State of South Dakota - SD

South Dakota is a Midwestern state in the United States. 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 on the same day. South Dakota is probably best known as the location of Mount Rushmore.

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. It is one of the six states of the Frontier Strip.

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 consists of 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.

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. 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.

Major South Dakota rivers include the Cheyenne River, Missouri River, James River, and the White River. Major lakes, all reservoirs, are Lake Oahe, Lake Francis Case, and Lewis and Clark Lake.

Areas under the management of the National Park Service include:

Badlands National Park
Jewel Cave National Monument near Custer
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site at Southwestern
Missouri National Recreational River
Mount Rushmore National Memorial near Keystone
Wind Cave National Park near Hot Springs

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 modern capital Pierre (pronounced as "peer") claiming the region for France as part of greater Louisiana. In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon, though the native peoples inhabiting most of this area were not aware of the transaction.

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. Through much of the 19th century, exploratory expeditions such as those of Lewis and Clark and Joseph Nicollet coincided with an increasing presence of the U.S. Army. In 1855, the U.S. Army bought Fort Pierre but abandoned it the following year in favor of Fort Randall to the south. Settlement by Americans and Europeans was, by this time, increasing rapidly, and in 1858, the Yankton, Dakota, and Sioux resigned themselves to signing the 1858 Treaty, ceding most of present-day eastern South Dakota to the United States. Of this, Yankton leader Strike-the-Ree said "The white men are coming like maggots. It is useless to resist them.... Many of our brave warriors would be killed, our women and children left in sorrow, and still we would not stop them."

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 recognized by the United States government (this initially included North Dakota, South Dakota, and parts of Montana and Wyoming). 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 all of Dakota Territory west of the Missouri River (along with much of Nebraska, Montana, and Wyoming) had been granted to the Sioux by the Treaty of 1868 as part of the Great Sioux Nation. 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.

Native Americans were unable to compete with the greater numbers and superior weaponry available to U.S. forces. They were also hampered by the sharp decline in numbers of the buffalo, which was a major food source of the Sioux. Between 1878 and 1886, the Euro-American settler population of eastern Dakota Territory tripled. The last major incident in this struggle occurred on December 29, 1890, at Wounded Knee Creek in present-day western South Dakota, when U.S. soldiers massacred as many as 300 Sioux, mostly women and children.

Just over a year earlier, on November 2, 1889, Dakota Territory was incorporated into the United States as the modern states of North Dakota and South Dakota.

Historical populations
year Population


1860 4,837
1870 11,776
1880 98,268
1890 348,600
1900 401,570
1910 583,888
1920 636,547
1930 692,849
1940 642,961
1950 652,740
1960 680,514
1970 665,507
1980 690,768
1990 696,004
2000 754,844
South Dakota Population Density MapAccording 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.

Demographics of South Dakota (csv)
By race White Black AIAN Asian NHPI
AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native - NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
2000 (total population) 90.36% 0.90% 9.06% 0.80% 0.07%
2000 (hispanic only) 1.21% 0.04% 0.24% 0.02% 0.01%
2005 (total population) 89.64% 1.17% 9.43% 0.92% 0.06%
2005 (hispanic only) 1.83% 0.07% 0.23% 0.02% 0.00%
Growth 2000-2005 (total population) 1.98% 33.36% 7.02% 17.99% -9.87%
Growth 2000-2005 (non-hispanic only) 1.25% 31.10% 7.20% 18.58% -5.69%
Growth 2000-2005 (hispanic only) 55.60% 78.64% 0.17% -6.21% -41.54%

The five largest ancestry groups in South Dakota are: German (40.7%), Norwegian (15.3%), Irish (10.4%), Native American (8.3%), 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 Sioux, are predominant in several counties. South Dakota has the third highest proportion of Native Americans of any state, behind only Alaska and New Mexico.

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.

South Dakota has one of the largest Native American populations of any state.

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. 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. This growth has compensated for losses in the rest of the state; therefore, South Dakota's total population continues to steadily increase.

The religious affiliations of the people of South Dakota are:

Christian – 91%
Protestant – 65%
Lutheran – 28%
Methodist – 13%
Presbyterian – 4%
Baptist – 4%
United Church of Christ – 2%
Pentecostal – 2%
Other Protestant or general Protestant – 12%
Roman Catholic – 25%
Other Christian – 1%
Other Religions – 1%
Non-Religious – 8%

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the gross state product of South Dakota was $29.4 billion as of 2004. 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.

