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State of South Dakota
Flag of South Dakota State seal of South Dakota
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): The Mount Rushmore State (official),
The Sunshine State
Motto(s): Under God the people rule
before statehood, known as
the Dakota Territory
Map of the United States with South Dakota highlighted
Official language(s) English (common language)[1]
Demonym South Dakotan
Capital Pierre
Largest city Sioux Falls
Area  Ranked 17th in the US
 - Total 77,116[2] sq mi
(199,905 km2)
 - Width 210 miles (340 km)
 - Length 380 miles (610 km)
 - % water 1.6
 - Latitude 42° 29′ N to 45° 56′ N
 - Longitude 96° 26′ W to 104° 03′ W
Population  Ranked 46th in the US
 - Total 812,383 (2009 est.)[3]
 - Density 10.5/sq mi  (4.05/km2)
Ranked 46th in the US
Elevation  
 - Highest point Harney Peak[4]
7,244 ft  (2,209 m)
 - Mean 2,200 ft  (670 m)
 - Lowest point Big Stone Lake[4]
966 ft  (295 m)
Admission to Union  November 2, 1889 (40th)
Governor M. Michael Rounds (R)
Lieutenant Governor Dennis Daugaard (R)
U.S. Senators Tim Johnson (D)
John Thune (R)
U.S. House delegation Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D) (list)
Time zones  
 - eastern half Central: UTC-6/-5
 - western half Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Abbreviations SD US-SD
Website http://www.sd.gov

South Dakota (Listeni /ˌsθ dəˈktə/) is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. South Dakota was carved out of the southern half of the Dakota Territory and admitted to the Union on November 2, 1889. Centrally located Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls is the state's largest city. As of 2009, South Dakota had an estimated population of 812,383.[3]

South Dakota is bisected by the Missouri River, dividing the state into two socioeconomically distinct halves, known to residents as "West River" and "East River".[5] Fertile soil in the eastern part of the state is used to grow a variety of crops, while ranching is the predominant agricultural activity in the west. The Black Hills, a group of low pine-covered mountains, is located in the southwest part of the state. The area is of great religious importance to local American Indian tribes. Mount Rushmore is a major state tourist destination in the Black Hills.

Historically dominated by an agricultural economy and a rural lifestyle, South Dakota has recently sought to diversify its economy to attract and retain residents. However, it is still largely rural and has the fifth-lowest population density among U.S. states.[6] While several Democratic senators have represented South Dakota for multiple terms at the federal level, the state government is largely dominated by the Republican Party, which has carried South Dakota in the last eleven presidential elections.

Contents

Geography

Terrain and primary geographic features of South Dakota

South Dakota is situated in the north-central United States, and is considered to be a part of the Midwest by the U.S. Census Bureau,[7] although the Great Plains region also covers the state. Additionally, the culture, economy, and geography of western South Dakota has more in common with the West than the Midwest.[5][8] South Dakota has a total land area of 77,116 sq. miles (199,905 km2), making the state the 17th largest in the Union.[2] Harney Peak, with an elevation of 7,242 ft (2,207 m), is the state's highest point, while the shoreline of Big Stone Lake is the lowest, with an elevation of 966 ft (294 m).[4] South Dakota is bordered to the north by North Dakota; to the south by Nebraska; to the east by Iowa and Minnesota; and to the west by Wyoming and Montana. The geographical center of the U.S. is 17 miles (27 km.) west of Castle Rock in Butte County.[4]

The Missouri River is the largest and longest river in the state. Other major South Dakota rivers include the Cheyenne, James, Big Sioux, and White Rivers. Eastern South Dakota has many natural lakes, mostly created by periods of glaciation.[9] Additionally, dams on the Missouri River create four large reservoirs: Lake Oahe, Lake Sharpe, Lake Francis Case, and Lewis and Clark Lake.

Regions and geology

Much of western South Dakota is covered by grasslands and feature buttes such as Thunder Butte, shown above.

South Dakota can generally be divided into three regions: eastern South Dakota, western South Dakota, and the Black Hills.[10] The Missouri River serves as a boundary in terms of geographic, social and political differences between eastern and western South Dakota, and the geography of the Black Hills differs from its surroundings to such an extent that it can be considered separate from the rest of western South Dakota. South Dakotans also at times combine the Black Hills with the rest of western South Dakota, and refer to the two resulting regions, divided by the Missouri, as West River and East River.[5][8]

Eastern South Dakota generally features higher precipitation and lower topography than the western part of the state. Smaller geographic regions of this area include the Coteau des Prairies, the Dissected Till Plains, and the James River Valley. The Coteau des Prairies is a plateau bordered on the east by the Minnesota River Valley and on the west by the James River Basin.[11] Further to the west, the James River Basin is mostly low, flat, highly eroded land, following the flow of the James River through South Dakota from north to south.[12] The Dissected Till Plains, an area of rolling hills and fertile soil that covers much of Iowa and Nebraska, also extends into the southeastern corner of South Dakota. Layers deposited during the Pleistocene epoch, starting around two million years ago, cover most of eastern South Dakota.[13] These are the youngest rock and sediment layers in the state, and are the product of several successive periods of glaciation which deposited a large amount of rocks and soil, known as till, over the area.[14]

The Black Hills, a low mountain range, is located in southwestern South Dakota.

The Great Plains cover most of the western two-thirds of South Dakota. West of the Missouri River the landscape becomes more arid and rugged, consisting of rolling hills, plains, ravines, and steep flat-topped hills called buttes.[15] In the south, east of the Black Hills, lie the South Dakota Badlands. Erosion from the Black Hills, marine skeletons which fell to the bottom of a large shallow sea that once covered the area, and volcanic material all contribute to the geology of this area.[13][16][17]

The Black Hills are in the southwestern part of South Dakota and extend into Wyoming. This range of low mountains covers 6,000 sq. mi (15,500 km².) with peaks that rise from 2,000 to 4,000 feet (600 to 1,200 m) above their bases. The Black Hills are the location of Harney Peak (7,242 ft or 2,207 m above sea level), the highest point in South Dakota and also the highest point in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.[4] Two billion-year-old Precambrian formations, the oldest rocks in the state, form the central core of the Black Hills.[13][18] Formations from the Paleozoic Era form the outer ring of the Black Hills;[19] these were created between roughly 540 and 250 million years ago. This area features rocks such as limestone which were deposited here when the area formed the shoreline of an ancient inland sea.[19]

Ecology

Much of South Dakota, not including the Black Hills, is dominated by a temperate grasslands biome.[20] Although grasses and crops cover most of this region, deciduous trees such as cottonwoods, elms, and willows are common near rivers and in shelter belts.[21] Mammals in this area include bison, deer, pronghorn, coyotes, and prairie dogs.[22] The state bird, the ring-necked pheasant, has adapted particularly well to the area after being introduced from China,[23] and growing populations of bald eagles are spread throughout the state, especially near the Missouri River.[24] Rivers and lakes of the grasslands support populations of walleye, carp, pike, and bass, along with other species.[22] The Missouri River also contains the pre-historic paddlefish.[25]

Because of higher elevation and precipitation, the ecology of the Black Hills differs significantly from that of the plains.[26] The mountains are thickly blanketed by various types of pines, including ponderosa and lodgepole pines, as well as spruces.[27] Black Hills mammals include deer, elk (wapiti), bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and mountain lions, while the streams and lakes contain several species of trout.[28][27][29][30]

Climate

South Dakota has a continental climate with four distinct seasons, ranging from very cold, dry winters to hot and semi-humid summers. During the summers, the average high temperature throughout the state is often close to 90 °F (32 °C), although it generally cools down to near 60 °F (15 °C) at night. It is not unusual for South Dakota to have severe hot, dry spells in the summer with the temperature climbing above 100 °F (38 °C) several times every year.[31] Winters are cold with January high temperatures averaging below freezing and low temperatures averaging below 10 °F (- 12 °C) in most of the state.

Average annual precipitation in South Dakota ranges from semi-arid in the northwestern part of the state (around 15 inches, or 381 mm) to semi-humid around the southeast portion of the state (around 25 inches, or 635 mm),[31] although a small area centered on Lead in the Black Hills has the highest precipitation at nearly 30 inches (762 mm) per year.[32]

South Dakota summers bring frequent, sometimes severe, thunderstorms with high winds, thunder, and hail. The eastern part of the state is often considered part of Tornado Alley,[33] and South Dakota experiences an average of 29 tornadoes per year.[34] Winters aren't more stable, severe weather in the form of blizzards and ice storms occur often during the season.

Monthly normal high and low temperatures for various South Dakota cities in degrees Fahrenheit (and Celsius)
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Aberdeen 21/1 (-6/-17) 28/9 (-2/-13) 40/21 (4/-6) 57/33 (14/1) 70/46 (21/8) 79/55 (26/13) 85/60 (29/16) 84/57 (29/14) 73/46 (23/8) 59/34 (15/1) 39/20 (4/-7) 26/6 (-3/-14)
Rapid City 34/11 (1/-12) 39/16 (4/-9) 47/23 (8/-5) 57/32 (13/0) 67/43 (19/6) 77/52 (25/11) 86/58 (30/14) 86/57 (30/14) 75/46 (24/8) 62/35 (17/2) 45/22 (7/-6) 36/13 (2/-11)
Sioux Falls 25/3 (-4/-16) 32/10 (0/-12) 44/21 (7/-6) 59/32 (15/0) 71/45 (22/7) 81/54 (27/12) 86/60 (30/16) 83/58 (28/14) 74/48 (23/9) 61/35 (16/2) 42/21 (6/-6) 29/8 (-2/-13)
[35]

National Parks and Monuments

South Dakota contains several sites that are administered by the National Park Service. Two national parks have been established in South Dakota, both located in the southwestern part of the state. Wind Cave National Park, established in 1903 in the Black Hills, contains an extensive cave network as well as a large herd of bison.[36] Badlands National Park was created in 1978.[37] The park features a highly eroded, brightly colored landscape surrounded by semi-arid grasslands.[38] Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills was established in 1925. The sculpture of four U.S. Presidents was carved into the mountainside by sculptor Gutzon Borglum.[39] Other areas managed by the National Park Service include Jewel Cave National Monument near Custer, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, which features a decommissioned nuclear missile silo and a separate missile control area located several miles away, and the Missouri National Recreational River.[40] The Crazy Horse Memorial is a large mountainside sculpture near Mt. Rushmore that is being constructed with private funds.[41]

History

Humans have lived in what is today South Dakota for at least several thousand years. The first inhabitants were Paleolithic hunter-gatherers, and disappeared from the area around 5000 BC.[42] Between 500 AD and 800 AD, a semi-nomadic people known as the Mound Builders lived in central and eastern South Dakota, and by 1500 the Arikara (or Ree) had settled in much of the Missouri River valley.[43] European contact with the area began in 1743, when the LaVerendrye brothers explored the region. The LaVerendrye group buried a plate near the site of modern day Pierre, claiming the region for France as part of greater Louisiana.[44] By the early 19th century, the Sioux had largely replaced the Arikara as the dominant group in the area.[45]

In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory, an area that included most of South Dakota, from Napoleon Bonaparte, and President Thomas Jefferson organized a group commonly referred to as the "Lewis and Clark Expedition" to explore the newly acquired region.[46][47] In 1817, an American fur trading post was set up at present-day Fort Pierre, beginning continuous American settlement of the area.[48] In 1855, the U.S. Army bought Fort Pierre but abandoned it the following year in favor of Fort Randall to the south.[48] Settlement by Americans and Europeans was by this time increasing rapidly, and in 1858 the Yankton Sioux signed the 1858 Treaty, ceding most of present-day eastern South Dakota to the United States.[49]

Deadwood, like many other Black Hills towns, was founded after the discovery of gold.

