Sunday 12 February 2012

The America Project - Minnesota

Minnesota (MN) size 86,943 sq.m population 5.3 million

Bordering states North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin (4)
State capital Saint Paul
Most populous city Minneapolis
Other notable places Duluth, Rochester, St. Cloud, Winona
Notable landmarks and natural features Eagle Mountain; Lake Superior; Fort Snelling, Hennepin County

Statehood 11th May 1858 (32nd)

Ten famous Minnesotans
BIll Berry (musician; born Duluth, 1958 -)
Ethan Coen (writer and film maker; born St. Louis Falls, 1957 -)
Joel Coen (writer and film maker; born St. Louis Falls, 1954 -)
Bob Dylan (musician, singer and artist; born Hibbing, 1941 -)
Terry Gilliam (cartoonist, animator and film maker; born Medicine Falls, 1940 -)
Tippi Hedren (actress; born New Ulm, 1930 -)
Walter Mondale (politician, 42nd Vice-President of the USA; born Ceylon, 1928 -)
Prince (musician; born Minneapolis, 1958 -)
Winona Ryder (actress; born Olmsted County, 1971 -)
Charles M. Schulz (cartoonist; born Minneapolis, 1922-2000)

Three important events

1. The Dred Scott Decision (1857)
Dred Scott and his wife were kept as slaves by John Emerson, a noted bastard, at Fort Snelling and kept there although it was in a county where slavery had been abolished. On Emerson's death in 1843, Scott was handed down to the next occupier as one of Emerson's possessions. Scott argued that as he had been kept in places which were free territory, he should now no longer be considered a slave. In 1857 the cuddly US Supreme Court considered the case eventually siding with the slave owners. The decision proved controversial and a talking point across the United States. Within years, the American Civil War had ignited.

2. The Dakota War (1862)
The Native Americans have always been well-served by the American government and hardly ever treated like shit at all, so when the Dakota argued that they would all die of starvation without government assistance, the politicians kindly awarded them a 10 mile strip of land to grow food and punch elk in the face on. With crop failures and financial problems, the Dakota were soon forced to sell the northern half of this land. With things getting desperate, four Dakotan men shot a family of white settlers while out hunting. Dakotan elders decided to push on, ramping up the attacks to try and drive the settlers out of their territory. A 6-week long conflict ensued, spreading across the State. 425 Native Americans were put on trial at the conclusion, with 303 sentenced to death. After appeals for clemency from Bishop Henry Whipple, all but 38 of the sentences were commuted to prison terms. On 26th December 1862, these 38 men were hanged in a mass execution at Mananko, which most likely put a crimp on their Christmas. Afterwards, many Dakota were rounded up and forced to live in prison camps, where over 300 died of disease.

3. 3M (1902)
In the 20th Century, Minnesota began to turn away from its traditional industries of milling, textiles and mining and into new forward-looking avenues. Many of America's first computer companies were based in the State, whilst Northwest (now Delta) Airlines was formed at Saint Paul in 1926. One of the more enduring and visible success stories was the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, founded at Two Harbors in 1902. Originally manufacturing sandpaper, the company soon spread out into plastics, resins, adhesives, tape and roofing materials. Now based at Maplewood, MN, 3M have become one of the world's largest manufacturing conglomerates, in 2010 posting a net profit of over $4 billion.

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