek meets the Mississippi River. Sources disagree on the exact location and elevation of the city's highest point, which is cited as being anywhere from 965–985 feet (294–300 m) above sea level.
Minneapolis is divided into eleven communities, each containing several neighborhoods, of which there are eighty-three. In some cases, two or more neighborhoods act together under one organization. Some areas are known by nicknames of business associations.
In 2018, the Minneapolis City Council voted to approve the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which resulted in a city-wide end to single-family zoning. Minneapolis was the first major city in the United States to make this change. At the time, 70 percent of residential land was zoned for detached single-family homes, however many of those areas had "nonconforming" buildings with more housing units. City leaders sought to increase the supply of housing so that more neighborhoods would be affordable, and decrease the effects that single family zoning had caused on racial disparities and segregation. The Brookings Institution called it "a relatively rare example of success for the YIMBY agenda".
In the metropolitan area, 77% of White families own their homes, compared with 25% of Black families, the largest differential for any major American city. The 2019 Brookings Metro Monitor ranked Minneapolis-St. Paul 92nd out of 100 as the least racially inclusive metro area. Keith Mayes of the University of Minnesota says that Black families were pushed north to the Powderhorn and Lyndale communities from south Minneapolis and that pockets live in the King Field neighborhood. Racial covenants prevented Black people from buying land in residential neighborhoods. Simultaneous redlining occurred in surrounding neighborhoods, and the effects remain in education, employment, and entertainment.
Minneapolis experiences a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa in the Köppen climate classification), typical of southern parts of the Upper Midwest, and is situated in USDA plant hardiness zone 4b, with small enclaves of Minneapolis classified as being zone 5a. Minneapolis has cold, snowy winters and hot, humid summers. As is typical in a continental climate, the difference between average temperatures in the coldest winter month and the warmest summer month is great: 60.1 °F (33.4 °C).
According to the NOAA, the annual average for sunshine duration is 58%.
Minneapolis experiences a full range of precipitation and related weather events, including snow, sleet, ice, rain, thunderstorms, and fog. The highest recorded temperature was 108 °F (42 °C) in July 1936 while the lowest was −41 °F (−41 °C) in January 1888. The snowiest winter on record was 1983–84, when 98.6 inches (250 cm) of snow fell, and the least snowy winter was 1890–91, when only 11.1 inches (28 cm) fell.
Dakota tribes, mostly the Mdewakanton, were permanent settlers near their sacred site St. Anthony Falls. New settlers arrived during the 1850s and 1860s from New England, New York, Bohemia and Canada, and, during the mid-1860s, immigrants from Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark began to call Minneapolis home. Migrant workers from Mexico and Latin America interspersed. Other immigrants came from Germany, Poland, Italy, and Greece. Central European immigrants settled in the Northeast neighborhood, still known for its Czech and Polish cultural heritage. Jews from Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia began arriving in the 1880s and settled primarily on the north side before moving to western suburbs in the 1950s and 1960s.
Two groups came for a short while during US government relocations: Japanese during the 1940s, and Native Americans during the 1950s. In 2013, Asians were the state's fastest growing population. Chinese, Japanese and Filipinos came in the 1970s, Hmong, Lao, Cambodian and Vietnamese in the 1970s and 1980s, and people from Tibet, Burma and Thailand came in the 1990s and 2000s. The population of people from India doubled by 2010. After the Rust Belt economy declined during the early 1980s, Minnesota's Black population nearly tripled in less than two decades, a large fraction hailing from cities such as Chicago and Gary, Indiana. Black migrants were drawn to Minneapolis (and the Greater Twin Cities) by its abundance of jobs, good schools, and relatively safe neighborhoods. Beginning in the 1990s, a sizable Latino population arrived, along with immigrants from the Horn of Africa, especially Somalia, however immigration of fourteen hundred Somalis in 2016, slowed to forty eight in 2018 under President Trump. As of 2019, more than 20,000 Somalis call the city home. In 2015, Brookings characterized Minneapolis as a re-emerging immigrant gateway with about 10 percent foreign-born residents. As of 2019, African Americans make up about one fifth of the city's population.
