Minneapolis ( MIN-ee-AP-əl-iss) is a city in the state of Minnesota and the county seat of Hennepin County. As of the 2020 census the population was 429,954, making it the largest city in Minnesota and the 46th-most-populous in the United States. Nicknamed the "City of Lakes", Minneapolis is abundant in water, with thirteen lakes, wetlands, the Mississippi River, creeks, and waterfalls. Minneapolis has its origins as the 19th century lumber milling and the flour milling capital of the world, and, to the present day, preserved its financial clout. It occupies both banks of the Mississippi River and adjoins Saint Paul, the state capital of Minnesota.
Before European settlement, the site of Minneapolis was inhabited by Dakota people. The settlement was founded along Saint Anthony Falls on a section of land north of Fort Snelling; its growth is attributed to its proximity to the fort and the falls providing power for industrial activity. Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and the surrounding area are collectively known as the Twin Cities, a metropolitan area home to 3.69 million inhabitants.
Minneapolis has one of the most extensive public park systems in the U.S.; many of these parks are connected by the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. Biking and walking trails run through many parts of the city including the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Boom Island Park, Lake of the Isles, Bde Maka Ska, and Lake Harriet, and Minnehaha Falls. Minneapolis has cold, snowy winters and warm, humid summers. Minneapolis is the birthplace of General Mills, the Pillsbury brand, and the Target Corporation. The city's cultural offerings include the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the First Avenue nightclub, and four professional sports teams.
Minneapolis is home to University of Minnesota's main campus. The city's public transport is provided by Metro Transit and the international airport, serving the Twin Cities region, is located towards the south on the city limits.
Minneapolis has a mayor-council government system. The Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) holds a majority of the council seats and Jacob Frey has been mayor since 2018. In May 2020, Derek Chauvin, a White officer of the Minneapolis Police Department, murdered George Floyd, a Black man, with the resulting global protests putting Minneapolis and racism at the center of national and international attention.
Before European settlement, the Dakota Sioux were the sole occupants of the site of modern-day Minneapolis. In the Dakota language, the city's name is Bde Óta Othúŋwe ('Many Lakes Town'). The French explored the region in 1680. Gradually, more European-American settlers arrived, competing with the Dakota for game and other natural resources. Following the Revolutionary War, the 1783 Treaty of Paris gave British-claimed territory east of the Mississippi River to the United States. In 1803, the U.S. acquired land to the west of the Mississippi from France in the Louisiana Purchase. In 1819, the U.S. Army built Fort Snelling at the southern edge of present-day Minneapolis to direct Native American trade away from 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 U.S. policy of assimilating Native Americans into European-American society, encouraging them to give up subsistence hunting and cultivate the land. Missionaries encouraged Native Americans to convert from their religion to Christianity.
The U.S. government pressed the Dakota to sell their land, which they ceded in a series of treaties that were negotiated by corrupt officials. In the decades following the signings of these treaties, their terms were rarely honored. During the American Civil War, officials plundered annuities promised to Native Americans, leading to famine among the Dakota. In 1862, a faction of the Dakota who were facing starvation declared war and killed settlers. The Dakota were interned and exiled from Minnesota. While the Dakota were being expelled, Franklin Steele laid claim to the east bank of Saint Anthony Falls, and John H. Stevens built a home on the west bank. Residents had divergent ideas on names for their community. In 1852, Charles Hoag proposed combining the Dakota word for 'water' (mni) with the Greek word for 'city' (polis), yielding Minneapolis. In 1851 after a meeting of the Minnesota Territorial Legislature, leaders of St. Anthony lost their bid to move the capital from Saint Paul. In a close vote, Saint Paul and Stillwater agreed to divide the federal funding between them: Saint Paul would be the capital, while Stillwater would build the prison. The St. Anthony contingent eventually won the state university. In 1856, the territorial legislature authorized Minneapolis as a town on the Mississippi's west bank. Minneapolis was incorporated as a city in 1867 and in 1872, it merged with the city of St. Anthony on the river's east bank.
