East Dakota West Dakota States That Could Have Been
- GIS Level:
- Geographic Scale:
- Target Audience:
- Higher Ed
- Middle School
- North Dakota South Dakota
East Dakota and West Dakota. Compute population change from 1900 to 2010 for these fictitious states. Would E Dakota and W Dakota have been a better plan than N and S Dakota? Why or why not?
GIS is often used to help us understand the world as it is, or was in the past, or model what it could be like in the future. But it can also be used to explore what could have been. Take the case of North Dakota and South Dakota. These two states were carved out of the Dakota Territory in 1889. President Harrison did not want to show favoritism when he signed the documents in terms of which state was admitted first, so they are listed alphabetically, with North Dakota listed as the 39th state and South Dakota listed as the 40th state. In many ways, the manner in which the two states were divided, on an east-west line near the 46th Parallel, made sense. Yet what if the territory had not been divided into North Dakota and South Dakota yet as East Dakota and West Dakota?