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North Dakota's 125th Anniversary

A Celebration of Statehood  125 North Dakota

On November 2, 2014, North Dakota will celebrate 125 years of statehood, and plans are underway for events and festivities to mark this important date in our state’s history.

Two signature events are being planned and will be held on August 16 and November 2.  The August event will be held on the Capitol grounds in Bismarck and will showcase the best of North Dakota with entertainment, food, crafts, and games.

The commemoration of the state’s official 125th birthday on November 2 will also coincide with the grand opening and dedication of the new North Dakota State Museum.  “As North Dakotans, we have been blessed in many ways and this historic milestone is a perfect occasion to celebrate our heritage and the success we have worked for 125 years to achieve,” according to Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley.

The fall of 2014 will also mark the completion and launch of the new grade 8 North Dakota Studies curriculum – North Dakota: People Living on the Land.

Statehood for North Dakota: A Brief History

Congress created Dakota Territory in 1861; North Dakota, as part of that territory, did not become a state until 1889.  During the 28-year period, two movements developed.  One was the movement for statehood, an opportunity for the people to control their own politics and government.  The other was an effort to throw off the influence of outside corporations, especially the railroads, so that the people of North Dakota could control their own economic fortunes.

On February 22, 1889, Congress passed the Omnibus Bill which allowed Dakota Territory to be divided and to enter the Union as two states (North and South Dakota).  The prospective states had to write state constitutions, which then needed to be approved by the citizens of the states.

Both North and South Dakota held their constitutional conventions in the summer of 1889.  The voters in both states approved their constitutions by October of that year.  On November 2, 1889, President Benjamin Harrison signed the proclamations admitting the two states to the Union.