Dakota is another name for the Sioux Indian tribe. In the Santee dialect the name means allies.1 The Dakota Territory was organized in 1861 and named after the Indian tribe. Originally, it also encompassed much of what would eventually become Montana and Wyoming, but was reduced in size to the present territory of the Dakotas in 1863. In 1889, the Dakota Territory was split into North and South Dakota and admitted to the union as two states.2
2Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged, edited by Philip Babcock Gove (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1993), 571;
Illustrated Dictionary of Place Names: United States and Canada, edited by Kelsie B. Harder (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1976), 133.
Copyright 1997-2015, by David Wilton