25¢ North Dakota Statehood
Issue Date: February 21, 1989
City: Bismarck, ND
Printed By: American Bank Note Co
Printing Method: Photogravure
North and South Dakota were admitted simultaneously into the Union on November 2, 1889. The name Dakota is derived from a Sioux word meaning "allies," and was also the name of a particularly hostile tribe of Native Americans living in that territory. North Dakota's nickname, the "Flickertail State," is from the name of a tiny ground squirrel.
Canadians of Scotch and Irish descent were the first Europeans to attempt a permanent settlement in North Dakota. They settled in Pembina in 1812. In 1818, the U.S. gained control of the northeastern portion of the state through a treaty with Great Britain. This treaty made all of today’s North Dakota U.S. territory. Most of the settlers at Pembina left soon after the treaty was signed, as they wished to remain in British territory.
North Dakota Becomes A U.S. Territory
Congress created Dakota Territory in 1861. It included the modern states of North and South Dakota, as well as large parts of Montana and Wyoming. In 1863, the Dakota Territory was opened for homesteading. Settlers received free land, for living on it and improving it. Even with the incentive of free land, the territory developed slowly. This was due to poor transportation and fear of Indian attacks.
Sioux Indians killed hundreds of settlers in 1862. The U.S. government sent troops to punish the Indians who took part in the massacre. During the 1860s and ’70s, several battles were fought in the Dakota territory. Most of these Indians eventually fled the territory. The government signed treaties with the Indians and established reservations, but often broke these treaties. This caused further Indian uprisings. Peace did not come to the area until 1881, when Sioux Chief Sitting Bull voluntarily surrendered to U.S. forces.
In 1875, large-scale farming began a profitable business in the Dakota Territory. Eastern corporations and wealthy families established huge wheat farms ranging in size from 3,000 to 65,000 acres. Most of these farms were located in the Red River Valley. These wheat farms earned so much money, they became known as bonanza farms. Improved machinery and orderly methods of planting, harvesting, and marketing were the keys to the success of the bonanza farms.
The 39th State to Join the Union
During the 1870s, the people of the Dakota Territory began asking Congress to divide their territory into two parts. The main population centers in the territory were in the northeast and southeast and had little contact. Travel between the two was difficult, as the railroads had been laid out in an east-to-west direction. Each group had separate interests and therefore wanted separate government. The border between North and South Dakota was established in February 1889. On November 2, 1889, North Dakota achieved statehood.