South Dakota

Read this profile of South Dakota to learn about the state's history, points of interest, and government. Also find interesting facts about each state, including the state's motto, symbols, and when it entered the union.
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Flag of SD

Capital: Pierre

State abbreviation: S.D.

Postal code: SD

Population est.: 775,933

Largest City (2005 est.): Sioux Falls, 139,517

Land area: 75,885 sq mi. (196,542 sq km)

U.S. Representatives: 1

Entered Union (rank): Nov. 2, 1889 (40)

Motto: Under God the people rule

Origin of name: From the Sioux tribe, meaning "allies"

State symbols:

flower: American pasqueflower
bird: ring-necked pheasant
song: "Hail! South Dakota"
tree: black hills spruce

Nickname: Mount Rushmore State; Coyote State

Residents: South Dakotan

Did you know: South Dakota is home to Evans' Pluge, the world's largest natural, indoor warmwater pool

Map of SD


Exploration of this area began in 1743 when Louis-Joseph and François Verendrye came from France in search of a route to the Pacific.

The U.S. acquired the region as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and it was explored by Lewis and Clark in 1804–1806. Fort Pierre, the first permanent settlement, was established in 1817.

Settlement of South Dakota did not begin in earnest until the arrival of the railroad in 1873 and the discovery of gold in the Black Hills in 1874.

Agriculture is a cultural and economic mainstay, but it no longer leads the state in employment or share of gross state product. Durable-goods manufacturing and private services have evolved as the drivers of the economy. Tourism is also a booming industry in the state, generating over a billion dollars' worth of economic activity each year.

South Dakota is the second-largest producer of flaxseed and sunflower seed in the nation. It is the third-largest producer of hay and rye.

The Black Hills are the highest mountains east of the Rockies. Mt. Rushmore, in this group, is famous for the likenesses of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, which were carved in granite by Gutzon Borglum. A memorial to Crazy Horse is also being carved in granite near Custer.

Other tourist attractions include the Badlands; the World's Only Corn Palace, in Mitchell; and the city of Deadwood, where Wild Bill Hickok was killed in 1876 and where gambling was recently legalized.

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