Experts aren’t sure when humans arrived in what is now North Dakota, but archaeologists have discovered 10,000-year-old artifacts from hunters in the area. Native American tribes such as the Mandan, Hidatsa, Cheyenne, and Dakota Sioux lived in the area, and about 30,000 Native Americans from several different tribes still call North Dakota home. France controlled the area after an explorer named Pierre Gauthier La Verendre became the first European to arrive in 1738. Later Spain and then England took over. In 1803, the land was acquired by the United States through the Louisiana Purchase. For a long time, the region was called the Dakota Territory and included both North and South Dakota. Railroads were built in the late 1800s, bringing American settlers with them, and in 1889, North Dakota was declared its own state.

Geography of North Dakota

Dakota is a Sioux Indian word that roughly means “friend” or “ally.” The International Peace Garden, which stands on the border between North Dakota and Canada, represents the 1932 US and Canadian pledge never to go to war with each other.

Geography of North Dakota

According to, North Dakota is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south, and Montana to the west. The elevation rises from east to west as the Rocky Mountains emerge. The Red River Valley to the east is a plain that was once the bottom of an ancient lake. It follows the Red River, which creates an undulating state border with Minnesota. The mineral-rich soil makes it one of the most fertile in the world, with many farms. Heading west, the Drift Prairie region is dotted with hills, valleys, lakes, and wetlands. To the west of the Drift Prairie is the Missouri Plateau, the highest region of the state. It includes the Badlands, a rugged rocky valley where wind and water have turned into pyramids, domes, and mounds (steep, flat-topped hills). The Badlands contain North Dakota’s highest point, the 3,506-foot White Butte. But North Dakota was once underwater and has fossils of ancient sea creatures, including swimming reptiles called mosasurs, clams and other fish.

Wildlife of North Dakota

North Dakota’s wide open land is home to mammals such as bison, bighorn sheep, moose, and pronghorns, as well as bobcats, oriental-colored skunks, arctic shrews, and muskrats. Bald eagles, prairie falcons and American kestrels hunt overhead, while tawny woodpeckers dig their beaks into the trees. Amphibians like the tiger salamander scurry around, and quirky reptiles like the softshell turtle and the smooth green snake keep things interesting: the softshell turtle has a skin-covered shell, and the green snake’s mouth seems to be smiling! Ash, elm, pine and willow dot the landscape, while colorful flowers such as black-eyed Susan, daisies, Queen Anne’s lace and white violets adorn the fields.


Population: 61,200 thousand people (2010)
Area: 81.0 sq. km
Founded: 1872
Time zone: UTC-6, summer UTC-5
Altitude: 514 m

Bismarck is the capital of North Dakota and the second largest city in the state. It is located in the central part of the region on the hilly plain of the Great Prairies, stretching on the Missouri River. See North Dakota cities.

The Mandan tribes lived in Bismarck territory. These Indians were the only ones in this region who were engaged in agriculture, which gave rise to a lot of theories about the connections of the Mandan with the Vikings. Officially, the first whites to appear here are members of the Lewis and Clark expedition. In 1805, the expedition crossed the Missouri just in the territory of Bismarck.

The settlement, which arose on the site of the crossing, appeared only in 1872 and was named Edwinton. However, a year later, it was decided to rename the town in honor of the German “iron” Chancellor Bismarck in order to attract German immigrants and German investments. Today, about two-thirds of the population of Bismarck are descendants of German settlers. The town became the capital of the Dakota Territory in 1883, and in 1893, the capital of North Dakota.

The tourist infrastructure is represented mainly by parks. The most famous and popular of them is Fort Abraham Lincoln. It includes the reconstruction of a cavalry camp that fought against the Sioux tribes, as well as the reconstruction of a Mandan village. There is a museum in the park.

Geography of North Dakota
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