Duluth holds its first Bayfront Blues Festival. Originally a small, one-day regional event, it has grown into one of the major blues festivals in the country, attracting fans from all over the world, hosting over 200 blues performers of national and regional acclaim, and growing in attendance from about 1,000 the first year to nearly 60,000 over a three-day period in 1998.
The MinnesotaCare health program, benefiting uninsured low-income Minnesota residents, goes into effect. MinnesotaCare is financed by state tax dollars, provider taxes, and premiums paid by enrollees. According to the Institute for Southern Studies' "Gold and Green 2000" report, Minnesota boasts the lowest number of people without health insurance in the country.
Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike, exploring the Upper Mississippi territory included in the recent Louisiana Purchase, arrives at the North West Company post on Leech Lake. Incensed that the British Union Jack still flies there, he orders it shot down and replaced with the Stars and Stripes. Pike was something of an ingrate, however, as he enjoyed the hospitality of the post both before and after the incident. British fur posts remain in the region until the end of the War of 1812.
Colonel Josiah Snelling lays the cornerstone of Fort St. Anthony, which would later bear his name. Snelling had chosen to build a stone fort rather than the typical wooden structure, in part because there was not enough wood available in the immediate area and in part because the fort was to sit on a limestone bluff. His choice would prove troublesome: while many of his soldiers were familiar with carpentry, few had any experience with stonemasonry.
The Virginia is the first steamboat to reach Fort St. Anthony (later Snelling), having made the 729-mile-trip from St. Louis in twenty days. Among the Virginia 's passengers is Italian adventurer Giacomo C. Beltrami.
William Windom is born in Belmont City, Ohio. Settling in Winona in 1855, Windom would represent Minnesota in the U.S. Congress as both a congressman and a senator, and he would be secretary of the treasury under Presidents James A. Garfield and Benjamin Harrison. His likeness appears on the 1891 two-dollar bill, and Windom in Cottonwood County is named for him. He died in 1891.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet open a school for girls in St. Paul, enrolling fourteen pupils and holding classes in the former Chapel of St. Paul. Originally named St. Mary's, their school would eventually be known as St. Joseph's Academy.
Henry W. Longfellow publishes The Song of Hiawatha. Although the poet never visited Minnesota, his poem depicts locations such as Minnehaha Falls and inspired some of the state's place names, including Bena, Nushka, Osseo, Ponemah, and Wabasso.
Inventor and businessman Marshall B. Lloyd is born in St. Paul. He would be involved in many ventures in Canada and the Dakotas before moving to Minneapolis in 1900. Once there, he would invent machines to weave wire into doormats and, later, the woven-wire bedspring mattress. Head of the Lloyd Manufacturing Company, he would then move to Menominee, Michigan, and invent a wicker-weaving machine that was thirty times faster than hand-weaving.
The Augustana Synod of the Lutheran Church gives Eric Norelius permission to open an academy. First established in Red Wing, then moved to East Union, the college that would become Gustavus Adolphus permanently located in St. Peter in 1876.
At Brice's Cross Roads in Mississippi, Confederate forces led by Nathan Bedford Forrest capture 233 soldiers from the Ninth Minnesota Regiment. The captives are sent to Andersonville prison in Georgia, where 119 of them die.
Captain R. H. L. Jewett receives from the government a shipment of young carp with which to stock Rice County's lakes. A government commission had been formed in response to European immigrants' demands for the fish.
The ocean liner St. Paul is launched at last. The International Navigation Company had intended to launch the ship on March 25, inviting seventy dignitaries to Philadelphia for the occasion. After the champagne bottle was broken, however, the ship refused to budge.