North Dakota is a state of the United States, named after the Dakota segment of the Sioux Native American Indians. Its U.S. postal abbreviation is ND. The entire state is covered by area code 701.
The United States Navy vessels USS North Dakota and Flickertail State were named in honor of North Dakota.
full article: History of North Dakota
The Dakotas were the last arable places in the United States to be explored and settled (in the whole of North America, Alberta and Saskatchewan were explored slightly before but settled slightly after). The French-Canadian trader La Vérendrye was the first documented explorer of the area, leading a party to the Mandan villages about 1738.
The trading arrangement between tribes was such that North Dakota tribes rarely dealt directly with Europeans. However, the native tribes were in sufficient contact that by the time of Lewis and Clark, they were at least somewhat aware of the French, then Spanish claims to their territory.
The state was settled sparsely until the late 1800s, when the railroads pushed through the state, and aggressively marketed the land. On 2 November 1889, North Dakota was admitted to the Union with South Dakota (see Trivia below).
The territorial and early state governments were largely corrupt. Early in the 20th century, a wave of populism led by the Non Partisan League brought social reforms. The Great Depression was rough on the state and came several years early with the 1920s farm crisis. The original state capitol burned to the ground in the 1930s and was replaced by a concrete art deco skyscraper that still stands today.
The 1950s brought a wave of federal construction projects, including Garrison Dam and the Minot and Grand Forks Air Force bases. The 1980s saw an oil boom in the Williston basin, as skyrocketing petroleum prices made development profitable, driving state population to a peak near 800,000. Since then the state has been experiencing a period of economic and demographic decline, and population is down to around 640,000, about as many as lived in the state in 1920s.
Law and government
The capital of North Dakota is Bismarck and its current governor is John Hoeven (Republican). Its two current U.S. senators are Kent Conrad (Dem-NPL) and Byron Dorgan (Dem-NPL). Its congressman is Earl Pomeroy (Dem-NPL).
North Dakota has a bicameral legislature. The state elects two House Representatives and one Senator from each of 47 districts apportioned by population. The legislature meets in an 80-day regular session in odd-numbered years, and in special session if summoned by the governor. See also: North Dakota Legislative Assembly, North Dakota Senate, North Dakota House of Representatives
The major political parties in North Dakota are the Republican Party and the Democratic-NPL Party.
North Dakota's judiciary is rather simple. Each of the 53 counties has a court, from which appeals are sent straight to the Supreme Court. Because of the expense of having each county hire a judge, and the fairly low workload, the state is divided into seven judicial districts which collectively elect judges to travel to the various courthouses and hear cases.
District Judges are elected to six-year terms. Supreme Court Judges are elected to ten-year terms. The Supreme Court Justice is selected every 5 years by vote of the District and Supreme Court Judges.
See: List of North Dakota Governors, List of United States Senators from North Dakota
See: List of North Dakota counties
North Dakota is bordered on the north by the Canadian Provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, on the west by Montana, on the south by South Dakota, and on the east, across the Red River of the North, by Minnesota. The Missouri River flows through the western part of the state, forming Lake Sakakawea behind the Garrison Dam.
Farms and ranches stretch across the rolling plains from the Red River Valley in the east to the rugged Badlands in the west. The geographic centre of the North American continent is located near Rugby.
North Dakota's 1999 total gross state product was $17 billion, the smallest in the nation. Its 2000 per capita personal income was $25,068, placing it 38th in the nation. The state's agricultural outputs include wheat, cattle, barley, flax, milk, soybeans, sunflowers, and sugar beets. Its small industrial output includes electric power, food processing, machinery, coal mining, and tourism.
North Dakota has the only state-owned bank in the United States, the Bank of North Dakota. The bank, by law, holds all funds of all state and local government agencies in North Dakota. Its deposits are not guaranteed by the FDIC, but by the State of North Dakota itself.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2003, North Dakota's population was estimated at 633,837 people.
The racial makeup of the state is:
The 5 largest ancestry groups in North Dakota are German (43.9%), Norwegian (30.1%), Irish (7.7%), American Indian (5%), Swedish (5%).
