Black Hills

mountain range in South Dakota and Wyoming and holy site of Native Americans

The Black Hills are a small mountain range from the Great Plains of North America in South Dakota.

Black Hills
Black Hills, South Dakota, United States
Highest point
PeakHarney Peak
Elevation7,242 ft (2,207 m)
Coordinates43°59′N 103°45′W / 43.983°N 103.750°W / 43.983; -103.750
Area5,000 sq mi (13,000 km2)
CountryUnited States
StateSouth Dakota
OrogenyTrans-Hudson and Laramide
Age of rockPrecambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic and Tertiary
Type of rockShale, sandstone, limestone, slate, quartzite and granite
Badlands National Park

Native Americans have a long history in the Black Hills. After conquering the Cheyenne in 1776, the Lakota took over the territory of the Black Hills.

In 1868, the U.S. government signed the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. This exempted the Black Hills from all white settlement forever.

But, when European Americans discovered gold there in 1874, miners swept into the area in a gold rush. The US government reassigned the Lakota, against their wishes, to other reservations in western South Dakota. Unlike most of South Dakota, the Black Hills were settled by European Americans from population centers to the west and south. Miners flocked there from earlier gold boom places in Colorado and Montana.

As the economy shifted from mining and logging, the tourism industry has grown. The Black Hills have two areas: "The Southern Hills" and "The Northern Hills". The Southern Hills is home to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Harney Peak (the highest point in the United States east of the Rockies), Custer State Park (the largest state park in South Dakota, and one of the largest in the US), the Crazy Horse Memorial (the largest Mountain sculpture in the world), and the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, the world’s largest mammoth research facility.