South Dakota

  • Population- 754,844
  • Capital- Pierre
  • Largest cities– Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Aberdeen
  • Time zone- eastern half is Central and western half is Mountain
  • Date of Admission to the Union- November 2, 1889
  • Slogan- “Great faces. Great places.”
  • State website URL-

South Dakota is located in the north central United States. Canyons and the Great Plains cover South Dakota west of the Missouri River. The low hills and glacier lakes of the Drift Prairie cover South Dakota east of the Missouri. Notable geographic features include the Badlands, the Black Hills (highest mountains east of the Rocky Mountains), the Coteau du Missouri hills and the James River.

French explorers Louis-Joseph and Francois Verendrye entered South Dakota in 1743 seeking a water route from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The region became US territory as part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. The Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-1806 crossed South Dakota in their quest to reach the Pacific coast and to explore the new territory. Appearance of railroads in 1873 and gold strikes in the Black Hills the subsequent year helped grow the state’s population. The Enabling Act of 1889 created the states of both North and South Dakota ( Montana and Washington), one year before the Wounded Knee Massacre of 300 Sioux Indians, considered the last of the Indian Wars.

Agriculture is a major industry in the state, cattle and sheep ranching an important economic activity to the region. Corn, soybeans, oats and wheat are important state crops. Cement surpassed gold as the state’s most valuable mineral resource in 2003.

One of the more quixotic national monuments, located near Keystone, South Dakota, Mt. Rushmore depicts the likeness of four former US presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, carved into the granite walls of the Black Hills. Sitting Bull, Tom Brokaw, George McGovern, and Wild Bill Hickock, are well-known South Dakotans. In addition to being the native state of Mary Hart, South Dakota boasts the world’s only Corn Palace in the town of Mitchell.