With the most recent information regarding COVID-19, the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum and State Archives are closed to the public until further notice. Interpretive centers/buildings at state historic sites will open on May 23 with the exception of the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site opening on June 15. Learn more

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Digital Horizons

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Chronicling America

Settlement of North Dakota


In 1862 Lincoln signed the Homestead Act. Between 1879 and 1886, more than 100,000 people settled in northern Dakota Territory. To claim 160 acres of free land, a man or woman had to be head of a household and 21 years old. The homesteader paid an $18 filing fee and lived on the homestead for five years. The law required them to build a house, measuring at least 10' x 12', and have at least ten acres of land under cultivation. Immigrants from foreign lands were required to become U.S. citizens in order to claim land.

Finding Aids on Settlement in North Dakota:

612 East Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
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