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Creation of Dakota Territory


During most of the 1850’s, the modern-day region of North Dakota belonged to two different territories. Land west of the Missouri River was part of Nebraska Territory. The region east of the Missouri belonged to Minnesota Territory. When Minnesota was granted statehood in 1858, land east of the Missouri was left unorganized while the west remained a part of Nebraska Territory.

Three years later, on this day, March 2, 1861, an act of Congress, signed by President James Buchanan established the Territory of Dakota. When initially created, Dakota Territory consisted of present-day states North Dakota, South Dakota and most of Montana and Wyoming. Two years later, the size of the territory was reduced to the current region of North and South Dakota.

Written by Christina Sunwall


The Library of Congress: The Northern Great Plains 1880-1920- http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award97/ndfahtml/ngphome.html

Wayne, Brand L. and James G. Hector, ed. North Dakota Decision Makers (Fargo, ND: Analytical Statistics, Inc; 1972)