History of Sioux Falls, South Dakota

History Of Sioux Falls, South Dakota

History of Sioux Falls, South Dakota

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This article deals with the history of Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sioux Falls is the largest city in the U.S. state of South Dakota. Founded in 1856, the city was abandoned, sacked, resettled and later grew to become a city with an estimated 2006 population of 148,000 people.

Prehistory and exploration

The history of Sioux Falls revolves around the cascades of the Big Sioux River. The falls were created about 14,000 years ago when the last glacial ice sheet redirected the flow of the river into the large looping bends of its present course. Fueled by water from the melting ice, the river exposed the underlying Sioux quartzite bedrock, the hard pinkish stone of the falls. The quartzite itself is about a billion and a half years old. It began as sediments deposited on the bottom of an ancient, shallow sea.

The lure of the falls has been a powerful influence. A prehistoric people who inhabited the region before 500 B.C. left numerous burial mounds on the high bluffs near the river. These people were followed by an agricultural society that built fortified villages on many of the same sites. Tribes of the Lakota and Dakota, widely ranging nomadic bison hunters, arrived sometime around the 18th century. Early maps indicate they used the falls as a place to rendezvous with French fur trappers, considered the first European visitors at the falls.

Nineteenth century

Early visitors

The falls also drew the attention of early explorers. An August 1804 journal...
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