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Highest Point: White Butte, 3,506 feet above sea level
Lowest Point: Red River, 750 feet above sea level

General Facts:

North Dakota had 373 cities in 2000, a drop from 376 in 1990.  These areas disincorporated during the ten year period: Barton, Hanks, Merricourt,

Russell, and Wheelock.  Also, during this time, two areas were recognized as CDP by the census: Erie and Wheatland.  According to the census, this means that they are a geographic entity that serves as the statistical counterpart of an incorporated place but has no legal status.

Population: 638,800 (1990)

Median city population:
1990 - 205
2000 - 189

North Dakota cities tend to be small, with almost 60% being smaller than 250 persons.  Only 17 cities have more than 2,500 population.  These 17 cities accounty for almost 75% of the total city population for the entire state.   This is 55% of the state’s population.

Land area: 70,665 square miles

Time Zone: Central and Mountain time zones

North Dakota is also known as the Peace Garden State.
The International Peace Garden lies on the US-Canada border. It is a 2, 339 acre garden which commemorates the worlds longest unfortified border.

The first white man to enter this area is supposed to be Canadian trader, Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de la Verendrye, in 1738. Once he discovered its bounty, many trappers began to come. In 1803, with the completion of the Louisiana Purchase, the area became part of the United States. The Lewis and Clark Expedition came through during the winter of 1804-05 at Fort Mandan. The first permanent settlement was in 1812 at Pembina. In 1829, the American Fur Co. established Fort Union. This was later sold to another company which used it for the headquarters for its Upper Missouri Outfit. The fort became the center for trappers, explorers and pioneers coming into the area. The local Blackfoot Indians were dealt with in peace and steamboats began to traverse the Missouri River through the area.

By 1881, Chief Sitting Bull had surrendered at Fort Buford and decades of unrest here gave way to permanent settlement. Life was not easy on the western frontier and the settlers learned to be very self-sufficient. Farming quickly became the staple of the economy throughout the state. Soon, the Dakota Territory was established in 1861, the capital in Yankton. The location of the capital was disputed and argued over for many years. In 1883, several cities, including Bismarck and Yankton vied for the capital with Bismarck winning out. There was much hostility over the selection and when the territory was admitted to the union it was as two separate states - North Dakota and South Dakota - on Nov 2, 1889. After statehood, many settlers continued to come into the new state, mainly from Canada and Europe


Though it appears to be a wide expanse of prairie, North Dakota does have three distinct geographic areas. The "lowland" is the Red River Valley, which is in the eastern portion of the state. Rich, dark soil is its hallmark left from the ancient Lake Agassiz. Next, with a sharp rise in elevation, is the central plateau. This is a rolling hill area with many lakes. The largest natural body of water in the state is here - Devils Lake. The third area is the Missouri Plateau. This area is divided by the Missouri River and is also the highest part of the state. The Badlands are in this area. North Dakota also has many man-made features due to dams and reservoirs.

North Dakota Parks and Recreation
1424 W. Century Ave., Suite 202
Bismarck, ND 58502
Phone: 701-224-4887

The Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Medora, North Dakota 58645
Phone: 701-623-4466

This park pays tribute to President Roosevelt's contributions to preservation and conservation of our national resources. The park encompasses 70,416 acres in the Badlands area of North Dakota. There are several visitor's centers in the park. See hundreds of American Bison which roam freely throughout the park. The Little Missouri River rambles through the area carving out the Badlands as well. Other fauna of the area are pronghorn antelope, white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, coyote, prairie dog and various other creatures and species of bird and animal.


State Historical Society of North Dakota
612 East Boulevard Avenue
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0830
Phone: (701) 328-2666
Fax: (701) 328-3710


The Lewis & Clark Expedition in North Dakota.

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This page was created 24 August 1999

This page was last updated on 19 September 2006 at 9:57 pm

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