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South Dakota, US (Population: 781,919)
State Capitol: Pierre

Major Cities: Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Sturgis, Mitchell, Yankton, Aberdeen, Brookings, Huron, Spearfish

State Nickname/Motto: Mount Rushmore State - Under God the people rule

Statehood Granted: November 2, 1889

History:South Dakota is named after the Lakota and Dakota (Sioux) American Indian tribes. Located in the north-central United States, South Dakota is bisected by the Missouri river, dividing the state into two socially and economically distinct halves, known to residents as "east-river" and "west-river." On December 29, 1890, the Wounded Knee Massacre occurred on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Commonly cited as the last major armed conflict between the United States and the Sioux Nation, the massacre resulted in the deaths of an estimated 300 Sioux, many of them women and children. 25 U.S. soldiers were also killed in the conflict.

Geography: Highest point: Harney Peak; 7,242 feet. South Dakota has four major land regions: the Drift Prairie, the Dissected Till Plains, the Great Plains, and the Black Hills. The Drift Prairie covers most of eastern South Dakota. This is the land of low hills and glacial lakes. The James River Basin is mostly flat land, following the flow of the James River through South Dakota from north to south. The Dissected Till Plains lie in the southeastern corner of South Dakota. The Great Plains cover most of the western two-thirds of South Dakota. The Coteau de Missouri hills and valleys lie between the James River Basin of the Drift Prairie and the Missouri River. West of the Missouri River the landscape becomes more rugged and consists of rolling hills, plains, canyons, and steep flat-topped hills called buttes.

Ethnic Diversity: One Race (98.5%), White (88.0%), Black or African American 0.8%), American Indian and Alaska Native (8.4%), Asian (0.6%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.0%), Some other race 0.6%), Two or more races (1.5%), Hispanic or Latino (1.9%)*

Famous State People:

  • Tom Brokaw (1940 - ) News anchor that hosts NBC Nightly News; born in Webster.
  • Mary Hart (1951 - ) Co-host of Entertainment Tonight; born in Madison.
  • Crazy Horse (1849 - 1877) Oglala Indian chief that fought for Sioux land from the U.S. government; born east of the Black Hills.
  • Gertrude Bonnin (Zitkala-Sa) (1876 - 1938) Sioux writer and pan-Indian activist.
  • Cheryl Ladd (1951 - ) Actress. She was famous for her role in the TV series Charlie's Angels; born in Huron.
  • Hubert Humphrey (1911 - 1978) Served as vice-president of the United States from 1965-1969; born in Wallace.
  • Ernest O. Lawrence (1901 - 1958) Nobel prize winning scientist that built the first cyclotron, a machine that smashes atoms; born in Canton.
  • Sitting Bull (1831 - 1890) Chief of the Hunkpappa Sioux. He defended Black HIlls, led the Teton Sioux to Canada, and was killed during arrest; born on the Grand River.
  • Norm Van Brocklin (1926 - 1983) Football player; born in Eagle Butte.
  • Tom Daschle (1947 - ) Senator; born in Aberdeen.

  • Major Colleges/Universities: Black Hills State University, Dakota State University, Northern State University, Oglala Lakota College, Si Tanka University – Eagle Butte Campus, Sinte Gleska University, Sissenton Wahpeton College, South Dakota State University, University of South Dakota, Western Dakota Technical Institute

    State and National Parks: Black Hills National Forest, Buffalo Gap National Grassland, Dakota Prairie Grasslands, Fort Pierre National Grassland

    Misc:In the southwestern portion of the state rise the Black Hills, a group of low, pine-covered mountains. This is a region of great religious importance to the local Lakota and Dakota American Indians and a part of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty, granting the Lakota people this area. The U.S. Government offered payment for these lands but as of this date the Lakota have not taken the money or officially relinquished the land. One of the major draws for the state tourism industry is the Black Hills and is the location of Mt. Rushmore, probably the best-known location in the state and a widely-used unofficial symbol of South Dakota.

    *U.S. Census - 2005