Why Are There Two Dakotas and What Is the Difference Between North and South Dakota?

The area of these two states was once known as the Dakota Territory, named after the tribe of Sioux Indians who lived there.

Few other people settled there until the railroads began building track into the area.

In the mid-1800s the U.S. government began to offer free land to settlers, who soon realized how rich the soil was.

The word got out, and in the 20 years between 1870 and 1890 the population grew from 2,400 to more than 190,000 people.

These early farms were so profitable they were called “bonanza farms.”

Many immigrants from Europe settled there during that time, especially people from Norway and Germany.

To make it easier to govern people living in widely scattered settlements, Congress split the territory into two parts. The two Dakotas became states on the same day in 1889.

In 1955 about 50 Norwegian-language newspapers were still being published in North Dakota.

Today, none are left.