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.
The flag of the state of South Dakota was adopted on November 9, 1992. The flag is rectangular with a bright blue background. The seal of the state of South Dakota appears in the center of the flag surrounded by gold triangles that represent the sun’s rays. The text, “SOUTH DAKOTA” and “THE MOUNT RUSHMORE STATE” appear around the seal, in all capital letters.
The seal of the state of South Dakota was designed in 1885. The seal features hills, a mine, a river and a boat, a farmer, and cattle, a scene representative of South Dakota’s economy, industry, landscape, and natural resources. Above the scene is that state’s motto: “Under God the People Rule.” The text “STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA” and “GREAT SEAL” appear around the seal. The date “1889” appears at the bottom of the seal, the year South Dakota became an official state in the Union.
The original flag of South Dakota was somewhat different than the state’s current flag. The original flag, which was designed in 1909, featured the same bright blue background but contained different images on the banner’s front and back. The front of the flag featured a large yellow sun with the text “SOUTH DAKOTA” and “THE SUNSHINE STATE.” The back of the flag contained the seal of the state of South Dakota and the same text. Printing a flag with different front and back designs was expensive; however, and the cost of the flag prohibited many homes and businesses from displaying the flag.
In 1963, the South Dakota State Legislature passed a bill to change the state flag to display the state seal on both sides. In 1992, the flag underwent its final modification. Although the state adopted the nickname, “The Sunshine State,” to reflect the many sunny days that occur every year in South Dakota, the state officially adopted “The Mount Rushmore State,” as its official nickname. Subsequently, in the same year, the text on the flag was changed from “THE SUNSHINE STATE” to “THE MOUNT RUSHMORE STATE.”