South Dakota has often been referred to as the land of infinite variety. That variety is reflected in everything from our weather to our scenery, our economy to our state symbols. South Dakota ranks 16th in size among the 50 states. It was the 40th state to join the Union in 1889 and encompasses 77,123 square miles, averaging 10 people per square mile. South Dakota boasts more miles of shoreline than the state of Florida and the highest point in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.
Population: 814,180 (2010 Census)
State Animal: Coyote
State Tree: Black Hills Spruce
Highest Point: Black Elk Peak (formerly Harney Peak) in the Black Hills, 7,242 feet
State Capital: Pierre (pronounced "peer")
State Bird: Chinese ring-necked pheasant
State Mineral: Rose Quartz
State Fish: Walleye
State Gemstone: Fairburn Agate
State Nickname: The Mount Rushmore State
State Insect: Honey Bee
State Fossil: Triceratops
State Flower: Pasque
State Soil: Houdek
State Sport: Rodeo
State Dessert: Kuchen
State Song: "Hail, South Dakota"
State Motto: "Under God, the people rule"
State Slogan: "Great Faces. Great Places."
Sprawling prairies, fertile farmland and glacial lakes dominate the landscape in eastern South Dakota. Prairies and ranchland are common in central South Dakota. Mountains grace the western skyline, and in the southwest, striking Badlands formations rise abruptly from the surrounding prairie. The Missouri River runs through the central and southeastern part of the state. Lakes formed by retreating glaciers thousands of years ago cover the northeastern corner of South Dakota.