Little Crow in three quarter height view wearing a headress with three feathers and carrying a spear
Taoyateduta was among the 121 Sioux leaders, who from 1837 to 1851, ceded the land where Minneapolis developed.
Descendants of first peoples, Dakota Sioux were the region’s sole residents when French explorers arrived in 1680. For a time, amicable relations were based on fur trading. Gradually, more European-American settlers arrived, competing for game and other resources with the Native Americans. After the Revolutionary War, Great Britain granted the land east of the Mississippi to the United States. In the early 19th century, the United States acquired land to the west from France in the Louisiana Purchase. Fort Snelling, just south of present-day Minneapolis, was built in 1819 by the United States Army. It attracted traders, settlers and merchants, spurring growth in the area. The United States government pressed the Mdewakanton band of the Dakota to sell their land, allowing people arriving from the East to settle there. Preoccupied with the Civil War, the United States government reneged on its promises of cash payments to the Dakota, resulting in hunger, the Dakota War, internment and hardship. The Minnesota Territorial Legislature authorized Minneapolis as a town in 1856, on the Mississippi’s west bank. Minneapolis incorporated as a city in 1867, the year rail service began between Minneapolis and Chicago. It later joined with the east-bank city of St. Anthony in 1872.
A large white basilica with a black roof stands on a sunny day.
The Baroque-style Basilica of Saint Mary by Emmanuel Louis Masqueray
The Dakota people, the original inhabitants of the area where Minneapolis now stands, believed in the Great Spirit and were surprised that not all European settlers were religious. More than 50 denominations and religions have an established presence in Minneapolis: According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, 70% of the population of the city identified themselves as Christians, with 46% professing attendance at a variety of churches that could be considered Protestant, and 21% professing Roman Catholic beliefs. The same study says that other religions (including Judaism, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism) collectively make up about 5% of the population, and 23% claimed no religious affiliation.
Those who arrived from New England were for the most part Christian Protestants, Quakers, and Universalists. The oldest continuously used church in the city, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, was built in the Nicollet Island/East Bank neighborhood in 1856 by Universalists and soon afterward was acquired by a French Catholic congregation. The first Jewish congregation in Minneapolis was formed in 1878 as Shaarai Tov (though it has been known since 1920 as Temple Israel) and in 1928 built a synagogue in the East Isles neighborhood. St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral was founded in 1887, opened a missionary school in 1897, and in 1905 created the first Russian Orthodox seminary in the U.S. Edwin Hawley Hewitt designed both St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral and Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church on Hennepin Avenue just south of downtown. The first basilica in the United States, and co-cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, the Basilica of Saint Mary near Loring Park was named by Pope Pius XI in 1926.
Christ Church with its tower and cross
Christ Church Lutheran by Eliel and Eero Saarinen is considered an architectural masterpiece.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Decision magazine, and World Wide Pictures film and television distribution were headquartered in Minneapolis from the late 1940s into the 2000s. Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye met while attending the Pentecostal North Central University and began a television ministry that by the 1980s reached 13.5 million households. Today, Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in southwest Minneapolis is the nation’s second-largest Lutheran congregation, with about 6,000 attendees.Christ Church Lutheran in the Longfellow neighborhood, designed by Eliel Saarinen with an education building by his son Eero Saarinen, is a National Historic Landmark.
During the 1950s, members of the Nation of Islam created a temple in north Minneapolis, and the first Muslim mosque was built in 1967. In 1972 a relief agency resettled the first Shi’a Muslim family from Uganda. By 2004, between 20,000 and 30,000 Somali Muslims made the city their home.In 1972 after the death of Shunryū Suzuki, Minnesotans at the San Francisco Zen Center invited Buddhist monk Dainin Katagiri to move from California to Minneapolis—by one account, a place he thought nobody else would want to go. He founded a lineage which today includes three Sōtō Zen centers among the city’s nearly 20 Buddhist and meditation centers.Atheists For Human Rights has its headquarters in the Shingle Creek neighborhood in a geodesic dome. Minneapolis has had a chartered local body of Ordo Templi Orientis since 1994.
