South Dakota Overview

Abbreviated as SD, South Dakota is a U.S. state, located in the Midwestern (Midwestern) region of the country. It was named after the Suk tribes of Lakota and Dakota, whose members make up the majority of the population and sometimes ruled the entire territory. South Dakota is the 17th largest state by area, but the 5th least populated. It became a federal state on November 2, 1889. Pierre is the capital, and Sioux Falls with 171,000 inhabitants is the largest city in South Dakota.

South Dakota is bordered by North Dakota to the north, Nebraska to the south, Minnesota and Iowa to the east, and Montana and Wyoming to the west. The Missouri River flows through the state, dividing South Dakota into two socially and geographically distinct parts, East and West. The majority of the population is located in the east, and most of the crops are grown here due to the fertile land. The western part is characterized by ranches, and the economy is based on tourism . Most of South Dakota’s nature reserves are located in the western part. We can also find the Black Hills Mountains in the western part, where Mount Rushmore is located, which is the main tourist destination of South Dakota. South Dakota is characterized by a continental climate with four distinct seasons.


The capital of South Dakota is Pierre and the largest city is Sioux Falls, with an area of ​​199,905 km2, a population of more than 750,000. The northern border is formed by the state of North Dakota, in the south it borders with Nebraska, in the east with Iowa and Minnesota . The western border is formed by the states of Wyoming and Montana . Most of South Dakota is made up of a plateau. There are grassy steppes, around the cities mostly transformed into fertile fields. South Dakota is relatively sparsely forested. This is due to the arid inland climate. Very cold winters and hot summers are typical of South Dakota. The river flows through the central part of the state – Missouri. Especially in the eastern part of the state there are many natural lakes.


In 1743, François and Louis Joseph de La Vérendrye undertook the first European exploration of the region that encompasses present-day South Dakota. In 1803, the territory occupied by the Dakota became part of the United States as a result of the Louisiana Purchase. The expedition of Lewis Clark toured the region in 1804 and in 1806.

From 1817-1874

In 1817 the first permanent settlements were founded in South Dakota, . In 1832, the American Fur Company, owned by merchant John Jacob Astor, built Fort Pierre Chouteau. In 1849, the eastern region of the Missouri River was integrated into the Minnesota Territory, and in 1854 the western region of the river became part of the Nebraska Territory. In 1861, the entire region, including Wyoming, Montana, and part of eastern Idaho, constituted the Dakota Territory. The colonization of the region was slow until, in 1874, gold deposits were discovered in the great Sioux Reservation of the Black Hills, and many whites began to arrive in the territory with the intention of enriching themselves.

From 1875-1889

In 1875, after the Indians refused to give up their lands, the government made no further attempts to stop the gold diggers. In 1876 new lodes were discovered, including Homestake, which made between 1879 and 1886 a rapid colonization of the state occurred. In 1889 South Dakota joined the Union, Pierre became its capital and the Sioux areas west of the Missouri were annexed.

South Dakota History

Economic development


The Homestake gold mine, located in Lead in the Black Hills, is one of the largest in the country. Other minerals found in the Black Hills are: uranium, copper, lead, and silver. In the west oil is extracted and in the northwest important deposits of lignite have been discovered.


Approximately 59% of the income of the agricultural sector comes from the commercial exploitation of cattle, pigs and sheep, as well as from dairy production. Crops account for 41% of the annual income of the state’s agricultural sector; the main crops are oats, rye (of which it is the first national producer), corn, wheat and alfalfa. Logging is an important economic activity for the state; commercial timber reserves are concentrated in the Black Hills.


The main industry is food processing; Also noteworthy is the production of industrial machinery, wood products, electronic items, metal products, precision instruments and transportation equipment. After agriculture, tourism is the most important source of income for the private sector.


  • Various cultural institutions in South Dakota reflect the influence of North American Indians on the life and landscape of the state. The Sioux Nation Heritage Museum, the Museum of the Sioux Indians and the Crafts Center continue to preserve some of the arts and crafts of this tribe.
  • Mount Rushmore is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, attracting millions of people each year. The construction of this gigantic sculpture began in 1927, and it was inaugurated in 1941. This happy mountain, located in Keystone, South Dakota, commemorates the birth, growth, conservation and development of the United States of America.