Minneapolis's two founding industries—lumber and flour milling—developed in the 19th century concurrently. Flour milling overshadowed lumber by some decades; nevertheless, both came to prominence for about fifty years, and the magnitude of both industries extended beyond state borders—in the end, to the nation and the globe. A lumber industry was built around forests in northern Minnesota, largely by lumbermen emigrating from Maine's depleting forests. The city's first commercial sawmill was built in 1848, and the first gristmill in 1849. Towns built in western Minnesota with Minneapolis lumber shipped their wheat back to the city for milling.
The region's waterways were used to transport logs well after railroads developed; the Mississippi River carried logs to St. Louis until the early 20th century. In 1871, of the thirteen mills sawing lumber in St. Anthony, eight ran on water power and five ran on steam turbines. Minneapolis supplied the materials for farmsteads and settlement of rapidly expanding cities on the prairies that lacked wood. White pine milled in the city built Miles City, Montana; Bismarck, North Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Omaha, Nebraska; and Wichita, Kansas.
Minneapolis developed around Saint Anthony Falls, the highest waterfall on the Mississippi, which was used as a source of energy. By 1871, the river's west bank had businesses including flour mills, woolen mills, iron works, a railroad machine shop, and mills for cotton, paper, sashes and wood-planing. Due to the occupational hazards of milling, by the 1890s, six companies manufactured artificial limbs. 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 describes the use of water power in Minneapolis between 1880 and 1930 as "the greatest direct-drive waterpower center the world has ever seen". Minneapolis was given the nickname "Mill City."
An 1867 court case allowed digging the Eastman tunnel under the river at Nicollet Island. In 1869, a leak soon sucked the 6 ft (1.8 m) tailrace into a 90 ft (27 m)-wide chasm. Community-led repairs failed and in 1870, several buildings and mills fell into the river. For years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers struggled to close the gap with timber until their concrete dike held in 1876.
Cadwallader C. Washburn, a founder of modern flour milling and of what became General Mills, converted his business from gristmills to "middlings purifiers" and "gradual reduction" by steel-and-porcelain roller mills that were capable of quickly producing premium-quality flour, and more safely with the "Berhns exhaust system". William Dixon Gray developed some ideas and William de la Barre acquired others through industrial espionage in Hungary. Charles Alfred Pillsbury and the C. A. Pillsbury Company across the river hired Washburn employees and soon began using 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 as the best in the world. Later consumers discovered value in the bran that " ... Minneapolis flour millers routinely dumped" into the Mississippi. A single mill at Washburn-Crosby could make enough flour for 12 million loaves of bread each day and by 1900, fourteen 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.
In 1886, when Martha Ripley founded Maternity Hospital for both married and unmarried mothers, Minneapolis made changes to rectify discrimination against unmarried women. 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's story in "The Shame of Minneapolis" in 1903. Minneapolis has a long history of structural racism and has large racial disparities in housing, income, health care, and education. Some historians and commentators have said White Minneapolitans 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, and Kirsten Delegard of Mapping Prejudice explains that today's disparities evolved from control of the land. In 1910, Minneapolis "was not a particularly segregated place". Discrimination increased when flour milling moved to the east coast and the economy declined.
During the early 20th century, bigotry was presented in several ways. In 1910, a developer wrote the first restrictive covenant based on race and ethnicity into a Minneapolis deed. Other developers copied the practice, preventing 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 entered family life but was only effectively a force in the city from 1921 until 1923. The gangster Kid Cann engaged in bribery and intimidation between the 1920s and the 1940s. After Minnesota passed a eugenics law in 1925, the proprietors of Eitel Hospital sterilized about 1,000 people at Faribault State Hospital. From the end of World War I in 1918 until 1950, antisemitism was commonplace in Minneapolis—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 from 1936 to 1938. In 1948, Mount Sinai Hospital opened as the city's first hospital to employ members of minority races and religions.
During the financial downturn of 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 by 1946, a human-relations council that interceded on behalf of minorities was established. In 1966 and 1967, years of significant turmoil across the US, suppressed anger among the Black population was released in two disturbances on Plymouth Avenue. A coalition reached a peaceful outcome but failed to solve Black poverty and unemployment; Charles Stenvig, a law-and-order candidate, became mayor. Minneapolis contended with White supremacy, and engaged with the civil rights movement. In 1968, the American Indian Movement was founded in Minneapolis. Between 1958 and 1963, as part of urban renewal in America, Minneapolis demolished roughly 40 percent of downtown, including the Gateway District and its significant architecture, such as the Metropolitan Building. Efforts to save the building failed but encouraged interest in historic preservation.
