The flag of the state of South Dakota was adopted on November 9, 1992. The flag is rectangular with a bright blue background. The seal of the state of South Dakota appears in the center of the flag surrounded by gold triangles that represent the sun’s rays. The text, “SOUTH DAKOTA” and “THE MOUNT RUSHMORE STATE” appear around the seal, in all capital letters.
The seal of the state of South Dakota was designed in 1885. The seal features hills, a mine, a river and a boat, a farmer, and cattle, a scene representative of South Dakota’s economy, industry, landscape, and natural resources. Above the scene is that state’s motto: “Under God the People Rule.” The text “STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA” and “GREAT SEAL” appear around the seal. The date “1889” appears at the bottom of the seal, the year South Dakota became an official state in the Union.
The original flag of South Dakota was somewhat different than the state’s current flag. The original flag, which was designed in 1909, featured the same bright blue background but contained different images on the banner’s front and back. The front of the flag featured a large yellow sun with the text “SOUTH DAKOTA” and “THE SUNSHINE STATE.” The back of the flag contained the seal of the state of South Dakota and the same text. Printing a flag with different front and back designs was expensive; however, and the cost of the flag prohibited many homes and businesses from displaying the flag.
In 1963, the South Dakota State Legislature passed a bill to change the state flag to display the state seal on both sides. In 1992, the flag underwent its final modification. Although the state adopted the nickname, “The Sunshine State,” to reflect the many sunny days that occur every year in South Dakota, the state officially adopted “The Mount Rushmore State,” as its official nickname. Subsequently, in the same year, the text on the flag was changed from “THE SUNSHINE STATE” to “THE MOUNT RUSHMORE STATE.”