When Did South Dakota Become A State?

Written by
Amber Hobert
Published on
March 10, 2023
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Each state has its unique history in the United States, and South Dakota is no exception. South Dakota has a long and exciting history, from the native people who lived there first to the European settlers who built towns.

However, one significant event in South Dakota's history is its statehood. On November 2, 1889, South Dakota became the 40th state of the United States. Here we will dive into the history and significance of this milestone moment in South Dakota's history.

History of South Dakota

The early history of South Dakota

The history of South Dakota is one of resilience, hard work, and a never-give-up attitude. This Midwestern state had a long and hard time becoming a state. Many challenges and problems had to be solved.

South Dakota's early history dates back to the 16th century when European explorers arrived. Native American tribes, like the Sioux, used to live in the state. They lived off the land, hunted buffalo, and kept their culture and traditions.

European fur traders and settlers started to move into the area in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This led to a number of fights and conflicts with the Native American people who lived there.

Dakota Territory

In 1861, the Dakota Territory was established by the United States government, which included parts of what is now South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana.

At the time, there were not many people living in the territory. There were only a few towns and settlements spread out across the area. But when gold was uncovered in the Black Hills in 1874, it significantly increased the number of people living there. Miners, prospectors, and settlers moved to the area.

Push for statehood

The push for statehood in South Dakota began in the late 19th century when territory residents petitioned Congress for admission to the Union. The first attempt to achieve statehood was made in 1882, but it was unsuccessful. The issue was put on hold in the following years due to political wrangling and other national priorities, such as the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Statehood bill and approval

In 1889, the fight for statehood started again, and a bill to let South Dakota and North Dakota join the Union as separate states was introduced in Congress. However, the bill faced opposition from southern Democrats, who feared that the admission of two new western states would tip the balance of power in favor of Republicans.

Despite this opposition, the bill passed both houses of Congress and was later signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison on November 2, 1889. On November 2, 1889, South Dakota officially became the 40th state in the Union, marking the end of a long and challenging journey to statehood. Early on, the state grew and changed quickly.

This was due to a diverse economy that included farming, mining, and manufacturing. Today, South Dakota is known for its rugged natural beauty, friendly people, and unique cultural heritage, making it a popular destination for tourists worldwide.

South Dakota Statehood

Celebration of statehood

In 1889, South Dakota became a state. This was a big deal; people who lived there and liked the territory celebrated. South Dakota's path to becoming a state was long and hard. There were political fights, economic uncertainty, and clashes between different cultures, but the people of South Dakota kept going and overcame these problems to reach their goals.

South Dakota's celebration of becoming a state was a happy time. Parades, speeches, and fireworks were on show in cities and towns all over the state. Many residents took pride in their new status as citizens of a state rather than a territory and looked forward to the opportunities that statehood would bring.

Early statehood years

In the early years after it became a state, South Dakota had to deal with many problems, such as an uncertain economy, political corruption, and tensions between Native Americans and white settlers. Early governors and lawmakers worked hard to solve these problems, laying the groundwork for a prosperous and active state.

South Dakota growth and development

Despite these problems, South Dakota grew and changed a lot after becoming a state. Agriculture, mining, and manufacturing were all essential parts of the state's economy, which helped it grow and change quickly. Farmers in the eastern part of the state grew wheat, corn, and other crops, while miners in the Black Hills extracted gold, silver, and other minerals from the earth.

Meanwhile, manufacturers in cities like Sioux Falls and Rapid City produced various goods, from furniture to machinery to processed foods. As the state's economy grew, so did its population, with many new residents moving to South Dakota in search of new opportunities and a better life.

The state's population more than doubled in the first decade following statehood, from just over 328,000 in 1890 to over 700,000 in 1900. South Dakota is still growing and changing today. It has a strong economy and a booming tourism industry that brings in millions of visitors annually. The state is known for its rugged natural beauty, like the Black Hills, Badlands National Park, and the Missouri River.

It is also known for its rich cultural history, celebrated with events and festivals year-round. Ultimately, South Dakota becoming a state in 1889 was a big deal. It started a new period of growth and prosperity for the state. While the state faced many challenges in its early years, its resilience and determination helped it overcome these obstacles and become the dynamic and vibrant state it is today.

South Dakota Today

South Dakota is a vibrant and dynamic state in the American Midwest's heart. The state's rich cultural heritage, rugged natural beauty, and diverse economy make it a popular tourist destination and a great place to live and work.

Population and economy

Today, South Dakota's population is just over 900,000, with most residents living in the eastern part of the state near the major cities of Sioux Falls and Rapid City. The state's economy is diverse, with agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, and other industries contributing to its growth and development.

Geography and landmarks

South Dakota's geography is characterized by its wide-open spaces, rolling hills, and rugged terrain. The state has several notable landmarks, including the Black Hills, Badlands National Park, Lewis and Clark lake, Mount Rushmore, the Missouri River, Black Elk Peak, etc.

The Black Hills, located in the western part of the state, are a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with hiking, camping, and fishing opportunities available throughout the area. Badlands National Park, located in the southwestern part of the state, is known for its stunning rock formations and unique wildlife, including bison, bighorn sheep, and prairie dogs.

South Dakota's attractions and events

Mount Rushmore, one of the most well-known and visited landmarks in the United States, features the carved faces of four American presidents - George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. The Missouri River, which flows through the central part of the state, provides recreational opportunities for boating, fishing, and other water activities.

South Dakota is also home to many popular attractions and events, including the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, held every August in the Black Hills, attracting hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts worldwide. The state is also home to several annual cultural events, including the Sioux Empire Fair in Sioux Falls, the Central States Fair in Rapid City, and the South Dakota State Fair in Huron.

Other popular destinations in the state include the Crazy Horse Memorial, the Corn Palace in Mitchell, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead in De Smet. South Dakota is a dynamic and exciting state with a diverse economy, rich cultural heritage, and stunning natural beauty.

From its rolling hills and rugged terrain to its iconic landmarks and popular attractions, there is something for everyone in this great state. Regardless of whether you are a visitor or a resident, South Dakota offers endless opportunities for adventure, exploration, and discovery.

Consult a Residency Service Provider Today

South Dakota's journey to statehood was a challenging and hard-fought battle, marked by political maneuvering, economic uncertainty, and cultural clashes. But the people of South Dakota overcame these obstacles to achieve statehood in 1889, gaining greater political representation, increased economic opportunities, and a stronger sense of identity and community.

South Dakota is a thriving and dynamic state with a rich cultural heritage, vivid natural beauty, and a diverse economy. As South Dakota continues to grow and develop, it can look back on its history with pride and confidence, knowing that the spirit of determination and resilience that led to statehood remains alive and well.

If you are looking for a state to relocate to, South Dakota offers some benefits, including low taxes, a good job market, a relatively low cost of living, and many others. Consult a residency and mail service provider for all your relocation and mailing needs today!

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