But, Minnesota? What was happening there?
For me, when I think of early American history, I almost always think of Minnesota first. Why? Because I've been studying my state's history since I was a teenager, and there are a surprising number of important historical events and people who impacted not only early Minnesota history, but also a broader scope of American history.
The five biggest influences in early Minnesota history were explorers, fur traders, missionaries, warring Native American tribes, and the military presence.
|Father Hennepin discovering St. Anthony Falls on the |
Mississippi (present-day Minneapolis), in 1680
|French explorers and fur traders on Lake Superior.|
One notable explorer was Zebulon Pike, for whom Pike's Peak is named in Colorado. In 1805, he was sent by the United States government to find the source of the Mississippi and to locate an ideal spot for a military fort. He met with some success, as he acquired over 100,000 acres of land where Fort Snelling (near present-day St. Paul) was built in 1819. While traversing up the Mississippi, an early winter set in and he built a fort and stockade near present-day Little Falls, MN (my hometown). His men wintered there while Pike continued north. He thought he had found the source of the Mississippi, however, he was proven wrong in later years.
|Ojibwe Chiefs in the early 1800's.|
This is just a tiny glimpse into Minnesota history and all the people and events that helped shape this beautiful and diverse state. Maybe, just maybe, Minnesota will come to mind the next time you think of early American history.
Your Turn: Are you surprised at how early Europeans discovered Minnesota? Did you realize so much was happening in this Midwest state at such an early date? Do you have any questions about Minnesota history?
Gabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four young children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people and events. Gabrielle's next release, A Mother in the Making, will be available in September from Love Inspired Historical. She can be found at www.gabriellemeyer.com where she writes about her passion for history, Minnesota, and her faith.
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