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French fur traders came to the Minnesota area in the late 17th century. Shortly after this, explorers and missionaries of New France followed. The eastern part of Minnesota was in the Northwest Territory and went to Britain after the French and Indian wars of 1763. This was the name given to the North American colonial wars between England and France late in the 17th century. The ultimate aim of these wars was domination of the eastern part of the continent. The wars were marked by the capture of seaboard strong holds, western forts and attacks on frontier settlements. It also included attacks on indian borders. The first war was King Williams War and was marked principally by frontier attacks on British colonies. Queen Anne's War corresponded to the War of the Spanish Succession and King Georges War was connect with the War of the Austrian Succession. The last and most important conflict which was simply called the French and Indian War, was linked to the Seven Years War. British captured French forts in the west while Lord Amherst captured Louisburg in 1758. Quebec fell to the British and the Treaty of Paris in 1763 ended French control in this area.
The Minnesota territory went to the United States after the Revolution. Later the western part was gained by inclusion in the Louisiana Purchase. After the War of 1812 settlement was spurred by the American Fur Company and treaties with the indians. Settlers slowly began moving into the region. Minnesota officially became a territory in 1849.
The Soo Ship Canal in Michigan opened water routes from shipping to the east in 1855 creating new trade for the Minnesota territory. After years of problems with indian attacks and raids, the Sioux uprisings during and after the Civil war ended with the defeat of the Sioux band by H. H. Sibley. Again an influx of settlers began moving to the territory. Immigrants came, especially Scandinavians, bringing with them their knowledge of lumbering and growing wheat. With the discovery of iron mines the area prospered.
Minnesota became the 32nd state to be admitted to the Union in 1858. Today it covers an area of 84,068 square miles. The Capitol is Saint Paul. Minnesota has more than 11,000 lakes and many rivers. Because of this it is the watershed for a three river systems including Hudson Bay, the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River, as well as, the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. The state has pine wilderness in the north with worn mountains in the northeast, with prairies in the south and west. The State Bird is the Common Loon and the State Flower is the Pink and White Lady's Slipper.