History of Minneapolis
The first inhabitants of the area where Minneapolis was later founded were the Dakota Sioux tribes. Several French explorers arrived around 1680 but made no permanent settlements. Fort Snelling was founded in 1819 and soon the more hostile native tribes were forced to sell their land so Americans could move in from the east. The rail service between Minneapolis and Chicago started in 1867 and the city was incorporated that same year.
Thanks to the fact it was located in the proximity of the Saint Anthony Falls, Minneapolis soon became one of the major waterpower centers in the world. The area was also rich in lumber and by 1871 the city had 23 flour, woolen, cotton and paper mills, iron works and other businesses.
The city continued to prosper and grow and its economy was among the most stable ones in the USA. Starting from the late 19th century and throughout the 20th century, Minneapolis made efforts towards ending discrimination, established better workers’ rights (especially after the violent Teamsters Strike of 1934), fought white supremacy and racial discrimination, made significant efforts towards desegregation and was the birthplace of the American Indian Movement in 1968.
In the 1950s and 1960s, city leaders ordered razing of many beautiful historic buildings as part of urban renewal. The only good thing that came out of it was that it sparked interest in historic preservation of the city.
Geography and Climate
Minneapolis occupies an area of 58.4 square miles, of which 6% is water. The city lies on both banks of the Mississippi River, just north of the confluence with the Minnesota River. Its geography is heavily influenced by water, with twenty lakes, wetlands, creeks and waterfalls. The Chain of Lakes is a district in the city consisting of Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake and Brownie Lake.
The climate in the city is humid continental, with hot summers and cold, snowy winters. Minneapolis gets almost every precipitation event - snow, sleet, freezing rain, hail, as well as thunderstorms, tornadoes and heat waves.
Population of Minneapolis
In 2010, Minneapolis had a population of 382,578, of which 63.8% were White, 18.6% Black or African American, 10.5% Hispanics or Latinos of any race, 5.6% Asian, 2% American Indian, 5.6% some other race and 4.4% two or more races.
Germans and those of Scandinavian descent (primarily Norwegian and Swedish) are the most populous among European Americans in the city. Other European groups include Irish, English, Polish, French and Italians.
Minneapolis has the fourth-largest LGBT population in the USA.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area is the third-largest economy in the Midwest, right behind Chicago and Detroit. Primary economic sectors in Minneapolis are finance, commerce, rail and truck services, industry and healthcare. In industry, the city produces metal products, car parts, chemical and agricultural products, computers and components, machinery, plastics and other products.
Minneapolis has the headquarters of five Fortune 500 companies: Target, Xcel Energy, U.S. Bancorp, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Ameriprise Financial. It also has U.S. offices of foreign companies such as Coloplast, ING Group and RBC. It is home of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Grain Exchange.
Top ten employers in the city are Target, University of Minneapolis, Allina Health, Fairview Health Services, Wells Fargo, Ameriprise, Hennepin County, Hennepin County Medical Center, U.S. Bancorp and City of Minneapolis.
Landscape of Minneapolis
The city has one of the best park systems in the nation. The Chain of Lakes consists of seven lakes and a creek, paths for hiking, biking and walking and opportunities for fishing, swimming, ice skating and picnics.
Culture and Attractions
Theatre is very important and present in Minneapolis, as well as in St. Paul. Twin Cities are home to a number of theatre companies surpassed only by New York City. Some of them include Mu Performing Arts, Mixed Blood, the Brave New Workshop, the Minnesota Dance Theatre, Skewed Visions and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. Minnesota also hosts the Minnesota Fringe Festival.
The Walker Art Center is one of the America’s big five modern art museums. Other notable cultural institutions in the city include Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Weisman Art Museum and the Museum of Russian Art.
Minneapolis is a printing and publishing center and the third-most literate city in the USA. It is the home of the largest literary and book arts center in the nation, the Open Book.
Famous musicians hailing from Minneapolis include Prince, Husker Du, The Replacements and Paul Westerberg.
Education in Minneapolis
The largest institution of higher education in the city is the University of Minnesota, a Big Ten school and one of the largest campuses in terms of enrolment in the USA. Other institutions include Augsburg College, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, North Central University, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Dunwoody College of Technology and St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is the primary airport for the Twin Cities area. The city has one light rail and one commuter rail line. Intercity passenger rail transportation is provided by Amtrak.
Residents of Minneapolis love biking. The city has many bike lanes and there are also bike paths and trails in the surrounding areas. In 2010, Minneapolis was named the top bicycling city in the USA.