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show the Arikara people living in what is now South Dakota during the
1500s. Throughout the early 1700s, Sioux and Cheyenne moved into the
area. By the 1800s, only the
Sioux remained; they had forced all other tribes from South Dakota.
Cavelier claimed land by the Mississippi River in 1682.
This land called Louisiana, included South Dakota.
In 1743, French-Canadian explorers traveled along the Missouri
River. They became the first
known white persons to visit South Dakota.
1803, the United States bought Louisiana from France.
The following year Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were sent to
explore the Louisiana Territory. The
abundance of animals they found encouraged fur companies to set up trading
posts along the Big Sioux, Vermillion, James, and Missouri Rivers.
The most important was built in 1817 at the mouth of the Bad River.
settlement of South Dakota began in 1858.
The Sioux Indians signed peace treaties and moved onto reservations
east of the Missouri River. In
1861, Congress created the Dakota Territory.
It consisted of what are now North Dakota, South Dakota, and most
of Wyoming and Montana.
the mid-1860s, gold was discovered in Wyoming.
The U.S. Army built military posts, and surveyed land to build a
road through Sioux hunting grounds into Wyoming.
The Sioux believed this would ruin their hunting grounds and began
a series of raids known as Red Cloud’s War.
In 1868, the Laramie Treaty created the Great Sioux Reservation. This gave the Sioux all of South Dakota west of the Missouri
1874, General George Custer led soldiers into the Black Hills.
The discovery of gold brought several prospectors into Indian
Territory; they founded the towns of Lead and Deadwood.
This invasion led to several Indian attacks organized by Crazy
Horse and Sitting Bull. In
1876, a new treaty was signed that gave Black Hills to the U.S. sent most
of the Sioux to western South Dakota.
Other battles followed. One
of the last and bloodiest occurred on Dec. 29, 1890 at Wounded Knee Creek. More than 200 Sioux Indians were massacred and 25 soldiers
of settlers flocked into South Dakota during the late 1870s.
Railroads soon reached the Missouri River and by 1886 railroads had
reached Black Hills. New
towns were established along the railroad tracks by farmers, cattle
ranchers, and those in search of gold.
In February 1889, Congress divided the Dakota Territory and
established the now present-day boundaries.
On Nov. 2, 1889, South Dakota became the 40th state of
the United States.
severe drought stopped many from moving to South Dakota during the late
1800s. The drought ended ten years later, but the economy continued
to experience huge ups and downs during the early 1900s. As the federal government opened Indian land for white
settlement, the population of South Dakota reached almost 584,000 people
in 1910. The following year,
drought again caused many to lose land and leave South Dakota.
U.S. entered World War I in 1917, land and crop prices doubled in South
Dakota. The drought ended for a time during the 1920s, but returned
in 1930. South Dakota not
only experienced its worst drought in history during this time, but a
grasshopper plague and huge dust storms from the dry soil.
The Great Depression (1929-1939) also caused thousands of South
Dakotans to lose their jobs and their land.
federal government strived to help farmers in South Dakota through a
program called the New Deal. It
provided jobs in the Black Hills forests and gave money to construct
bridges and schools. During World War II (1939-1945), 67,000 South Dakotans served
in the armed forces. The U.S.
Army built bases in Sioux Falls, Pierre, and Rapid City.
This provided new jobs to the state.
end of the war, many were unemployed.
Increased use of farm machinery led several to look for work in the
city. Thousands could not find employment and many left the state.
Since that time, state leaders have strived to diversify South
Dakota’s economy. The
Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program created four major dams throughout the
state to provide electricity, flood control and irrigation.
These dams created the “Great Lakes of South Dakota.”
New interstate highways and lakes made tourism the second largest
industry after agriculture.