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North Dakota, US (Population: 635,867)

State Capitol: Bismarck

Statehood Granted: November 2, 1889

History: Prior to European contact, American Indians inhabited North Dakota for thousands of years. The first European to explore the area was the French-Canadian trader La Vérendrye, who led a party to several Mandan villages around the year, 1738. By the time of Lewis and Clark Expedition, most of the communities were at aware of the French and then Spanish claims to their territory. Dakota Territory was settled sparsely until the late 1800s, when the railroads pushed through the region and aggressively marketed the land.

Geography: Highest point: White Butte 3,506 feet. North Dakota is bounded on the north by the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, on the west by Montana, on the south by South Dakota, and on the east by Minnesota. Western North Dakota is home to the hilly Great Plains and the northern part of the Badlands. This area contains White Butte and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. This region is also home to several natural resources including crude oil and lignite coal. The Missouri River flows through western North Dakota and forms Lake Sakakawea, the third largest man-made lake in the United States, behind the Garrison Dam. Central North Dakota has the Drift Prairie and the Missouri Plateau. This area is covered in lakes, stream valleys, and rolling hills. The Turtle Mountains rise above the Drift Prairie along the Manitoba border. The geographic center of the North American continent is located near the city of Rugby.

Ethnic Diversity: One Race (98.8%), White (91.5%), Black or African American (0.8%), American Indian and Alaska Native (4.9%), Asian (0.9%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.1%), Some other race (0.6%), Two or more races (1.2%), Hispanic or Latino (1.4%)*

Famous State People:

  • Meriwether Lewis (1774 - 1809) and William Clark (1770 - 1838) led the Corps of Discovery through North Dakota, where they spent the winter of 1804-1805 near Washburn at Fort Mandan.
  • Gen. George Armstrong Custer (1839 - 1876) and the 7th Cavalry were stationed at Fort Abraham Lincoln outside Mandan. In 1876, they left on the journey that ended at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
  • Louis L'Amour (1908 - 1988) Author known for his vivid descriptions of frontier life; grew up in Jamestown.
  • Norman Kittson (1814 - 1888) Fur trader and transportation entrepreneur. His ventures helped open the Red River Valley to settlement.
  • Angie Dickinson (1931 - ) Actress; born in Kulm.
  • Peggy Lee (1920 - ) Singer; born in Jamestown.
  • Elizabeth Bodine (1898 - 1986) Humanitarian.
  • Sitting Bull (1831 - 1890) Lived the last years of his life at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, near Fort Yates.
  • Teddy Roosevelt (1858 - 1919) Ranched near Medora and credited his Badlands experience from 1883-1886 for molding him into a president.
  • Sacagawea (c. 1790-1812 or 1884) Shoshoni Indian woman who, with her husband Toussaint Charbonneau, served as interpreter and guide for the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
  • William H. Gass (1924 - ) Writer and philosopher. He wrote Omensetter's Luck and a book of short stories called In the Heart of the Heart of the Country; born in Fargo.
  • Phil Jackson (1945 - ) Basketball player and coach; grew up in Williston and played college basketball for the University of North Dakota.
  • Cliff Fido Purpur (1914 - 2001) First North Dakota native to become a National Hockey League player; born in Grand Forks.

  • Major Colleges/Universities: University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, Bismarck State College, Dickinson State University, Lake Region State College, Mayville State University, Minot State University-Minot, Minot State University-Bottineau, North Dakota State University-Fargo, Valley City State University, Williston State College, Candkdeska Cikana Community College, Fort Berthold College-Fort Yates, Sitting Bull College-Fort Yates, Turtle Mountain Community College, United Tribes Technical College-Bismarck, Aakers College – Fargo & Bismarck, Jamestown College, University of Mary-Bismarck, Trinity Bible College

    State Parks: Beaver Lake, Cross Ranch, Devils Lake, Fort Abraham Lincoln, Fort Ransom, Fort Stevenson, Icelandic, Lake Metigoshe, Lake Sakakawea, Lewis & Clark, Little Missouri, Sully Creek, Turtle River

    Misc: Outdoor activities of hunting and fishing are part of the lifestyle for many North Dakotans. Ice fishing and snowmobiling are also popular during the winter months. Popular sport fish are walleye, perch, and northern pike. Weekend trips to lake cabins are common during the summer months. The mosquito can be a problem for some outdoor enthusiasts in North Dakota as well as neighboring states during the summer months. American Indian traditions are still practiced by the Native American population of North Dakota, especially on Indian reservation land. Pow-wows and traditional Native American dancing are still found across the state.

    *U.S. Census - 2005