Grand Portage, Minnesota
Grand Portage is an unorganized territory
Unorganized territory
An unorganized territory is a region of land without a "normally" constituted system of government. This does not mean that the territory has no government at all or that it is unclaimed territory...

 in Cook County
Cook County, Minnesota
Northern Minnesota offers extreme winter weather. While the averages are low, the extremes provide more details. A third of the year is below freezing . Of those days, 21 are below zero degrees Fahrenheit .-External links:...

, Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, on Lake Superior
Lake Superior
Lake Superior is the largest of the five traditionally-demarcated Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded to the north by the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Minnesota, and to the south by the U.S. states of Wisconsin and Michigan. It is the largest freshwater lake in the...

, at the northeast corner of the state near the border with northwestern
Northwestern Ontario
Northwestern Ontario is the region within the Canadian province of Ontario which lies north and west of Lake Superior, and west of Hudson Bay and James Bay. It includes most of subarctic Ontario. Its western boundary is the Canadian province of Manitoba, which disputed Ontario's claim to the...

Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

. The population was 557 at the 2000 census
United States Census, 2000
The Twenty-second United States Census, known as Census 2000 and conducted by the Census Bureau, determined the resident population of the United States on April 1, 2000, to be 281,421,906, an increase of 13.2% over the 248,709,873 persons enumerated during the 1990 Census...

. The town of Grand Portage lies within the Grand Portage Indian Reservation
Grand Portage Indian Reservation
The Grand Portage Indian Reservation is located in Cook County near the tip of Minnesota's Arrowhead Region in the extreme northeast part of the state. The community was considered part of the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa, but is not a party to the treaties that group signed...


The adjacent Grand Portage National Monument
Grand Portage National Monument
Grand Portage National Monument is a United States National Monument located on the north shore of Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota that preserves a vital center of fur trade activity and Anishinaabeg Ojibwe heritage....

 designated a National Monument in 1958, lies entirely within the boundaries of the Grand Portage Ojibwe Indian Reservation, the reconstructed depot celebrates fur trade
Fur trade
The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of world market for in the early modern period furs of boreal, polar and cold temperate mammalian animals have been the most valued...

 and Ojibwe lifeways. The British North West Company
North West Company
The North West Company was a fur trading business headquartered in Montreal from 1779 to 1821. It competed with increasing success against the Hudson's Bay Company in what was to become Western Canada...

 built it's inland headquarters at Grand Portage; the post was active until 1802.


According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the unorganized territory has a total area of 192.5 square miles (498.7 km²), of which, 74.2 square miles (192.2 km²) of it is land and 118.3 square miles (306.5 km²) of it (61.46%) is water.

Minnesota Highway 61
Minnesota State Highway 61
Minnesota State Highway 61 is a highway in northeast Minnesota, which runs from the junction of Interstate Highway 35 and Minnesota 61 in Duluth and continues northeast to its northern terminus at the U.S.-Canadian border near Grand Portage...

 serves as a main route in the community.


Beginning in the 17th century Grand Portage became a major center of the fur trade. See Canadian Canoe Routes (early)
Canadian canoe routes (early)
This article covers the water routes used by early explorers of Canada with special emphasis on the fur trade.-Canada and Siberia:Both Canada and Siberia were explored mainly by river. Both countries have many navigable rivers with short portages between them. There are no serious barriers to canoe...

. It was at the point where a major canoe fur trade route of the voyageurs
The Voyageurs were the persons who engaged in the transportation of furs by canoe during the fur trade era. Voyageur is a French word which literally translates to "traveler"...

 left the great lakes. It was so named because the route began with a huge 9 mile portage. A portage is a place where the canoes and equipment are carried over land. The French established this trade with the Native Americans until the British took it over in the 18th century after the Seven Years War. The North West Company
North West Company
The North West Company was a fur trading business headquartered in Montreal from 1779 to 1821. It competed with increasing success against the Hudson's Bay Company in what was to become Western Canada...

 established the area as its regional headquarters. Soon Grand Portage became one of Britain's four main fur trading posts, along with Niagara
Fort Niagara
Fort Niagara is a fortification originally built to protect the interests of New France in North America. It is located near Youngstown, New York, on the eastern bank of the Niagara River at its mouth, on Lake Ontario.-Origin:...

, Detroit, and Michilimackinac
Michilimackinac is a name for the region around the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. Early settlers of North America applied the term to the entire region along Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior. Today it is mostly within the boundaries of Michigan, in the United States...

. Even after the American Revolutionary War and victory by the rebellious colonists, the British continued to operate in the area. Under the Treaty of Paris in 1783
Treaty of Paris (1783)
The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain on the one hand and the United States of America and its allies on the other. The other combatant nations, France, Spain and the Dutch Republic had separate agreements; for details of...

, Britain had to cede former territory to the United States, including this area.

Finally with the signing of the Jay Treaty in 1796 defining the northern border between Canada and the US, British traders planned to move from Grand Portage. They wanted to avoid the taxes the US put on their operations, in its effort to encourage American traders instead. In 1802 the traders planned to move north to create a new center, what they called Fort William. In 1803 following the Louisiana Purchase
Louisiana Purchase
The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of America of of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S...

, in which the U.S. acquired the lands to the west of Grand Portage, the British finally moved from Grand Portage to the new post in Canada. The North West Company moved its headquarters northward to what they named Fort William. After British fur traders abandoned the area, it rapidly declined economically until fisheries and logging became popular in the 19th century.


As of the census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

of 2000, there were 557 people, 247 households, and 137 families residing in the unorganized territory. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 7.5 people per square mile (2.9/km²). There were 286 housing units at an average density of 3.9/sq mi (1.5/km²). The racial makeup of the unorganized territory was 35.73% White, 57.81% Native American, 0.36% from other races
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, and 6.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.97% of the population.

There were 247 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.8% were married couples
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.5% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the unorganized territory, the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 26.2% from 45 to 64, and 8.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.2 males.

The median income for a household in the unorganized territory was $30,326, and the median income for a family was $31,771. Males had a median income of $26,458 versus $22,232 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 for the unorganized territory was $15,782. About 18.9% of families and 21.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.1% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.

External links

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