South Dakota

 

 

South Dakota is a U.S. state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes, who compose a large portion of the population and historically dominated the territory. South Dakota is the seventeenth largest by area, but the fifth smallest by population and the 5th least densely populated of the 50 United States. As the southern part of the former Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889, simultaneously with North Dakota.

South Dakota is bordered by the states of North Dakota (to the north), Minnesota (to the east), Iowa (to the southeast), Nebraska (to the south), Wyoming (to the west), and Montana (to the northwest). The state is bisected by the Missouri River, dividing South Dakota into two geographically and socially distinct halves, known to residents as “East River” and “West River”.

Eastern South Dakota is home to most of the state’s population, and the area’s fertile soil is used to grow a variety of crops. West of the Missouri River, ranching is the predominant agricultural activity, and the economy is more dependent on tourism and defence spending. Most of the Native American reservations are in West River. The Black Hills, a group of low pine-covered mountains sacred to the Sioux, are in the southwest part of the state. Mount Rushmore, a major tourist destination, is there. South Dakota has a temperate continental climate, with four distinct seasons and precipitation ranging from moderate in the east to semi-arid in the west. The state’s ecology features species typical of a North American grassland biome.

Capital: Pierre

South Dakota: Pine Ridge Reservation – Wounded Knee

Since coming to live in the United States I have enjoyed discovering more about the history and culture of the Country. As with any country  the United States has had bright and dark moments. During our road trip through South Dakota I decided to explore one of the darker episodes, with a visit the site of Wounded Knee, which is found in the Oglala Sioux reservation, and is the site of the last battle between the US military and the Sioux.

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South Dakota: Rapid City – South Dakota Air and Space Museum

I still get excited when I get the chance to visit a new museum dedicated to air and space, so when I discovered on our journey through South Dakota the South Dakota Air & Space Museum at Ellsworth Airforce Base I jumped at the chance to visit.Like many such aerospace museums there was plenty of interesting aircraft on display. There are over 30 vintage military aircraft ranging from World War II bombers to the modern-day B-1.

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South Dakota: Mitchell – Corn Palace

Mitchell is home of the world’s only Corn Palace. The original version of the Corn Palace was established in 1892 as a place for the community to congregate. As Mitchell grew it outstripped the capacity of the Corn Palace which was subsequently rebuilt, bigger and better, twice more with the current building being completed in 1921. In the 1930’s the building was remodeled to capture the essential spirit and decorative features of the first palace, with the minarets and Moorish design elements we see today being added.

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South Dakota: Wall – Wall Drug Store

As you travel around America, especially the mid-west you’ll come across billboards advertising the Wall Drug Store. These billboards are located, in some cases, hundreds of miles from the store itself mostly along a 650 mile stretch of I-90. Apparently, there are more than 300 paid for billboards, some located internationally, and a whole load more unofficial billboards.

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