South Dakota does not levy inheritance taxes, personal or corporate income taxes or taxes on intangible personal property. The state sales tax is 4 percent.

Personal and property taxes are local taxes and are the primary 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. Property owners in South Dakota may be taxed by two or more of the following units of government: cities, counties, townships, school districts, water districts, and, in some cases, units such as fire and sanitary sewer districts.

List of South Dakota railroads
Category: Transportation in South Dakota
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, roughly, by population., and counties 10–67 are numbered alphabetically.

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

The current governor is Mike Rounds.

Currently, there are 35 members of the state Senate and 70 members of the House of Representatives. The state is comprised of 35 legislative districts. Voters elect 1 senator and 2 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 38 circuit judges serving in the seven circuits. Circuit courts are the state's trial courts of general jurisdiction. There are 12 full-time and 3 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.

Federal government representation is currently serviced by Senator Tim Johnson, Senator John Thune, and Representative Stephanie Herseth.

Presidential elections results Year GOP Dems
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. In 2004, George W. Bush won the state's three electoral votes with 59.9% of the vote.

There are only five reliably Democratic counties in the state — most of them with primarily American Indian populations. Republicans have won the last seven gubernatorial elections and have controlled the legislature, with one brief interruption, for over thirty years. Democrats, however, have been successful in winning election to Congress from South Dakota, including former Senators Tom Daschle, James Abourezk and George McGovern; current Senator Tim Johnson; and current Representative Stephanie Herseth.

While President Bush received a lower vote percentage in 2004 than he did in 2000, he still received a very strong 60% of the popular vote. Part of the deviation had to do with record turnout driven by the intense Senate campaigns that year. Republicans hold a 9% registration advantage over Democrats and hold large majorities in both the state House of Representatives and Senate. Additionally, all but one of the statewide elected constitutional officers are Republicans.

Senator Tom Daschle, the Democratic leader of the Senate and a fixture of South Dakota politics for more than a quarter century, lost his seat in a historic political upset by former U.S. Representative John Thune.

South Dakota has a history of replacing powerful members of the Senate. Former Commerce Committee Chairmam Larry Pressler lost to then-Congressman Tim Johnson in 1996, and 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee George McGovern was defeated by Senator James Abdnor in 1980. Abdnor was, in turn, defeated by Daschle.

The state is divided, culturally and politically, by the Missouri River, which bisects the state. The area east of the Missouri River (or "East River"), is generally more moderate, with views that are more in line with those found in its Midwestern neighbors Iowa and Minnesota. "West River," however, is more conservative, with views that are generally more in line with those found in its western neighbors Montana and Wyoming. On the whole, however, the state is quite conservative. For example, South Dakota is considered one of the most politically pro-life states in the United States.

U.S. Senators
Seat 1 Senator Took Office Left Office Party
Tim Johnson 1997 present Democrat
Larry Pressler 1979 1997 Republican
James Abourezk 1973 1979 Democrat
Karl E. Mundt 1949 1973 Republican
Vera C. Bushfield 1947 1949 Republican
Harlan J. Bushfield 1943 1947 Republican
William J. Bulow 1931 1943 Democrat
William H. McMaster 1925 1931 Republican
Thomas Sterling 1913 1925 Republican
Robert J. Gamble 1901 1913 Republican
Richard F. Pettigrew 1889 1901 Republican
Seat 2 Senator Took Office Left Office Party
John Thune 2005 present Republican
Tom Daschle 1987 2005 Democrat
James Abdnor 1981 1987 Republican
George McGovern 1963 1981 Democrat
Joseph H. Bottum 1961 1963 Republican
Francis H. Case 1951 1961 Republican
J. Chandler Gurney 1939 1951 Republican
Gladys Pyle 1937 1939 Republican
Herbert E. Hitchcock 1935 1937 Democrat
Peter Norbeck 1921 1935 Republican
Edwin S. Johnson 1915 1921 Democrat
Coe I. Crawford 1909 1915 Republican
Alfred B. Kittredge 1901 1909 Republican
James H. Kyle 1891 1901 Populist
Gideon C. Moody 1889 1891 Republican

