Minnesota entered the Union as the 32nd state on May 11, 1858. It is the northernmost of the 48 continental states thanks to the Northwest Angle that juts into Canada. Minnesota is a diverse land of forests, rolling prairies and approximately 15,000 lakes that make up nearly 5,000 square miles of inland fresh water.
According to a 2005 estimate, there are approximately 5.1 million people living in Minnesota, with most of the state's population residing in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Minnesota is noted for its strong broad based economy and as a producer and processor of timber, iron ore and numerous agricultural crops. The state also maintains a reputation for quality education and a high standard of living.