South Dakota State Overview

By | October 5, 2022

South Dakota is located in the north of the United States of America, to which it was annexed on November 2, 1889. This federal state lies on the middle course of the Missouri River and its name is derived from the word Dakhota, which means “Allies”. The Dakota were a Sioux tribe living in the area.

Originally, the territory of this state was inhabited by several Indian tribes, but they were exterminated or driven to reservations. Due to the discovery of deposits of gold and diamonds, many treasure hunters, but also criminals and bandits, came to the country. A huge wave of immigrants followed, but after a while the situation calmed down and people began to engage in agriculture and pastoralism.

South Dakota borders the states of North Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Montana and Wyoming. It is a landlocked country characterized by prairies and rich mineral deposits. In some places, prairies have been converted into grain fields. South Dakota is sparsely forested due to the dry climate. In the west of the state rises the Black Hills and Badlands, with the highest mountain, Harney Peak, reaching an altitude of 2,209 meters. Large rivers such as the Cheyenne River, Missouri River, James River and White River flow through the state. There are also large and beautiful lakes – Lake Oahe, Lake Francis Case, Lewis and Clark Lake.

According to TRACKAAH, South Dakota is one of the least populated US states. The population density is only around 3.84 inhabitants per square kilometer. In total, less than 800 thousand inhabitants live in the country on an area of 199,905 kmĀ². Approximately 93% of the population is white, 6% is Native American, and the rest is black. The majority of the population is of the Christian faith, Protestants predominate, and Roman Catholics also have a large presence.

The state’s economy is still dependent on agriculture and mineral extraction. Important agricultural products are rye, wheat, corn and milk, cattle and pigs are raised here. The industry is mainly represented by the mining and processing of mineral resources, such as the mining of gold, diamonds, stone, bauxite, copper and iron ore. Food processing also plays an important role.

According to COUNTRYAAH, the capital of South Dakota is Pierre. Other major cities include Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Aberdeen, Watertown, Brookings, Mitchell, Yankton, Huron and Vermillion. South Dakota is proud of its unique nature, with 12 national parks and 39 recreation areas.

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

Located in South Dakota, the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site is one of the newest sites to be designated by the National Park Service NPS. This organization deals with the protection of historically, naturally, culturally or otherwise interesting places in America.

The memorial was established in 1999 as a reminder of the past associated with the Cold War, arms fever and the rapid development in the use of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Missiles labeled Minuteman had enormous destructive power and, if used, would threaten the extinction of civilization. The nuclear warheads stored here became a deterrent and guaranteed peace on earth for 30 years. The National Park Service preserves the last remaining Minuteman II ICBM missile systems in the United States. The Minuteman missiles were considered technologically unique in their time, as they were the first missiles operating on solid fuel in the US.

Visitors to this site can tour the missile base and watch a 10-minute educational film. It introduces visitors to the causes of the Cold War and returns the viewer back to its era. The film also explains to people the important importance of missiles in national defense. However, Minuteman missiles are not only a part of the past, but also of the human present and future. Today, there are still around 450 Minuteman missiles deployed throughout the Northern Great Plains.

Jewel Cave National Monument

Jewel Cave – Czech With its length of 217 km, the Jewel Cave is the third longest cave in the world. We can find it about 20 km west of the city of Custer, which is located in South Dakota in the United States of America.

The cave was discovered in 1900 by the Machaud brothers. At first, however, it was just a small hole in the ground, which they then enlarged with the help of dynamite. The entrance to the cave was thus widened and the brothers discovered a space full of calcite crystals, which eventually gave the cave its name. A few years later, they decided to open the cave to curious tourists. Back in 1959, however, people thought that the length of the cave was only one kilometer.

Since 1965, the Conn brothers have been working on the exploration of the cave, discovering and mapping more than 100 new passages. Today’s known length is 217 km of corridors, which is a really respectable number. Only the Ukrainian Optimistic Cave with a length of 230 km and the Mammoth Cave from Kentucky, whose known length of all underground spaces is 593 km and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, are larger. Based on the amount of air that constantly escapes from the Cave of Jewels, it is estimated that the cave spaces known today are still only a fraction of its total length.

Near the cave is Wind Cave, which is the fourth longest known cave in the world at 192 km. However, the corridors are so convoluted that in some places they resemble a maze. The landscape above the cave is covered with grassy prairies, over which the largest herd of bison in the world roam. Here you can also see wapiti deer, American pronghorn or prairie dogs. Most of the national park is open to the public and is criss-crossed by around 50 kilometers of hiking trails of various lengths. Both of these unique caves are part of the national park Wind Cave NP.

Jewel Cave National Monument