Land speculators founded two of eastern South Dakota's largest present-day cities: Sioux Falls in 1856[50] and Yankton in 1859.[51] In 1861, the Dakota Territory was established by the United States government (this initially included North Dakota, South Dakota, and parts of Montana and Wyoming).[52] Settlement of the area, mostly by people from the eastern United States as well as western and northern Europe, increased rapidly,[53] especially after the completion of an eastern railway link to Yankton in 1873[54] and the discovery of gold in the Black Hills in 1874 during a military expedition led by George A. Custer.[55][56] This expedition took place despite the fact that the western half of present day South Dakota had been granted to the Sioux in 1868 by the Treaty of Laramie as part of the Great Sioux Reservation. The Sioux declined to grant mining rights or land in the Black Hills, and war broke out after the U.S. failed to stop white miners and settlers from entering the region. The Sioux were eventually defeated and settled on reservations within South Dakota and North Dakota.[48]

An increasing population caused the Dakota Territory to be divided in half and a bill for statehood for both Dakotas titled the Enabling Act of 1889 was passed on February 22, 1889 during the Administration of Grover Cleveland. His successor, Benjamin Harrison, signed proclamations formally admitting both states on November 2, 1889. Harrison had the papers shuffled to obscure from him which he was signing first and the actual order went unrecorded.[57]

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. Twenty-five U.S. soldiers were also killed in the conflict.[58] The Wounded Knee area was later the site of a prolonged siege between members of the American Indian Movement and the United States Marshals Service in 1973.[59]

A South Dakota farm during the Dust Bowl, 1936

During the 1930s, several economic and climatic conditions combined with disastrous results for South Dakota. A lack of rainfall, extremely high temperatures and over-cultivation of farmland produced what was known as the Dust Bowl in South Dakota and several other plains states. Fertile topsoil was blown away in massive dust storms, and several harvests were completely ruined.[60] The experiences of the Dust Bowl, coupled with local bank foreclosures and the general economic effects of the Great Depression resulted in many South Dakotans leaving the state. The population of South Dakota declined by more than 7% between 1930 and 1940.[61]

Economic stability returned with the U.S. entry into World War II in 1941, when demand for the state's agricultural and industrial products grew as the nation mobilized for war.[62] In 1944, the Pick-Sloan Plan was passed as part of the Flood Control Act of 1944 by the U.S. Congress, resulting in the construction of six large dams on the Missouri River, four of which are at least partially located in South Dakota.[63] Flood control, hydroelectricity, and recreational opportunities such as boating and fishing are provided by the dams and their reservoirs.[63]

In recent decades, South Dakota has transformed from a state dominated by agriculture to one with a more diversified economy. The tourism industry has grown considerably since the completion of the interstate system in the 1960s, with the Black Hills being especially impacted. The financial service industry began to grow in the state as well, with Citibank moving its credit card operations from New York to Sioux Falls in 1981, a move that has since been followed by several other financial companies, after South Dakota became the first state to eliminate caps on interest rates.[64] In 2007, the site of the recently closed Homestake gold mine near Lead was chosen as the location of a new underground research facility.[65] Despite a growing state population and recent economic development, many rural areas have been struggling over the past 50 years with locally declining populations and the emigration of educated young adults to larger South Dakota cities, such as Rapid City or Sioux Falls, or to other states.[66]

Demographics

South Dakota Population Density Map
Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1860 4,837
1870 11,776 143.5%
1880 98,268 734.5%
1890 348,600 254.7%
1900 401,570 15.2%
1910 583,888 45.4%
1920 636,547 9.0%
1930 692,849 8.8%
1940 642,961 −7.2%
1950 652,740 1.5%
1960 680,514 4.3%
1970 665,507 −2.2%
1980 690,768 3.8%
1990 696,004 0.8%
2000 754,844 8.5%
Est. 2009[3] 812,383 7.6%

Population

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2006, South Dakota has an estimated population of 781,919, an increase of 27,075, or 3.6%, since the year 2000.[67] 7.0% of South Dakota's population were reported as under 5, 24.9% under 18, and 14.2% were 65 or older.[67] Females made up approximately 50.0% of the population.[67] As of the 2000 census, South Dakota ranked fifth-lowest in the nation in both population and population density.[6][3] The center of population of South Dakota is located in Buffalo County, in the unincorporated county seat of Gannvalley.[68]

Race and ethnicity

As of the 2005–2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 87.4% of South Dakota's population, American Indians made up 8.2% of the state's population, Blacks or African Americans made up 1.0% of South Dakota's population, Asian Americans made up 0.9% of the state's population, and Pacific Islander Americans made up less than 0.1% of the state's population. Individuals from some other race made up 0.7% of the state's population and individuals from two or more races made up 1.8% of the state's population. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos made up 2.1% of South Dakota's population.[69][70]

The five largest ancestry groups in South Dakota are: German (40.7%), Norwegian (15.3%), Irish (10.4%), Native American (8.3%), and English (7.1%).[71] German-Americans are the largest ancestry group in most parts of the state, especially in the east, although there are also large Scandinavian populations in some counties. South Dakota has the nation's largest population of Hutterites,[72] a communal Anabaptist group who emigrated from Europe in 1874.

South Dakota has a number of large Indian reservations (shown in pink).

American Indians, largely Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota (Sioux) are predominant in several counties. South Dakota has the third highest proportion of Native Americans of any state, behind Alaska and New Mexico.[73] Five of the state's counties are wholly within Indian reservations.[74] Living standards on many reservations are often very low when compared with the national average. The unemployment rate in Fort Thompson, on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation, is 70%, and 21% of households there lack plumbing or basic kitchen appliances.[75] A 1995 study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that 58% of homes on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation did not have a telephone.[76]

As of the 2000 census, 1.90% of the population aged 5 or older speak German at home, while 1.51% speak Dakota, and 1.43% Spanish.[77]

Growth and rural flight

South Dakota, in common with other Great Plains states, has been experiencing a falling population in many rural areas over the last several decades, a phenomenon known as "rural flight". This trend has continued in recent years, with 30 of South Dakota's counties losing population between the 1990 and the 2000 census.[78] During that time, nine counties experienced a population loss of greater than 10%, with Harding County, in the northwest corner of the state, losing nearly 19% of its population.[78] Low birth rates and a lack of younger immigration has caused the median age of many of these counties to increase. In 24 counties, at least 20% of the population is over the age of 65,[79] compared with a national rate of 12.5%.[67]

The effect of rural flight has not been spread evenly through South Dakota, however. Although most rural counties and small towns have lost population, the Sioux Falls area, the larger counties along Interstate 29, the Black Hills, and many Indian reservations have all gained population.[78] In fact, Lincoln County, near Sioux Falls, is the ninth-fastest growing county (by percentage) in the United States.[80] The growth in these areas has compensated for losses in the rest of the state,[78] and South Dakota's total population continues to increase steadily, albeit at a slower rate than the national average.[67]

Religion

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 181,434 members; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) with 121,871 members; and the United Methodist Church (UMC) with 37,280 members.[81] (Both the ELCA and UMC are specific denominations within the broader terms 'Lutheran' and 'Methodist', respectively.) The results of a 2001 survey, in which South Dakotans were asked to identify their religion, include:[82]

Economy

A B-1B Lancer lifts off from Ellsworth Air Force Base, one of South Dakota's largest employers

The current-dollar gross state product of South Dakota was US$37 billion as of 2008,[83] the fifth smallest total state output in the US. The per capita personal income was $37,375 in 2008, ranked 26th in the U.S.,[84] and 13.2% of the population is below the poverty line. As of November 2008, South Dakota's unemployment rate was 3.4%, the third lowest jobless rate in the nation.[85]

The service industry is the largest economic contributor in South Dakota. This sector includes the retail, finance, and health care industries. Citibank, which was the largest bank holding company in the United States at one time, established national banking operations in South Dakota in 1981 to take advantage of favorable banking regulations.[64] Government spending is another important segment of the state's economy, providing over ten percent of the gross state product. Ellsworth Air Force Base, near Rapid City, is the second-largest single employer in the state.[86]

Agriculture has historically been a key component of the South Dakota economy. Although other industries have expanded rapidly in recent decades, agricultural production is still very important to the state's economy, especially in rural areas. The five most valuable agricultural products in South Dakota are cattle, corn (maize), soybeans, wheat, and hogs.[87] Agriculture-related industries such as meat packing and ethanol production also have a considerable economic impact on the state. South Dakota is the sixth leading ethanol-producing state in the nation.[88]

Another important sector in South Dakota's economy is tourism. Many travel to view the attractions of the state, particularly those in the Black Hills region, such as historic Deadwood, Mount Rushmore, and the nearby state and national parks. One of the largest tourist events in the state is the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The five day event drew over 450,000 attendants in 2006, significant considering the state has a population of only 790,000.[89] In 2006, tourism provided an estimated 33,000 jobs in the state and contributed over two billion dollars to the economy of South Dakota.[90]

State taxes

As of 2005, South Dakota has the lowest per capita total state tax rate in the United States.[91] The state does not levy personal or corporate income taxes,[92] inheritance taxes,[93] or taxes on intangible personal property. The state sales tax rate is 4 percent.[94] Various localities have local levies so that in some areas the rate is 6 percent. The state sales tax does not apply to sales to Indians on Indian Reservations, but many reservations have a compact with the state. Businesses on the reservation collect the tax and the state refunds to the Indian Tribes the percentage of sales tax collections relating to the ratio of Indian population to total population in the county or area affected. Ad valorem property taxes are local taxes and are a large source of funding for school systems, counties, municipalities and other local government units. The South Dakota Special Tax Division regulates some taxes including cigarette and alcohol related taxes.[95]

Transportation

Beaver Creek Bridge in Wind Cave National Park.

