Anoka County, Minnesota

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Anoka County is the fourth-most populous county in the U.S. state of Minnesota. The county is bordered by the counties of Isanti on the north, Chisago and Washington on the east, Hennepin and Ramsey on the south, Sherburne on the west, and the Mississippi River on the southwest.

The Census Bureau estimated the population of Anoka County in 2006 at 327,005 in 2006. Anoka County comprises the north portion of seven-county Minneapolis – Saint Paul (Twin Cities) region, the largest metropolitan area in the state and the sixteenth largest in the United States with about 3.2 million residents.[2] The county seat and namesake of the county is the City of Anoka,[3] which is derived from the Dakota word anokatanhan meaning "on (or from) both sides," referring to its location on the banks of the Rum River.[4] The largest city in the county is City of Coon Rapids, the ninth largest city in Minnesota and the fifth largest Twin Cities suburb.

The Rum River cuts through the county and was the site of many early European settlements. It was a common route to the Mille Lacs Lake, the spiritual homeland of the Mdewakanton Dakota (Sioux). The river was traveled under captivity by Father Louis Hennepin in his first exploration of the region.[5] The area became a center of fur trade and logging as French and French Canadian communities grew in the cities of Anoka and Centerville.[6] Organized in 1857, the county's southern border eventually met Minneapolis and has become a predominantly suburban area following the construction of Interstate 35W. The county is home to local Twin Cities destinations such as the Heights Theater in Columbia Heights and Northtown Mall and the National Sports Center in Blaine.

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