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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/377

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MINNESOTA


327


MINNESOTA


small. Minnesota is bounded on the north by Canada, on the east by Lake Superior and Wisconsin, on the south by Iowa, and on the west by North and South Dakota. Within the wide domain of the State origi- nate the three principal water systems of North Amer- ica: those of tlie Mississippi and the Red River of the Nort.li, and the St. Lawrence system beginning with the St. Louis River, which rises in the north-eastern part of Minnesota and flows into the western end of Lake Superior.

Soil and Geology. — A large portion of the state was originally prairie, but along the rivers a dense growth of trees has always extended, while, between the Minnesota River and the Mississippi and extend- ing north-westerly, almost to the Red River, is the great forest of hardwood trees, commonly known as the "Big Woods". The northern part of the state was formerly covered with a dense growth of pine, and has supplied a large portion of the white pine utilized throughout the United States in various industries. Aside from the districts originally covered by pine and the rocky ridges near Lake Superior, the stat* possesses a warm, dark soil of great fertility. Its geo- logical formations vary from the Laurentian trap- rock, granite, and basalt along the shore of Lake Su- perior and the banks of the St. Croix, with outcrops of similar formations in various other portions of the state, to the soft limestone of a later period. The granite is of various colours, ranging from dark brown to light grey, and is highly valued for building pur- poses. Another excellent building material is the Kasota limestone, which has been largely used in the construction of the new and magnificent state capitol. In the north-eastern, and to a considerable extent throughout the entire northern part of the state, are found extensive beds of iron ore of excellent quality. Shipments of this ore have been so great during recent years as to render Minnesota the greatest iron pro- ducing state of the Federal Union. No less than 150,- 000,000 tons of ore have been mined and shipped, and the amount still underground is estimated at fully one thousand million tons, a supply that will not be ex- hausted for fifty years.

Surface ANn Climate. — The fact that the state is the source of three continental river systems suggests its high elevation. The Mississippi, which has its chief source in Lake Itasca at an elevation of 1466 feet, leaves the state at 620 feet above sea-level. The Red River of the North rises near Itasca Lake at an altitude of 1600 feet, and, after a circuitous route south and west to Breckenridge in Wilkin County, turns north aiifl enters Canada at an elevation of 750 feet. The Minnesota shore of Lake Superior is 602 feet above sea-level. The average elevation of the state is given as about 1275 feet, the highest elevation being the Misquah Hills in Cook County (22.30 feet). Its elevation above the sea, its fine drainage, and the dn,-ness of its atmosphere give Minnesota an unusually salubrious and most agreeable climate. The mean annual temperature is 44°; the mean summer tem- perature 70°. Owing to its higher latitude, Minne- sota enjoys correspondingly longer days in summer than states farther south, and during the growing sea- son there are two and a half hours more sunshine than (e. g.) in Cincinnati. This fact, taken in connexion with the abunrlant rainfall of early summer, accounts for the rapid and vigorous growth of crops in Minne- sota and their early maturity. The winter climate is one of the attractive features of the state. Its uniformity, its general freedom from thaws, excessive periods of cold, severe weather, or heavy snowstorms, and its dryness, together with the bright sunshine and a full supply of ozone in the atmosphere, all tend to make the winters of Minnesota very delightful. It is asserted by labourers from al)road that they can work out-of-doors on more days of the year in Minnesota than in any other region in which they have lived.


Name. — The name of the state is derived from the Dakota language. Before the white men came to their hunting grounds, the Dakotas called the river which rises on the western l)order of the state and flows into the Mississippi near the site of St. Paul the Minisolah {mini, water; soiah, sky-coloured), and, when the region between the western border of Wis- con.sin and the Missouri River was organized by Con- gress into a territory, it was given the name of this river in a slightly modified form — the name which the state bears at present.

History. — At the time when the explorations of white men began, the region now known as Minnesota was inhabited by people of two great divisions of the American race. From the southern boundary of the state as far north as lat. 46° 30', the land was in- habited by the Dakotas, while the shore of Lake Superior and the northern portion of the state were occupied by the Ojibways. Many places in Minnesota bear Indian names, and those derived from the respective languages of these two aboriginal -na- tions show very clearly at the pres- ent time the areas which they respect- ively occupied. The French came into contact, first with the Ojibways and other kindred Indian nations of the Algonquin family, who in their language designated the Dakotas the Nadouessioux (Ojibway for "enemies"). The French soon abbre- viated this long wortl into its final syllable, and called the Dakotas the Sioux, under which title they have been commonly known since the days of Marquette and Allouez.

The real history of the state may be said to begin in 16S0 with the visit to the Falls of St. Anthony and ad- jacent regions made by Rev. Louis Hennepin and his companions, Accault and Augelle. During the same year Sieur Daniel Greyolson Du Lhut explored the northern part of the state, and, in July, joined Father Hennepin at or near the lake now known as Mille Lacs. Late in the autumn Du Lhut and Hennepin departed from the land of the Dakotas and returned to Eastern Canada. From the time of these explorations to the English conquest of Canada in 1760, France held sway over the Llpper Mississippi region. Formal as.sertion of sovereignty was made in 1689, as appears from a document drawn up at Green Bay on the western shore of Lake Michigan, in which Nicholas Perrot, commanding for the king at that post and liolding a commission from Marquis Denonville, Governor of New France, issued a declaration in these words:

" We this day, the 8th day of May, 16S9, do in the presence of Reverend Father Marest of the Society of Jesus, Missionary among the Nadouessiou.x; of Mon- sieur de Borieguillot, commanfling the French in the neighbourhood of the Ouiskonche on the Mi.ssi.ssippi; Augustine Legardeur, Sieur de Caumont, and of Messieurs Le Sueur, Hebert Lemire, and Blein:

" Declare to all whom it may concern, that, being come to the Bay des Puants [Green Bay], and to the Lake of Ouiskonches, and to the River Mississippi, we did transport ourselves to the coimtry of the Nadoues- sioux, on the border of the River St. Croix, and to the mouth of the River St. Pierre, on the bank of which were the Mantanlans; and further up to the interior to the north-east of the Mississippi, as far as the Men- chokatonx, with whom dwell the majority of the Songeskitons, and other Nadouessioux, who are to the