North Dakota was first settled by Native Americans several thousand years ago. The first Europeans explored the area in the 18th century establishing some limited trade with the natives.
Much of the area was first organized by the United States as part of the Minnesota Territory and then the Dakota Territory in the 19th century. North Dakota gained statehood in 1889.
The railroads became the engine of settlement in the state. Its economy has since its early days been heavily based on the production of agricultural products such as wheat, flaxseed, and cattle, however its farming industry has declined and the state has suffered population decline in formerly heavy farming areas.
Josh Duhamel, Minot, North Dakota
Josh Duhamel was born in Minot, North Dakota. Duhamel attended Minot State University and played as the quarterback for the university’s football team.
Phil Jackson, Williston, North Dakota
Phil Jackson– NBA player; coach, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers; president, New York Knicks; attended high school in Williston
Peggy Lee – Jamestown, North Dakota
Peggy Lee (1920–2002) – three-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter; born in Jamestown, North Dakota
Teddy Rosevelt in North Dakota
Theodore Roosevelt’s experiences in North Dakota were centered in the west, where he ranched and hunted over a period of several years. Yet his legacy can be seen throughout the state
Theodore Roosevelt arrived in the badlands of North Dakota on September 8, 1883. He was 24 years old. He came to kill a buffalo, but he fell in love with the badlands of the Little Missouri River Valley. He impulsively invested in two ranches: the Maltese Cross seven miles south of the Northern Pacific railroad tracks, and the Elkhorn, 35 miles north.
Roosevelt was determined to get a taste of the American frontier before it was gone forever, to establish himself as a big game hunter, a rancher, and an authentic cowboy, and to overcome both his physical infirmities (principally asthma) and the grief he experienced when both his wife and mother died on Valentine’s Day 1884. He threw himself into badlands life – stopping stampedes, participating in month-long roundups, arresting thieves, punching out a drunken gunslinger in a bar, and helping to organize the region’s first stockmen’s association but he never drove a truck. In Dakota Territory Roosevelt was transformed from a frail and somewhat snobbish New York “dude” into the more democratic exemplar of the strenuous life who became the 26th President of the United States.