Minneapolis (// ( listen)) is the county seat of Hennepin County, and the larger of the Twin Cities, the 16th-largest metropolitan area in the United States. As of 2017, Minneapolis is the largest city in the state of Minnesota and 45th-largest in the United States, with an estimated population of 422,331. The Twin Cities metropolitan area consists of Minneapolis, its neighbor Saint Paul, and suburbs which altogether contain about 3.6 million people, and is the second-largest economic center in the Midwest.
Minneapolis lies on both banks of the Mississippi River, just north of the river's confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Saint Paul, the state's capital. The city is abundantly rich in water, with 13 lakes, wetlands, the Mississippi River, creeks and waterfalls; many connected by parkways in the Chain of Lakes and the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. It was once the world's flour milling capital and a hub for timber. The city and surrounding region is the primary business center between Chicago and Seattle, with Minneapolis proper containing America's tenth-highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies. As an integral link to the global economy, Minneapolis is categorized as a global city, with strengths in business, medicine, sports, manufacturing, culture, education, and research.
Minneapolis has one of the largest LGBT populations in the U.S. Noted for its strong music and performing arts scenes, Minneapolis is home to both the award-winning Guthrie Theater and the historic First Avenue nightclub. Reflecting the region's status as an epicenter of folk, funk, and alternative rock music, the city served as the launching pad for several of the 20th century's most influential musicians, including Bob Dylan and Prince.
Native American Dakota Sioux were the region's sole residents when French explorers arrived around 1680. For a time, amicable relations were based on fur trading. Gradually more European-American settlers arrived, competing for game and other resources with the Dakota.
In the early 19th century, the United States acquired this territory from France. It gradually established posts here. Fort Snelling was built in 1819 by the United States Army, and it attracted traders, settlers and merchants, spurring growth in the area. The United States government pressed the Mdewakanton band of the Dakota to sell their land, allowing people arriving from the East to settle here. The Minnesota Territorial Legislature authorized present-day Minneapolis as a town in 1856 on the Mississippi's west bank. Minneapolis incorporated as a city in 1867, the year rail service began between Minneapolis and Chicago. It later joined with the east-bank city of St. Anthony in 1872.