Minnesota (i/mɪnᵻˈsoʊtə/; locally[ˌmɪnəˈso̞ɾə]) is a state in the Midwestern United States. Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd state on May 11, 1858, created from the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory. The name comes from the Dakota word for "clear blue water". Owing to its large number of lakes, the state is informally known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes". Its official motto is L'Étoile du Nord (French: Star of the North).
Minnesota is the 12th largest in area and the 21st most populous of the U.S. States; nearly 60 percent of its residents live in the Minneapolis–Saint Paulmetropolitan area (known as the "Twin Cities"), the center of transportation, business, industry, education, and government and home to an internationally known arts community. The remainder of the state consists of western prairies now given over to intensive agriculture; deciduous forests in the southeast, now partially cleared, farmed and settled; and the less populated North Woods, used for mining, forestry, and recreation.
The Minnesota Grape Growers Association (MGGA) is a statewide organization that promotes grape growing and wine making in the state and also in cold-hardy climates. Minnesota is home to the International Cold Climate Wine Competition (ICCWC) hosted annually by a partnership between MGGA and University of Minnesota. This is the only wine competition solely dedicated to the promotion of quality wines made mainly from cold-hardy grape varieties. In 2014, the 6th annual competition saw 284 wines entered from 59 commercial wineries in 11 states. Awards were based on blind tastings by 21 expert judges, who include enologists, wine writers, restaurateurs, retailers, and wine educators.
It rises in southwestern Minnesota, in Big Stone Lake on the Minnesota–South Dakota border just south of the Laurentian Divide at the Traverse Gap portage. It flows southeast to Mankato, then turns northeast. It joins the Mississippi south of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, near the historic Fort Snelling. The valley is one of several distinct regions of Minnesota. Of Dakota language origin, the name Minnesota means "sky-tinted water or cloudy-sky water", from mní (often transcribed as "minne" or "mini") meaning "water" and sóta meaning "sky-tinted" or "cloudy sky", and, refers to the milky-brown color its waters take on when at flood stage. An illustration of the meaning of these words was shown by dropping a little milk into water. For over a century prior to the organization of the Minnesota Territory in 1849, the name St. Pierre (St. Peter) had been generally applied to the river by French and English explorers and writers. Minnesota River is shown on the 1757 edition of Mitchell Map as "Ouadebameniſsouté [Watpá Mnísota] or R. St. Peter". On June 19, 1852, acting upon a request from the Minnesota territorial legislature, the United States Congress decreed the aboriginal name for the river, Minnesota, to be the river’s official name and ordered all agencies of the federal government to use that name when referencing it.