Residential areas of the Sioux in the green
The area that is now called South Dakota was originally inhabited by Indian tribes such as the Dakota, Lakota, Nakota and Cheyenne. The first three are related and are grouped as the Sioux. The Cheyenne lived (among others) in the far west of present-day South Dakota. Lakota means “friend”.
According to watchtutorials, the Sioux originally lived further east, but moved into present-day South Dakota in the early 18th century.
In 1679 the French scout Daniel Greysolon du Lhut sent some scouts west from Lake Mille Lacs (present day Minnesota). They may have reached present-day South Dakota (Big Stone Lake and the Coteau des Prairies). Frenchman René Robert Cavelier de La Salle claimed the area for France as Louisiana in 1682. Since the claimed area was vast, France was only able to explore the area to a limited extent in the years that followed. South Dakota was most likely not visited. After 1713, France no longer paid attention to the area and focused more on the fur trade in the west.
First Explorations (1763 – 1800)
In 1763 France had to cede the area to Spain. South Dakota formally belonged to New Spain and Spain developed a policy for the northern area that focused on improving trade relations with the local Native American tribes and an exploration of the area looking for a waterway connection between the Missouri and the Pacific Ocean. However, the plan was not immediately implemented. There were, however, independent traders active in the area. In 1793, the group, the Missoury Company, formed in Saint Louis, USAfor the purpose of exploring and trading the upper Missouri River. They also tried to find a passage to the Pacific Ocean, but they only reached the mouth of the Yellowstone (northwest of present-day North Dakota). In 1795 a Spanish expedition was sent to the area, the Mackay-Evans expedition. They followed the Missouri through present-day South Dakota and also reached present-day North Dakota, driving several British merchants from Spanish territory.
Louisiana Purchase and First Settlements (1803) [ edit | edit source text ]
France regained Louisiana at the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1800. Three years later, France sold the area to the United States (the Louisiana Purchase). The area became part of the United States as the Louisiana Territory. In 1805 and 1806 the area was visited by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. On August 22, the expedition reached present-day South Dakota and made difficult progress against the current of the Missouri. They did not leave South Dakota until October 14, 1805. From 1812 to 1821, the area belonged to the Missouri Territory, after which it became “disorganized” territory of the United States. At the current Fort Pierrea fur trading post was established in 1817. This became the first of many American settlements. During the 1830s, fur trading was the main activity of the few whites in the area. The fur trade disappeared when after 1840 the demand for fur in Europe fell sharply.
From 1833, eastern South Dakota belonged successively to the Michigan Territory (1833-1836), the Wisconsin Territory (1836-1838), the Iowa Territory (1838-1846), and the Minnesota Territory (1849-1858). Western South Dakota belonged to the Nebraska Territory from 1854 to 1861. In 1861, the Dakota Territory was created, merging the eastern portion previously part of the Minnesota Territory with the northern portion of the former Nebraska Territory. This last part, western South Dakota, was reserved for the Native Americans.
Second half of the nineteenth century
Land granted to the Sioux in 1868 (purple) and current reserves (dark brown)
The Deadwood settlement in Black Hills was illegally established on Sioux. land
In the 1850s, the number of white settlers in what became South Dakota rose rapidly. In eastern South Dakota an “accord” was made in 1858 with the Yankton Sioux Indians whereby the Indians ceded most of eastern South Dakota. In 1856, Sioux Falls was founded in the east near a waterfall in the Big Sioux River, a left tributary of the Missouri. The settlement was quickly wiped out by local Native Americans, but was rebuilt in May 1857 with the name Sioux Falls. Yankton was founded in 1859. Yankton would become the gateway to the colonization of South Dakota.
Especially after the construction of a railroad to Yankton, crowds of settlers came to South Dakota. In addition, gold was discovered in the Black Hills in 1874 during a military expedition led by George Armstrong Custer. The Blacks Hills were in western South Dakota: territory that was part of the greater Great Sioux Reservation granted to the Sioux by the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868). The Sioux did not allow mining rights or land to the settlers. However, the United States was unable to prevent white settlers from entering the reservation, after which the Great Sioux War started in 1876 after mounting tensions.broke out in which the Sioux were defeated.
In 1880 Yankton with 3,431 inhabitants was the largest city of what later became South Dakota, before Sioux Falls (2164 inhabitants). In the 1880s, Sioux Falls experienced explosive growth with its population nearly quintupling to 10,177 residents.
The Harvest in South Dakota in 1898
In 1889, preparations were made to recognize North and South Dakota as states of the United States. It was decided to split the area into a northern and a southern part because the white settlements were also located separately in the north and south. It was feared, however, that South Dakota would not be viable as a state unless more land was available to white settlers. President Benjamin Harrison then sentGeneral George Crook sets out to convince the Sioux to sell half of their reservation to the government. Crook succeeded in this by using dubious ways to get the Sioux to sign to sell their land. On November 2, 1889, North Dakota and South Dakota formally became states of the United States as the 39th and 40th states. Pierre, at the time the third largest city in the state after Sioux Falls and Yankton, became the capital because of its more central location in the state (Sioux Falls and Yankton are both in the southeast). On December 29, 1890, a massacre took place near the town of Wounded Knee.
The 1890s were marked by an economic depression that nearly brought white immigration to South Dakota to a standstill. Pierre lost almost 30% of its inhabitants. Only a few places, such as Aberdeen, were able to record strong growth. For Aberdeen, its growth around 1900 was linked to the establishment of as many as four railroad companies in the city, earning it the nickname Hub City of the Dakotas.