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Maybe you've heard of Canada. A country filled with very nice people just north of us here in Minnesota. It's a good thing they're nice, too, since some of Minnestoa is IN Canada. And it's THAT part that's the latest installment in Legendary Minnesotans.

Modern Northern Most Marker - Screenshot from Prairie Public - Video instory
Modern Northern Most Marker - Screenshot from Prairie Public - Video in story

Did You Just Say Part of Minnesota Is In Canada?

International Boundary Marker Northwest Angle - 1940 (MNHS)
International Boundary Marker Northwest Angle - 1940 (MNHS)

I sure did. And it's Benjamin Franklin's fault! More on BF later.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (The BBC)  called it a "geographic curiosity - a bit of US land at the top edge of Minnesota, disconnected from the rest of the state." That's accurate, but I think it sounds funny. The truth of the matter is, from the look of it, The Northwest Angle, called the Angle by locals, is in Canada.

The Illusional Ministry, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The Illusional Ministry, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

You got your Lake of the Woods separating the land from Minnesota...and the only way to get to it is to go through Canada. So, travel west, then travel north, and then turn right and keep going for a while. Head for Angle Inlet, MN. I'll tell you why in a second.

Why am I including it in the Legendary Minnesotans series? Because look at it! Thanks to the Angle, Minnesota is the most northern state in the contiguous US of A. That's gotta count for something.

Red Lake Reservation residents hulling rice on American Point Northwest Angle 1930 (MNHS)
Red Lake Reservation residents hulling rice on American Point Northwest Angle 1930 (MNHS)

More importantly, much of the land is owned by the Native American Red Lake Nation of the Chippewa tribe.

Why Go To Angle Inlet, Minnesota

Angle Inlet has something no other place in Minnesota has. A one-room schoolhouse. The Star Tribune wrote a story about it in 2015.

The Northwest Angle’s 119 residents, many from families that operate resorts and fishing outposts, treasure the Angle Inlet School, remembering the alternative — a 75-mile bus ride to Warroad, crossing through Canada. They treasure (the one school teacher, Linda) Lamie, too, sensing what rural school administrators know too well: Few teachers are willing to do this job. Fewer would be able to.

So How Is This Benjamin Franklin's Fault?

Benjamin Franklin with sun glasses
Benjamin Franklin in more relaxed times. (WaffOzzy)

Angle Township was designated as territory of the United States because negotiators of the initial Canada–U.S. border misunderstood the geography of the area. Benjamin Franklin and British representatives us an inaccurate map that did not indicate the source of the Mississippi River.

The mistake was figured out by 1842,

"...But by that point, it was too late. While the area was not considered to be economically valuable to the U.S., the government was reluctant to give up anything gained in the treaty that proclaimed independence from Britain." (Source)

So there you have it, the latest Legendary Minnesotan is a part of Minnesota that's pretty darn cool.  Here's an excellent video about this legendary place and its legendary people in Minnesota.

As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know:

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