The US Census Bureau estimates the population of Minneapolis to be 429,606 as of 2019, a 12.3 percent increase since the 2010 census. The population grew until 1950, when the census peaked at 521,718, and then declined until about 1990 as people moved to the suburbs.
Gallup reported in 2015 that the Twin Cities had an estimated LGBT adult population of 3.6%, roughly the same as the national average, and about 38th among the 50 largest metropolitan areas. In line with other cities, Human Rights Campaign gave Minneapolis its highest possible score in 2019.
A 2015 report found that racial and ethnic minorities in the city lagged behind White counterparts in education, with 15 percent of Blacks and 13 percent of Hispanics holding bachelor's degrees compared to 42 percent of the White population. While the standard of living is rising with incomes among the highest in the Midwest, in 2015 the median household income among minorities was below that of Whites by over $17,000 and the poverty rate gap between Blacks and Whites was the highest in the US.[failed verification] A 2020 study found little change in economic racial inequality, with Minnesota ranking only above the neighboring state of Wisconsin and equal to the states of Iowa, Louisiana, and New Mexico.
Minneapolis has a long history of structural racism and the city has some of the United States' largest racial disparities in housing, income, healthcare, and education.
Some historians have claimed that at various times, some White Minneapolitans have used discrimination based on race against the city's non-White residents. As White settlers displaced the indigenous population during the 19th century, they claimed the city's land. In 1910 when less than 1% of Minneapolis residents were non-White, the city was fairly well integrated, but discrimination increased when flour milling moved east and the economy declined. Developers created racial covenants on real estate deeds that excluded people with Black and Asian backgrounds from fair housing and accumulating equity and wealth. Redlining by the Federal Housing Administration in the 1940s cemented racial restriction on desirable properties bordering the Grand Rounds.
Commentators and observers have written about historic racism and socioeconomic disparities in the city. Kirsten Delegard of Mapping Prejudice explained that disparities today evolved from White people asserting control of the city's land. William D. Green of Augsburg University said that in Minneapolis the races live in parallel universes.
The Dakota people, the original inhabitants of the area where Minneapolis now stands, believed in the Great Spirit and were surprised that not all European settlers were religious. More than 50 denominations and religions have been established with a Christian majority. Those who arrived from New England were for the most part Protestants, Quakers, and Universalists. The oldest continuously used church, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, was built in 1856 by Universalists and soon afterward was acquired by a French Catholic congregation. The first Jewish congregation was formed in 1878 as Shaarai Tov, and built Temple Israel in 1928. St. Mary's Orthodox Cathedral was founded in 1887, opened a missionary school, and created the first Russian Orthodox seminary in the US. Edwin Hawley Hewitt designed both St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral and Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church just south of downtown. The first basilica in the US, and co-cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, the Basilica of Saint Mary was named by Pope Pius XI in 1926.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was headquartered in Minneapolis from the late 1940s into the early 2000s. Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye met while attending the Pentecostal North Central University and began a television ministry that by the 1980s reached 13.5 million households. As of 2012, Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in southwest Minneapolis was the nation's second-largest Lutheran congregation, with about 6,000 attendees. Christ Church Lutheran in the Longfellow neighborhood, designed by Eliel Saarinen with an education building by his son Eero Saarinen, is a National Historic Landmark.
During the 1950s, members of the Nation of Islam created a temple in north Minneapolis, and the first Muslim mosque was built in 1967. In 1972 a relief agency resettled the first Shi'a Muslim family from Uganda in the Twin Cities. Thousands of Somalis who live in the city are primarily Sunni Muslim. The city has about 20 Buddhist and meditation centers. Atheists For Human Rights has its headquarters in the Shingle Creek neighborhood in a geodesic dome. Minneapolis has a body of Ordo Templi Orientis.