State of South Dakota (United States)

South Dakota (officially, and in English, State of South Dakota) is one of the 50 states of the United States of America . The name of the state comes from the American Lakota and Dakota (Sioux) tribes. On November 2, 1889 , South Dakota became the 39th American state. Its capital is Pierre .


Capitol of the City of Pierre.


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  • 1 History
    • 1 From 1817-1874
    • 2 From 1875-1889
  • 2 Geography
    • 1 Surface
    • 2 Mountains and elevations
    • 3 Rivers
    • 4 Cities
    • 5 Climate and Precipitation
    • 6 Flora
    • 7 Fauna
  • 3 Economic Development
    • 1 Mining
    • 2 Agriculture
    • 3 Industry
  • 4 Social development
    • 1 Population
    • 2 Government
      • 2.1 Members of the Senate and House
      • 2.2 Supreme Court
    • 3 Education
  • 5 Curiosities
  • 6 Sources


In 1743 , François and Louis Joseph de La Vérendrye undertook the first European exploration of the region that includes present-day South Dakota. In 1803 , the territory occupied by the Dakota became part of the United States as a result of the Louisiana Purchase. The expedition of Lewis Clark toured the region in 1804 and in 1806 .

From 1817-1874

In 1817 the first permanent settlements were founded in South Dakota. In 1832 , the American Fur Company, owned by merchant John Jacob Astor, built Fort Pierre Chouteau. In 1849 , the eastern region of the Missouri River was integrated into the Minnesota Territory , and in 1854 the western region of the river became part of the Nebraska Territory . In 1861, the entire region, including Wyoming, Montana, and part of eastern Idaho, constituted the Dakota Territory. The colonization of the region was slow until, in 1874, gold deposits were discovered in the great Sioux reservation of the Black Hills, and many whites began to arrive in the territory with the intention of enriching themselves.

From 1875-1889

In 1875 , after the Indians refused to give up their lands, the government made no further attempts to stop the gold diggers. In 1876 new lodes were discovered, including Homestake, which made between 1879 and 1886 a rapid colonization of the state occurred. In 1889 South Dakota joined the Union, Pierre became its capital, and the Sioux areas west of the Missouri were annexed.


South Dakota, a state located in the northwestern part of the central United States; It limits to the north with the state of North Dakota, to the east with Minnesota and Iowa, to the south with Nebraska and to the west with Wyoming and Montana . The Missouri River forms part of its southeastern border.


South Dakota has an area of ​​199,732 km². Its altitude ranges from 294 m at Big Stone Lake in the northeast to 2,207 m at Harney Peak in the Black Hills.

The eastern third of South Dakota is part of the Central Lowlands of the United States Midwest. Between the James and Big Sioux rivers lies a higher area, whose fertile, dark loos soils make this area the most productive agricultural region in the state. .

Mountains and elevations

The central lowlands give way in the west to an escarpment, from which the Great Plains region extends, covering all of central and western South Dakota. At the western end of the state are the Black Hills and, around their granite nucleus, there are steep mountains formed by sedimentary rocks arranged in slopes



Missouri River

The Missouri River is the main tributary of the Mississippi River . It is approximately 4,130 km long, is the longest river in the United States and drains a 1,371,000 km² basin, approximately one sixth of the North American subcontinent. The James and Big Sioux Rivers irrigate the eastern area, located south of the Missouri River, except for the most northeastern section of the state, which is drained by the Red and Minnesota Rivers.


The largest cities in the state are Sioux Falls , Rapid City, Aberdeen, Watertown, and Brookings.

Climate and Precipitation

In South Dakota the continental climate predominates. Average annual rainfall reaches 635 mm in the southeast and drops to 368 mm in the northwest.


When the first settlers arrived in South Dakota, most of the region was covered by grasslands. Today the forest occupies only 3% of the lands of the state, and the dominant species are pines, firs and junipers.


A century ago, large herds of bison grazed on the vast grasslands of South Dakota; there are currently only a few protected herds living in Custer State Park . White-tailed deer, also known as Virginia deer , proliferate in the Black Hills, and antelope and deer can be seen west of the Missouri River. Common small mammals include coyotes, badgers, lynxes, raccoons, prairie dogs, and American hares.

Economic development


The Homestake gold mine, located in Lead in the Black Hills, is one of the largest in the country. Other minerals found in the Black Hills are: uranium , copper, lead, and silver. Oil is extracted in the west and important deposits of lignite have been discovered in the northwest.


Approximately 59% of the income of the agricultural sector comes from the commercial exploitation of cattle , pigs and sheep, as well as from dairy production. Crops account for 41% of the annual income of the state’s agricultural sector; the main crops are oats , rye (of which it is the first national producer), corn, wheat and alfalfa. Logging is an important economic activity for the state; commercial timber reserves are concentrated in the Black Hills.


The main industry is food processing; Also noteworthy is the production of industrial machinery , wood products, electronic items, metal products, precision instruments, and transportation equipment. After agriculture, tourism is the most important source of income for the private sector

Social development


According to the 2006 census , South Dakota had 781,919 inhabitants, with 88.7% white. In Dakota live 62,283 descendants of indigenous people, of which the Sioux are the largest group. 6.8% of the population of South Dakota are under 5 years of age, 26.8% represent those who are less 18 years of age, and 14.3% are 65 years of age or older. Females make up approximately 50.4% of the state’s population, and 49.6% comprise males.


Executive power in South Dakota rests with a governor, popularly elected for a four-year term and who cannot govern for more than two consecutive terms. South Dakota elects two senators and one representative to the United States Congress . The state of South Dakota has three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. The current governor is Mike Rounds .

Members of the Senate and House

There are currently 35 members of the State Senate and 70 members of the House of Representatives . The state is made up of 35 legislative districts. Voters elect 1 senator and 2 representatives from each district. The legislative branch meets once a year on the second Tuesday in January, and also when the governor calls a special session.

Supreme court

The state Supreme Courtit is the highest court in South Dakota and the court of final appeal for state actions. The Chief Justice and four justices comprise the South Dakota Supreme Court. South Dakota is divided into seven judicial circuits. There are 39 circuit judges serving on all seven circuits. Circuit courts are the state the trial courts of general jurisdiction. There are 12 full-time and 3 part-time magistrate judges on the seven circuits. Circuit Magistrates Courts assist in the elimination in the misdemeanor courts of minor criminal and civil cases. These courts of limited jurisdiction make the judicial system more accessible to the public, providing a means of court in direct contact for the average citizen.


South Dakota’s first public libraries were founded during the 1880s. Currently, the state has 126 different public library systems, moving an average of 8 books per capita annually. The first institution of higher education founded in the state was Yankton College, founded in 1881 , and closed in 1984 . Currently, the state has 27 higher education institutions, of which 14 are public and 13 are private. Of these institutions, 10 are universities and 17 are colleges. The largest university in the state is South Dakota State University.



Sioux deerskin shirt dating from the early 19th century

  • Various cultural institutions in South Dakota reflect the influence of North American Indians on the life and landscape of the state. The Sioux Nation Heritage Museum, the Museum of the Sioux Indians, and the Crafts Center continue to preserve some of the arts and crafts of this tribe.
  • Mount Rushmore is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, attracting millions of people each year. The construction of this gigantic sculpture began in 1927 , and it was inaugurated in 1941 . This happy mountain, located in Keystone, South Dakota, commemorates the birth, growth, conservation and development of the United States of America.


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