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South Dakota

South Dakota Description

South Dakota History

South Dakota, the Mt. Rushmore State, is located in the Great Plains of North America. Surrounded by six states, Wyoming and Montana to the west, North Dakota to the north, Minnesota and Iowa on the east and Nebraska on the south, the area just northeast of Belle Fourche in Butte County, claims to be the geographical center of the entire United States.

When French explorers, the LaVerendrye brothers, arrived in South Dakota in 1743, the area was inhabited by the Sioux (Dakota) Indians. The Sioux had moved into the area in the second quarter of the 18th century and soon drove out the earlier inhabitants, the Hidatsa, Mandan and Arikara.

lewis and clark The U.S. acquired most of South Dakota from France in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase. Following the transaction, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the Corps of Discovery and selected Lewis and Clark to lead the expedition. They spent late summer and early fall in 1804 in the South Dakota region.

In 1817, a fur trading post was established at present-day Fort Pierre and was the beginning of American settlement in the area. The 1858 Treaty with the Yankton Sioux ceded most of the eastern part of South Dakota to the U.S.

The Dakota Territory, which included present day North and South Dakota and parts of Wyoming and Montana, was organized in March 1861. Following the completion of the railway to Yankton in 1873 plus gold discovery in the Black Hills in 1874, Settlement by people from the eastern U.S. and northern Europe was rapid.

South Dakota Statehood

Statehood for both North and South Dakota was established on November 2, 1889. The exact order of admission of the two states remains unknown. Because of the alphabetical position, North Dakota is considered to be the 39th state and South Dakota, the 40th.

Indian wars were frequent with the last major conflict occurring between the Sioux Indians and the U.S. at the Wounded Knee Massacre. At least 146 Sioux were killed, including women and children and 31 U.S. soldiers.

South Dakota Economy

dust bowl During the 1930's, a lack of rainfall, high temperatures and over-cultivation of the farming lands resulted in the Dust Bowl. Massive dust storms blew away fertile topsoil resulting in ruined harvests.

These adverse economic conditions drove many people away from the state, resulting in a decline in population.

The 1940's saw economic stability return to South Dakota as demand for agricultural products grew and construction began on six large dams, four of them partially located in South Dakota.

South Dakota, although still dependent upon its agricultural output, has diversified its economy. The financial services sector expanded when several large companies moved their credit card operations to the state. The production of ethanol has had a considerable economic impact, as South Dakota is one of the top producers in the U.S.

South Dakota Tourism

Tourism is now the second largest contributor to the economy. The Mount Rushmore National Memorial attracts over three million visitors each year as they come to gaze upon the sculptures of the heads of four former U.S. Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

From its climate with four distinct seasons, to the vast range of scenery, South Dakota is the "land of infinite variety".

South Dakota Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Plankinton Aurora 605
Huron Beadle 605
Martin Bennett 605
Springfield Bon Homme 605
Brookings Brookings 605
Aberdeen Brown 605
Chamberlain Brule 605
Fort Thompson Buffalo 605
Belle Fourche Butte 605
Herreid Campbell 605
Wagner Charles Mix 605
Clark Clark 605
Vermillion Clay 605
Watertown Codington 605
McLaughlin Corson 605
Custer Custer 605
Mitchell Davison 605
Webster Day 605
Clear Lake Deuel 605
Eagle Butte Dewey 605
Corsica Douglas 605
Ipswich Edmunds 605
Hot Springs Fall River 605
Faulkton Faulk 605
Milbank Grant 605
Gregory Gregory 605
Philip Haakon 605
Castlewood Hamlin 605
Miller Hand 605
Alexandria Hanson 605
Buffalo Harding 605
Pierre Hughes 605
Parkston Hutchinson 605
Highmore Hyde 605
Wanblee Jackson 605
Wessington Springs Jerauld 605
Murdo Jones 605
Arlington Kingsbury 605
Madison Lake 605
Spearfish Lawrence 605
Sioux Falls Lincoln 605
Lower Brule Lyman 605
Britton Marshall 605
Salem McCook 605
Eureka McPherson 605
Sturgis Meade 605
White River Mellette 605
Howard Miner 605
Sioux Falls Minnehaha 605
Flandreau Moody 605
Rapid City Pennington 605
Lemmon Perkins 605
Gettysburg Potter 605
Sisseton Roberts 605
Woonsocket Sanborn 605
Pine Ridge Shannon 605
Redfield Spink 605
Fort Pierre Stanley 605
Onida Sully 605
Mission Todd 605
Winner Tripp 605
Parker Turner 605
North Sioux City Union 605
Mobridge Walworth 605
Yankton Yankton 605
Dupree Ziebach 605

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.