South Dakota

From Academic Kids

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
Official languages 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 zoneCentral: UTC-6/-5 (eastern)
Mountain: UTC-7/-6 (western)
Latitude42?29'30"N to 45?56'N
Longitude98?28'33"W to 104?3'W
Width 340 km
Length 610 km
 - Highest 2,207 m
 - Mean 670 m
 - Lowest 294 m
 - ISO 3166-2 US-SD
Web site

South Dakota is a state in the high plains of the northern Middle West. 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.

The state is divided into 66 counties; see: List of South Dakota counties.


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 grass: Western wheat

Important cities

Missing image
Geographic and political features of South Dakota

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


Human beings have lived in what is today South Dakota for at least several thousand years. French and other European explorers in the 1700s encountered 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 claiming the region for France as part of greater Louisiana. In 1803, the United States purchased territorial occupation, plundering, and settling rights of Louisiana from Napoleon, though the native peoples inhabiting most of this area could hardly have been aware of such a transaction. In 1817, a Euro-American fur trading post was set up at present-day Fort Pierre, and this was the beginning of continuous Euro-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. White settlement was, by this time, increasing 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, but later only North and South Dakota). Colonial 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 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 sell 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 Euro-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 about 200 unarmed Sioux men, 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 Euro-American settlers in northern and southern regions over the location of the state capital (originally to be the present-day capital of North Dakota, Bismarck).

Other features

See: List of South Dakota rivers

Colleges and universities


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.

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.

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 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.


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

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2003, South Dakota's population was estimated at 764,309 people. The population density is 9.9 people per square mile.

The population of South Dakota grew from 696,004 people to 754,844 in the 90s, a 8.5% growth.

The racial makeup of the state is:

The 5 largest ancestry groups in South Dakota are German (40.7%), Norwegian (15.3%), Irish (10.4%), American Indian (8.3%), English (7.1%).

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.

"Rural flight"

South Dakota, in common with five other Mid-West 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:

Clip Art and Pictures

State Maps

  • US State Maps (

State Flags

  • US State Flags (

Lesson Plans, Resources and Activites

External links

Template:South Dakota

Political divisions of the United States Missing image
Flag of the United States

States Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming
Federal district District of Columbia
Insular areas American Samoa | Baker Island | Guam | Howland Island | Jarvis Island | Johnston Atoll | Kingman Reef | Midway Atoll | Navassa Island | Northern Mariana Islands | Palmyra Atoll | Puerto Rico | Virgin Islands | Wake Island

Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools