Minnesota covers 86,943 sq mi; its capital is St. Paul. The most northerly of the 48 contiguous U.S. states, it has extensive woodlands, fertile prairies, and numerous lakes. Before European settlement, the region was inhabited by the Ojibwa (Chippewa) and the Dakota (Sioux) tribes. French explorers arrived in search of the Northwest Passage in the mid 17th century. The northeastern portion passed to the British in 1763 and then to the U.S. in 1783, becoming part of the Northwest Territories in 1787. The southwestern portion was acquired by the U.S. in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase, and the northwestern portion was ceded to the U.S. by the British by treaty in 1818. The first permanent U.S. settlement was made in 1819, when Fort Snelling was founded. The Minnesota Territory, established in 1849, included present-day Minnesota and the eastern sections of North and South Dakota. Minnesota became the 32nd U.S. state in 1858. The Sioux Uprising in southern Minnesota in 1862 resulted in the death of 500 civilians, soldiers, and Indians. Commercial iron-ore production began in 1884, and after the huge iron reserves of the Mesabi Range were discovered in 1890, the population at Duluth and Superior grew rapidly. Today agriculture, especially grains, meat, and dairy products, is the basis of the economy. Mineral resources include iron ore, granite, and limestone.
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