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The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming. Black Elk Peak, which rises to 7,244 feet (2,208 m), is the range's highest summit.
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, establishing the Great Sioux Reservation west of the Missouri River, and exempting the Black Hills from all white settlement forever. However, when settlers 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 took back the Black Hills and in 1889 reassigned the Lakota, against their wishes, to five smaller reservations in western South Dakota, selling off 9 million acres of their former land.
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.
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