History of North Dakota

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Even before European settler discovered North Dakota, it was home to many Native American tribes including Hidasta, Sioux and Chippewa. The place that eventually became North Dakota was brought into focus by French explorer named La Verendrye when visited tribe called Mandan. It was around 1738 when La Verendrye decided to follow path from Canada to search for a water route to Pacific Ocean. It was during his journey that he met Mandan tribe and was amazed by the development made by native tribe. This historical meeting then paved path for other European traders led by his sons. This meeting provides the first glimpse into state of North Dakota. But most of what is recorded is by famous American exploration led by Lewis and Clark who made the journey from Missouri to St. Louis in 1804 and re-discovered North Dakota or at least what will later become North Dakota.

Archeological investigation have proved the presence of game hunting culture back dating around 10,000 years and farming culture at around 2000 BC to 1860. There were two kinds of adaption route that people followed in order survive somewhat harsh plain environment. They either lead nomadic life caring for their famous Bison cattle or a slow paced sedentary farmer’s life who occasionally hunted for food. The nomads quickly moved from cattle to horse allowing them a greater mobility. By 18th and 19th century, the place saw commercial success and was a known market place for fur trade. After discovery by French explorer, the place saw succession of European claims over the land including French, Spain and Great Britain and there was intense competition between the three countries when it came to fur trade and prime location to sell goods.

From what has been discerned from history, the association between natives and European settler was mainly peaceful aside from few incidents. It did impact the life of Native Americans who were now exposed to diseases like small pox in 1837 that almost wiped out their population, unsavory goods like guns. It also brought into world children born to Chippewa Native women and European settlers, called Métis, the product of two amalgamations of two different cultures. By 1803, the American gained the control of territory from French and Native Americans were forced to live on reservation.

When the area was first incorporated by United States the state was treated as part of Minnesota territory but by 1861 it was incorporated as Dakota Territory. Next few years saw several confrontations between opposing culture and also military incursion. A great deal of Bison herds were slaughtered to make Natives submit to increasing federal power and around 1880, most if not all of natives had given up their old life. The power struggle between various culture still simmered and there was tension that was intensified by military occupation and counter attack by natives. Some of the names such as Crazy Horn, Gall gained notoriety. Also the period saw mass exodus of some of native Dakota settlers who decided to lead a more peaceful life across the Canadian border.

It was on Nov 2nd1889, that Dakota territories was split into South Dakota and North Dakota and state of North Dakota was born. The next few years saw settlement boom followed by ethnic variety. Some of the major development occurred during the period of 1880 and 1910 followed by shift of the state’s occupation from trading to farming. The 21st century saw demographic and economic decline in North Dakota and it is only recently that the state has gained its fame as one of leading oil producing state in United State.