Minneapolis, Minnesota
United States of America

Introduction

Minneapolis, city in southeastern Minnesota. The seat of Hennepin County, the city is located by the Falls of Saint Anthony, at the head of navigation of the Mississippi River. It is the largest city in Minnesota and one of the largest cities in the upper Midwest, and, with the adjacent city of Saint Paul to the east, dominates the economic and cultural life of this extensive region. Minneapolis and Saint Paul are known as the Twin Cities.

Economy

Minneapolis is the center of one of the richest agricultural areas of the United States and is a regional hub of transportation, commerce, and finance. Leading industries include medical-instrument manufacturing; medical research; processing of food and dairy products; printing and publishing; and the manufacture of machinery, electrical and electronic equipment, metal and paper products, precision instruments, and transport machinery. It is a rail and highway hub; Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport is located south of the city.

Population

Minneapolis had a population of 382,618 in 2000, an increase over the 1990 population of 368,383. The Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area had 2,968,806 inhabitants in 2000; its population was 2,538,834 in 1990. According to the 2000 census, whites constitute 65.1 percent of the population of Minneapolis; blacks, 18 percent; Asians, 6.1 percent; Native Americans, 2.2 percent; Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, 0.1 percent; and people of mixed heritage or not reporting race, 8.5 percent. Hispanics, who may be of any race, constitute 7.6 percent of the population.

The Urban Landscape

Minneapolis covers 142.2 sq km (54.9 sq mi) and occupies a relatively flat terrain. Within the city limits are 22 natural lakes, remnants of glacial activity. The Mississippi River crosses the city from the north to southeast, drops 20 m (65 ft) at the Falls of Saint Anthony, then follows a deep gorge to its confluence with the Minnesota River. Minnehaha Creek flows east through the city over Minnehaha Falls and into the Mississippi River. The city’s lakes and riverfronts form part of the extensive municipal park system.

The downtown area is located west of the Mississippi River, adjacent to the Falls of Saint Anthony. Part of the district’s principal thoroughfare, Nicollet Avenue, has been converted into a ten-block shopping center, known as Nicollet Mall, reserved for pedestrians and public transportation; at one end is Gateway Center, a complex that includes several high-rise government and office buildings. Pedestrians may also cross from building to building using skyways, glass-enclosed bridges that cross many downtown streets. The Mall of America, the largest retail and entertainment complex in the United States, is located in nearby Bloomington.

Educational and Cultural Institutions

Among the city’s institutions of higher education are facilities of the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota (1851), Augsburg College (1869), North Central Bible College (1930), and Minneapolis College of Art and Design (1886). Prominent cultural facilities include the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; the Walker Art Center, which has a fine collection of 20th-century art; the Frederick R. Weisman Museum, designed by American architect Frank Gehry; and the American Swedish Institute. The Minnesota Orchestra and the Guthrie Theater Company are based in the city. The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, completed in the early 1980s, is the home of the Minnesota Twins baseball team and the Minnesota Vikings football team. The Minnesota Timberwolves professional basketball team plays at the Target Center sports facility.

History

The area now occupied by Minneapolis was inhabited by the Sioux when the Franciscan missionary Louis Hennepin visited in 1680 and named the Falls of Saint Anthony. In 1820 Fort Snelling was built at the junction of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, to pave the way for settlers moving west. The area west of the Mississippi was opened for legal settlement in 1855. Minneapolis was incorporated as a village in 1856 and as a city in 1867. Its name is derived from the Sioux minne, meaning “water,” a reference to the numerous lakes and streams of the area, and the Greek polis, meaning “city.” Saint Anthony, a community on the east side of the river, was chartered as a village in 1855 and as a city in 1860. In 1872 it became part of Minneapolis.

Early growth in Minneapolis was promoted by lumbering in the region’s hardwood forests. Later, wheat from the western Minnesota prairies and lumber from the pine and fir forests of northeast Minnesota sustained the economic boom. German and Scandinavian immigrants account for the city’s increased population during this period. Lumber production peaked in 1899 and disappeared by 1920 with the exhaustion of forest reserves. By 1870 Minneapolis was one of the nation’s leading flour producers, with a dozen mills operating at the falls. Flour milling peaked in 1915, then waned as milling companies became diversified food manufacturers. Minneapolis, however, remains a leading grain market. The American Indian Movement (AIM) was organized in Minneapolis in 1968 with the original purpose of providing assistance to the city’s Native American population. An aggressive plan of construction and development transformed much of the downtown area in the 1990s.