On March 2, 1861, President James Buchanan signed the bill creating the Dakota Territory, which included the area covered today by both Dakotas as well as Montana and Wyoming. The name Dakota was taken from that of the Dakota (or Sioux Indian) Tribe. Starting in 1877, efforts got underway to bring the Dakota Territory into the Union as a single state. Having failed in that endeavor, the people tried once again, this time by introducing the Dakota Territory as two seperate states -- it worked. On November 2, 1889, North Dakota and South Dakota were admitted to the Union. President Ben Harrison went to great lengths to obscure the order in which statehood proclamations were signed, and as such, the exact order in which North & South Dakota entered the Union is unknown. Falling to the alphabet, North Dakota is generally considered the 39th state. The capital of North Dakota is Bismarck.
North Dakota is known by several nicknames, from the infamous Dakota (multiple legislative attempts, as recently as 1989, have failed to drop the word "North" from North Dakota) to the Peace Garden State (a reference to the International Peace Garden symbolizing the peace between America and Canada sits on the ND/Canadian border). Also known as the Flickertail State (referring to the Richardson ground squirrels which "flicks" or jerks its tail in a characteristic manner while running or just before entering its burrow) and the Roughrider State (originated in a state-supported tourism promotion of the 60's and 70's -- refers to the first US volunteer cavalry, which Theodore Roosevelt organized to fighting the Spanish-American war).
As North Dakota lies next to the Canadian border, the climate often reflects its northerly location. On average, the temperature ranges from 37°F in the northeastern areas to a slightly warmer 43°F in the southern region. The state’s record for an all-time high was in 1936 where the temperatures skyrocketed to an astounding 121°F. July, North Dakota’s warmest month, generally sees a range of 67°F – 73°F. Conversely, January hosts the coldest weather with an average range of 2°F to 17°F. The weather is very pleasant for hiking or biking in the summer time and during the winter proves some of the best conditions for the multitude of winter sports that thousands partake in each year.
North Dakota law protects only one state symbol, the North Dakota Great Seal. In the center of the seal, and open field holds a tree, wheat, various farming equipment such as a plow and sledge. A bow with three arrows and a Native American pursuing a buffalo on horseback are all surrounded by the state’s motto “Liberty and Union Now and Forever, One and Inseparable.” Along with 42 stars arched below the motto, the seal collectively displays the state’s rich history and culture.
The state flower, a Wild Prairie Rose, grows wild throughout North Dakota; visitors can see them sprinkled along the roads, meadows and rolling hills. Its bright pink coloring and yellow center helps showcase some of North Dakota’s natural beauty. A Western Meadowlark, the official state bird, shines in this great birding state. Songbirds with a yellow breast that grows brighter in the springtime, the Western Meadowlark is scattered from Texas to Wisconsin. The Legislative Assembly recognizes milk as the state beverage because North Dakota’s dairy industry helped bring in a major portion of the state’s economic revenues. Likewise, the state’s nation-wide recognition for its sports fishing results from its colossal-sized Northern Pike, the state fish.