Minnesota State Motto

An Iconic Minnesota State Symbol

The Minnesota state motto, "L'Etoil du Nord" (the Star of the North) shows the strong influence of the French explorers and voyageurs that lived and worked in the Western Great Lakes region and vast prairie lands spreading to the Rocky Mountains.

Minnesota state motto

The Minnesota state motto was adopted in 1861. It reflects the character, history and beliefs of the citizens of the state, or more accurately, the citizens of the state of Minnesota at the time it was adopted. 

Minnesota is one of four states with mottos that focus on geography:

  • Minnesota: "L'Etoile du Nord" (Star of the North)
  • Alaska: "North to the Future"
  • Indiana: "The Crossroads of America"
  • Michigan: "Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice" (If You Seek a Pleasant Peninsula, Look About You)

As with many states, Minnesota's state motto is not an official state motto, as such, but is accepted as an element of its official seal. Here is a description of the symbolism found in the seal from the Minnesota State Statutes:

  • In the upper parts of quadrants one and two, the inscription "L'Etoile du Nord" is found on the likeness of a scroll whose length is equal to twice the length of the inscription, but whose ends are twice folded underneath and serve to enhance the inscription. The lettering is 7-point century bold.
  • In quadrant two is found a likeness of a sun whose ambient rays form a background for a male Indian in loincloth and plume riding on horseback at a gallop. The Indian is sitting erect and is holding a spear in his left hand at an upward 60-degree angle to himself and is looking toward the settler in quadrant four.
  • In quadrant one, three pine trees form a background for a picturesque resemblance of St. Anthony Falls in 1858.
  • In quadrants three and four, cultivated ground is found across the lower half of the seal, which provides a background for the scenes in quadrants three and four.
  • In quadrant three, a tree stump is found with an ax embedded in the stump and a period muzzle loader resting on it. A powder flask is hanging towards the end of the barrel.
  • In quadrant four, a white barefoot male pioneer wearing clothing and a hat of that period is plowing the earth, using an animal-drawn implement from that period. The animal is not visible. The torso of the man continues into quadrant two, and he has his legs spread apart to simulate movement. He is looking at the Indian.

Related Pages:

Minnesota State Flag

Minnesota State Song

Minnesota State Tree

Minnesota State Bird

Minnesota State Fish

Minnesota State Butterfly

Minnesota State Flower

Minnesota State Recipes

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