41. South Dakota
> Founding date: November 2, 1889 (40th state to join)
> First capital city: Pierre
> First governor: Arthur Calvin Mellette
South Dakota was the 40th state to join the U.S., though it easily could have been 39th. Both North Dakota and South Dakota were incorporated on the same day, Nov. 2, 1889. But President Benjamin Harrison didn’t want to favor one over the other, so he shuffled the bills for the two new states, and North Dakota just happened to be signed first.
> Founding date: June 1, 1796 (16th state to join)
> First capital city: Knoxville
> First governor: John Sevier
Tennessee was part of North Carolina for more than a decade after the colonies declared their independence. After North Carolina ratified the Constitution, it gave the lands that became Tennessee to the federal government, which named them the Southwest Territory. After years of fighting with Native Americans, Tennesseans felt they weren’t being adequately protected by the federal government and demanded statehood. They received it in 1796.
> Founding date: December 29, 1845 (28th state to join)
> First capital city: Austin
> First governor: James Pinckney Henderson
After winning its independence from Mexico in 1836, Texas spent nine years as an independent republic. Many Texans still celebrate March 2 as Texas Independence Day. Many Texans also were in favor of joining the Union, and the U.S. annexed Texas in 1845.
> Founding date: January 4, 1896 (45th state to join)
> First capital city: Salt Lake City
> First governor: Heber Manning Wells
The area that became Utah joined the U.S. after the Mexican-American War in 1848. Many in the area wanted statehood so they could elect their own Mormon leadership. However, the rest of the country balked at the idea after the Mormon church revealed that some of its members practiced polygamy. It wasn’t until Utah banned polygamy in its state constitution that it was admitted to the Union in 1896.
> Founding date: March 4, 1791 (14th state to join)
> First capital city: Various
> First governor: Thomas Chittenden
Vermont became its own independent state during the Revolutionary War. Once it decided it wanted to become a state, Vermont had to pay New York $30,000 to settle a territorial dispute before it could be admitted. Vermont was the first state that wasn’t one of the 13 original colonies. Vermont legislators met in several different cities after joining the Union before finally settling on Montpelier as a permanent capital.
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