South Dakota

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State of South Dakota
State flag of South Dakota State seal of South Dakota
(Flag of South Dakota) (Seal of South Dakota)
State nickname: The Mount Rushmore State
Map of the U.S. with South Dakota highlighted
Other U.S. States
Capital Pierre
Largest city Sioux Falls
Governor Mike Rounds (R)
Senators Tim Johnson (D)

John Thune (R)

Official language(s) English
Area 199,905 km² (17th)
 - Land 196,735 km²
 - Water 3,173 km² (1.6%)
Population (2000)
 - Population 754,844 (46th)
 - Density 3.84 /km² (46th)
Admission into Union
 - Date November 2, 1889
 - Order 40th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5 (eastern)
Mountain: UTC-7/-6 (western)
Latitude 42°29'30"N to 45°56'N
Longitude 98°28'33"W to 104°3'W
Width 340 km
Length 610 km
 - Highest point 2,207 m
 - Mean 670 m
 - Lowest point {{{LowestElev}}} m
 - ISO 3166-2 US-SD
Web site

South Dakota is a Midwestern state in the United States. It is named after the Lakota (Sioux) American Indian tribe. South Dakota was admitted to the Union on November 2, 1889. North Dakota was admitted on the same day (see Trivia, below).

South Dakota is bordered to the north by North Dakota, to the south by Nebraska, to the east by Iowa and Minnesota, and to the west by Wyoming and Montana. It is one of the six states of the Frontier Strip.

USS South Dakota was named in honor of this state. f|counties]]; see: List of South Dakota counties.



Human beings have lived in what is today South Dakota for at least several thousand years. French and other European explorers in the 1700s encounterfhd a variety of groups including the Omaha and Arikara (Ree), but by the early 1800s the Sioux (Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota) were dominant. In 1743, the LaVerendrye brothers buried a plate near the modern capital Pierre (pronounced as "peer") claiming the region for France as part of greater Louisiana. In 1803, the United States purchased Louisiana from Napoleon, though the native peoples inhabiting most of this area were not aware of the transaction. President Thomas Jefferson organized a group called the Corps of Discovery, led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (commonly refered to as "Lewis and Clark"), to explore the newly-acquired region. In 1817, an American fur trading post was set up at present-day Fort Pierre, and this was the beginning of continuous American settlement of the area. Through much of the 19th Century, exploratory expeditions such as those of Lewis and Clark and Joseph Nicollet coincided with an increasing presence of the U.S. Army. In 1855, the U.S. Army bought Fort Pierre but abandoned it the following year in favor of Fort Randall to the south. Settlement by Americans and Europeans was, by this time, ishncreasing rapidly, and in 1858 the Yankton Dakota Sioux resigned to signing the 1858 Treaty, ceding most of present-day eastern South Dakota to the United States. Of this, Yankton leader Strike-the-Ree said "The white men are coming like maggots. It is useless to resist them.... Many of our brave warriors would be killed, our women and children left in sorrow, and still we would not stop them." Land speculators founded two of eastern South Dakota's largest present-day cities, Sioux Falls and Yankton, in 1856 and 1859, respectively, and in 1861, Dakota Territory was recognized by the United States government (this initially included North Dakota, South Dakota, and parts of Montana and Wyoming). Settlers from Scandinavia, Germany, Ireland, and Russia, as well as elsewhere in Europe and from the eastern U.S. states, increased from a trickle to a flood, especially after the completion of an eastern railway link to the territorial capital of Yankton in 1872, and the discovery of gold in the Black Hills in 1874 during a military expedition led by George A. Custer. This expedition took place despite the fact that all of Dakota Territory west of the Missouri River (along with much of Nebraska, Montana, and Wyoming) had been granted to the Sioux by the Treaty of 1868 as part of the Great Sioux Nation. The Sioux declined to sjgdhell mining rights or land in the Black Hills, and war broke out after the U.S. failed to stop white miners and settlers from entering the region. Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse were major resistance leaders, but with greater numbers and superior weaponry, and with the sharp decline in numbers of the buffalo (a major food source of the Sioux), the Americans were unstoppable. Indeed, between 1878 and 1886, the Euro-American settler population of eastern Dakota Territory tripled. The last major incident in this struggle occurred on December 29, 1890 at Wounded Knee Creek in present-day western South Dakota when U.S. soldiers massacred as many as 300 Sioux, mostly women and children. Just over a year earlier, on November 2, 1889, Dakota Territory had become the modern states of North Dakota and South Dakota after a dispute between settlers in northern and southern regions over the location of the state capital (originally Yankton but surreptitiously moved to the present-day capitaldgh of North Dakota, Bismarck).


South Dakota politics are generally dominated by the Republican Party and the state has not supported a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964. In 2004, George W. Bush won the state's 3 electoral votes by the overwhelming margin of 22 percentage points with 59.9% of the vote. There are only five reliably Democratic counties in the state, most of them with primarily American Indian populations. Republicans have won the last seven gubernatorial elections and have controlled the legislature, with one brief interruption, for over thirty years. Democrats have been successful in winning election to Congress from South Dakota, most notably Tom Daschle. dhhd Senator Tom Daschle, the Democratic leader of the Senate and a fixture of South Dakota politics for more than a quarter century, lost his seat in an historic political upset by then-SD Representative John Thune. The 2004 election defeat marks the first time since 1952 a sitting Senate leader lost a bid for re-election.


