The U.S. Army built Fort Snelling between 1820 and 1825 to protect American interests in the fur trade. It tasked the fort’s troops with deterring advances by the British in Canada, enforcing boundaries between the region’s American Indian nations, and preventing Euro-American immigrants from intruding on American Indian land. In these early years and until its temporary closure in 1858, Fort Snelling was a place where diverse people interacted and shaped the future state of Minnesota.
Pierre Esprit Radisson’s 1659 expedition to Lake Superior and beyond opened a door to the North American fur trade. Through it, he earned a reputation as a courageous explorer and a cunning merchant. In the 2010s he is remembered as one of the first Europeans to travel to what became the state of Minnesota.