South Dakota has a total of 83,609 miles of highways, roads, and streets, along with 679 miles of interstate highways.[96] Two major interstates pass through South Dakota: Interstate 90, which runs east and west; and Interstate 29, running north and south in the eastern portion of the state. The I-29 corridor features generally higher rates of population and economic growth than areas in eastern South Dakota that are further from the interstate.[78] Also located in the state are the shorter interstates 190, a spur into central Rapid City, and 229, a loop around eastern and southern Sioux Falls. Several major U.S. highways pass through the state. U.S. routes 12, 14, 16, 18, and 212 travel east and west, while U.S. routes 81, 83, 85 and 281 run north and south.

South Dakota contains two National Scenic Byways. The Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway is located in the Black Hills, while the Native American Scenic Byway runs along the Missouri River in the north-central part of the state. Other scenic byways include the Badlands Loop Scenic Byway, the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, and the Wildlife Loop Road Scenic Byway.[97]

Railroads have played an important role in South Dakota transportation since the mid-19th century. Some 4,420 miles (7,110 km) of railroad track were built in South Dakota during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but only 1,839 miles (2,960 km) are active.[98] BNSF Railway is currently the largest railroad in South Dakota; the Dakota, Minnesota, and Eastern Railroad is the state's other major carrier.[99][100] Rail transportation in the state is confined only to freight, however, as South Dakota is one of the few states without any Amtrak service.[101]

South Dakota's largest commercial airports in terms of passenger traffic are the Sioux Falls Regional Airport and Rapid City Regional Airport. Northwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and Allegiant Airlines, as well as commuter airlines using the brand affiliation with major airlines serve the two largest airports. Several other cities in the state also have commercial air service, some of which is subsidized by the Essential Air Service program.[102]

Government and politics

Government

Like that of other U.S. states, the structure of the government of South Dakota follows the same separation of powers as federal government, with executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The structure of the state government is laid out in the Constitution of South Dakota, the highest law in the state. The constitution may be amended either by a majority vote of both houses of the legislature, or by voter initiative.[103]

The Governor of South Dakota occupies the executive branch of the state government.[104] The current governor is M. Michael Rounds, a Republican from Pierre. The state constitution gives the governor the power to either sign into law or veto bills passed by the state legislature,[105] to serve as commander-in-chief of the South Dakota National Guard, to appoint a cabinet, and to commute criminal sentences or to pardon those convicted of crimes.[106] The governor serves for a four-year term, and may not serve more than two consecutive terms.[107]

The state legislature is made up of two bodies, the Senate, which has 35 members, and the House of Representatives, with 70 members. South Dakota is divided into 35 legislative districts,[108] with voters electing two representatives and one senator per district.[108] The legislature meets for an annual session which begins on the second Tuesday in January and lasts for 30 days; it also meets if a special session is called by the governor.[108]

The judicial branch is made up of several levels. The state supreme court, with four justices and a chief justice, is the highest court in the state.[109] Below the supreme court are the circuit courts; 38 circuit judges serve in seven judicial circuits in the state.[109] Below the circuit courts are the magistrate courts, which deal with more minor criminal and civil actions.[109]

Federal representation

South Dakota is represented at the federal level by Senator Tim Johnson, Senator John Thune, and Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.[110] Johnson and Herseth Sandlin are Democrats and Thune is a Republican. South Dakota is one of seven states with only one seat in the US House of Representatives.[111]

In US presidential elections, South Dakota is allotted three votes in the electoral college, out of a total of 538.[112] Like most states, South Dakota's electoral votes are granted in a winner-take-all system.[113]

Politics

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2008 54.30% 203,019 45.70% 170,886
2004 59.91% 232,584 38.44% 149,244
2000 60.3% 190,700 37.56% 118,804
1996 46.49% 150,543 43.03% 139,333
1992 40.66% 136,718 37.14% 124,888
1988 52.85% 165,415 46.51% 145,560
1984 63.0% 200,267 36.53% 116,113

South Dakota politics are generally dominated by the Republican Party, and the state has not supported a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964 — even George McGovern, the Democratic nominee in 1972 and himself a South Dakotan, did not carry the state.[114][115] Additionally, a Democrat has not won the governorship since 1978. As of 2006, Republicans hold a 10% voter registration advantage over Democrats[116] and hold majorities in both the state House of Representatives[117] and Senate.[118]

Despite the state's general Republican and conservative leanings, Democrats have found success in various state-wide elections, most notably in those involving South Dakota's congressional representatives in Washington. Two of the three current members of the state's congressional delegation are Democrats, and until his electoral defeat in 2004 Senator Tom Daschle was the Senate minority leader (and briefly its majority leader during Democratic control of the Senate in 2001–02).[119]

Contemporary political issues in South Dakota include the costs and benefits of the state lottery,[120] South Dakota's relatively low rankings in education spending (particularly teacher pay),[121] and recent legislative and electoral attempts to ban abortion in the state.[122][123]

Culture

Author Laura Ingalls Wilder used her experiences growing up near De Smet as the basis for four of her novels.

Much of South Dakota's culture reflects the state's American Indian, rural, Western, and European roots. A number of annual events celebrating the state's ethnic and historical heritage take place around the state, such as Days of '76 in Deadwood,[124] Czech Days in Tabor,[125] and the annual St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo festivities in Sioux Falls. Many pow wows are held yearly throughout the state,[126] and Custer State Park's Buffalo Roundup, in which volunteers on horseback gather the park's herd of around 1,500 bison, is a popular annual event.[127]

Laura Ingalls Wilder, whose semi-autobiographical books center around her experiences as a child and young adult on the frontier, is one of South Dakota's best-known writers. She used her experiences growing up on a homestead near De Smet as the basis for four of her novels: By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, and The First Four Years.[128] Another literary figure from the state is Black Elk, whose narration of the Indian Wars and Ghost Dance movement and thoughts on Native American religion forms the basis of the book Black Elk Speaks.[129] The award-winning children's book author and illustrator Paul Goble has been based in the Black Hills since 1977.[130]

South Dakota has also produced several notable artists. Harvey Dunn grew up on a homestead near Manchester in the late 19th century. While most of his career was spent as an illustrator, Dunn's most famous works, showing various scenes of frontier life, were completed near the end of his career.[131] Oscar Howe was born on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation and won fame for his watercolor paintings.[132] Howe was one of the first Native American painters to produce works heavily influenced by abstraction, as opposed to ones relying on more traditional styles. Terry Redlin, originally from Watertown, is an accomplished painter of rural and wildlife scenes. Many of Redlin's works are on display at the Redlin Art Center in Watertown.[133]

Cities and towns

Sioux Falls
Aberdeen

Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota, with an estimated 2007 population of 151,505,[134] and a metropolitan area population of 227,171.[135] The city, founded in 1856, is located in the southeast corner of the state.[136] Retail, finance and healthcare have assumed greater importance in Sioux Falls,[137] where the economy was originally centered on agri-business and quarrying.

Rapid City, with a 2007 estimated population of 63,997,[134] and a metropolitan area population of 120,279,[135] is the second-largest city in the state. It is located on the eastern edge of the Black Hills, and was founded in 1876.[138] Rapid City's economy is largely based on tourism and defense spending,[137] because of the close proximity of many tourist attractions in the Black Hills and Ellsworth Air Force Base.

Aberdeen, is the 3rd largest city in South Dakota, with an estimated population of 24,410,[134] and a micropolitan area population of 39,827.[135] Located in the northeast corner of the state, it was founded in 1881 during the expansion of the Milwaukee Railroad.

The next seven largest cities in the state, in order of descending 2007 population, are Watertown (20,530), Brookings (19,463), Mitchell (14,832), Pierre (14,032), Yankton (13,643), Huron (10,902), and Vermillion (10,251).[134] Pierre is the state capital, and Brookings and Vermillion are the locations of the state's two largest universities. Of the ten largest cities in the state, only Rapid City is located west of the Missouri River.[134][139]

Media

South Dakota's first newspaper, the Dakota Democrat, began publishing in Yankton in 1858.[140] Today, the largest newspaper in the state is the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, with a Sunday circulation of 63,701 and a weekday circulation of 44,334.[141] The Rapid City Journal, with a Sunday circulation of 32,638 and a weekday circulation of 27,827, is South Dakota's second largest newspaper.[141] The next four largest newspapers in the state are the Aberdeen American News, the Watertown Public Opinion, the Huron Plainsman, and the Brookings Register.[141] In 1981, Tim Giago founded the Lakota Times as a newspaper for the local American Indian community on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The newspaper, now published in New York and known as Indian Country Today, is currently available in every state in the country.[142]

There are currently nine television stations broadcasting in South Dakota;[143] South Dakota Public Television broadcasts from a number of locations around the state, while the other stations broadcast from either Sioux Falls or Rapid City. The two largest television media markets in South Dakota are Sioux Falls-Mitchell, with a viewership of 246,020, and Rapid City, with a viewership of 91,070.[144] The two markets rank as 114th and 177th largest in the United States, respectively.[144] The first television station in the state, KELO-TV, began airing in Sioux Falls in 1953. Among KELO's early programs was Captain 11, an afternoon children's program. Captain 11 ran from 1955 until 1996, making it the longest continuously running children's television program in the nation.[145]

A number of South Dakotans are famous for their work in the fields of television and publishing. Former NBC Nightly News anchor and author Tom Brokaw is from Webster and Yankton,[146] USA Today founder Al Neuharth is from Eureka and Alpena,[147] gameshow host Bob Barker spent much of his childhood in Mission,[148] and entertainment news hosts Pat O'Brien[149] and Mary Hart[150] are both from Sioux Falls.

