The Black Hills (Lakota: Ȟe Sápa, Cheyenne: Moʼȯhta-voʼhonáaeva, Hidatsa: awaxaawi shiibisha) are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, United States. Harney Peak, which rises to 7,244 feet (2,208 m), is the range's highest summit. The Black Hills encompass the Black Hills National Forest. The name "Black Hills" is a translation of the Lakota Pahá Sápa. The hills were so-called because of their dark appearance from a distance, as they were covered in trees.
Native Americans have a long history in the Black Hills. After conquering the Cheyenne in 1776, the Lakota took over the territory of the Black Hills, which became central to their culture. In 1868, the U.S. government signed the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, exempting the Black Hills from all white settlement forever. However, when European Americans discovered gold there in 1874, as a result of George Armstrong Custer's Black Hills Expedition, miners swept into the area in a gold rush. The US government reassigned the Lakota, against their wishes, to other reservations in western South Dakota. Unlike most of South Dakota, the Black Hills were settled by European Americans primarily from population centers to the west and south of the region, as miners flocked there from earlier gold boom locations in Colorado and Montana.
As the economy of the Black Hills has shifted from natural resources (mining and timber), the hospitality and tourism industries have grown to take its place. Locals tend to divide the Black Hills into two areas: "The Southern Hills" and "The Northern Hills". The Southern Hills is home to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Harney Peak (the highest point in the United States east of the Rockies), Custer State Park (the largest state park in South Dakota, and one of the largest in the US), the Crazy Horse Memorial (the largest sculpture in the world), and the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, the world’s largest mammoth research facility. Attractions in the Northern Hills include Spearfish Canyon, historic Deadwood, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, held each August. The first Rally was held on August 14, 1938 and the 75th Rally in 2015 saw more than 1 million bikers visit the Black Hills. It is a key part of the regional economy. Devils Tower National Monument, located in the Wyoming Black Hills, is an important nearby attraction and was the United States's first national monument.
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