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.
- 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
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.
Watch a video about South Dakota.