Education

As of 2006, South Dakota has a total primary and secondary school enrollment of 136,872, with 120,278 of these students being educated in the public school system.[151] There are 703 public schools[152] in 168 school districts,[153] giving South Dakota the highest number of schools per capita in the United States.[154] The current high school graduation rate is 89.9%,[155] and the average ACT score is 21.8, slightly above the national average of 21.1.[156] 84.6% of the adult population has earned at least a high school diploma, and 21.5% has earned a bachelor's degree or higher.[71] South Dakota's 2008 average public school teacher salary of $36,674, compared to a national average of $52,308, was the lowest in the nation.[157]

The South Dakota Board of Regents, whose members are appointed by the governor, controls the six public universities in the state. South Dakota State University (SDSU), in Brookings, is the largest university in the state, with an enrollment of 11,377.[158] The University of South Dakota (USD), in Vermillion, is the state's oldest university, and has the only law and medical schools in the state. South Dakota also has several private universities, the largest of which is Augustana College in Sioux Falls.[158]

Sports and recreation

Organized sports

Because of its low population, South Dakota does not host any major league professional sports franchises. The state does have a number of minor league teams, all of which play in either Sioux Falls or Rapid City. Sioux Falls is currently home to four teams: the Sioux Falls Fighting Pheasants (a baseball team formerly known as the Canaries), the Sioux Falls Skyforce (basketball), the Sioux Falls Stampede (hockey), and the Sioux Falls Storm (arena football).[159][160] The Fighting Pheasants play at Sioux Falls Stadium, while the others play at the Sioux Falls Arena. Rapid City has a hockey team named the Rapid City Rush. The Rush recently began their inaugural season at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.[161]

Universities in South Dakota host a variety of sports programs. For many years, South Dakota was one of the only states in the country without a NCAA Division I football or basketball team. However, several years ago SDSU decided to move their teams from Division II to Division I,[162] a move that has since been followed by the University of South Dakota.[163] Other universities in the state compete at the NCAA's Division II or III levels, or in the NAIA.

Famous South Dakota athletes include Billy Mills, Mike Miller, Mark Ellis, Becky Hammon, Brock Lesnar, and Adam Vinatieri. Mills is from the town of Pine Ridge and competed at the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, becoming the only American to win a gold medal in the 10,000 meter event.[164] Mike Miller of Mitchell played at the University of Florida, leading them to the 2000 NCAA Championship game his sophomore year and won the 2001 NBA rookie of the year award. Mark Ellis of Rapid City played for the University of Florida and is currently a second baseman for the Oakland Athletics.[165] Becky Hammon of Rapid City plays for the WNBA's San Antonio Silver Stars.[166] Lesner, of Webster, wrestled at the University of Minnesota and had a 106-5 career record; he is also the current heavy-weight champion in the UFC. Vinatieri is an NFL placekicker who grew up in Rapid City and attended SDSU.[167][168]

Recreation

A tunnel along the George S. Mickelson Trail, a rail trail in the Black Hills.

Fishing and hunting are both popular outdoor activities in South Dakota. Fishing contributes over $170 million to South Dakota's economy,[169] and hunting contributes over $190 million.[170] In 2007, over 275,000 hunting licences and 175,000 fishing licences were sold in the state; around half of the hunting licences and over two-thirds of the fishing licences were purchased by South Dakotans.[171] Popular species of game include pheasants, white-tailed deer, mule deer, and turkeys, as well as waterfowl such as Canada geese, snow geese, and mallards. Targets of anglers include walleye in the eastern glacial lakes and Missouri River reservoirs,[172][173] chinook salmon in Lake Oahe,[173] and trout in the Black Hills.[174]

Other sports, such as cycling and running, are also popular in the state. In 1991, the state opened the George S. Mickelson Trail, a 109 mile (175 km) rail trail in the Black Hills.[175] Besides being popular with cyclists, the trail is also the site of a portion of the annual Mount Rushmore marathon; all of the marathon's course is at an elevation of over 4,000 feet (1,200 m).[176] Other events in the state include the Tour de Kota, a 478 mile (766 km), six-day cycling event that covers much of eastern and central South Dakota,[177] and the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which draws thousands of participants from around the United States.

State symbols

Reverse side of U.S. quarter coin with a commemorative South Dakota design depicting Mt. Rushmore, a pheasant, wheat, and the year of statehood.

Some of South Dakota's official state symbols include:[178]

State bird: Ring-necked Pheasant
State flower: American Pasque flower
State tree: Black Hills Spruce
State nicknames: Mount Rushmore State (official), Coyote state & Sunshine state (both unofficial)
State motto: "Under God, the people rule"
State slogan: "Great Faces. Great Places."
State mineral: Rose quartzite
State insect: Honey bee - Apis mellifera L.
State animal: Coyote
State fish: Walleye
State gemstone: Fairburn agate
State song: "Hail, South Dakota!"

See also

References

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  127. ^ "Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival". South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. http://www.sdgfp.info/Parks/Regions/Custer/round.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-29. 
  128. ^ "Laura's History". Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum. http://www.lauraingallswilderhome.com/history1.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
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  132. ^ Hasselstrom, pp. 215–217.
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  140. ^ Hasselstrom, p. 202.
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  142. ^ "Tim Giago". South Dakota Hall of Fame. http://www.sdhalloffame.com/html/bio.cfm?inductee_id=175. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  143. ^ "U.S. Television Stations in South Dakota". Global Computing. 2007. http://www.globalcomputing.com/GetTV_Map1.cfm?PageNum_q_GetTV_Map=1&stateid=SD. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  144. ^ a b "Nielson Media Research Local Universe Estimates (US)". Nielson Media. 2005-6. Archived from the original on 2006-05-17. http://web.archive.org/web/20060517010320/http://www.nielsenmedia.com/DMAs.html. Retrieved 2008-12-13. 
  145. ^ "Dave Dedrick: 1928–2010". KELO-TV. http://keloland.com/NewsDetail6162.cfm?Id=95595. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  146. ^ "Tom Brokaw". South Dakota Hall of Fame. http://www.sdhalloffame.com/html/bio.cfm?inductee_id=68. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  147. ^ "Allen Neuharth". South Dakota Hall of Fame. http://www.sdhalloffame.com/html/bio.cfm?inductee_id=382. Retrieved 200-05-11. 
  148. ^ "Robert (Bob) Barker". South Dakota Hall of Fame. http://www.sdhalloffame.com/html/bio.cfm?inductee_id=32. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  149. ^ "Pat O'Brien". South Dakota Hall of Fame. http://www.sdhalloffame.com/html/bio.cfm?inductee_id=389. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  150. ^ "Mary Hart". South Dakota Hall of Fame. http://www.sdhalloffame.com/html/bio.cfm?inductee_id=214. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  151. ^ "Student Demographics". South Dakota Department of Education. http://www.doe.sd.gov/publications/annualreport/2007/studentdeomographics/k12enrollment.asp. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  152. ^ "School System By Type (2006-07)". South Dakota Department of Education. http://www.doe.sd.gov/publications/annualreport/2007/schoolsandpersonnel/type.asp. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  153. ^ "Schools & Personnel". South Dakota Department of Education. http://www.doe.sd.gov/publications/annualreport/2007/schoolsandpersonnel/numberofSD.asp. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  154. ^ "Number of Schools (most recent) (per capita)". www.statemaster.com. http://www.statemaster.com/graph/edu_ele_sec_tot_num_of_sch_percap-total-number-schools-per-capita. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  155. ^ "South Dakota Graduation Rate". South Dakota Department of Education. http://www.doe.sd.gov/publications/annualreport/2007/studentachievement/Graduationrate.asp. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  156. ^ "ACT Average Composite Score South Dakota vs. National". South Dakota Department of Education. http://www.doe.sd.gov/publications/annualreport/2007/studentachievement/ACT.asp. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  157. ^ "Rankings and Estimates 2008". National Education Association. http://www.nea.org/home/29402.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-30. 
  158. ^ a b "Doing Business in South Dakota (Public Universities)". Governor's Office of Economic Development. http://www.sdreadytowork.com/dbisd/education.asp. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
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  160. ^ "About Augustana - City of Sioux Falls". Augustana College. http://www.augie.edu/about/sioux-falls. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  161. ^ "Rapid City Rush Hockey". Rapid City Visitors & Convention Bureau. http://vacations.visitrapidcity.inntopia.travel/aspnet/2.0/packageselect07.aspx?salesid=650555&packageid=3338&returnxml=0. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  162. ^ "SDSU approved for Division I membership". South Dakota State University. http://www.gojacks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=15000&ATCLID=1498295&SPID=7147&SPSID=64578. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  163. ^ "South Dakota leaves North Central Conference for D-I". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=2680524. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  164. ^ Sun, Rebecca. Catching up with Billy Mills [11] Sports Illustrated. July 28, 2008.
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  167. ^ "Adam Vinatieri". Indianapolis Colts. http://www.colts.com/sub.cfm?page=bio&player_id=380. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  168. ^ "Adam Vinatieri". New England Patriots. http://www.patriots.com/team/index.cfm?ac=playerbio&bio=447. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  169. ^ "Economic Importance of Fishing". South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks. http://www.sdgfp.info/Wildlife/Economics/Fishingeconomics.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  170. ^ "Economic Importance of Hunting". South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks. http://www.sdgfp.info/Wildlife/Economics/Huntingeconomics.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  171. ^ "How many people hunt and fish in South Dakota?". South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks. http://www.sdgfp.info/Wildlife/Economics/Howmanyhuntandfish.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  172. ^ "Fishing in South Dakota (Northeastern)". South Dakota Office of Tourism. http://www.travelsd.com/Outdoors/Fishing/Northeast-Region. Retrieved 2010-01-29. 
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  174. ^ "Fishing in South Dakota (Western)". South Dakota Office of Tourism. http://www.travelsd.com/Outdoors/Fishing/Western-Region. Retrieved 2010-01-29. 
  175. ^ "George S. Mickelson Trail Guide". South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. http://www.sdgfp.info/parks/regions/NorthernHills/MickelsonTrail/GSMTrailGuide.pdf. Retrieved 2010-01-29. 
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  178. ^ "Signs and Symbols of South Dakota". State of South Dakota. http://www.state.sd.us/state/sdsym.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-03. 

Bibliography

External links


Preceded by
North Dakota
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on November 2, 1889 (40th)
Succeeded by
Montana

Coordinates: 44°30′N 100°00′W / 44.5°N 100°W / 44.5; -100


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore

South Dakota [1] is an American state on the Great Plains.


Southeast South Dakota
Most populous, includes South Dakota's largest city (Sioux Falls) and the junction of Interstate Highways 90 and 29
Glacial Lakes
Northeast corner, largely agricultural landscape, home to numerous lakes and the Coteau des Prairies
Great Lakes
Central area bordering the Missouri river
Badlands and Black Hills
Western quarter of the state, home to the big rugged national parks, forests, grasslands, frontier towns, Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, and the state's largest Indian Reservations
  • Pierre -- State capital located on the Missouri River.
  • Aberdeen -- Third largest city, located in the northeast corner of the state. Home to Northern State University
  • Brookings -- Home to South Dakota State University
  • Custer -- Oldest City in the Black Hills
  • Deadwood -- A national historic landmark located in the Black Hills
  • Mitchell -- Home of the World's Only Corn Palace, with new murals covering the outside every year since 1892. Home of the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village.
  • Rapid City -- Second largest city in the state, located at the base of the Black Hills along Interstate 90. Home to Dinosaur Park, among other attractions.
  • Sioux Falls -- Largest city in the state, named after the falls of the Big Sioux River.
  • Wall -- Gateway to the Badlands and home of Wall Drug.

