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SOUTH DAKOTA

100% American-made South Dakota state flags

South Dakota’s statehood was introduced to Congress as part of a larger bill that also included the statehood requests of North Dakota, Montana, and Washington — the Enabling Act of 1889. As part of the Dakota Territory, the Dakotas experienced disputes that inherently made them rivals. So when President Benjamin Harrison signed the proclamations formally admitting North Dakota and South Dakota, he had the papers shuffled and obscured from him so that no one could know which of the Dakotas was admitted first. Therefore, it is appropriate to state that South Dakota was admitted to the Union on November 2, 1889, as the 39th (or 40th) state.

Most of South Dakota is on the Great Plains, so its economy is largely focussed on agriculture. East of the Missouri River, which roughly divides the state into two halves, most efforts lean toward crop growth. West of the Missouri River, most efforts lean toward ranching and military development.

Behind agriculture, tourism is the Mount Rushmore State’s next leading source of income. Several national parks and monuments — Wind Cave National Park, Badlands National Park, and Mount Rushmore National Monument, the greatest of these — draw masses of tourists each year.

South Dakota is also home to many annual events that each celebrate different cultures and path tribute to the state’s diverse history. Other events, like Sturgis, celebrate more modern pastimes. Sturgis is particularly impressive since it attracts as many (or more) visitors each year as there are residents in the state itself!