The region that became what today is known as central North Dakota was once inhabited by the Mandan people. The city that would become Bismarck started off at a place called Missouri Crossing.
When the city was founded in 1872 it was given the name Edwington, in honor of Edwin Ferry Johnson who was a civil engineer working for the Northern Pacific Railway.
In 1873 the Northern Pacific Railway changed the name of the city to Bismarck, after the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck, in order to attract German investment.
The city began a period of growth in 1874 when gold was discovered in the Black Hills. Bismarck became the capital of North Dakota in 1889. The city sits on the eastern bank of the Missouri River.
There are many things to do and see in Bismarck today. One of them is The Dakota Zoo located by the Missouri River and is home to grizzly bears and endangered Bengal tigers.