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About South Dakota
South Dakota is bordered by the states of North Dakota (on the north), Minnesota (to the east), Iowa (to the southeast), Nebraska (on the south), Wyoming (on the west), and Montana (to the northwest). The state is bisected by the Missouri River, dividing South Dakota into two geographically and socially distinct halves, known to residents as “East River” and “West River”.
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South Dakota is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes, who compose a large portion of the population and historically dominated the territory. South Dakota is the 17th most expansive, but the 5th least populous and the 5th least densely populated of the 50 United States. Once the southern part of the Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889, simultaneously with North Dakota. Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls, with a population of about 171,000, is South Dakota’s largest city.
Eastern South Dakota is home to most of the state’s population, and the area’s fertile soil is used to grow a variety of crops. West of the Missouri, ranching is the predominant agricultural activity, and the economy is more dependent on tourism and defense spending. Most of the Native American reservations are in West River. The Black Hills, a group of low pine-covered mountains sacred to the Sioux, are in the southwest part of the state. Mount Rushmore, a major tourist destination, is there. South Dakota has a temperate continental climate, with four distinct seasons and precipitation ranging from moderate in the east to semi-arid in the west. The state’s ecology features species typical of a North American grassland biome.
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Humans have inhabited the area for several millennia, with the Sioux becoming dominant by the early 19th century. In the late 19th century, European-American settlement intensified after a gold rush in the Black Hills and the construction of railroads from the east. Encroaching miners and settlers triggered a number of Indian wars, ending with the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. Key events in the 20th century included the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, increased federal spending during the 1940s and 1950s for agriculture and defense, and an industrialization of agriculture that has reduced family farming.
While several Democratic senators have represented South Dakota for multiple terms at the federal level, the state government is largely controlled by the Republican Party, whose nominees have carried South Dakota in each of the last 13 presidential elections. Historically dominated by an agricultural economy and a rural lifestyle, South Dakota has recently sought to diversify its economy in areas to attract and retain residents. South Dakota’s history and rural character still strongly influence the state’s culture.
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South Dakota is home to 83,609 miles of highways, roads, and streets. Of those 83,609 miles, there are 679 miles of Interstate highways. There are 4 Interstate highways in South Dakota, 2 primary and 2 auxiliary. Interstate 90 is the longest interstate highway at 412.76 miles. I-90 runs east-west from the Wyoming state line in Lawerence County, and continues east until it reaches the Minnesota state line northeast of Valley Springs. Interstate 29 is the longest north-south interstate highway at 252.50 miles. I-29 begins in the south at the Iowa state line in Dakota Dunes, and travels north until reaching the North Dakota state line northwest of Victor. The two auxiliary interstate highways are Interstate 190 and Interstate 229 and both run north-south. I-229 runs 11.33 miles entirely within the city limits of Sioux Falls, and I-190 runs only 1.72 miles, existing entirely within Rapid City. There are 14 U.S. Highways in South Dakota. The primary east-west U.S. Highways are US 12,14,16, and 18. The primary north-south U.S. Highways are US 81, 83, 85, and 281.