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South Dakota Digital Archives features Verendrye Plate/Expedition history

South Dakota Digital Archives features Verendrye Plate/Expedition history

Pictured is a page from one of the first pamphlets published on the discovery and history of the Verendrye Plate. The pamphlet titled, “Photographs, Translations, and Brief History of the Celebrated La Verendrye Plate” is available via the South Dakota Digital Archives.

PIERRE, S.D. -- Feb. 16 marked the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of the Verendrye Plate near Fort Pierre. Eight documents relating to the history of the Verendrye Expedition and the Verendrye Plate discovery are available on the South Dakota Digital Archives.

To access the digital collections, visit the South Dakota State Historical Society-Archives website at and find the link to “Verendrye.”

Of particular interest is the first brochure published on the Verendrye Plate, featuring photographs of the plate, titled “Photographs, Translations, and Brief History of the Celebrated La Verendrye Plate.” The digital archives also features firsthand accounts of the plate’s discovery and history of the Verendrye brothers expedition.

Two French brothers, Francois and Louis Joseph Verendrye, in trying to discover a route to "the Western Sea," planted the lead marker to claim the land for France on March 30, 1743 atop a gumbo bluff overlooking the Missouri River near present-day Fort Pierre.

The importance of the Verendrye Plate is that it provides concrete evidence of the location of the Verendrye expedition and its journey through present day South Dakota. The Verendrye Plate is on display at the Cultural Heritage Center museum in Pierre.

The South Dakota Digital Archives, an online resource, was launched in January 2012 by the State Archives to provide researchers digital access to unique historical records. There are currently more than 33,000 images available for viewing.

The photograph digitization project is funded by private donations and grants. If you are interested in sponsoring a photograph collection, please contact the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation at (605) 773-6001.

The State Archives is a program of the South Dakota Historical Society. State Archives staff are available to help assist with research and can be reached at (605) 773-3804 or For more information, visit

The South Dakota State Historical Society is a division of the Department of Tourism. The Department of Tourism is comprised of Tourism, the South Dakota Arts Council, and the State Historical Society. The Department is led by Secretary James D. Hagen. The State Historical Society, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is headquartered at the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre. The center houses the society’s world-class museum, the archives, and the historic preservation, publishing and administrative/development offices. Call (605) 773-3458 or visit for more information. The society also has an archaeology office in Rapid City; call (605) 394-1936 for more information.

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