Pembina County, North Dakota

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Pembina County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Dakota. At the time of the 2000 Census its population was 8,585, with an estimated 7,392 people as of 2009.[1] The county seat is Cavalier.[2]

The county was created by the 1866–1867 territorial legislature, and was organized on August 12, 1867. "Pembina" is derived from the Chippewa Indian term for high bush cranberry which grew in abundance along the Pembina River. The city of Pembina was the county seat from 1867 to 1911 when it was moved to Cavalier.[3]

Cavalier Air Force Station and Icelandic State Park are both located in Pembina County. The first Icelandic settlement in present day North Dakota was in Pembina County in the late 1870s, when a colony of settlers from Iceland moved into the county from the New Iceland homesteads near Lake Winnipeg.[4]



Pembina was established as part of the Dakota Territory January 9, 1867. At the time, it was much larger than it is today. In 1871, the county was expanded to include much of the territory in what is now eastern North Dakota from Canada to the South Dakota border. Between 1873 and 1881, eleven new counties were created from Pembina, including Cass County and Grand Forks County. Pembina took its current form in 1887, when Cavalier County was increased in size.[5]

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