Understand

South Dakota is located in the north central United States. It is bordered by North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana. The state capitol is Pierre (pronounced “peer”), which is located almost exactly in the center of the state.

South Dakota is home to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. In 1927, sculptor Gutzon Borglum came to the Black Hills to carve his masterpiece into the side of a granite mountain. Today, visitors from all over the world come to western South Dakota to see the 60-foot faces of four American Presidents.

South Dakota is a popular family vacation destination. In addition to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, other popular stops are Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, Deadwood, the World’s Only Corn Palace, Badlands National Park, Fort Sisseton Historic State Park, Wall Drug and Lewis and Clark Recreation Area. In De Smet, visitors can still tour the childhood homestead of beloved “Little House on the Prairie” author Laura Ingalls Wilder. Pierre’s Cultural Heritage Center houses the Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society, which preserves the history of the State of South Dakota and Dakota Territory.

South Dakota has a rich history going back to the days of the dinosaurs. One of the most complete T. rex skeletons was found in South Dakota and the largest collection of Columbian Wooly Mammoth fossils are still being unearthed at The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs in the southern Black Hills. Visitors to Badlands National Park can learn about what is considered to be one of the richest fossil beds in the country.

South Dakota is home to the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota-speaking people of the Great Sioux Nation. Several museums and cultural centers across the state depict the history and traditions of these people as well as display ancient artifacts and modern artwork. Across the state, visitors can explore the Native American Scenic Byway, attend a traditional powwow and experience Native American culture.

The Black Hills, called “Paha Sapa” by the Native Americans, is considered sacred ground to many tribes across the country. The Lakota Nation believes all life comes from “Paha Sapa,” and they fought fiercely to protect it during the Indian Wars of the 1800s. One of the most sacred places is Bear Butte in the northern Black Hills. This formation of magma never erupted and looks like a giant sleeping bear. Now a state park, Bear Butte is still used as a place of worship for more than 60 Native American tribes. More than 62,000 Native Americans currently live in South Dakota.

In 1874, an expedition led by General Custer discovered gold for the first time in the Black Hills and incited a gold rush. The largest find was near the town of present day Lead. In 2002, after yielding gold for more than 120 years, the Homestake Gold Mine shut down mining operations, but the location was recently named the proposed site for the National Science Foundation’s Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). Currently, the Sanford Laboratory at Homestake is conducting experiments to demonstrate the feasibility of the site for DUSEL.

Agriculture continues to be the mainstay of South Dakota’s economy. Eastern South Dakota supports a variety of crops, while cattle and sheep ranching are prevalent on the drier, western plains. South Dakota is a leading producer of honey, oats, rye, sunflowers, spring wheat, soybeans, corn, beef cattle, hogs, buffalo and sheep.

Interstate 90 runs east to west across South Dakota, while Interstate 29 runs north to south near the eastern border. Interstate Information Centers are staffed in the summer months and offer a variety of travel and tourism information. The state has two major airports located in Rapid City in the west and Sioux Falls in the east. Rapid City is on the eastern edge of the Black Hills, approximately 25 miles from Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Sioux Falls is located at the intersection of Interstates 29 and 90. Aberdeen, Pierre and Watertown also have airports with limited service by major carriers.

History

South Dakota’s history is filled with rich heritage and colorful characters that include the likes of Lewis and Clark, Sitting Bull, Wild Bill Hickok, Crazy Horse and Laura Ingalls Wilder. The land is the home of several Plains Indian tribes, including the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota-speaking people of the Great Sioux Nation.

By the early 1700s, French fur traders had extended their interests into the Upper Mississippi River basin. French Canadian explorers, Louis Joseph and Francois la Verendrye, were the first known non-Indians in what we call South Dakota. They left a lead plate in 1743 on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River in present day Fort Pierre claiming the region for France. This land was transferred to the United States in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase, and in 1804, American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark met with the Teton band of the Lakota people in the same vicinity. In 1831, Pierre Chouteau, Jr. founded an American Fur Trading post in the area known as Fort Pierre. Today, the cities of Fort Pierre and Pierre (the state capital), take their names from this fort.

The discovery of gold in the Black Hills in 1874 helped fuel a population boom in the last half of the 19th century. The largest find was near the town of present day Lead – a claim that would yield gold for more than 120 years. Deadwood was perhaps the wildest gold camp to spring from the rush – the town’s sordid early days even inspired an HBO television series. Deadwood was home to Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, both of whom were laid to rest in Mount Moriah Cemetery, along with Sheriff Seth Bullock.

Fighting over the mineral-rich and culturally-sacred land raged between native Sioux tribes and settlers in the late 1800s. The final major conflict during the Plains Indian Wars occurred on December 29, 1890, at the Massacre of Wounded Knee, in southwest South Dakota.

During this time, pioneers and homesteaders were beginning to form South Dakota’s strong agricultural base, still prevalent in the state economy today. “Little House on the Prairie” author Laura Ingalls Wilder documented the pioneer spirit in her beloved books about growing up on the prairie. Four of her six books were written about her family’s adventures in De Smet. Today, you can tour her childhood homestead and see places that inspired her classic books and a television series.

South Dakota also played a key role in the Cold War. In the 1960s, America began installing Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles beneath western prairies. The 44th Missile Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota operated 150 missile silos and 15 launch control facilities in the western part of the state. Two of these sites, the Delta One Launch Control Facility and the Delta Nine Launch Facility, have been preserved as a National Historic Site to provide visitors with a unique Cold War history lesson.

Get in

South Dakota is served by two major airports, Sioux Falls Regional Airport (FSD), in the southeast, and Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP), in the west. Sioux Falls Regional Airport is served by Northwest, United, Delta and Allegiant airlines. Rapid City Regional is served by Northwest, United, Delta and Allegiant airlines. Aberdeen, Watertown and Pierre also have scheduled commercial air service.

Two major interstates cross the state. Interstate 90 run east-west from Seattle, Washington to Boston, Massachusetts. Interstate 29 runs north-south from Kansas City, Missouri north to Winnepeg ,Manitoba, Canada. Additionally, federal highways running east-west include 12, 212, 14, and 18; north-south highways 85, 385, 83, 183, 281 and 81 also traverse the state.

South Dakota is not served by Amtrak passenger rail.

Weather & When to Go

South Dakota has four distinct seasons of weather, ranging from cold winters to hot summers. Temperatures can reach over 100*F (almost 40 degress Celsius) in the summer and average below freezing in the winter. Average humidity across the state ranges from semi-arid in the northwest to semi-humid in the southeast. Summers can bring severe weather in the form of thunderstorms, but most days are clear and sunny.

Summer (Memorial Day/late May to Labor Day/early September) is optimal for visiting many of the attractions in the state. However, weather can be mild in both the spring and fall months, and visiting outside of the summer season offers less traffic and opportunities for seeing spring’s first blossoms or fall’s brilliant foliage. Very cold winter weather alternates with milder spells, and snowfall can be prevalent. December through early March is the best time to take advantage of several downhill ski areas, more than 1,500 miles of snowmobiling trails, ice fishing and other winter sports and activities.

During the summer months, South Dakota experiences approximately 15-16 hours of daylight each day. During the winter months, it averages to 9-10 hours of daylight. South Dakota observes two different time zones: Central Time in most areas of the state east of the Missouri River, and Mountain Time in areas west of the Missouri River.

See

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, near Keystone, is known as America’s “Shrine of Democracy.” In 1927, sculptor Gutzon Borglum came to the Black Hills to carve his sculpture into the side of a granite mountain. Today, visitors from all over the world come to the Black Hills of South Dakota to see the four faces of Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

Crazy Horse Memorial, near Custer, is the world’s largest mountain carving in progress. The memorial is a way to honor the culture and traditions of North American Indians. Visitors to Crazy Horse Memorial can see the progress of the mountain carving as well as tour a Native American Museum and art center on the campus of the Memorial.

Badlands National Park, in southwestern South Dakota, features 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes and jagged spires that create a moon-like surface. Thousands of fossils of prehistoric creatures have been uncovered in the park. Archeological and paleontological digs continue today, with some open to public participation.

Wind Cave National Park and Jewel Cave National Monument, both in the southern Black Hills, take visitors deep beneath the surface. Wind Cave is considered one of the world’s longest and most complex caves. Its thin calcite fins and honeycomb rock structures stand in contrast to the 28,295 acres of mixed-grass prairie, ponderosa pine forest and roaming buffalo above ground. Jewel Cave is the second longest cave in the world at 141 miles. Its colorful calcite crystals create jewel-like formations giving the cave its name. The official length of Jewel Cave is continually growing as explorers find new passageways. In January 2008, 476 feet of new passageways were discovered.

Custer State Park, in the southern Black Hills, is a popular family vacation spot. With nearly 1,500 free-roaming buffalo and numerous prairie dogs, deer, bighorn sheep, pronghorns and burros, visitors can experience wildlife in a natural setting. The park also offers mountain lakes for swimming and fishing, dozens of trails for hiking and mountain biking, as well as several lodges and campsites. For visitors looking to take a scenic drive, Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road offer spectacular views, unique rock tunnels and winding pigtail bridges.

The Black Hills National Forest is 1.2 million acres of pine and spruce forest, granite peaks and outdoor adventure. An area of granite spires, known as the Needles, provides challenging rock climbing opportunities. The 114-miles George S. Mickelson Trail, part of the state park system, has gentle slopes and converted railroad bridges that take bikers and hikers from Deadwood in the northern Black Hills to Edgemont in the south. Harney Peak, in the Black Elk Wilderness Area, at an elevation of 7,242 feet is the highest point in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains.

The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site is located near Badlands National Park. The Delta One Launch Control Facility and the Delta Nine Launch Facility were ideal for long-term preservation because they were among the nation’s oldest – with technology dating back to the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s. Only minor modifications have been made to the deactivated sites, and much of the original mechanical equipment and historic furnishings remain intact.

The Missouri River cuts through the center of South Dakota, dividing it roughly into eastern and western halves, and then forms some of the border between South Dakota and Nebraska. The Missouri National Recreational River protects two stretches of the river in the southeastern part of the state; 39 miles from Fort Randall Dam to Running Water and 59 miles from Gavins Point Dam to Nebraska’s Ponca State Park. These sections of the river are the least affected by the four dams in South Dakota, and offer unique landscapes and ecosystems. The entire Missouri River provides countless opportunities for boating, fishing, canoeing and kayaking. Visitors can also camp, bird watch and hike along the river.

