North Dakota Facts and History

Abbreviated as ND on, North Dakota is a federal state of the United States in the north of the United States on the Canadian border. North Dakota is 183,112 km² and has a population of over 750,000 [2] (89% white, 5% Native, 3% Hispanic, 2% black and 1% other). The capital is Bismarck . The climate is cool and temperate.

North Dakota became the 39th state after the division of Dakota Territory in 1889. North Dakota is nicknamed Peace Garden State , named after the International Peace Garden on the border with Canada near Dunseith , and Sioux State . The name Dakota is derived from the Indian ethnic group of the Dakota , who lived in this area before the submission by immigrants and still lives here today.

Geographical location

To the west are the hilly Great Plains and Badlands . In this area are the White Butte , the highest point in the state, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park . The Missouri River flows through western North Dakota and forms Lake Sakakawea , the third largest man-made lake in the United States , along with the Garrison Dam .

Central Dakota is home to the Drift Prairie and the Missouri Plateau . Lakes, river valleys and gently rolling hills characterize the region. The Turtle Mountains are located in the Drift Prairie near the Canadian border . The geographic center of North America is near the city of Rugby .

To the east is the flat Red River Valley that forms the curving Red River of the North . Like the other rivers in this part of the state, the Red River flows north. At the end of the last Ice Age, the river fed along with others to Lake Agassiz . Today the land around the river is very fertile, which has led to the settlement of many farms and small towns. To the east is Devil’s Lake , the largest natural lake in the state.

The White Butte is the highest point in North Dakota at 1,069 meters. It is a prominent elevation in the Badlands of Slope County, in the SW of the state – about 11 km northwest of Amidon. The summit is on private property in Little Missouri National Grassland .


The second highest peak in North Dakota is the Sentinel Butte at 1,045 m near the border with Montana in Golden Valley County, from which the town of the same name takes its name 5 km to the north. The name of the mountain goes back to the killing of two Arikaree guards who were allegedly raided near the Sioux in 1864.

North Dakota ranks 48th out of 50 states in terms of population. Only Vermont and Wyoming have fewer residents.

People with German ancestors are common all over the state, but especially in the south and in the center. In 2000, 44% of the population had German roots. The German language is still used by 2.3% of the population. [4] Scandinavians are also everywhere. Some counties have large Indian communities (mostly on reservations). North Dakota has the highest percentage of a Russian-German population of all US states. About 20% of all residents of this state can trace their roots back to this. The south (e.g. McIntosh County , LaMoure County , and Emmons County) was populated almost exclusively by these. Places like Kulm or Strasburg point to the original settlements of the founders in southern Russia, mainly from Bessarabia .

6.9% of the population are under 5 years old, 22.8% are under 18 and 14.2% are 65 or older. The proportion of women in the total population is around 48.7%.

Population development

In 2005 the updated population was 636,677, which corresponds to an increase of 369 inhabitants or 0.1% compared to the previous year and a decrease of 5,527 inhabitants or 0.9% compared to 2000. The natural growth compared to the census in 2000 was 10,283 people (40,890 live births, 30,607 deaths). The immigration deficit was 14,881, with 3,687 moving from outside the United States and 18,568 moving domestically.

Since the 1980s, North Dakota has seen a steady decline in population due to emigration . Younger people with a university degree in particular left the state. One aspect of the problem is the lack of graduate jobs. The development of economic development programs to provide quality and high-tech jobs has been proposed, but the usefulness of such programs is under debate.

However, the trend changed with the energy boom due to the development of previously inaccessible deposits of oil and natural gas through fracking . Since the turn of the millennium and increasingly after 2010, there has been an economic upswing in the state, which has drawn a large number of workers to the assisted areas.


Since at least 2000 BC Chr. People live as hunters and gatherers and sedentary farmers in North Dakota. When the first Europeans arrived in the region, several different groups of Native Americans lived there . The Dakota / Sioux , the Assiniboine and the Cheyenne were nomads and mainly hunted bison herds . This way of life only became possible when riding horses were available in the 18th century . Around 1800 some Chippewa groups also moved to the Red River Valley in eastern South Dakota. Other native American groups like thatThe Mandan , the Hidatsa , and the Arikara lived mainly from agriculture and trade and hunted only occasionally. Their fortified settlements on the Missouri River became centers of the fur trade in the 18th and 19th centuries .
The first European to reach the area was the French Canadian La Vérendrye , who led an expedition to the Mandan villages around 1738. The inter-tribal trade was arranged in such a way that the tribes of North Dakotas rarely traded directly with the Europeans. Even so, at the time of the Lewis and Clark expedition , the tribes maintained sufficient contact with the Europeans through the fur trade to be aware of the French and Spanish claims to their territory. In 1837/38 an epidemic of smallpox broke out in the villages on the Missouri River , which about 90% of the indigenous people died.

The Dakota Territory was sparsely populated until the late 19th century, when railways were rapidly being built and land was being sold on a large scale . A law of February 22, 1889 under the presidency of Grover Cleveland cleared the way to the state for North and South Dakota as well as for Montana and Washington . With the signature of his successor Benjamin Harrison , the admission took place on November 2, 1889. The dispute between the two new states over which of them should be admitted first posed a problem. So Harrison directed his Secretary of State, James G. Blaine started to mix the papers and thereby hide the order of the signatures. However, since “North Dakota” is in the alphabet before “South Dakota”, North Dakota was first included in the Law Gazette, making it the 39th state before South Dakota.

The territorial governments as well as the first state governments were considered very corrupt. In the early 20th century, the strong influence of the Nonpartisan League led to social reforms. The Great Depression hit North Dakota very hard and was the farm crisis intensified in the 1920s. The original North Dakota Capitol burned down in the 1930s. It was replaced by an Art Deco “skyscraper” with a limestone facade that is still standing today.

In the 1950s, the federal government carried out several major construction projects in North Dakota. These included the Garrison Dam and air force bases at Minot and Grand Forks . As oil prices soared and production became profitable, an oil boom began in the Williston Basin in the 1980s. As a result, the population grew to its highest level of almost 700,000 inhabitants. Today the population is around 640,000; this corresponds to the status of the 1920s.

Seven sites in the state have National Historic Landmark status due to their historical significance .

North Dakota Facts and History


According to, Bismarck is the capital of the state of North Dakota (United States), located at 46 ° 47 ′ lat. N., and at 100 ° 38 ′ long. O., on the Missouri River, at 494 meters above sea level. It was founded in the second half of the 9th century. XIX and became the capital of North Dakota in 1889.

It has a typically continental climate: the average annual temperature is 4 or 4, the winter one -12 °, the summer one 19 ° 4. The rains are rather scarce (470 mm). The city had 3319 inhabitants in 1900, 5443 in 1910, 7122 in 1920. As the capital it has many very decent looking government buildings, a United States Indian School and a state library.

About the author