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French explorers Francois and Louis-Joseph Verendrye first came to the area that is now South Dakota in 1743. They were trying to find a good pathway to the Pacific. Then, in 1803, the Louisiana Purchase took place, transferring what is now South Dakota to the United States. The famous exploring team of Lewis and Clark explored the region from the following year through 1806. In 1817, Fort Pierre was created as the first permanent settlement in the South Dakota region. However, it wasn't until the railroad came to the area, which was in 1873, that many settlers really began moving into the region. The following year, the Black Hills gold discovery caused even more settlers to come to the area. See also South Dakota History Page for more Details
The State of South Dakota was organized as territory on March 2, 1861 and entered the union as the 40th state on November 2, 1889. It has 66 Counties. The capital is Pierre and the official state website is www.sd.gov/.
The State of South Dakota is bordered by Iowa (southeast), Minnesota (east), Nebraska (south), North Dakota, Wyoming (west), Montana (northwest). It has a land area of 77,121 square miles making it the 17th largest state.
In 2010 the state's population was 775,933 and the largest cities (2010) are Sioux Falls, 153,888; Rapid City , 67,956; Aberdeen, 26,091; Brookings, 22,056; Watertown, 21,482; Mitchell, 15.254; Yankton, 14,454; Pierre (Capital), 13,646; Huron, 12,592; Vermillion, 10,571.
The State of South Dakota was named for was named for the Dakota people who lived there. The State nickname is " Mount Rushmore State ". The State Motto is " Under God the people rule ".