History of South Dakota

History of South Dakota

The History of South Dakota describes the history of the U.S. state of South Dakota over the course of several millennia, from its first inhabitants to the recent issues facing the state.

Prehistory and European exploration

Human beings have lived in what is today South Dakota for at least several thousand years. French and other European explorers in the 1700s encountered a variety of groups including the Omaha and Arikara (Ree), but by the early 1800s the Sioux (Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota) were dominant. In 1743, the LaVerendrye brothers, two French Canadian fur traders and explorers, buried a plate near the site of modern day Pierre, claiming the region for France as part of greater Louisiana. [cite web | title = Gaultier De La Verendrye, Louis-Joseph | publisher = Dictionary of Canadian Biography | accessdate = 2007-04-09 | url = http://www.biographi.ca/EN/ShowBioPrintable.asp?BioID=35487]

19th Century

In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon, and President Thomas Jefferson organized a group commonly referred to as the "Lewis and Clark Expedition" to explore the newly-acquired region. [cite web | title = Louisiana Purchase | publisher = National Park Service | accessdate = 2007-04-10 | url = http://www.nps.gov/archive/jeff/LewisClark2/Circa1804/Heritage/LouisianaPurchase/LouisianaPurchase.htm] [cite web | title = Teaching With Documents: The Lewis and Clark Expedition | publisher = The National Archives | accessdate = 2007-12-16 | url = http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/lewis-clark/] The expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery, would travel through the area twice along the Missouri River on their way to and from the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, the group collected botanical samples, sketched local animal species, some of which were new to them, and mapped the course of the Missouri.

In 1817, an American fur trading post was set up at present-day Fort Pierre, beginning continuous American settlement of the area.cite web | title = Chronology of South Dakota History | publisher = South Dakota Historical Society | accessdate = 2007-09-03 | url = http://www.sdhistory.org/soc/soc_hist.htm] During the 1830s, fur trading was the dominant economic activity for the few Whites that lived in the area. Most of these trappers and traders left the area after European demand for furs dwindled around 1840. [Hasselstrom, Linda: "Roadside History of South Dakota", page 129. Mountain Press Publishing Company, 1994] In 1855, the U.S. Army bought Fort Pierre but abandoned it the following year in favor of Fort Randall to the south. Settlement by Americans and Europeans was by this time increasing rapidly, and in 1858 the Yankton Sioux signed the 1858 Treaty, ceding most of present-day eastern South Dakota to the United States. [cite web | title = 1858 "Treaty of Washington" | publisher = Minnesota Historical Society | accessdate = 2007-08-28 | url = http://www.mnhs.org/collections/manuscripts/treaty1858.htm]

Land speculators founded two of eastern South Dakota's largest present-day cities: Sioux Falls in 1856 and Yankton in 1859. In 1861, Dakota Territory was established by the United States government (this initially included North Dakota, South Dakota, and parts of Montana and Wyoming). [cite web | title = Dakota Territory History | publisher = Union County Historical Society | accessdate = 2007-09-03 | url = http://www.acsnet.com/~jkjar/dt_history.htm] Settlers from Scandinavia, Germany, Ireland, and Russia, as well as elsewhere in Europe and from the eastern U.S. states increased from a trickle to a flood, especially after the completion of an eastern railway link to the territorial capital of Yankton in 1872, and the discovery of gold in the Black Hills in 1874 during a military expedition led by George A. Custer. This expedition took place despite the fact that the western half of present day South Dakota had been granted to the Sioux by the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) as part of the Great Sioux Reservation. The Sioux declined to grant mining rights or land in the Black Hills, and war broke out after the U.S. failed to stop white miners and settlers from entering the region. The Sioux were eventually defeated and settled on reservations within South Dakota and North Dakota.

