Minnesota: History of the State’s Name

Minnesota state flag

Minnesota state flag








The first inhabitants of the area of the United States now known as Minnesota were the Dakota people of the Sioux Tribes. They named the area after the large river in the Southern half of the state known as the Minnesota River. They observed the water to be sky-tinted or slightly cloudy therefore the name became Mnisota. The root of the word is Dakota for water or “Mni” coupled with a Dakota word meaning cloudy or tinted. Another example is seen in the word “Minnetonka” which translates into “Big Water”.

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