South Dakota State Day, Motto, and Nickname
DATE OF ADMISSION TO UNITED STATES
November 2, 1889
RANKING IN STATE ADMISSION
By the 1850s, the westward expansion of the United States was in full swing. In an effort to keep up with the population explosion and to avoid further clashes with the Indian nations, large territories were formed and sections west of Missouri set aside for Native Americans. Settlers from the eastern states were encouraged to move West and take part in "land rushes," where people raced into newly opened territories and claimed acreage for homesteading.
Opened for the expanding settler population on March 2, 1861, the Dakota Territory was one such territory. This large area comprised the future states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. With increased immigration following the Civil War, the Dakota Territory eventually outgrew its territorial status. Residents called for better government representation, and the push for statehood began in earnest.
Congress passed an omnibus bill on February 22, 1889, authorizing the creation of constitutions in Montana, North and South Dakota, and Washington. By November 2, 1889, all requirements were completed by both of the Dakotas, and they were both formally admitted to the United States on November 2, 1889. It is said that, in order to avoid showing favoritism, President Benjamin Harrison mixed up the order of the two statehood documents, not sure which he was signing first. For this reason, they were granted alphabetically—North Dakota became the 39th state, and South Dakota the 40th.
"Under God the people rule."
South Dakota’s motto was established when it was incorporated on the state seal and state flag. The seal was actually adopted in 1885, four years before the state’s admission to the Union.
"Mount Rushmore State" (official), "Artesian State," "Blizzard State," "Coyote State," "Land of Infinite Variety," "Sunshine State"
Home to the renowned presidential sculpture Mount Rushmore, South Dakota adopted the nickname "The Mount Rushmore State" in 1980. The "Artesian State" is in reference to the many artesian wells that can be found in South Dakota. The state can experience astonishingly severe snowstorms, earning it the nickname "The Blizzard State."
The coyote is indigenous to the Dakotas, and South Dakota, the first to adopt the coyote as the official state animal, is referred to at times as the "Coyote State." Both the "Land of Infinite Variety" and "The Sunshine State" were nicknames adopted by tourism publications to encourage the industry. At one time, "The Sunshine State" was even the official state motto, but it was dropped due to Florida's designation as such.
-World Trade Press