When you think of places that have made their mark in the Midwest, North Dakota is a location that is likely to come to mind. Situated right along the Canadian border, it remains to this day a state with a strong economy and an unemployment rate that is much lower than the national average. To the average person, the city of Fargo in North Dakota is familiar due to the popularity of the recent Cohen brothers' film of the same name. However, Bismarck is the state's capital and interestingly enough, this state is the nineteenth largest state by area in the United States; but is also the third least populated with a total number of residents standing at 672, 591. There are many interesting geographical features to this state and the climate of the region varies according to the area that you are located. The upper region contains areas of The Great Plains and the western half of the state is home to sections of the Missouri River and contains the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Located in what as known as the Badlands, the region is abundant in fossil fuels such as crude oil.
Prior to contact by European settlers, North Dakota was home to Native American tribes for thousands of years. Lewis and Clark entered the territory in 1804. Present day North Dakota was included in the Louisiana Purchase while other sections of the acquired land were organized into what is now parts of Minnesota and Nebraska. Due to the early occupation of Native American settlements, the contemporary culture of the state is greatly influenced by many of their beliefs and most of the rituals and traditions are still carried out by the Native American peoples that still live in the state. North Dakota has the lowest percentage of nonreligious people of any state as well as the highest churches per capita of any state. Like much of the Midwest, agriculture remains to be a huge source of income for the state. It is the largest producer of grain in the United States. Such grains include barley, durum wheat, and a variety of oats. Tourism is rather low in North Dakota; however the state is not without interesting natural habitats and considerable opportunities for its residents. The state is home to many private and public institutions of higher learning, such as Minot State University and Trinity Bible College. Home of the Wild Prairie Rose, North Dakota lives up to its slogan of Strength in the Soil.