Anyone who has ever noticed Minnesota’s little protuberance has to wonder at some point: why on earth would they have drawn the border like that?
The northern border of the lower 48 is flat flat flat along the 49th parallel from Washington State to western Minnesota, and then there’s this thing. If you look closely, the mystery is compounded by the fact that the special included region is uninhabited park land on the far side of a lake.
Is there something valuable there? Gold? Copper? A precious trove of old National Geographics?
The answer is a charming example of fossilized happenstance. The diplomats who negotiated the northwest border of the US had an imperfect knowledge of the region based on this imperfect map. This excellent video from C.G.P. Grey explains all…