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General background about the South Dakota Flag

South Dakota Flag     South Dakota Great Seal


  Rapid City
  Sioux Falls

South Dakota's state flag consists of a field of sky blue charged with a version (in navy blue on white) of the State Seal in the center, surrounded by gold triangles representing the sun's rays, surrounded in turn by inscriptions in gold sans-serif capitals of "SOUTH DAKOTA" on top and "THE MOUNT RUSHMORE STATE" (the state nickname) on the bottom.

  • MOTTO: "Under God the People Rule"
  • ENTERED UNION: Nov. 2, 1889
  • FLAG ADOPTED: 1909, (Revised in 1963, then again in 1992)
  • COMMENTS: The original state flag used both sides of the flag, displayed on the obverse side the "blazing sun in gold" and on the reverse, the Great Seal of the State of South Dakota. Due to high manufacturing cost, the flag was revised to a one-sided flag in 1963.


According to the South Dakota website there have been three official state flags in the state's history. Ida Anding McNeil created the first one in 1909. It had the sun on the front with the words "South Dakota" above the sun and the state motto "The Sunshine State" below. The state seal was on the back. Since a flag with two different sides was difficult and expensive to manufacture, it was decided, in 1963, to combine the Sun and Seal together in one image and place it on the front side of the flag, leaving the backside a solid color. In 1992, when the state’s motto changed to "The Mount Rushmore State", the flag was again revised, replacing the old motto with the new. This is the official flag currently in use by South Dakota today.


South Dakota Flag
State Flag, South Dakota


South Dakota First Flag
First Flag,  1909 to 1963
South Dakota Second Flag
Second Flag,  1963 to 1992


  • Petrified Wood Park in Lemmon is the largest park of its kind in the world. Fossils and petrified wood are arranged in unusual shapes, including a castle and pyramids.
  • South Dakota is the home of the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota tribes, which together make up the Sioux Nation.
  • The world's largest, most complete, and best preserved specimen of Tyrannosaurus Rex discovered to date (2001) was unearthed on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in 1990. It was named Sue after the fossil hunter who found it.
  • In 1959, with the addition of Alaska and Hawaii to the Union, the geographic center of the United States moved from Lebanon, Kansas, to a point near Belle Fourche, South Dakota.
  • The 6,200-foot Mount Rushmore was created in 1927 by sculptor Gutzon Borglum for $1 million. It took him 14 years to create.
  • The Missouri River cuts through the center of the state.


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