Treaty of Traverse des Sioux, 1851

The Treaty of Traverse des Sioux of 1851 is an agreement between the Sisseton and Wahpeton bands of Dakota and the U.S. government. It transferred ownership of much of southern and western Minnesota from the Dakota to the United States. The treaty is significant in Minnesota's history because, along with the Treaty of Mendota signed that same year, it opened twenty-four million acres of land to immigration. For the Dakota, these treaties marked another step in the process that saw them increasingly marginalized in and dismissed from land that was their home.

Mississippi River Oil Spill, 1962–1963

In 1962 and 1963, industrial accidents spilled 3.5 million gallons of oil into the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. The oil covered the Mississippi River from St. Paul to Lake Pepin, creating an ecological disaster and a demand to control water pollution.

Battle of Birch Coulee, September 2–3, 1862

The Battle of Birch Coulee, fought between September 2 and 3, 1862, was the worst defeat the United States suffered and the Dakotas' most successful engagement during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Over thirty hours, approximately two hundred Dakota soldiers pinned down a Union force of 150 newly recruited U.S. volunteers, militia, and civilians from the area, holding them until Henry Sibley's main army arrived.

Relocation of Hibbing, 1919–1921

From 1919 to 1921, the people of Hibbing moved nearly two hundred structures, including several large buildings, two miles south to make way for a growing open pit mine. The Oliver Mining Company wanted the valuable iron ore underneath North Hibbing, and the company funded the use of horses, logs, farm tractors, a steam crawler (a tractor primarily used in the logging industry), steel cables, and human power to relocate the town.

Rochester Cyclone, 1883

A devastating cyclone hit Rochester on August 21, 1883. It killed dozens of people and injured many more, but emergency health services in the tornado's aftermath also led to the eventual creation of the Mayo Clinic.

Timber Worker Strikes, 1937

Spurred by a national labor movement and eight years of economic depression, Minnesota timber workers led several strikes in 1937. Their peaceful strikes were successful, winning union recognition, higher wages, and better living conditions.

Execution of William Williams

The botched execution of William Williams was the last in Minnesota. After newspapers broke state law to report on the event, public opinion turned firmly against the death penalty, and it was repealed in 1911.

State Board of Health Established, March 4, 1872

During the mid-to-late nineteenth century, Minnesota faced public health issues such as poor sanitation and disease epidemics. To address these issues, Minnesota established a state board of health in 1872. It was the third such board in the United States.

Mesabi Iron Range Strike, 1907

Tired of ethnic discrimination as well as dangerous working conditions, low wages, and long work days, immigrant iron miners on the Mesabi Range in northeastern Minnesota went on strike on July 20, 1907. It was the first organized strike on the state's Iron Range.

Duluth Ship Canal Opening, 1871

The opening of the Duluth Ship Canal in 1871 was a historical turning point for the city of Duluth and the Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior.


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