North Dakota History

North Dakota History

North Dakota is a US state with the abbreviation ND. According to ebizdir, the state capital is Bismarck, while Fargo is the largest city on the border with Minnesota.

The state is intersected from east to west by US HiWay 94, and the largest river in the United States – the Missouri River – flows through the state from west to south-east, forming large water reservoirs via a large earthen dam.


17th Century – The Cheyenne Indians lived in the valley of the Cheyenne River ; The Hidatsa Indians moved from Devils Lake in the west to Missouri; The Sioux Indians moved to Minnesota.

1610 – Henry Hudson declared Hudson Bay to England, and the eastern ND. The crew mutinied the ship in the spring when Hudson wanted to continue the expedition. Hudson, his minor son John, and seven others who were either ill or had taken Hudson’s party were put to sea in a small boat and were never seen again.

1682 – Robert de La Salle declares the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers estuaries to France. Read more about his expeditions here.

1719 – France gives England the northern part of the state.

1738 – A French explorer, Pierre Gaultier de la Verendyre, visits the villages of the native Mandan Indians.

1797 – A British explorer, David Thompson, maps the northern part of the state. Throughout his career, he mapped over 3.9 million square miles of North America. He was described as “The best land geographer who has lived”.

1801 – The first white settlement of the Hudson’s Bay Company is established in Pembina.

1804 – Lewis and Clark’s expedition arrives and founds Fort Mandan. Today, the exact location is unknown, but it is believed that the fort is under water. A replica of the fort was built near the site.

1828 – American Fur Company opens Fort Union, which remains the most important trading post in the area for 40 years.

1837 – A deadly smallpox epidemic breaks out among the Mandan Indians, who are infected by an employee of the American Fur Company’s steamer SS St. Peter. The epidemic ended the following year. The Indians, who in July 1837 rounded 2000 members, were reduced to 138 survivors. Read more here and here.

1860 – Steamboat service begins on the Missouri River. Read more here.

1862 – ” Little Crow’s War ” begins on August 17 along the Minnesota River and ends with the mass execution of 38 Sioux Indians on December 26 in Mankato, Minnesota.

1867 – Fort Totten Indian Reservation is established.

1870 – Fort Berthold Indian Reservation is established.

1871 – The city of Centralia (later Fargo ) is established and becomes the hub and economic center of southeastern North Dakota. With the construction of the Northern Pacific Railway, economic growth came in the city, which soon became known as the ” Gateway to the West “.

1872 – The city of Edwinton (later Bismarck ) is founded at Missouri Crossing, the site where the Lewis and Clark expedition crossed the river. The city was named the following year after German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck by the Northern Pacific Railway in hopes of attracting German investment. But a gold find in the Black Hills near the city allowed the city to grow on its own. 11 years later in 1883 the capital was moved from Yankton, SD to Bismarck.

1874 – Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer explores the Black Hills of South Dakota, confirming the existence of gold. It attracted many adventurous immigrants who violated treaties concluded between the government and the Native Americans. Which in turn led to increased conflicts and ultimately to the Battle of Little Bighorn. Read more about the expedition here.

1875 – US War Department permits white settlements on Native American land, causing them anger and a major uprising.

1882-83 – The Sioux chief, Running Antelope, became the leader of the last major buffalo hunts that marked the end of the chapter on the American West.

1889 – North Dakota is admitted as the 39th state of the United States on November 2.

1882 – North America’s first post office is established in Devils Lake on November 15, by Lieutenant Herber M. Creel, when the city was first called ” Creelsburg ” and later ” Creel City “. Two years later, it got its original name ” Devils Lake “. See pictures from the city here.

1902 – The city of Tioga is established and named after settlers from Tioga, New York. The population increased in the 1950s after oil was found in the Williston Basin. The city’s motto is: ” Oil Capital of North Dakota “.

1918 – A terrifyingly aggressive influenza epidemic kills about 50 million people worldwide, starting in 1889. 16 million in India, over half a million in Germany, over half a million in the United States, and spreading at lightning speed from the East Coast and killed 90,000 in Boston and 12,000 in Philadelphia in September-October. When the epidemic reached Fargo in October, a week after the doctor confirmed there were no cases, more than 100 citizens had been suddenly infected. Three days later in Jamestown the number was more than 1000. Not even the most remote communities could avoid the dangerous virus. Read more here and here.

1922 – The first highway bridge ( Missouri River Bridge ) was opened after 2 years of construction on the Missouri River and connected the “twin towns” Bismarck and Mandan. The bridge was closed on October 29, 2008.

1929 – A severe drought begins, lasting nearly eight years.

1955 – Construction of Grand Forks Air Force Base begins on December 1, and the base opens on January 28, 1957.

1957 – Minot AFB was established approx. 20 km north of the city of Minot, and was merged with Grand Forks AFB in 1963 in what was called the Stratetic Air Command, which was given responsibility for stratetic bombers and ballistic missiles. Upon a major reorganization, after the Cold War, the SAC was disbanded on June 1, 1992.

1966 – The snowstorm that covered North Dakota on March 2, 2 and 4 is possibly the worst snowstorm in the state’s history.

1978 – Founded on November 10, Theodore National Park consists of three separate areas in western North Dakota, all within the Little Missouri River catchment area. These parts are the North Unit, South Unit and Elkhorn Ranch Unit which are located between the other two. Maah Daah Hey Trail links the three sections together. The park is named after Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), who was President of the United States from 1901-09. He both owned and worked on a ranch which is now preserved in the park.

North Dakota History