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Tags: South Dakota History | Black Hills War | Mount Rushmore National Memorial

South Dakota History: 8 Events That Shaped the State

By    |   Monday, 09 March 2015 03:41 PM EDT

The beautiful landscape of South Dakota features hills, rivers and vast grasslands. The history of South Dakota includes disputes between settlers and the native inhabitants.

Here are eight events that helped shape the state of South Dakota:

1. South Dakota had been part of a region acquired by the U.S. with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The acquisition led to the exploration of the territory during the Lewis and Clark Expedition from 1804 to 1806. The first permanent settlement, Fort Pierre, followed in 1817.

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2. According to History.com, settlers clashed with the Sioux throughout the 1800s. The Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868 had granted some of the land to the tribe, but the terms of the treaty were violated after Gen. George Armstrong Custer led a military expedition that confirmed gold in the Black Hills in 1874. Thousands of miners poured into the area, leading to the Black Hills War of 1876.

3. From 1878 to 1887, the state benefited significantly from the building of railroads in the region. Settlers increased in the area, causing the Dakota land boom.

4. The territory eventually divided between North and South Dakota. Both of them received statehood on the same day in 1889, and each of them wanted admission first. Even President Benjamin Harrison signed the acts after shuffling the papers at random. But North Dakota was admitted first based on the alphabet.

5. The magnificent landmark, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, is a major attraction for South Dakota's history, according to History.com. The structure has been drawing tourists since its completion in 1941. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum began work on the granite monument in 1927 and died before the project was finished. Along with the brilliantly sculpted faces of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, the monument was to include additional projects on site, but funding was stopped during World War II.

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6. Federal officials made an attempt to repay the Indians for their mistreatment with programs to help them out during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The federal relief coincided with assistance to many people at the time and was referred to as the "Indian New Deal." Indians were relocated from reservations to urban centers for jobs.

7. Disputes with Native Americans were reignited in 1973 during the "siege at Wounded Knee." Some 200 members of the American Indian Movement occupied a trading post for 70 days, protesting corruption within the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the area tribal council. Two Indians were killed during gunfire between the AIM and federal agents.

8. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lawsuit for $105 million in compensation to the Indians in 1980 for the land taken from them in the Black Hills. The American Indian Movement, however, didn’t approve of the settlement and wanted the land returned to the Indians instead.

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The beautiful landscape of South Dakota features hills, rivers and vast grasslands. The history of South Dakota includes disputes between settlers and the native inhabitants.
South Dakota History, Black Hills War, Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Monday, 09 March 2015 03:41 PM
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