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Much of North Dakota was part of the region ceded to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. From 1803 to 1805, it was included in the District of Louisiana; from 1805 until 1812, it was a part of Louisiana Territory. The name was changed to Missouri Territory in 1812.
In 1834, Congress created the Territory of Michigan, which included that part of our present state which lies east of the Missouri and White Earth Rivers as well as the present states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and part of South Dakota.
State after state was carved from this original territory. North Dakota was in turn a part of Wisconsin Territory, Iowa Territory, Minnesota Territory, and Nebraska Territory. When Minnesota became a state in 1858, all that part of North Dakota east of the Missouri and White Earth Rivers was without legal name and existence until March 2, 1861. On that date President James Buchanan signed the bill incorporating the present states of North and South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming into Dakota Territory. After a series of changes, Dakota Territory was finally reduced, in 1882, to the area of the two sister states, North and South Dakota.