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South Dakota became the 40th state of the Union on Nov. 2, 1889. The state has two unique physical features: It contains the geographic center of the United States, which is located just north of Belle Fourche, and it has its own continental divide, as a result of which Lake Traverse, in the southeastern corner of the state, flows northward to Hudson Bay, and Big Stone Lake, on the Minnesota border, flows southward to the Gulf of Mexico. South Dakota is bordered by North Dakota to the north, Minnesota and Iowa to the east, Nebraska to the south, and Wyoming and Montana to the west. The state is split by the upper Missouri River valley into eastern and western regions. Pierre, in central South Dakota, is one of the country's smallest state capitals.
Dakota is derived from the Sioux Indian word for "friend."
Area, 77,047 sq mi (199,552 sq km) - State bird: ring-necked pheasant
State flower: pasqueflower - State tree: Black Hills spruce
On March 2, 1861, President James Buchanan signed the bill creating the Dakota Territory, which originally included the area covered today by both Dakotas as well as Montana and Wyoming. The name was taken from that of the Dakota or Sioux Indian Tribe. Beginning in 1877, efforts were made to bring Dakota into the Union as both a single state and as two states. The latter was successful and on November 2, 1889, both North and South Dakota were admitted. President Benjamin Harrison went to great lengths to obscure the order in which the statehood proclamations were signed, so the exact order in which the two states entered is unknown. However, because of alphabetical position, North Dakota is often considered the 39th state.