Historical populations

1860 4,837
1870 11,776
1880 98,268
1890 348,600
1900 401,570
1910 583,888
1920 636,547
1930 692,849
1940 642,961
1950 652,740
1960 680,514
1970 665,507
1980 690,768
1990 696,004
2000 754,844

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2004, South Dakota's population was 770,883.sdfsdfsdfsdcThe population of South Dakota grew from 696,004 people in 1990 to 770,883 in 2004, a 10.8% growth.

The racial makeup of the state is:

The five largest ancestry groups in South Dakota are: German (40.7%), xasdcadsxNorwegian (15.3%), Irish (10.4%), Native American (8.3%), English (7.1%).

German-Americans are the largest ancestry group in most parts of the state, especially in the east, although there are also large Scandinavian populations in some counties. American Indians, largely Sioux, are predominant in several counties.

6.8% of South Dakota's population were reported as under 5, 26.8% under 18, and 14.3% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 50.4% of the population.

The median income for a household in the state is $35,282. The per capita income for the state is $17,562. 13.2% of the population is below the poverty line.

South Dakota has one of the largest Native American populations of any state.
South Dakota has one of the largest Native American populations of any state.

==="Rural flight"===sdcsdcxsd South Dakota, in common with five other Midwest states (Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and Iowa), is feeling the brunt of falling populations. 89% of the total number of cities in those states have fewer than 3000 people; hundreds have fewer than than 1000. Between 1996 and 2004 almost half a million people, nearly half with college degrees, left the six states. "Rural flight" as it is called has led to offers of free land and tax breaks as enticements to newcomers.


The religious affiliations of the people of South Dakota are:

Official state objects

State bird: Ring-necked Pheasant
State flower: Pasque flower
State tree: Black Hills Spruce
State nicknames: Mount Rushmore State
State slogan: "Great Faces. Great Places."
State mineral: Rose quartz
State insect: Honey bee - Apis Mellifera L.
State animal: Coyote
State soil: Houdek
State fish: Walleye
State gemstone: Fairburn agate
State dessert: Kuchen
State drink: Milk
State bread: Native American fry bread
State grass: Western Wheatgrass

Important cities

Geographic and political features of South Dakota
Geographic and political features of South Dakota

See List of cities in South Dakota, List of South Dakota counties, Governors of South Dakota

Other features

See: List of South Dakota rivers

Colleges and universities


South Dakota license plates are numbered by county, with the first digit referring to the county of origin. Such a numbering system allows one to easily determine where the vehicle was registered. Counties 1-10 are ranked, roughly, by population. 11-67 are numbered alphabetically.


A bill for statehood for North and South Dakota (and Montana, and Washington) was passed on February 22, 1889 during the Administration of Grover Cleveland. It was left to his successor Benjamin Harrison to sign proclamations formally admitting North and South Dakota to the Union on November 2, 1889. However, the rivalry between the northern and southern territories presented a dilemma: only one, upon the President's signature on the proclamation, could gain the distinction of being admitted before the other. So Harrison directed his Secretary of State James Blaine to shuffle the papers and obscure from him which he was signing first, and the priority went unrecorded.

Harney Peak, in the Black Hills, is the highest point between the Rocky Mountains and the French Alps. More than 70,000 people hike to its 7,242 foot summit each year. The ashes of Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy, the first white man to climb Harney Peak, are sealed in a crypt at the top of the mountain.

The deepest mine in the United States, the Homestake gold mine (now defunct), is in the Black Hills of South Dakota, near the town of Lead. Its shaft plunges more than 8,000 feet beneath the surface. From 1969 until 1993, it was home to the Homestake Chlorine Solar Neutrino Experiment, famous for detecting the solar neutrino problem. Currently there is pending legislation that would give the mine to the National Science Foundation for use as an underground research laboratory.

South Dakota is home to the largest indoor, naturally heated, swimming pool in the world. Evans Plunge, heated from natural mineral springs, is in Hot Springs.

The Black Hills of South Dakota was one of the sites considered for the permanent home of the United Nations.

The largest and most complete fossil of Tyrannosaurus rex ever found was uncovered near the city of Faith, in 1990. Named "Sue," the remains are over 90 percent complete.

Citibank rechartered itself as a South Dakota bank in 1981 to take advantage of a new law that set South Dakota's maximum permissible interest rate on loans to 25 percent, then the highest in the nation (New York had refused to raise its interest rate even after prolonged lobbying). However, South Dakota's dreams of becoming a major financial center were dashed when Delaware matched its move the next year, and banks in search of the right to charge high interest rates flocked to Delaware instead.

The 1990 movie Dances With Wolves, starring Kevin Costner as Lt. John Dunbar, was shot entirely in South Dakota.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Flag of South Dakota

State of South Dakota



Major Metro:

Sioux Falls

Smaller Cities:

Aberdeen | Brookings | Huron | Mitchell | Pierre | Rapid City | Spearfish | Vermillion | Watertown | Yankton


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