The Minneapolis–St. Paul area is the third largest economic center in the Midwest, behind Chicago and Detroit. During the city’s formative years, millers had to pay cash for wheat during the growing season and then hold it until it was needed for flour. This required large amounts of capital, which stimulated the local banking industry and made Minneapolis a major financial center. The economy of Minneapolis today is based in commerce, finance, rail and trucking services, health care, and industry. Smaller components are in publishing, milling, food processing, graphic arts, insurance, education, and high technology. Industry produces metal and automotive products, chemical and agricultural products, electronics, computers, precision medical instruments and devices, plastics, and machinery. The city at one time produced farm implements.
Five Fortune 500 corporations make their headquarters within the city limits of Minneapolis: Target, U.S. Bancorp, Xcel Energy, Ameriprise Financial and Thrivent Financial.As of 2015, the city’s largest employers downtown are Target, Wells Fargo, HCMC, Hennepin County, Ameriprise, U.S. Bancorp, Xcel Energy, the city of Minneapolis, RBC Wealth Management, the Star Tribune newspaper, Capella Education Company, Thrivent, CenturyLink, ABM Industries, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
Foreign companies with U.S. offices in Minneapolis include Accenture, Bellisio Foods (now part of Charoen Pokphand Foods),Canadian Pacific, Coloplast, RBC and Voya Financial. In its 2018 survey for expatriate executives, The Economist ranked Minneapolis the third-most expensive city in North America and 26th in the world.
Target Corporation’s 361,000 employees operate 1,801 stores throughout the U.S.
In 2005, Popular Science named Minneapolis the “Top Tech City” in the U.S., citing its above-average transportation solutions, medical trials, university research and development expenditures, advanced degrees held by the work force, availability of Wi-Fi and energy conservation. The Twin Cities was ranked as the country’s second-best city in a 2006 Kiplinger’s poll of Smart Places to Live, and Minneapolis was one of their Seven Cool Cities for young professionals.
The Twin Cities contribute 63.8% of the gross state product of Minnesota. Measured by gross metropolitan product per resident ($62,054), Minneapolis is the fifteenth richest city in the U.S. The area’s $199.6 billion gross metropolitan product and its per capita personal income rank thirteenth in the U.S. Recovering from the nation’s recession in 2000, personal income grew 3.8% in 2005, though it was behind the national average of 5%. The city returned to peak employment during the fourth quarter of that year.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis serves Minnesota, Montana, North and South Dakota, and parts of Wisconsin and Michigan. The smallest of the 12 regional banks in the Federal Reserve System, it operates a nationwide payments system, oversees member banks and bank holding companies, and serves as a banker for the U.S. Treasury. The Minneapolis Grain Exchange, founded in 1881, is still located near the riverfront and is the only exchange for hard red spring wheat futures and options.
The Minneapolis park system has been called the best-designed, best-financed, and best-maintained in America. The parks are governed and operated by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, an independent park district. Foresight, donations and effort by community leaders enabled Horace Cleveland to create his finest landscape architecture, preserving geographical landmarks and linking them with boulevards and parkways. The city’s Chain of Lakes, consisting of seven lakes and Minnehaha Creek, is connected by bike, running, and walking paths and used for swimming, fishing, picnics, boating, and ice skating. A parkway for cars, a bikeway for riders, and a walkway for pedestrians runs parallel along the 52 miles (84 km) route of the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway.
Theodore Wirth is credited with the development of the parks system. His goal was to establish a park within walking distance of every child in the city. Today, 16.6% of the city is parks and there are 770 square feet (72 m2) of parkland for each resident, ranked in 2008 as the most parkland per resident within cities of similar population densities. In its 2013 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land reported that Minneapolis had the best park system among the 50 most populous U.S. cities. The 2018 version of ParkScore ranked the Minneapolis system as the best among the 100 most populous cities.
