During their epic journey, Lewis and Clark spent more time in what is now North Dakota than any other state, meeting up with Shoshone guide Sacagawea on their way west. In the mid-19th century, smallpox epidemics came up the Missouri River, decimating the Arikara, Mandan and Hidatsa tribes, who affiliated and established the Like-a-Fishhook Village around 1845. When the railroad arrived in North Dakota in the 1870s, thousands of settlers flocked in to take up allotments under the Homestead Act. By 1889 the state population was more than 250, 000, half foreign-born (one in eight were from Norway).
Young Theodore Roosevelt came here to ditch his city-slicker image and get himself roughened up. As president, inspired by his time in North Dakota, he earned the title ‘The Father of Conservation’ for his work creating national forests and parks.