There are nearly 60 state parks and recreation areas in South Dakota. They offer numerous opportunities to experience the state, from an outdoor and recreational perspective to an historic one. Among them, Fort Sisseton Historic State Park, in the northeast corner, was a frontier army outpost in 1864 and is still home to 14 of the original buildings. Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, near Yankton, and Farm Island Recreation Area, near Pierre, are two of numerous state parks located on the shores of the Missouri River and offer many camping, fishing, swimming, boating and hiking opportunities.

Do

Events

Sturgis, a.k.a. "Motorcycle City, USA," is home of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally every summer.

Get out

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Map of US highlighting South Dakota

Etymology

EB1911A-pict1.png This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this word, please add it to the page as described here.

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
South Dakota

Plural
-

South Dakota

  1. A north-central state of the United States of America. Capital: Pierre. West of Minnesota, south of North Dakota, north of Nebraska.

Derived terms

Related terms

Translations

See also

External links


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

State of South Dakota
Flag of South Dakota State seal of South Dakota
Flag of South Dakota SealImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Nickname(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: The Mount Rushmore State (official),
The Sunshine State
Motto(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: Under God the people rule
Map of the United States with South Dakota highlighted
Official language(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif English
CapitalImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Pierre
Largest cityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Sioux Falls
AreaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 17thImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total 77,116[1] sq miImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
(199,905 km²Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Width 210 miles (340 kmImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Length 380 miles (610 km)
 - % water 1.6
 - Latitude 42° 29′ N to 45° 56′ N
 - Longitude 96° 26′ W to 104° 03′ W
PopulationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 46thImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total (2000Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif) 754,844
 - DensityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif 9.9/sq mi 
3.84/km² (46th)
ElevationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  
 - Highest point Harney Peak[2]
7,242 ft  (2,209 m)
 - Mean 2,200 ft  (670 m)
 - Lowest point Big Stone Lake[2]
966 ft  (295 m)
Admission to UnionImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  November 2, 1889 (40th)
GovernorImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif M. Michael Rounds (R)
U.S. SenatorsImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Tim Johnson (D)
John Thune (R)
Congressional DelegationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif ListImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Time zonesImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  
 - eastern half Central: UTC-6/-5
 - western half Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Abbreviations SDImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif US-SDImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Web site www.state.sd.us

South Dakota (IPA: /ˌsɑʊθdəˈkoʊtə/) is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota (Sioux) American Indian tribes. South Dakota was admitted to the Union on November 2, 1889. (North Dakota was admitted simultaneously.)

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."[3] In the southwestern portion of the state rise the Black Hills, a group of low, pine-covered mountains. A region of great religious importance to local American Indians as well as a major draw for the state tourism industry, the Black Hills are also the location of Mt. Rushmore, probably the best-known location in the state and a widely-used unofficial symbol of South Dakota.

Historically dominated by an agricultural economy and a rural lifestyle, South Dakota has recently sought to diversify its economy in an effort to attract and retain residents. The state is still largely rural, though, with one of the lowest population densities in the United States.[4] The centrally-located city of Pierre serves as the state capital, and Sioux Falls, with 150,000 people, is the largest city in the state.

Contents

Geography

South Dakota is situated in the north-central United States, and is usually considered to be a part of the Midwest, although the Great Plains region also covers the state. Additionally, South Dakota is at times considered to be a part of the West. The Missouri River runs through the central part of South Dakota. To the east of the river lie low hills and lakes formed by glaciers. Fertile farm country covers the area. To the west of the river the land consists of deep canyons and rolling plains. South Dakota has a total land area of 77,116 sq. miles (199,905 km²), making the state the 17th largest in the Union.[1] South Dakota is bordered to the north by North Dakota; to the south by Nebraska; to the east by Iowa and Minnesota; and to the west by Wyoming and Montana.

Regions

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. This area was called Coteau des Prairies (Prairie Hills) by early French traders. In the north, the Coteau des Prairies is bordered on the east by the Minnesota River Valley and on the west by the James River Basin. 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. This area of rolling hills is criss-crossed by many streams.

Geographic and political features 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. These buttes sometimes rise 400 to 600 feet (120 to 180 m) above the plains. In the south, east of the Black Hills, lie the South Dakota Badlands.

The Black Hills are in the southwestern part of South Dakota and extend into Wyoming. This range of low mountains covers 6,000 square miles (15,500 km².) with mountains that rise from 2,000 to 4,000 feet (600 to 1,200 m) above their bases. The highest point in South Dakota, Harney Peak (7,242 ft or 2,207 m above sea level), is in the Black Hills.[2]This is the highest point between the Rocky Mountains and the French Alps. The Black Hills are rich in minerals such as gold, silver, copper, and lead. The Homestake Mine, one of the largest gold mines in the United States, is located in the Black Hills.

The Missouri River is the largest and longest river in the state. Other major South Dakota rivers include the Cheyenne, the James, the Big Sioux, and the White. South Dakota has many natural lakes, mostly occurring in the eastern part of the state. Additionally, dams on the Missouri River create four large reservoirs: Lake Oahe, Lake Sharpe, Lake Francis Case, and Lewis and Clark Lake.

Ecology

Much of South Dakota, with the notable exception of the Black Hills, is dominated by a temperate grasslands biome.[5] Although grasses and crops cover most of this region, deciduous trees such as cottonwoods, elms, and willows are common near rivers and in shelter belts.[6] Mammals in this area include bison, deer, pronghorn, coyotes, and prarie dogs.[7] The state bird, the ring-necked pheasant, has adapted particularily well to the area after being introduced from China, and growing populations of bald eagles are spread throughout the state, especially near the Missouri River.[8][9] Rivers and lakes of the grasslands support populations of walleye, carp, pike, and bass, along with other species.[7] The Missouri River also contains the pre-historic paddlefish.[10]

Due to higher elevation and precipitation, the ecology of the Black Hills differs significantly from that of the plains. The mountains are thickly blanketed by various types of pine, mostly of the ponderosa and spruce varieties.[11] Black Hills mammals include mule deer, elk (wapiti), bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and mountain lions, while the streams and lakes contain several species of trout.[7][12][13]

Climate

South Dakota has a continental climate with four very distinct seasons ranging from typically very cold winters and hot summers. During the summers, the average high temperature throughout the state is close to 90 °F for the high temperature, although it often cools down to close to 60 °F at night. It is not unusual for South Dakota to have severe hot, dry spells in the summer with the temperature climbing above 100 °F for the high temperature for days or weeks at a time. Winters are cold with high temperatures in January averaging below freezing and low temperatures averaging below 10 °F in most of the state.

The precipitation of the state ranges from semi-arid, in the northwestern part of the state (around 15 inches of annual precipitation) to semi-humid around the southeast portion of the state (around 25 inches of annual precipitation), although a small area centered around Lawrence County has the highest precipitation at nearly 30 inches per annum.

South Dakota summers bring frequent thunderstorms which can be severe with high winds, thunder, and hail. The eastern part of the state is often considered part of tornado alley with the rate of tornadoes per square 10,000 miles approaching that of parts of Oklahoma or Kansas, although the western part of the state is also vulnerable to tornadoes as well. Winters are somewhat more stable. Severe winter storms, occasionally blizzards, can happen in the winter, although the bulk of the snow which falls in South Dakota tends to be in the late autumn and early spring.

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various South Dakota Cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Aberdeen 21/1 28/9 40/21 57/33 70/46 79/55 85/60 84/57 73/46 59/34 39/20 26/6
Huron 25/4 31/11 43/22 58/34 70/46 80/55 86/61 84/59 75/47 61/35 41/21 29/8
Rapid City 34/11 39/16 47/23 57/32 67/43 77/52 86/58 86/57 75/46 62/35 45/22 36/13
Sioux Falls 25/3 32/10 44/21 59/32 71/45 81/54 86/60 83/58 74/48 61/35 42/21 29/8
[4]

National Parks and Monuments

South Dakota contains several sites that are protected by the National Park Service. Two national parks have been established in South Dakota, both of which are located in the southwestern part of the state. Badlands National Park was created in 1978.[14] The park features a highly eroded, brightly-colored landscape surrounded by semi-arid grasslands.[15] Wind Cave National Park, established in 1903 in the Black Hills, contains an extensive cave network as well as a large herd of bison.[16] Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills was established in 1925. The well-known attraction features a mountain carved by sculptor Gutzon Borglum to resemble four former U.S. presidents.[17] Other areas managed by the National Park Service include Jewel Cave National Monument near Custer, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, which features a decommissioned nuclear missile silo, and the Missouri National Recreational River.[18]

History

Human beings have lived in what is today South Dakota for at least several thousand years. French and other European explorers in the 1700s encountered a variety of groups including the Omaha and Arikara (Ree), but by the early 1800s the Sioux (Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota) were dominant. In 1743, the LaVerendrye brothers buried a plate near the site of modern day Pierre, claiming the region for France as part of greater Louisiana.[19] In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon.[20]

President Thomas Jefferson organized a group called the Corps of Discovery, led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (commonly referred to as "Lewis and Clark Expedition"), to explore the newly-acquired region. In 1817, an American fur trading post was set up at present-day Fort Pierre, beginning continuous American settlement of the area.[21] In 1855, the U.S. Army bought Fort Pierre but abandoned it the following year in favor of Fort Randall to the south.[21] Settlement by Americans and Europeans was, by this time, increasing rapidly, and in 1858, the Yankton Sioux signed the 1858 Treaty, ceding most of present-day eastern South Dakota to the United States.[22]

Deadwood, like many other Black Hills towns, was founded after the discovery of gold

Land speculators founded two of eastern South Dakota's largest present-day cities: Sioux Falls in 1856 and Yankton in 1859. In 1861, Dakota Territory was established by the United States government (this initially included North Dakota, South Dakota, and parts of Montana and Wyoming).[23] Settlers from Scandinavia, Germany, Ireland, and Russia, as well as elsewhere in Europe and from the eastern U.S. states increased from a trickle to a flood, especially after the completion of an eastern railway link to the territorial capital of Yankton in 1872, and the discovery of gold in the Black Hills in 1874 during a military expedition led by George A. Custer. This expedition took place despite the fact that the western half of present day South Dakota had been granted to the Sioux by the Treaty of Fort Laramie as part of the Great Sioux Reservation. The Sioux declined to grant mining rights or land in the Black Hills, and war broke out after the U.S. failed to stop white miners and settlers from entering the region. The Sioux were eventually defeated and settled on reservations within South Dakota and North Dakota.[21]

An increasing population in Dakota Territory caused the territory to be divided in half and a bill for statehood for North Dakota and South Dakota (as well as Montana and Washington) titled the Enabling Act of 1889 was passed on February 22, 1889 during the Administration of Grover Cleveland. It was left to his successor, Benjamin Harrison, to sign proclamations formally admitting North and South Dakota to the Union on November 2, 1889. Harrison directed his Secretary of State James G. Blaine to shuffle the papers and obscure from him which he was signing first and the actual order went unrecorded.[24][25]

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.[26]

A South Dakota farm during the Dust Bowl, 1936

During the 1930s, several economic and climatic conditions combined with disastrous results for South Dakota. A lack of rainfall, extremely high temperatures and over-cultivation of farmland produced what was known as the Dust Bowl in South Dakota and several other plains states. Fertile topsoil was blown away in massive dust storms, and several harvests were completely ruined.[27] The experiences of the Dust Bowl, coupled with local bank foreclosures and the general economic effects of the Great Depression resulted in many South Dakotans leaving the state. The population of South Dakota declined by more than seven percent between 1930 and 1940.

