This National Historic Landmark built in the early 1820s, teaches a visitor about military history from before the Civil War through World War II, fur trade history, slavery in Minnesota, the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 and much more. Even before its existence, its location – at the junction of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers – was significant for centuries to many American Indian communities.
In 1846, an enslaved African-American couple, who met and married at Fort Snelling, sued the woman who owned them. Dred and Harriet Scott argued that because they had lived for a time in what would become Minnesota, where slavery was illegal, their owner’s title to them was invalid…
Dakota people are comprised of four groups: The Bdewakantunwan (Mdewakanton), Wahpetunwan (Wahpeton), Wahpekute, and Sissitunwan (Sisseton) people form what is known as the Isanti (Santee), or eastern Dakota (a word that means ally). To the west, in present-day South Dakota, are the Yanktonai and Yankton (who identify as both Dakota and Nakota) and the Teton (Lakota).
The first troops arrived in 1819 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Leavenworth and began construction on the stone fort the following year. Colonel Josiah Snelling arrived in 1820 to supervise construction.