South Dakota Homeland Security and Emergency Services Resources

In 1682 when Rene-Robert Cavelier claimed land that was located on the Mississippi River called Louisiana, the region included South Dakota. But, the area wasn't explored until French Canadian explorers visited South Dakota while traveling along the Mississippi River in 1743.

South Dakota was included with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and the first permanent settlement, Fort Pierre was established in 1817. However, few people actually settled in the region until after the railroad arrived in 1873. The next year, the Black Hills gold rush began and settlers flooded into the region.

The region entered the Union and became the 40th state on November 2, 1889, the same day as North Dakota. As the documents were signed, President Harrison shuffled them so that no one present would know which region received statehood first.

The state is home to the largest herd of buffalo in the nation. While it no longer leads in the state's economy, agriculture is still an important industry in South Dakota. It ranks second as the nations producer of sunflower seeds and flaxseed and third in production of rye and hay.

The manufacturing of durable goods and the private service sector have grown into the mainstays of the state's economy. Over one billion dollars is generated each year in tourism from attractions like the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore. Gold still ranks high in the economy as well; South Dakota is the second largest producer of gold in the nation.

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