Economic stability returned with the U.S. entry into World War II in 1941, when demand for the state's agricultural and industrial products grew as the nation mobilized for war. In 1944, the Pick-Sloan Plan was passed as part of the Flood Control Act of 1944 by the U.S. Congress, resulting in the construction of six large dams on the Missouri River, four of which are at least partially located in South Dakota. Flood control, hydroelectricity and recreational opportunities such as boating and fishing are provided by the dams and their reservoirs.[28]

In recent decades, South Dakota has transformed from a state dominated by agriculture to one with a more diversified economy. The tourism industry has grown considerably since the completion of the interstate system in the 1960s, with the Black Hills being especially impacted. The financial service industry began to grow in the state as well, with Citibank moving its credit card operations from New York to Sioux Falls in 1981, a move that has since been followed by several other financial companies.[29] In 2007, the site of the recently-closed Homestake gold mine near Lead was chosen as the location of a new underground research facility.[30] Despite a growing state population and recent economic development, many rural areas have been struggling over the past 50 years with locally declining populations and the emigration of educated young adults to larger South Dakota cities, such as Rapid City or Sioux Falls, or to other states.[31]

Demographics

South Dakota Population Density Map

Population

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2005, South Dakota has an estimated population of 775,933, which is an increase of 5,312, or 0.7%, from the prior year and an increase of 21,093, or 2.8%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 19,199 people (that is 56,247 births minus 37,048 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 3,222 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 3,957 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 735 people. 6.8% of South Dakota's population were reported as under 5, 26.8% under 18, and 14.3% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 50.4% of the population. The center of population of South Dakota is located in Buffalo County, in the unincorporated county seat of Gannvalley.[32]

Race and Ethnicity

In 2005, the Census Bureau estimated that 88.5% of South Dakotans were White, 8.8% were American Indian or Alaskan Native, 2.1 were Hispanic (of any race), 0.8% were Black, 0.7% were Asian, while 2.1% belonged to more than one race.[33] The five largest ancestry groups in South Dakota are: German (40.7%), Norwegian (15.3%), Irish (10.4%), Native American (8.3%), and English (7.1%). German-Americans are the largest ancestry group in most parts of the state, especially in the east, although there are also large Scandinavian populations in some counties. American Indians, largely Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota (Sioux) are predominant in several counties. South Dakota has the fourth highest proportion of Native Americans of any state, behind Alaska, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.

South Dakota has a number of large Indian reservations (shown in pink).
As of the 2000 census, 1.90% of the population aged 5 or older speak German at home, while 1.51% speak Dakota, and 1.43% Spanish.[34]

Growth and Rural Flight

South Dakota, in common with five other Midwest states (Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Iowa), is experiencing a trend of falling populations in rural counties, despite an overall increase in population for all of these states except North Dakota. 89% of the total number of cities in these six states have fewer than 3,000 people; hundreds have fewer than 1000. Between 1996 and 2004, almost half a million people, nearly half with college degrees, left the six states. "Rural flight" as it is called has led to offers of free land and tax breaks as enticements to newcomers.

The effect of rural flight has not been spread evenly through South Dakota, however. Although most rural counties and small towns have lost population, the Sioux Falls area and the Black Hills have gained population. In fact, Lincoln County, near Sioux Falls, is the ninth-fastest growing county (by percentage) in the United States.[35] The growth in these areas has compensated for losses in the rest of the state, and South Dakota's total population continues to increase steadily, albeit at a slower rate than the national average.[33]

Religion

According to a 2001 survey, 86% of South Dakotans described themselves as being members of a Christian denomination, while 8% said that they were not religious and 3% claimed faith in a non-Christian religion. The largest Christian denomination was Lutheran (27%), followed closely by Roman Catholic at 25%. Other Christian denominations mentioned included Methodist (13%), Baptist (4%), Presbyterian (4%), Pentecostal (2%), Congregational (2%), Episcopal/Anglican (1%), and Seventh-day Adventist (1%). 7% responded either as a non-denominational Christian or a Protestant, while 2% refused to answer.[36]

Economy

The current-dollar gross state product of South Dakota was $32.3 billion as of 2006.[37] The per capita personal income was $26,894 in 2004, the 37th highest in the nation and 13.08 percent below the national average. 13.2% of the population is below the poverty line. As of July, 2007, South Dakota's unemployment rate was 3.0%, the fifth-lowest jobless rate in the nation.[38]

The service industry is the largest economic contributor in South Dakota. This sector includes the retail, finance, and health care industries. Government spending is another important segment of the state's economy, providing over ten percent of the gross state product.[39] Ellsworth Air Force Base, near Rapid City, is the second-largest single employer in the state.[40]

Agriculture has historically been a key component of the South Dakota economy. Although other industries have expanded rapidly in recent decades, agricultural production is still very important to the state's economy, especially in rural areas. Major products of South Dakota agriculture include beef, wheat, corn (maize), pork, wool, soybeans, oats, mutton, alfalfa, sunflowers, and poultry. Agriculture-related industries such as meat packing and ethanol production also have a considerable economic impact on the state. South Dakota is one of the top five ethanol-producing states in the nation.[41]

Another important sector in South Dakota's economy is tourism. Many travel to view the attractions of the state, particularly those of the Black Hills region such as historic Deadwood, Mt. Rushmore, and the nearby state and national parks. One of the largest tourist events in the state is the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The three-day event drew over 450,000 attendants in 2006, significant considering the state has a population of only 750,000.[42] In 2006, tourism provided an estimated 33,000 jobs in the state and contributed over two billion US$ to the economy of South Dakota.[43]

State Taxes

As of 2005, South Dakota has the lowest per capita total state tax rate in the United States.[44] The state does not levy inheritance taxes, personal or corporate income taxes or taxes on intangible personal property. The state sales tax rate is 4 percent. Various localities have local levies so that in some areas the rate is 6 percent. The state sales tax does not apply to sales to Indians on Indian Reservations, but many reservations have a compact with the state. Businesses on the reservation collect the tax and the state refunds to the Indian Tribes the percentage of sales tax collections relating to the ratio of Indian population to total population in the county or area affected.

Ad valorem property taxes are local taxes and are a large source of funding for school systems, counties, municipalities and other local government units. Their administration is a local responsibility. The state revenue department does not collect or use property taxes, but it does centrally assess the property of large companies. The legislature sets some standards by general acts.

Transportation

A rest stop "tipi" is a frequent sight on a trip across the state

South Dakota has a total of 83,609 miles of highways, roads, and streets, along with 679 miles of interstate highways.[45] Two major interstates pass through South Dakota: Interstate 90, which runs east and west; and Interstate 29, running north and south in the eastern portion of the state. The counties and towns along Interstate 29 make up what is locally referred to as "the I-29 corridor." This area features generally higher rates of population and economic growth than areas in eastern South Dakota that are further from the interstate. Interstate 90, being a major route between western national parks and large cities to the east, brings many out-of-state travelers through South Dakota, thus helping to boost the tourism and hospitality industries. Also located in the state are the shorter interstates 190, a spur into central Rapid City, and 229, a loop around eastern and southern Sioux Falls. Several major U.S. highways pass through the state. U.S. routes 12, 14, 16, 18, and 212 travel east and west, while U.S. routes 81, 83, 85 and 281 run north and south.

Railroads are another important means of transporting freight in South Dakota. While 4,420 miles of track have been built in the state, all prior to 1948, only 1,839 miles of railroad are currently operational.[46] BNSF Railway is the largest railroad operating in South Dakota, with the Dakota being another important carrier.[47][48] Rail transportation in the state is confined only to freight, however, as South Dakota is one of the few states without any Amtrak service.[49]

South Dakota license plates are numbered by county, with the first digit referring to the county of origin. Such a numbering system allows one to easily determine where the vehicle was registered. Counties 1–9 are ranked by 1950 population [5], and counties 10–64 are numbered alphabetically.

Law and government

Main article: Government of South Dakota

The state of South Dakota has three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial.

The current governor is M. Michael Rounds.

Currently, there are 35 members of the state Senate and 70 members of the House of Representatives. The state is composed of 35 legislative districts. Voters elect one senator and two representatives from each district. The legislature meets once a year on the second Tuesday in January, and also if the governor calls a special session.

The state Supreme Court is the highest court in South Dakota and the court of last resort for state appellate 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 in the seven circuits. Circuit courts are the state's trial courts of general jurisdiction. There are 12 full-time and three part-time magistrate judges in the seven circuits. Magistrate courts assist the circuit courts in disposing of misdemeanor criminal cases and minor civil actions. These courts of limited jurisdiction make the judicial system more accessible to the public by providing a means of direct court contact for the average citizen.

South Dakota is represented at the federal level by Senator Tim Johnson, Senator John Thune, and Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

Politics

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2004 59.91% 232,584 38.44% 149,244
2000 60.3% 190,700 37.56% 118,804
1996 46.49% 150,543 43.03% 139,333
1992 40.66% 136,718 37.14% 124,888
1988 52.85% 165,415 46.51% 145,560
1984 63.0% 200,267 36.53% 116,113
1980 60.53% 198,343 31.69% 103,855
1976 50.39% 151,505 48.91% 147,068
1972 54.15% 166,467 45.52% 139,945
1968 53.27% 149,841 41.96% 118,023
1964 44.39% 130,108 55.61% 163,010
1960 58.21% 178,417 41.79% 128,070

South Dakota politics are generally dominated by the Republican Party, and the state has not supported a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964 — especially notable when one considers that George McGovern, the Democratic nominee in 1972, was from South Dakota.[50][51] In 2004, George W. Bush won the state's three electoral votes with 59.9% of the vote.[52] Additionally, a Democrat has not won the governorship since 1978. As of 2006, Republicans hold a 10% voter registration advantage over Democrats and hold majorities in both the state House of Representatives and Senate.[53][54][55] All but one of the current statewide elected officers are Republicans.

