South Dakota’s name is derived from the Sioux word “Dakota”, meaning friend. South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889 after President James Buchanan signed a bill creating the Dakota territory to make both North and South Dakota. Both states were admitted to the Union on the same day. In addition to North and South Dakota, both Montana and Wyoming were also in the Dakota Territory.
South Dakota’s state flag is a light blue color with the state seal placed in the center. Around the state seal is a yellow sun, shining its rays around the seal. Around the sun and the state seal are the words South Dakota and The Mount Rushmore State., as the state is home to Mount Rushmore, one of the most well-known monuments in the world. The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are carved (by drill) in a batholith in the Black Hills of Keystone, South Dakota. The monument took over six and a half years to complete, with construction ending in 1941. The monument attracts over 2 million visitors each year.
Along with Mount Rushmore, South Dakota is also home to the Badlands National Park. The park is a mixed-grass prairie and is the largest protected mixed-grass prairie there is. In this national park are wildlife ranging from bison to butterflies, along with fossils teaching about flora and fauna in prehistoric times. Tourists are able to bicycle, hike, and camp in the Badlands.