South Dakota State History
A brief and exciting history of the events leading to South Dakota becoming a state, including state flower and bird.
The area we now know as the State of South Dakota was first explored in mid 1700s by sons of sieur de la Verendrye. It went to United States in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and was partially explored by Lewis and Clark on their expedition of 1804 through 1806. Warlike Sioux Indians dominated the region during the period of fur trade to mid 1800s. In 1831 the introduction of steamboats on Missouri River revived the fur trade which was disrupted by the War of 1812.
The first permanent settlements were made at Vermillion, Yankton and Bon Homme in 1859 after the withdrawal of the Sioux in the 1858 treaty. The Dakota Territory established in 1861 but settlers were discouraged by droughts, indian raids and grass hopper plagues. The arrival of European immigrants on the new railroad in 1870s reversed this trend. The gold rush to Black Hills in 1874 again brought trouble with the Indians since the region had been granted to the Sioux in 1868. But in spite of these problems mining towns such as Led, Custer, and Deadwood sprang up. With the influx of people, cattle ranching started and a great expansion occurred from 1878 to 1887.
The major Indian uprisings ended in 1890 with massacre of the Sioux at Wounded Knee creek when 200 captured Sioux Indians were shot down by the U. S. troops after a Sioux had fired a gun. The Sioux had believed themselves safe from the white mans gun. Even so, this left behind distressed farmers due to droughts and the fall in wheat prices in the 1800s which created the Panic of 1873. As the farmers of the midwest and south grew poorer their attention was turned to the financial and industrial groups in the east who were growing wealthier. Farmers blamed the management of currency for the problem and most joined the Farmers Alliance and Populist Party. The Populist party was formed in 1891 and adopted at the convention of 1892. It called for several reforms to help the farmers that would aid the lagging wheat prices and create a graduated income tax.
Conditions have improved since World War BI with advanced farming techniques, irrigation and power projects. The State of South Dakota covers 77,047 square miles. It was admitted as a state simultaneously with North Dakota by agreement and became the 40th state to join the Union. The Capitol of South Dakota is Pierre. The State Bird is the Ringed Neck Pheasant and the State Flower is the Pasque Flower.