On May 25, 2020, a citizen recorded the murder of George Floyd, an African-American man who suffocated when Derek Chauvin, a White Minneapolis police officer, knelt on Floyd's neck and back for more than nine minutes. The incident sparked national unrest, riots, and mass protests. Local protests and riots resulted in extraordinary levels of property damage in Minneapolis; the destruction including a police station that demonstrators overran and set on fire. The Twin Cities experienced prolonged unrest over racial injustice from 2020 to 2022.
The history and economic growth of Minneapolis are linked 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 10,000 years ago, ice buried in these ancient river channels melted, resulting in basins that filled with water to become the lakes of Minneapolis. Meltwater from Lake Agassiz fed the glacial River Warren, which created a large waterfall that eroded upriver past the confluence of the Mississippi River, where it left a 75-foot (23-meter) drop in the Mississippi. This site is located in what is now downtown Saint Paul. The new waterfall, later called Saint Anthony Falls, in turn, eroded up the Mississippi about eight miles (13 kilometers) to its present location, carving the Mississippi River gorge as it moved upstream. Minnehaha Falls also developed during this period via similar processes.
Minneapolis is sited above an artesian aquifer and on flat terrain. Minneapolis has a total area of 59 square miles (152.8 square kilometers), six percent of which is covered by water. Water supply is managed by four watershed districts that correspond with the Mississippi and the city's three creeks. The city has thirteen lakes, three large ponds, and five unnamed wetlands.
A 1959 report by the U.S. Soil Conservation Service listed Minneapolis's elevation above mean sea level as 830 feet (250 meters). The city's lowest elevation of 687 feet (209 m) above sea level is near the confluence of Minnehaha Creek with the Mississippi River. Sources disagree on the exact location and elevation of the city's highest point, which is cited as being between 965 and 985 feet (294 and 300 m) above sea level.
Minneapolis has 83 neighborhoods and 70 neighborhood organizations. In some cases, two or more neighborhoods act together under one organization.
In 2018, Minneapolis City Council voted to approve the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which resulted in a city-wide end to single-family zoning. The New York Times reported that Minneapolis was believed to be the first major city in the U.S. to make citywide such a revision in housing possibilities. 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 more neighborhoods would be affordable and to decrease the effects 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". A Hennepin County District Court judge blocked the city from enforcing the plan because it lacked an overall environmental review. Arguing it will evaluate projects on an individual basis, as of July 2022, the city is allowed to use the plan while an appeal is pending.
Minneapolis experiences a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa in the Köppen climate classification), that is typical of southern parts of the Upper Midwest, and is situated in USDA plant hardiness zone 4b; small enclaves of Minneapolis are classified as 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 58.1 degrees Fahrenheit change (32.3 degrees Celsius change).
According to the NOAA, the annual average for sunshine duration is 58 percent. Minneapolis experiences a full range of precipitation and related weather events, including snow, sleet, ice, rain, thunderstorms, and fog. The highest recorded temperature is 108 °F (42 °C) in July 1936 while the lowest is −41 °F (−41 °C) in January 1888. The snowiest winter on record was 1983–84, when 98.6 inches (250 centimeters) of snow fell. The least-snowiest winter was 1890–91, when 11.1 inches (28 cm) fell.
Dakota tribes, mostly the Mdewakanton, permanently occupied the area of present-day Minneapolis near their sacred site, St. Anthony Falls.
During the 1850s and 1860s, European and Euro-American settlers from New England, New York, Bohemia and Canada moved to the Minneapolis area. During the mid-1860s, immigrants came from Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, as did migrant workers from Mexico and Latin America. Other migrants came from Germany, Poland, Italy, and Greece. Central European migrants settled in the Northeast neighborhood, which is 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.
The population of Minneapolis grew until 1950 when the census peaked at 521,718—the only time it has exceeded a half million. The population then declined for decades; after World War II, people moved to the suburbs, and generally out of the Midwest.