6.1% of North Dakota's population were reported as under 5, 25% under 18, and 14.7% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 50.1% of the population.
North Dakota, like many Plains and Midwestern states, has been suffering a significant decline in population over the last 20 years, primarily in skilled college graduates for which there are no jobs in the state. State leaders have been at a loss to address the problem. Student loan forgiveness programs for health and education professionals have been initiated with some degree of success, but a larger program to forgive the loans of all college graduates residing in the state for a given period of time failed to pass a referendum. Some federal politicians, including Byron Dorgan, have proposed a new "Homestead Act" to incentivize living in areas losing population through tax breaks and other considerations, but these have also made little headway.
Many North Dakota politicians believe that better economic development programs will eventually resolve the problem, but opinions are mixed as to what exactly that would entail.
The religious affiliations of the citizens of North Dakota are:
- Protestant – 64%
- Roman Catholic – 30%
- Other Christian – 1%
- Other Religions – 0%
- Non-Religious – 2%
The three largest Protestant denominations in North Dakota are: Lutheran (37% of the total state population), Baptist (4%), Methodist (4%).
Important cities and towns
See also: List of cities in North Dakota
By population, the ten largest urban centres in the state are:
- 1. Fargo/West Fargo
- 2. Bismarck/Mandan
- 3. Grand Forks
- 4. Minot
- 5. Dickinson
- 6. Jamestown
- 7. Williston
- 8. Wahpeton
- 9. Devils Lake
- 10. Valley City
The population trends in the state are noting a distinct shift from the rural areas to the larger cities. Most of North Dakota's largest communities grew between 1990 and 2000.
Between 1990 and 2000, the USA as a whole grew by 13.1%, yet North Dakota grew a mere 0.5%. It is the only state (along with Washington DC) whose population declined (by 1.3%) between April 1, 2000 and July 1, 2003; this decline has become a major political issue.
North Dakota's leaders frequently boast that the educational scene in the state is excellent. However, because the economic situation is no match for it, many skilled graduates leave the state.
Colleges and universities
North Dakota boasts one of the healthiest higher education scenes in the nation. There are 11 public colleges and universities, 5 tribal community colleges, and 4 private schools in the state. The largest and oldest institution is the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.
The higher education system consists of the following institutions:
- North Dakota University System (Public schools)
- Bismarck State College in Bismarck
- Dickinson State University in Dickinson
- Lake Region State College in Devils Lake
- Mayville State University in Mayville
- Minot State University in Minot
- Minot State University-Bottineau in Bottineau
- North Dakota State University in Fargo
- North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton
- University of North Dakota in Grand Forks
- Valley City State University in Valley City
- Williston State College in Williston
- Tribal colleges
- Cankdeska Cikana Community College in Fort Totten
- Fort Berthold Community College in New Town
- Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates
- Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt
- United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck
- Private schools
- Aakers Business College in Fargo
- Jamestown College in Jamestown
- University of Mary in Bismarck
- Trinity Bible College in Ellendale
- Language: English
- Counties: 53
- State bird: Western Meadowlark
- State fish: Northern pike
- State horse: Nokota Horse
- State flower: Wild Prairie Rose, Rosa arkansana
- State tree: American Elm
- State fossil: Teredo Petrified wood
- State grass: Western Wheatgrass
- State nicknames: Roughrider State, Flickertail State, Peace Garden State
- State mottos:
- (Great Seal of North Dakota) Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable
- (Coat of Arms of North Dakota) Strength from the Soil
- State song: North Dakota Hymn
- State dance: Square Dance
- State march: Flickertail March
- State beverage: Milk
A bill for statehood for North and South Dakota (and Montana, and Washington)
was passed on February 22 1889 during the Administration of Grover Cleveland.
It was left to his successor Benjamin Harrison to
sign proclamations formally admitting North and South
Dakota to the Union on November 2 1889. However, the rivalry
between the northern and southern territories
presented a dilemma: only one, upon the President's
signature on the proclamation, could gain the distinction
of being admitted before the other. So Harrison directed
his Secretary of State James Blaine to shuffle
the papers and obscure from him which he was signing
first, and the priority went unrecorded.