South Dakota

South Dakota was mostly forgotten by American settlers until 1874 when gold was found in the Black Hills. Miners poured into the area, establishing a wild, lawless culture and driving Indians out. Today some gold remains, but farming, ranching, and tourism are the leading industries.

Fun Facts

  • Native Americans account for 9 percent of the state’s population, most of them living on reservations.
  • Iconic Mount Rushmore features the faces of four U.S. presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
  • South Dakota is the leading producer of bison meat, which is gaining popularity because it’s lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol than beef.
  • Sculptors have been working on Crazy Horse National Monument since 1948. The monument honors the Lakota chief and warrior.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in South Dakota. A museum in her honor is in De Smet.


South Dakota Quick Stats

Population: 814,180

State capital: Pierre (population, 13,646)

Largest city: Sioux Falls (population, 153,888)

State bird: ring-necked pheasant

State flower: pasqueflower

Questions and Answers

Question: How was South Dakota named?

Answer: The word Dakota comes from the Sioux and means friends or allies.


Learn More

Watch a video about South Dakota.