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South Dakota, constituent state of the United States of America. South Dakota became the 40th state of the union on November 2, 1889. The state has two unique physical features: it contains the geographic centre of the United States, which is located just north of Belle Fourche, and it has its own continental divide, as a result of which Lake Traverse, in the southeastern corner of the state,
flows northward to Hudson Bay, and Big Stone Lake, on the Minnesota border, flows southward to the Gulf of Mexico. South Dakota is bordered by North Dakota to the north, Minnesota and Iowa to the east, Nebraska to the south, and Wyoming and Montana to the west. The state is split by the upper Missouri River valley into eastern and western regions. Pierre, in central South Dakota, is one of the country’s smallest state capitals.
About the map
This South Dakota map contains cities, roads, rivers, and lakes. For example, Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Pierre are major cities on this map of South Dakota.
South Dakota is home of the iconic presidential landmark, Mount Rushmore. Currently, South Dakota is working on the largest monument in the world called the “Crazy Horse Monument” because of their sizable native community, mostly the Sioux.
South Dakota is located in the north-central region of the United States. It borders six other states including North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota.
Eastern South Dakota lies within the glaciated physiographic region known as the Prairie Plains. Western South Dakota, except for the Black Hills, near the southwestern corner, is part of the Great Plains and is characterized by high buttes, canyons, and wide expanses of nearly level tablelands. This section of the Great Plains includes the Badlands, which extend along the White and Cheyenne rivers for more than 100 miles (160 km). The eroded landscape of the Badlands has been a rich repository of fossilized prehistoric animals and is a primary source of the siltation that has given the Missouri River its nickname, Big Muddy. The transitional zone between the Prairie Plains and the Great Plains near the centre of the state contains the hills and valleys of the Missouri Plateau.
The Black Hills—two-thirds of which lie in South Dakota, with the remainder in Wyoming—constitute a dome-shaped uplift rising 3,500 feet (1,100 metres) above the surrounding terrain. Black Elk Peak, near the centre of the formation, at 7,242 feet (2,207 metres) above sea level, is the highest point in North America east of the Rocky Mountains.
The Missouri River drains all of the state except the northeastern counties, from which runoff flows through Big Stone Lake and Lake Traverse into the Minnesota River and the Red River, respectively. In eastern South Dakota the principal tributaries of the Missouri are the Big Sioux, Vermillion, and James rivers, which flow southward. In the western region the Grand, Moreau, Cheyenne, Bad, and White rivers flow eastward to drain the Black Hills and the Great Plains.
Chernozem soils, formed mostly from glacial drift and well adapted to the cultivation of wheat and corn (maize), cover the eastern area. Within the Great Plains region are chestnut and Pierre soils, distinguished by their heavy, sticky texture. Both of these soils are also well suited for agriculture.
The climate is characterized by extremes in temperature, low precipitation, and relatively low humidity. The skies are generally clear. Cyclonic storms occur frequently in the eastern section during the spring and summer. In this region temperatures range from lows of near 0 °F (–18 °C) in January to highs in the upper 80s F (about 31 °C) in July. Extreme temperatures near –40 °F (–40 °C) and about 115 °F (44 °C) can occur. The average number of frost-free days ranges from 160 in the southeastern part of the state to 110 in the Black Hills.
Plant and animal life
The Prairie Plains are covered by thick, tall grasses of about 3 feet (1 metre) or more. These grasses have a deep root system adapted to subhumid conditions. The shortgrass species, chiefly the grama, buffalo, and western wheat grasses, are endemic to the Great Plains region of South Dakota. They are drought-resistant with a shallow root system and mature quickly.
Wooded areas lie mainly in the Black Hills, along the river valleys, and on the buttes or ridges that rise in the northwestern and southwestern parts of the state. The most densely wooded acreage is found in Black Hills National Forest and Custer State Park.
Custer State Park is home to free-roaming bison. Other animals found in the Black Hills include antelope, deer, elk, beaver, bobcat, and porcupine. Coyotes and cottontail rabbits are plentiful throughout the state, while jackrabbits and prairie dogs vary in concentration in specific areas.
People of South Dakota
The first substantial communities in South Dakota were built over more than a millennium by the village-dwelling ancestors of the Mandan and of the Arikara. Their economy combined farming with the hunting and gathering of wild foods. By the early 18th century they were feeling considerable pressure from various groups of Northeast Indians, who were being displaced by European encroachment; these included Sioux peoples as well as the Omaha and the Ponca. Although the Mandan relocated in the 18th century, the Arikara remained in South Dakota until 1832.
By the late 20th century, the state had changed from a predominantly rural to a more urban state (more than half the population is urban). As a result, by the end of the 1990s, about two-thirds of its counties had experienced a decrease in population, while many urban centres had grown—particularly those of Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, Mitchell, Yankton, Pierre, and Rapid City. In general, except for the Black Hills region, the western part of the state is sparsely populated, in contrast to the northeastern and southeastern counties, where population density is four or five times greater.
Most of South Dakota’s rural areas had reached their peak populations by the 1920s. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, those counties lost population because of low birth rates and an out-migration of younger people to urban areas or out of state. The counties with greater Sioux populations experienced some population growth, however, as these communities tended to have a higher birth rate.
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
Since the late 20th century, the number of farms in South Dakota has decreased, while the size of the average farm has more than tripled. The Freedom to Farm Act (1996)—federal legislation designed to phase out certain subsidies over a seven-year period—had a negative impact on the state’s agriculture; however, subsidies survived, mainly because of political pressure from corporate investors and demand for corn-derived ethanol. The principal crops cultivated in South Dakota are corn (maize), alfalfa (lucerne), rye, flaxseed, wheat, and soybeans. Cash-crop farming prevails to the north, with reliance on wheat and other small-grain crops.
5 of the Largest Cities in South Dakota
1;The Missouri River runs through the center of the state, effectively dividing it into two separate sections which are known among South Dakota residents as ‘East River’ and ‘West River’. The state is perhaps best-known for being the home of Mount Rushmore, one of the most iconic monuments of America and the state’s most popular tourist landmark. The capital city of South Dakota is Pierre, while its largest city is Sioux Falls.