city, seat of Winona county, southeastern Minnesota, U.S. It lies in the Hiawatha Valley on the Mississippi River (bridged to Wisconsin), backed by high bluffs, in a mixed-farming area, about 45 miles (70 km) east of Rochester. Franciscan missionary Louis Hennepin visited the area about 1680; other missionaries and fur traders followed. The city-founded in 1851 by steamboat captain Orrin Smith-was called Montezuma when laid out in 1852 but was renamed to honour a legendary Sioux princess, who legend says jumped to her death from the bluffs after having been denied the right to marry a man she loved. Large numbers of Polish and German immigrants settled there. The city served as a supply point for westbound settlers, and its early growth as a river port and wheat-shipping, lumbering, and flour-milling centre was boosted by the construction of the railroad in 1862. After 1900 timber and wheat operations declined, and diversified industries arose.
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