Dakota County, Minnesota

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Dakota County is the third most populous county in the U.S. state of Minnesota. The county is bordered by the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers on the north, and the state of Wisconsin on the east. Dakota County comprises the southeast portion of seven-county Minneapolis-St. Paul, the thirteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States with about 3.2 million residents. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population of Dakota County at 388,001 in 2006.[1] The county seat is Hastings.[2]

The county was the site of historical events at Mendota that defined the state's future, including providing materials for the construction of Fort Snelling across the river and the signing of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux which ceded land from the native Dakota nation for the Minnesota Territory. The county's history was initially tied to the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, both strategically important for United States expansion and as the convergence of the Dakota and Anishinaabe nations who regarded the site as sacred. Influence shifted westward during the post-World War II settlement boom when Interstate 35 connected the western half of the county to Minneapolis and Saint Paul and bedroom communities grew. Today, Dakota County has a population that rivals Minneapolis's. Most work outside the county but like many metro counties, Dakota continues to absorb industry and jobs from the core cities.[3][4]

Dakota County is named after the Dakota (or Sioux) Native Americans who were the predominant inhabitants of the area.[3] The name is recorded as "Dahkotah" in U.S. Census records until 1851.[5]

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