Despite the state's general Republican and conservative leanings, Democrats have found success in various state-wide elections, most notably in those involving South Dakota's congressional representatives in Washington. Two of the three current members of the state's congressional delegation are Democrats, and until his electoral defeat in 2004 Senator Tom Daschle served as both senator for South Dakota as well as the senate minority (briefly majority) leader.[56]

Contemporary political issues in South Dakota include the legality of the state lottery, South Dakota's relatively low rankings in education spending (particularly teacher pay), and recent legislative attempts to ban abortion in the state.[57][58][59]

See also: Governor of South Dakota and List of United States Senators from South Dakota

Notable Cities and Towns

Ten Largest[60] Cities By 2006 Population
Sioux Falls 142,396
Rapid City 62,715
Aberdeen 24,071
Watertown 20,526
Brookings 18,802
Mitchell 14,857
Pierre 14,095
Yankton 13,767
Huron 10,909
Vermillion 9,862
Further information: List of cities in South DakotaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif and List of South Dakota countiesImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif

Education

Miscellaneous topics

South Dakota is home to the largest naturally heated indoor swimming pool in the world. Evans Plunge, heated from natural mineral springs, is in Hot Springs.

The Black Hills of South Dakota was one of the sites considered for the permanent home of the United Nations.

South Dakota has the largest U.S. population of Hutterites, who originally emigrated from Ukraine in 1874, left en masse for Canada in 1918 following persecution over their pacifist religious beliefs, and partially returned in the 1930s.

The largest and most complete fossil of Tyrannosaurus rex ever found was uncovered near Faith in 1990. Named "Sue," the remains are over 90% complete and are currently on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

The 1990 movie Dances with Wolves directed by and starring Kevin Costner as Lieutenant John Dunbar was filmed entirely in South Dakota.

Three US Navy ships have been named USS South Dakota in honor of the state.

Five of South Dakota's counties lie entirely within Indian reservations. They are: Corson, Dewey, Shannon, Todd, and Ziebach.

Pierre is the second-smallest (in terms of population) state capital; only Montpelier, has fewer people.

The 68-mile-long Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway offers views of the Black Hills along Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road.

State symbols[61]

South Dakota state quarter
State bird: Ring-neck Pheasant
State flower: American Pasque flower
State tree: Black Hills Spruce
State nicknames: Mount Rushmore State (official), Coyote state & Sunshine state (both unofficial)
State motto: "Under God, the people rule"
State slogan: "Great Faces. Great Places."
State mineral: Rose quartz
State insect: Honey bee - Apis mellifera L.
State animal: Coyote
State fish: Walleye
State gemstone: Fairburn agate
State jewelry: Black Hills Gold
State dessert: Kuchen
State drink: Milk
State bread: Fry bread
State grass: Western Wheat grass
State sport: Rodeo
State song: "Hail"
State fossil: Triceratops
State soil: Houdek loam

Famous South Dakotans



See also

References

  1. ^ a b Land and Water Area of States (2000). www.infoplease.com. Retrieved on 2007-09-03, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c Elevations and Distances in the United States. U.S Geological Survey (29 April 2005). Retrieved on November 7, 2006.
  3. ^ Hasselstrom, Linda: Roadside History of South Dakota, pages 2-4. Mountain Press Publishing Company, 1994
  4. ^ List of States by Population Density. www.answers.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-06.
  5. ^ A Short Introduction to Terrestrial Biomes. www.nearctica.com. Retrieved on 2007-09-22.
  6. ^ South Dakota Flora. Northern State University. Retrieved on 2007-09-22.
  7. ^ a b c South Dakota Fauna. Northern State University. Retrieved on 2007-09-22.
  8. ^ Ring-Necked Pheasant. Northern State University. Retrieved on 2007-09-22.
  9. ^ Hetland, Cara. South Dakota bald eagles make a comeback [1] Minnesota Public Radio. 8 February 2007. (accessed 22 September, 2007)
  10. ^ Paddlefish. Northern State University. Retrieved on 2007-09-22.
  11. ^ Pines of South Dakota. Northern State University. Retrieved on 2007-09-22.
  12. ^ Mountain Goat. South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks. Retrieved on 2007-09-22.
  13. ^ General Facts About Mountain Lions. South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks. Retrieved on 2007-09-22.
  14. ^ Frequenly Asked Questions (Badlands National Park). National Park Service. Retrieved on 2007-08-27.
  15. ^ Badlands. National Park Service. Retrieved on 2007-08-27.
  16. ^ Wind Cave History. National Park Service. Retrieved on 2007-08-28.
  17. ^ Carving History. National Park Service. Retrieved on 2007-08-27.
  18. ^ South Dakota. National Park Service. Retrieved on 2007-08-28.
  19. ^ Gaultier De La Verendrye, Louis-Joseph. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved on 2007-04-09.
  20. ^ Louisiana Purchase. National Park Service. Retrieved on 2007-04-10.
  21. ^ a b c Chronology of South Dakota History. South Dakota Historical Society. Retrieved on 2007-09-03.
  22. ^ 1858 "Treaty of Washington". Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved on 2007-08-28.
  23. ^ Dakota Territory History. Union County Historical Society. Retrieved on 2007-09-03.
  24. ^ U.S. Mint Coin of the Month
  25. ^ Library of Congress, Dakota Territory and Statehood
  26. ^ Massacre at Wounded Knee, 1890. www.eyewitnesstohistory.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-04.
  27. ^ Drought in the Dust Bowl Years. National Drought Mitigation Center. Retrieved on 2007-04-04.
  28. ^ Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program. www.answers.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-04.
  29. ^ Hetland, Cara. Sioux Falls 25 years after Citibank's arrival. [2] Minnesota Public Radio. 24 February 2006. (accessed 23 March, 2007)
  30. ^ Homestake Strikes Gold Again. South Dakota Science and Technology Authority. Retrieved on 2007-08-28.
  31. ^ Sweeping out the Plains. www.aliciapatterson.org. Retrieved on 2007-04-05.
  32. ^ Population and Population Centers by State - 2000. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2007-08-18.
  33. ^ a b State and County Quickfacts (South Dakota). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2007-04-10.
  34. ^ Most Spoken Languages in South Dakota. www.mla.org. Retrieved on 2007-08-18.
  35. ^ 100 Fastest Growing Counties. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2007-04-10.
  36. ^ American Religious Identification Survey. Exhibit 15. The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Retrieved on 2007-04-06.
  37. ^ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) By State (Table 5). Bureau of Economic Analyses. Retrieved on 2007-09-08.
  38. ^ Unemployment state by state. CNNMoney.com. Retrieved on 2007-09-08.
  39. ^ {{cite web | url = http://www.sdreadytowork.com/research/industry/GrossStateProduct.pdf | title = South Dakota GSP by component | format = CSV
  40. ^ Reha, Bob. South Dakota's Ellsworth AFB to stay open. [3] Minnesota Public Radio. 26 August 2005. (accessed 8 September, 2007)
  41. ^ Ethanol Production By State. Nebraska Energy Office. Retrieved on 2007-06-30.
  42. ^ Sturgis Rally Attendance Statistics. www.sturgis.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-06.
  43. ^ South Dakota Tourism Statistics. South Dakota Department of Tourism. Retrieved on 2007-04-06.
  44. ^ States Ranked by Total State Taxes and Per Capita Amount: 2005. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2007-04-04.
  45. ^ General Information/Key Facts. South Dakota Department of Transportation. Retrieved on 2007-09-03.
  46. ^ Basic Mileage. South Dakota Department of Transportation. Retrieved on 2007-09-03.
  47. ^ BNSF. South Dakota Department of Transportation. Retrieved on 2007-09-03.
  48. ^ DM&E. South Dakota Department of Transportation. Retrieved on 2007-09-03.
  49. ^ Planning a Trip. www.frommers.com. Retrieved on 2007-09-03.
  50. ^ McGOVERN, George Stanley, (1922-). Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved on 2007-10-05.
  51. ^ Presidential General Election Graph Comparison - South Dakota. www.uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved on 2007-10-05.
  52. ^ 2004 Presidential General Election Results - South Dakota. www.uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved on 2007-04-09.
  53. ^ South Dakota Voter Registration Statistics. South Dakota Secretary of State. Retrieved on 2007-04-10.
  54. ^ Official List of South Dakota Senators. State of South Dakota. Retrieved on 2007-04-10.
  55. ^ Official List of South Dakota Representatives. State of South Dakota. Retrieved on 2007-04-10.
  56. ^ Daschle Loses S.D. Senate Seat to Thune. www.foxnews.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-10.
  57. ^ South Dakota Lottery History. South Dakota Lottery. Retrieved on 2007-04-09.
  58. ^ Quality Counts 2000 - Who Should Teach?. Education Week. Retrieved on 2007-04-09.
  59. ^ {{cite news | title = South Dakota Abortion Ban Rejected | publisher = USA Today | date = [[2006-11-08|]]
  60. ^ United States Census Bureau Population Estimates for all Incorporated Places in South Dakota: 2000-2006. Retrieved on 2007-06-29.
  61. ^ Signs and Symbols of South Dakota

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Simple English

State of South Dakota
File:Flag of South [[File:|100px|State seal of South Dakota]]
Flag of South Dakota Seal of South Dakota
Also called: The Mount Rushmore State (official),
The Sunshine State
Saying(s): Under God the people rule
Official language(s) English
Capital Pierre
Largest city Sioux Falls
Area  Ranked 17th
 - Total 77,163 sq mi
(199,905 km²)
 - Width 210 miles (340 km)
 - Length 380 miles (610 km)
 - % water 1.6
 - Latitude 42°29'30"N to 45°56'N
 - Longitude 98°28'33"W to 104°3'W
Number of people  Ranked 46th
 - Total (2010) {{{2010Pop}}}
 - Density {{{2010DensityUS}}}/sq mi 
{{{2010Density}}}/km² (46th)
Height above sea level  
 - Highest point Harney Peak[1]
7,242 ft  (2,209 m)
 - Average 2,200 ft  (670 m)
 - Lowest point Big Stone Lake[1]
966 ft  (295 m)
Became part of the U.S.  November 2, 1889 (40th)
Governor Mike Rounds (R)
U.S. Senators Tim Johnson (D)
John Thune (R)
Time zones  
 - eastern half Central: UTC-6/-5
 - western half Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Abbreviations SD US-SD
Web site www.state.sd.us

South Dakota is a state in the United States. South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. Its capital is Pierre and largest city is Sioux Falls. Other important cities are Rapid City and Aberdeen. Famous attractions include Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, and the Wall Drug Store. The Corn Palace is also famous, and it is located in Mitchell.

South Dakota is bordered to the north by North Dakota, to the south by Nebraska, to the east by Iowa and Minnesota, and to the west by Wyoming and Montana.

References

Other websites

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