37 Important Facts About South Dakota

Last updated on April 3rd, 2020

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.

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, 2017 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)
Length380 miles (610 km)
Width210 miles (340 km)
GovernorKristi Noem (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 seal


State quarter

South Dakota quarter

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 updatedJune 8, 2020