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The territory that is now known as North Dakota was first visited by Pierre de la Verendrye in 1738 who established fur trading post throughout the area. Claims to the territory caused it to be split with America claiming the northern half and the British claiming most of the southern most part. The United States acquired all the north west regions of North Dakota in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. In 1818 when the U. S.-Canadian boundary was fixed the United States acquired the southeast part of North Dakota from Britain . Fur trade remained important in the North Dakota territory for over half a century. Steamboat travel on the upper Missouri River began in 1832 bringing more settlers to the region.
As the gold rush of 1849 progressed throughout the country important strikes were made in the Dakotas. Though still sparcely populated at this time, the Dakota Territory was organized in 1861. The final show down came in the Black Hills rush of 1874 to 1876. Although the army had attempted to keep miners out of the area which was the heart of the Sioux hunting grounds, the attempt was futile. Sending General G. A. Custer to stop rumors of gold, it was discovered there was gold throughout the hills. This began a massive rush to the town of Deadwood where miners established their district. Hostility of Sioux Indians, who were not ready to share their homelands with white settlers and miners, had discouraged settlement for many years. In 1876 the surrender of Sitting Bull opened the territory to new settlers.
European immigrants came to the area to work on setting up homesteads. Planting sweeping wheat fields throughout the plains area these immigrants brought prosperity to the area and soon North Dakota was known for its bonanza wheat fields. These same immigrants founded agriculture cooperatives. North Dakota was one of several territories that joined the union by agreement in 1889. Today North Dakota covers 70,665 square miles and the Capitol is Bismark. Eastern North Dakota contain the lowlands of the central U. S. with what is popularly called the Badlands in the west. The Sate Bird is the Western Meadowlark and the State Flower is the Wild Prairie Rose.