Ancestors of the American Indian were in what is now Minnesota by the late glacial period, some 10,000 or more years ago. These people and their descendants hunted the abundant game and fish in the area. The first Europeans to arrive were probably the French in the 17th century. There has been speculation, based on what most scholars regard as fraudulent evidence, that a band of Vikings reached eastern Minnesota in 1362.

Important dates in Minnesota
c. 1660 Pierre Esprit Radisson and Medard Chouart, Sieur des Groseilliers, visited the Minnesota region.
1679 Daniel Greysolon, Sieur Duluth, explored the western shore of Lake Superior.
1680 Louis Hennepin sighted the Falls of St. Anthony.
1783 Britain granted the land east of the Mississippi River to the United States.
1803 The United States obtained the Minnesota area west of the Mississippi through the Louisiana Purchase.
1819-1825 The U.S. Army established a fort in temporary buildings in 1819 in southeastern Minnesota. It began building Fort Anthony there in 1820. Fort Anthony was completed in 1825 and renamed Fort Snelling.
1832 Henry R. Schoolcraft discovered Lake Itasca, the source of the Mississippi River.
1849 The U.S. Congress created the Minnesota Territory.
1851 The Sioux Indians gave up their rights to large areas of land west of the Mississippi River.
1858 Minnesota became the 32nd state on May 11.
1862 Indians and settlers fought in what became known as the Great Sioux Uprising, or the Dakota Conflict.
1884 The first shipment of iron ore from the Vermilion Range left Minnesota.
1889 William W. Mayo and his two sons founded the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
1892 The first ore was shipped from the Mesabi Range.
1944 The Farmer-Labor Party and Minnesota Democratic parties joined to form the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.
1964 Minnesota voters approved a constitutional amendment assuring taconite producers that taxes on taconite will not be raised at a higher rate than taxes on other businesses for 25 years.
1998 Jesse Ventura, elected governor, became the first Reform Party candidate in the United States to win a statewide office. He left the Reform Party in 2000 and became an independent. His term ended in 2003.