Photographed by South Dakota Tourism

Photographed by South Dakota Tourism

Hello South Dakota interns,

One of the best summer holidays is tomorrow…Independence Day! Most of us know the history of how the United States gained its independence, but do you as a South Dakotan know how our state gained independence?

Dakota Territory was established in 1861, and settlement grew rapidly with people from eastern United States as well as people from western and northern Europeans.Gold was found in the black hills area during a military expedition led by George A. Custer in 1874, and miners and explorers began illegally entering the western half of South Dakota.

With the growing population in the Dakota Territory, President Benjamin Harrison signed the paperwork to formally admit both South Dakota and North Dakota into the union on Nov. 2, 1889 (he shuffled the papers, so no one knows which state is 39th and which state is 40th) with Arthur C. Mellette being the last governor of the Dakota Territory and the first governor of South Dakota.

Next year (2014) on Nov. 2 will be South Dakota’s 125th anniversary of its state independence. The governor will pick the 125th Birthday logo, and he will create a 125th Birthday Commission to create ideas and suggestions to promote the history of South Dakota and celebrate its independence.

So, South Dakota interns, wherever you may travel in the world, if people ask you about South Dakota’s government, you can share some history about how South Dakota gained its independence, and you can share how you’re proud to serve the people of South Dakota.

Thank you for reading and Happy 4th of July!

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