Three women, two smiling, and a man with his hand pointing into the air leading a large group of runners past Lake Calhoun and some observers
The 2006 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon
Parks are interlinked in many places and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area connects regional parks and visitor centers. The country’s oldest public wildflower garden, the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary, is located within Theodore Wirth Park. Wirth Park is shared with Golden Valley and is about 90% the size of Central Park in New York City. Site of the 53-foot (16 m) Minnehaha Falls, Minnehaha Park is one of the city’s oldest and most popular parks, receiving over 500,000 visitors each year. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow named Hiawatha’s wife Minnehaha for the Minneapolis waterfall in The Song of Hiawatha, a bestselling and often-parodied 19th century poem.
Runner’s World ranks the Twin Cities as America’s sixth best city for runners. Team Ortho sponsors the Minneapolis Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K which began in 2009 with more than 1,500 starters. The Twin Cities Marathon run in Minneapolis and Saint Paul every October draws 250,000 spectators. The 26.2-mile (42.2 km) race is a Boston and USA Olympic Trials qualifier. The organizers sponsor three more races: a Kids Marathon, a 1-mile (1.6 km), and a 10-mile (16 km).
The American College of Sports Medicine ranked Minneapolis and its metropolitan area the nation’s first, second, or third “fittest city” every year from 2008 to 2016, ranking it first from 2011 to 2013.In other sports, five golf courses are located within the city, with the nationally ranked Hazeltine National Golf Club and Interlachen Country Club in nearby suburbs. Minneapolis is home to more golfers per capita than any other major U.S. city. The state of Minnesota has the nation’s highest number of bicyclists, sport fishermen, and snow skiers per capita. While living in Minneapolis, Scott and Brennan Olson founded (and later sold) Rollerblade, the company that popularized the sport of inline skating.
Main articles: Minneapolis City Council, Neighborhoods of Minneapolis, and Law and government of Minneapolis
Two young persons seated on the ground watching two women dancing with fire
Spring art party, North Commons Park, Willard-Hay, one of the eighty one neighborhoods of Minneapolis
Minneapolis is a stronghold for the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL), an affiliate of the Democratic Party. The Minneapolis City Council holds the most power and represents the city’s thirteen districts called wards. The city adopted instant-runoff voting in 2006, first using it in the 2009 elections. The council has 12 DFL members and one from the Green Party. Election issues in 2013 included funding for a new Vikings stadium over which some incumbents lost their positions. That year, Minneapolis elected Abdi Warsame, Alondra Cano, and Blong Yang, the city’s first Somali-American, Mexican-American, and Hmong-American city councilpeople, respectively.
Main articles: Hennepin County Library, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, and University of Minnesota
Primary and secondary education
Minneapolis Public Schools enroll over 35,000 students in public primary and secondary schools. The district administers about 100 public schools including 45 elementary schools, seven middle schools, seven high schools, eight special education schools, eight alternative schools, 19 contract alternative schools, and five charter schools. With authority granted by the state legislature, the school board makes policy, selects the superintendent, and oversees the district’s budget, curriculum, personnel, and facilities. In 2017, the graduation rate was 66 percent. Students speak over 100 different languages at home and most school communications are printed in English, Hmong, Spanish, and Somali. Some students attend public schools in other school districts chosen by their families under Minnesota’s open enrollment statute. Besides public schools, the city is home to more than 20 private schools and academies and about 20 additional charter schools.
Colleges and universities
Aerial of the Minneapolis campus, on both sides of the Mississippi River
As of 2010, the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis campus above) has the fourth-largest student body of U.S. public 4-year universities.
Minneapolis’s collegiate scene is dominated by the main campus of the University of Minnesota where more than 50,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students attend 20 colleges, schools, and institutes. The graduate school programs ranked highest in 2007 were counseling and personnel services, chemical engineering, psychology, macroeconomics, applied mathematics and non-profit management. A Big Ten school and home of the Golden Gophers, the University of Minnesota is the fourth largest campus among U.S. public 4-year universities in terms of enrollment.
Augsburg University, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and North Central University are private four-year colleges. Minneapolis Community and Technical College, the private Dunwoody College of Technology and Art Institutes International Minnesota provide career training. St. Mary’s University of Minnesota has a Twin Cities campus for its graduate and professional programs. Capella University, Minnesota School of Professional Psychology, and Walden University are headquartered in Minneapolis and some others including the public four-year Metropolitan State University and the private four-year University of St. Thomas have campuses there.