37 Important Facts About South Dakota

Last updated on October 7th, 2022

27. The ring-necked pheasant is the state bird. It was introduced from China and has adopted well to the area. 

28. 120 degrees Fahrenheit is the highest temperature observed in the state on July 15, 2006. And the lowest -58 degree Fahrenheit on February 17, 1936. According to the stats collected in the past, the state is the 39th warmest state in the U.S. 

29. At least 13,000 years ago, the first people arrived in what is now South Dakota. And thousands of years later, Native American tribes such as Cheyenne, Ponca, Lakota, Dakota Sioux and Arikara lived on the land.

30. The first Europeans to set foot on the land were the Verendrye brothers, who claimed the land for France in 1743.

31. Dakota means roughly “friendly” or “allies”, it is a native American Sioux word.

32. The western region of the state is home to the Badlands, which is one of the richest fossil beds on Earth. The remains of saber-toothed cats, three-toed horses, and marine animals from an ancient sea have been found here. Badlands National Park covers 244,000 acres.

33. Due to the large number of dinosaur fossils found, the Badlands are often referred to as “the playground” of the dinosaur. The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs is a museum and paleontological site near Hot Springs, SD. This site has the greatest concentration of fossil remains in the world. The site was discovered in June 1974 when the land was being leveled for housing development by heavy equipment operator George Hanson.

34. Millions of American bison lived in the region and then they were hunted in large numbers.

35. The 1939 Nobel Prize for Physics was won by Ernest Lawrence from Canton, South Dakota.[3]

36. Pierre in central South Dakota is one of the country’s smallest state capitals.

37. Almost 90% of the present day population of South Dakota is of Europeans.

About the Flag of South Dakota

Flag of South Dakota
Flag of South Dakota.

1. Design and Symbolism

The flag of South Dakota is a celebration of natural resources, agriculture, commerce, and industry during the early years of statehood.

It has a modified state seal in the middle of a sky-blue field. Golden triangles surround the border, imitating the rays of the sun. Encircling the seal are the words “South Dakota” and its nickname, “The Mount Rushmore State.”

The seal has images of a rural landscape. It depicts hills in the distance, a smelting furnace for mining operations, a boat passing through a river, a farmer plowing with his horses, and cattle feeding on grass.

Along its border are the words “State of South Dakota,” “Great Seal,” and “1889” (when it became the 40th state admitted to the Union). The seal also contains the motto “Under God, The People Rule.”

2. Adoption

South Dakota adopted the current flag on November 9, 1992. The original design is from Ida Anding.

3. Technical Details

The flag uses a proportion of 3:5. The gold text for the state name and nickname should use sans-serif font in capital letters.

4. History

The State Seal

Dr. Joseph Ward, the founder of Yankton College, suggested the design of the Great Seal and the words of the state motto. In 1885, delegates to the Constitutional Convention adopted both.

Two years later, residents of the Dakota Territory voted to divide the state. In 1889, South Dakota kept the old seal but changed the words around the border from “State of Dakota” to “State of South Dakota” to reflect the separation.

The standard colors for the seal came later when Richard Cropp designed the official colored version using magic markers. In 1986, Gov. Bill Janklow commissioned John Moisan to create a new painted version.

The State Flag

In 1909, Senator Ernest May came into the Historical Society office to request a state flag. Ida Anding, the legislative librarian, designed a banner with a blazing sun on a blue background.

The words “South Dakota” and “The Sunshine State” encircle the seal. The senator endorsed this as the first official flag of South Dakota and added the seal on the reverse side with a dark blue field.

In 1963, the cost of manufacturing the complicated flag led to a redesign. Representative William Sahr introduced a bill in which the blazing sun and the seal merged on a blue background. It drastically reduced cost and increased demand for the flag.

In 1992, Representative Gordon Pederson sponsored a bill to change the text from “The Sunshine State” to “The Mount Rushmore State.” It highlights the towering granite sculpture of four US presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. The site draws two million people to South Dakota each year.

5. Flag Replacement Attempt

In 2012, Rep. Bernie Hunhoff pushed for a new design based on the artwork of Dick Termes. It features a stylized blazing sun with rays of different lengths and three concentric circles. He later amended the bill to create a flag commission that would solicit submissions from the public. However, deferment stopped its progress.

South Dakota – Quick facts and state symbols

State AbbreviationSD
State CapitalPierre
Largest CitySioux Falls
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 77,117 sq miles; Land Only: 75,885 sq miles
(Estimate July 1, 2022 from United States Census Bureau)
StatehoodNovember 2, 1889
State rank by population46th
State rank by date of formation40th
State rank by area17th
Number of Counties66
DemonymSouth Dakotan
Bordering StatesIowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming
Official LanguageEnglish
Highest PointBlack Elk Peak
7,244 ft (2208 m)
Lowest pointBig Stone Lake on Minnesota border
968 ft (295 m)
Length 380 miles (610 km)
Width210 miles (340 km)
GovernorKristi Noem (R)
Lieutenant GovernorLarry Rhoden (R)
Electoral Votes3
State MottoUnder God the people rule
State NicknameMount Rushmore State; Coyote State
% Water1.7
Noble prize winnersErnest Lawrence (Physics, 1939)
Theodore W. Schultz (Economic Sciences, 1979)
Famous peopleNorm Van Brocklin (Pro Football player)
January Jones
State Flag

Flag of South Dakota.svg

State AnimalCoyote

Canis latrans.jpg

State BirdRing-necked pheasant

Phasianus colchicus 2 tom (Lukasz Lukasik).jpg

State FishWalleye

Walleye painting.jpg

State FlowerAmerican Pasque

Pulsatilla vulgaris-700px.jpg

State FossilTriceratops

Triceratops side view.jpg

State InsectHoneybee

Honey Bee
State GemstoneFairburn Agate

Fairburn Agate (ultimately derived from the Minnelusa Formation, Pennsylvanian-Permian; collected east of the Black Hills, western South Dakota, USA) 1
State JewelryBlack Hills Gold
State MineralRose Quartz

Rose quartz
State TreeBlack Hills spruce

Picea glauca.jpg

Longitude96° 26′ W to 104° 03′ W
Latitude42° 29′ N to 45° 56′ N
Time ZoneCentral Time Zone, Mountain Time Zone
Area Codes605
Table last updated27th April, 2023