The state of South Dakota has plenty of towns with unique and interesting names, none more so than its state capital of Pierre.

But just how did Pierre get its name anyway? The story of who it's named after and why might surprise you.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, some of the earliest inhabitants of the area which is now known as Pierre, South Dakota were the Sioux. In fact, Lewis and Clark passed through on their famous 1804 expedition and had a brief encounter with the tribe.

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In 1817 a permanent settlement was built near Pierre for fur trading, which was a big driver of the early 19th century U.S. economy.

By 1880 the Chicago and North Western Railway was making its way through the Mount Rushmore state and the area was selected to be a new western terminus. There was one problem, however. It didn't have an official name.

It was soon named after Pierre Chouteau Jr., who not only was an accomplished fur trader, but also an entrepreneur of his day and age. In the 1830s he made history by becoming the first person to ever sail a steamboat up the Missouri River, so it seems appropriate that a future state capital which lies on the Missouri River is named after him.

Pierre Chouteau Jr. had an amazing and unique life that it's worth learning more about, especially if you're from South Dakota.

If you'd like to learn more about the man our state capital is named after, check out the full article at Encyclopedia Britannica. 

Story Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

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