For a short period of the 1940s, Japanese and Japanese Americans lived in Minneapolis due to US-government relocations, and during the 1950s, the US government relocated Native Americans to cities like Minneapolis, attempting to do away with Indian reservations.
Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Hmong, Lao, Cambodians, and Vietnamese arrived 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, a large fraction of whom arrived from cities such as Chicago and Gary, Indiana, nearly tripled in less than twenty years. 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 Latin American population arrived, along with immigrants from the Horn of Africa, especially Somalia; however, Somali immigration slowed considerably after a 2017 executive order from President Donald Trump. As of 2019, more than 20,000 Somalis live in Minneapolis. As of 2020, African Americans make up about one fifth of the city's population. A Black family in Minneapolis earns less than half as much per year as a White family. Black people own their homes at one-third the rate of White families. Specifically, the median income for a Black family was $36,000 in 2018, about $47,000 less than for a white family. Black Minneapolitans thus earn about 44 percent per year compared to White Minneapolitans, one of the country's largest income gaps.
In 2020 based on Gallup data, UCLA's Williams Institute reported the Twin Cities had an estimated LGBT adult population of 4.2%, the 18th-highest number of LGBT residents of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the US, and did not rank by percent. Human Rights Campaign gave Minneapolis its highest-possible score in 2022.
According to the 2020 U.S. census, the population of Minneapolis was 429,954. Hispanic or Latino comprised 44,513 (10.4%). Among those not Hispanic or Latino, 249,581 (58.0%) were White alone (62.7% White alone or in combination), 81,088 (18.9%) were Black or African American alone (21.3% Black alone or in combination), 24,929 (5.8%) were Asian alone, 7,433 (1.2%) were American Indian and Alaska Native alone, 25,387 (0.6% some other race alone, and 34,463 (5.2%) were multiracial.
According to the 2021 ACS, the most common ancestries were German (22.9%), Irish (10.8%), Norwegian (8.9%), Subsaharan African (6.7%), and Swedish (6.1%). U.S. veterans made up 3.2% of the population. Among those five years and older, 81.2% spoke only English at home, while 7.1% spoke Spanish and 11.7% spoke other languages, including large numbers of Somali and Hmong speakers. Those born abroad made up 13.7% of the population, 53.2% of whom are naturalized U.S. citizens. The most common regions from which immigrants arrived were Africa (40.6%), Asia (24.6%), and Latin America (25.2%). Foreign born residents who arrived in 2010 or earlier were 34.6% of those.
The 2021 ACS found the median household income in Minneapolis was $69,397. For families it was $97,670, married couples $123,693, and non-family households $54,083. The census found that 15.0% lived in poverty. Residents who had obtained a bachelor's degree or higher made up 53.6% of the population, and 92.1% had at least a high school degree. The median gross rent in Minneapolis was $1,225. The homeownership rate was 49.8%, much lower than the overall state rate (73.0%). The survey found that 92.7% of housing units in Minneapolis were occupied, and 43.7% of housing units in the city were built in 1939 or earlier.
The indigenous Dakota people believed in the Great Spirit, and were surprised that not all European settlers were religious. More than 50 denominations and religions are present in Minneapolis; a majority of the city's population are Christian. Settlers 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; it opened a missionary school and created the first Russian Orthodox seminary in the U.S. Edwin Hawley Hewitt designed St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral and Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, both of which are located south of downtown. The Basilica of Saint Mary, the first basilica in the U.S. and co-cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, was named by Pope Pius XI in 1926.
By 1959, the Temple of Islam was located in north Minneapolis, and the Islamic Center of Minnesota was established in 1965. Somalis who live in Minneapolis are primarily Sunni Muslim. Minneapolis became the first major American city to publicly broadcast the Muslim call to prayer after March 2022, when the city council approved a resolution to allow it. In 1971, a reported 150 persons attended classes at a Hindu temple near the university. In 1972, a relief agency resettled the first Shi'a Muslim family from Uganda in the Twin Cities. The city has about 20 Buddhist centers and meditation centers.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was headquartered in Minneapolis from the late 1940s until the early 2000s. Christ Church Lutheran in the Longfellow neighborhood was the final work in the career of Eliel Saarinen, and has an education building designed by his son Eero.Source
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