Important cities and towns
Geographic and political features of South DakotaAberdeen - 3rd largest city
Brookings - 5th largest city
De Smet
Pierre - State Capital
Rapid City - 2nd largest city
Sioux Falls - Largest City
Watertown - 4th largest city
Further information: List of cities in South Dakota, List of South Dakota counties, and Governors of South Dakota

Augustana College — Sioux Falls
Black Hills State University
Dakota State University
Dakota Wesleyan University
Mount Marty College
National American University
Northern State University
Oglala Lakota College
Presentation College
Sinte Gleska University
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
South Dakota State University
University of Sioux Falls
University of South Dakota

Miscellaneous topics
A bill for statehood for North and South Dakota (and Montana, and Washington), 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. However, the rivalry between the northern and southern territories presented a dilemma of which was to be admitted first. So Harrison directed his Secretary of State James Blaine to shuffle the papers and obscure from him which he was signing first, and the actual priority went unrecorded. However, since North Dakota came first in the alphabet, its proclamation was published first in the Statutes At Large; thus it has traditionally been deemed admitted first.

Harney Peak, in the Black Hills, is the highest point between the Rocky Mountains and the French Alps. More than 70,000 people hike to its 7,242 foot (2,207 m) summit each year. The ashes of Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy, the first white man to climb Harney Peak, are sealed in a crypt at the top of the mountain.

The deepest mine in the United States, the Homestake gold mine (now defunct) is in the Black Hills of South Dakota, near the town of Lead. Its shaft plunges more than 8,000 feet (2,400 m) beneath the surface. From 1969 to 1993, it was home to the Homestake Chlorine Solar Neutrino Experiment, famous for detecting the solar neutrino problem. The South Dakota State Legislature and governor recently passed legislation giving the mine to the National Science Foundation for use as an underground research laboratory.

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.

Citibank rechartered itself as a South Dakota bank in 1981 to take advantage of a new law that set South Dakota's maximum permissible interest rate on loans to 25%, then the highest in the nation (New York had refused to raise its interest rate even after prolonged lobbying). However, South Dakota's dreams of becoming a major financial center were dashed when Delaware matched its move the next year, and banks in search of the right to charge high interest rates flocked to Delaware instead.

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.

State symbols
The Black Hills of South Dakota are home to Mount Rushmore.State bird: Ring-necked Pheasant
State flower: Pasque flower
State tree: Black Hills Spruce
State nicknames: Mount Rushmore State (official), Coyote state & Sunshine state (same nickname as Florida)
State slogan: "Great Faces. Great Places."
State mineral: Rose quartz
State insect: Honey bee - Apis Mellifera L.
State animal: Coyote
State soil: Houdek
State fish: Walleye
State gemstone: Fairburn agate
State dessert: Kuchen
State drink: Milk
State bread: Native American fry bread
State grass: Western Wheatgrass
State Sport: rodeo

Famous South Dakotans
Sparky Anderson
Catherine Bach
Bob Barker
L. Frank Baum
Tom Brokaw
Dave Collins
Tom Daschle
Harvey Dunn
Mark Ellis
Myron Floren
Joe Foss
Becky Hammon
Joseph Hansen
Mary Hart
Crazy Horse
Oscar Howe
Hubert H. Humphrey
Bill Janklow
David C. Jones
Cheryl Ladd
Frank Leahy
Brock Lesnar
Ernest Orlando Lawrence
Randy Lewis
George McGovern
Russell Means
Mike Miller
Billy Mills
Al Neuharth
Pat O'Brien
Eric Piatkowski
Dorothy Provine
Red Cloud
Sitting Bull
Jess Thomas
Casey Tibbs
Norm Van Brocklin
Mamie Van Doren
Adam Vinatieri
Abby Whiteside
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Leonard Crow Dog - Native American author

Abortion law controversy
Main article: Women's Health and Human Life Protection Act
In recents years, efforts have been made in the South Dakota State Legislature to pass legislation that would ban abortion in all cases except to save the life of the mother, a direct challenge to the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade. The ban failed by one vote in 2004, but 2005's legislative session passed five laws restricting abortion [1], and, in 2006, the original measure finally passed as H.B. 1215. [2]

Opponents gathered more than enough signatures for a referendum, putting the abortion ban on the November 7, 2006 ballot.


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