North Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. On this date, both North Dakota and South Dakota entered the Union, becoming the 39th and 40th states. The land was originally part of the Louisiana Purchase, and it became the Dakota Territory in 1861.
The arrival of the railroad to Dakota Territory resulted in a population growth during the late 1800s, influencing the decision to make this area into states. While North Dakota is generally listed as becoming a state before South Dakota, President Benjamin Harrison never recorded which bill he signed first. Since there was rivalry between the two regions over which would be admitted first, the President decided to choose a bill to sign without looking at it. Upon becoming a state, Bismarck, the capital of Dakota Territory, became North Dakota's capital.