North Dakota, a state located in the Mid-Western region of the USA is the 19th largest state in the country. It is also the 48th most populous state with over 640,000 residents as of the 2006 census. North Dakota was initially carved out of the north half of the Dakota Territories and then admitted to the Union as its 39th state on the 2nd of November 1889. The Missouri River flows through the west part of the state and formed Lake Sakakawea which is behind the Garrison Dam.
North Dakota has a very rich and colorful history which begins with the Native Americans who inhabited its land for thousands of years before the Europeans came. One of the first Europeans to come to North Dakota is the french trader, La Vérendrye who then led an exploration group to the Mandan villages in 1738. By the time the Lewis and Clark expedition got the to the village, the native tribes have had sufficient contact with the Europeans that they knew of the French and then Spanish claims to their territory.
An interesting fact about North Dakota is that only 1987 did they pass a bill making English their official state language. Another thing is that milk is considered to be their state beverage. “Dakota” is a Sioux word which means allies or friends. North Dakota used to be at the top when it comes to being the ‘safest state’ but as of March 2008, they dropped to #3 losing to New Hampshire at #1 and Maine at #2. North Dakota’s official state flower is the prairie rose which grows along roadsides, in native meadows as well as in pastures. North Dakota has earned various nicknames such as the “Peace Garden State”, the “Flickertail State” and the “Roughrider state”. North Dakota is the country’s biggest producer of sunflower seeds, barley, durum wheat, spring, and farm-raised turkeys.
The largest body of water that can be found in this state is the “Devil’s lake” which is derived from the Native American name “Miniwaukan” which early explorers misinterpreted as “bad spirit”. The name developed further into what is now, “Devil’s Lake” because of the many legends about drowned warriors and lake monsters that supposedly inhabit it. Native American traditions are still practiced by the Native American population who live in the state. Pow-wows and traditional Indian dancing can be found throughout the state. There are also many outdoor activities that North Dakotans enjoy. Hunting and fishing in the summer and Ice fishing and snowmobiling during the winter.
North Dakota also has many fine museums which include the North Dakota Museum of Art. Aside from these museums, there are also many cultural event venues such as the Chester Fritz Auditorium, the Fargo Theatre, and the Empire Arts Center. In these venues, many full-time professional and semi-professional performers present their shows. Notable people who have come from North Dakota are musicians: Jonny Lang, country singer Lynn Anderson, traditional pop singer-songwriter Peggy Lee, pop singer Bobby Vee, and big band leader Lawrence Welk. Also included are radio talk show host, Ed Schultz of the “Ed Schultz Show”, actor Josh Duhamel, former American Top 40 host Shadoe Stevens as well as CariDee English and Nicole Linkletter, who were both contestants and winners of America’s Next Top Model.