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Mount Rushmore

Old West Town

Badlands National Park

Custer State Park

Crazy Horse

Sioux falls

Bridal Veil falls


South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota (Sioux) American Indian tribes. South Dakota was admitted to the Union on November 2, 1889. (North Dakota was admitted simultaneously.) The centrally located city of Pierre serves as the state capital, and Sioux Falls, with 150,000 people, is the largest city in the state.

Located in the north-central United States, South Dakota is bisected by the Missouri River, dividing the state into two socially and economically distinct halves, known to residents as "West River" and "East River". Rich soil in the eastern part of the state is used to grow a variety of crops, while ranching is the predominant agricultural activity in the west. In the southwestern portion of the state rise the Black Hills, a group of low, pine-covered mountains. A region of great religious importance to local American Indians as well as a major draw for the state tourism industry, the Black Hills are also the location of Mt. Rushmore, probably the best-known location in the state and a widely used symbol of South Dakota.

Historically dominated by an agricultural economy and a rural lifestyle, South Dakota has recently sought to diversify its economy in an effort to attract and retain residents. The state is still largely rural, though, with one of the lowest population densities in the United States. While several notable Democratic senators have represented South Dakota at the federal level, the state's government is largely dominated by the Republican Party, and Republicans have carried South Dakota in the last ten presidential elections.

South Dakota contains several sites that are protected by the National Park Service. Two national parks have been established in South Dakota, both of which are located in the southwestern part of the state. Badlands National Park was created in 1978. The park features a highly eroded, brightly-colored landscape surrounded by semi-arid grasslands. Wind Cave National Park, established in 1903 in the Black Hills, contains an extensive cave network as well as a large herd of bison. Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills was established in 1925. The well-known attraction features a mountain carved by sculptor Gutzon Borglum to resemble four former U.S. presidents. Other areas managed by the National Park Service include Jewel Cave National Monument near Custer, Crazy Horse Memorial, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, which features a decommissioned nuclear missile silo, and the Missouri National Recreational River.

South Dakota political map:

South Dakota location map:

August 2008

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