Bonanza farms—large, commercial farming enterprises that grew thousands of acres of wheat—flourished in northwestern Minnesota and the Dakotas from the 1870s to 1920. Geology, the Homestead Act of 1862, railroads, modern machinery, and revolutionary new flour-milling methods all contributed to the bonanza farm boom.
George Nelson spent nearly twenty years as a clerk in the fur trade, working for the XY, North West, and Hudson's Bay Companies. He kept extensive journals that offer a valuable picture of life in the fur trade and the culture of the American Indians he met during his travels.
During the summer of 1916, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) coordinated a strike of iron ore miners on the Mesabi Iron Range. The strikers fought for higher wages, an eight-hour workday, and workplace reform. Although the strike failed, it was one of the largest labor conflicts in Minnesota history.