An increasing population caused Dakota Territory to be divided in half and a bill for statehood for North Dakota and South Dakota (as well as Montana and Washington) titled the Enabling Act of 1889 was passed on February 22, 1889 during the Administration of Grover Cleveland. It was left to his successor, Benjamin Harrison, to sign proclamations formally admitting North and South Dakota to the Union on November 2, 1889. Harrison directed his Secretary of State James G. Blaine to shuffle the papers and obscure from him which he was signing first and the actual order went unrecorded. [ [http://www.usmint.gov/kids/coinNews/coinOfTheMonth/2006/09.cfm U.S. Mint Coin of the Month] ] [ [http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award97/ndfahtml/ngp_nd_terr.html Library of Congress, Dakota Territory and Statehood] ]

On December 29, 1890, the Wounded Knee Massacre occurred on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Commonly cited as the last major armed conflict between the United States and the Sioux Nation, the massacre resulted in the deaths of an estimated 300 Sioux, many of them women and children. 25 U.S. soldiers were also killed in the conflict. [cite web | title = Massacre at Wounded Knee, 1890 | publisher = www.eyewitnesstohistory.com | accessdate = 2007-04-04 | url = http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/knee.htm]

20th Century

During the 1930s, several economic and climatic conditions combined with disastrous results for South Dakota. A lack of rainfall, extremely high temperatures and over-cultivation of farmland produced what was known as the Dust Bowl in South Dakota and several other plains states. Fertile topsoil was blown away in massive dust storms, and several harvests were completely ruined. [cite web | title = Drought in the Dust Bowl Years | publisher = National Drought Mitigation Center | accessdate = 2007-04-04 | url = http://drought.unl.edu/whatis/dustbowl.htm] The experiences of the Dust Bowl, coupled with local bank foreclosures and the general economic effects of the Great Depression resulted in many South Dakotans leaving the state. The population of South Dakota declined by more than seven percent between 1930 and 1940.

Economic stability returned with the U.S. entry into World War II in 1941, when demand for the state's agricultural and industrial products grew as the nation mobilized for war. Over 68,000 South Dakotans served in the armed forces during the war, of which over 2,200 were killed. [cite web | title = World War II Memorial - About the Memorial | publisher = State of South Dakota | accessdate = 2008-01-05 | url = http://www.state.sd.us/military/VetAffairs/sdwwiimemorial]

In 1944, the Pick-Sloan Plan was passed as part of the Flood Control Act of 1944 by the U.S. Congress, resulting in the construction of six large dams on the Missouri River, four of which are at least partially located in South Dakota. Flood control, hydroelectricity and recreational opportunities such as boating and fishing are provided by the dams and their reservoirs. [cite web | title = Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program | publisher = www.answers.com | accessdate = 2007-04-04 | url = http://www.answers.com/topic/pick-sloan-plan]

On the night of June 9-10, 1972, heavy rainfall in the eastern Black Hills caused the Canyon Lake Dam on Rapid Creek to fail. The failure of the dam, combined with heavy runoff from the storm, turned the usually small creek into a massive torrent that washed through central Rapid City. The flood resulted in 238 deaths and destroyed 1,335 homes and around 5,000 automobiles. Damage from the flood totaled $160 million (the equivalent of $664 million today). [cite web | title = The 1972 Black Hills-Rapid City Flood Revisited | publisher = United States Geological Survey | accessdate = 2007-01-04 | url = http://sd.water.usgs.gov/projects/1972flood/]

Recent history

In recent decades, South Dakota has transformed from a state dominated by agriculture to one with a more diversified economy. The tourism industry has grown considerably since the completion of the interstate system in the 1960s, with the Black Hills being especially impacted. The financial service industry began to grow in the state as well, with Citibank moving its credit card operations from New York to Sioux Falls in 1981, a move that has since been followed by several other financial companies. [Hetland, Cara. "Sioux Falls 25 years after Citibank's arrival." [http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2006/02/23/siouxfalls] Minnesota Public Radio. 24 February 2006. (accessed 23 March, 2007)] In 2007, the site of the recently-closed Homestake gold mine near Lead was chosen as the location of a new underground research facility. [cite web | title = Homestake Strikes Gold Again | publisher = South Dakota Science and Technology Authority | accessdate = 2007-08-28 | url = http://www.sanfordlaboratoryathomestake.org/news_07-10-07a.html] Despite a growing state population and recent economic development, many rural areas have been struggling over the past 50 years with locally declining populations and the emigration of educated young adults to larger South Dakota cities, such as Rapid City or Sioux Falls, or to other states. [cite web | title = Sweeping out the Plains | publisher = www.aliciapatterson.org | accessdate = 2007-04-05 | url = http://www.aliciapatterson.org/APF2102/Coffman_Anthan/Coffman_Anthan.html]


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