World History

Montana State History – War, Explorers, Population, Facts

Native Americans

People have lived in the land of Montana for thousands of years. Archaeologists call the first people to live there the Paleo-Indians. When Europeans arrived in the 17th century, Native American tribes lived throughout the state. Some tribes such as the Blackfeet, Shoshone, Crow, and Cheyenne lived on the plains.

They hunted buffalo and lived in makeshift shelters called tipis. Other tribes such as the Kootenay and the Salish also lived in the mountains. They lived in more permanent homes and were hunter-gatherers.

Information about Montana State:

Capital Helena
Population 1,122,867 (Source: 2022 U.S. Census)
Major Cities Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, Bozeman, Butte, Helena
Borders Wyoming, Idaho, South Dakota, North Dakota, Canada
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $65,014.5 million (2022 U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
Key Industries Agriculture including wheat, cattle, sheep, barley, sugar beets, and dairy products
Mining (copper, gold, and coal), paper products, lumber and wood products, printing, and tourism

Flag of Montana State:

Europeans Arrive

French fur traders were the first Europeans to settle in Montana in the 18th century. They set up a trading post and traded with Native Americans for beaver pelts. In the years that followed, the country was claimed by both France and Spain. In 1803, the United States purchased most of Montana from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

Lewis and Clark

In 1804, American explorers Lewis and Clark traveled to Montana along the Missouri River. Along the way they encountered the Sirish and Shoshone tribes. Back east, they spoke of the beautiful scenery and abundant furs of the Montana region. Shortly thereafter, trappers and missionaries from the United States began migrating to Montana.

Montana State Symbols

  • Montana State Nickname: Treasure State
  • Montana State Slogan: Big Sky Country
  • Montana State Motto: Oro y plata (Gold and silver)
  • Montana State flower: Bitterroot
  • Montana State bird: Western Meadowlark
  • Montana State fish: Blackspotted cutthroat trout
  • Montana State tree: Ponderosa Pine
  • Montana State mammal: Grizzly bear
  • Montana State foods: NA

Early Settlers

In 1846, Fort Benton was founded on the Missouri River by the American Fur Trading Company. After gold was discovered in 1858, more people came to Montana.

Booming cities like Virginia City and Helena were born almost overnight. The Bozeman Trail was established as a route for people from the Oregon Trail to Virginia City. After the Gold Rush ended, many remained in Montana.

Montana Territory

Between 1848 and 1864, parts of Montana were part of many US territories, including Oregon Territory, Washington Territory, Dakota Territory, and Idaho Territory (1863). In 1864, the Montana Territory was formed with its first capital at Bannack. The capital he moved to Virginia City in 1865 and to Helena in 1875.

The Geography of Montana State:

  • Total Size of Montana: 145,552 sq. miles (source: 2003 Census)
  • Geographical Low Point of Montana: Kootenai River at 1800 feet, located in the county/subdivision of Lincoln (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Geographical High Point of Montana: Granite Peak at 12,799 feet, located in the county/subdivision of Park (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Central Point of Montana: Located in Fergus County approx. 11 miles west of Lewistown (source: U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Counties of Montana: 56  (source: National Association of Counties)
  • Bodies of Water of Montana: Fort Peck Lake, Flathead Lake, Hungry Horse Reservoir, Whitefish Lake, Yellowstone River, Missouri River, Milk River, and Clark Fork River

Battles with the Native Americans

As more and more settlers arrived in Montana, Native Americans were expelled from their ancestral lands. In the 1870s, tribes such as the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Sioux organized and began to fight back. In 1876, the U.S. Army suffered its greatest defeat at the Battle of Little Big Horn.

In this battle, General George Custer and his men were defeated by Native Americans led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. This battle is sometimes called “Custer’s Last Stand”. Despite this victory, the Native Americans were ultimately defeated.

Becoming a State

Railroads opened in Montana in the 1880s, bringing further growth to Montana. Animal husbandry also became a major industry, and agriculture was growing in the area through the cultivation of homesteads. On November 8, 1889, Montana became the 41st state.

Famous People of Montana State:

Ted Turner Owns several ranches in Montana
Martha Raye Actress and Singer
Jeannette Rankin First woman elected to the U.S. Congress
David Lynch Movie director
Evel Knievel Dare devil and entertainer
Phil Jackson Basketball coach
John Horner Paleontologist
A. B. Guthrie, Jr. Author
Gary Cooper Actor
Dana Carvey Actor and comedian

Interesting Facts of Montana State:

Montana is the 4th largest state by area, but 44th by population.

Three of his five entrances to Yellowstone National Park are in Montana.

You can visit the Battle of Little His Big His Horn where Custer made his last stand.

Montana has Glacier National Park.

The name Montana comes from the Spanish word for mountain. The name is apt as there are over 50 mountain ranges in the state.

Another nickname for this state is Big Sky Country.

Montana is rich in copper, silver and gold deposits. Hence the name “Ministry of Finance”.

In Montana he has seven Indian reservations. There are many wild animals in this state. Moose, deer and antelope populations all outnumber humans.

Timeline Overview:

1700s – French fur traders invade the area.
1803 – The United States buys most of Montana from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
1804 – Lewis and Clark travel through Montana on their way to the Pacific.
1841 – St. Mary’s Mission is built.
1846 – Fort Benton is founded on the Missouri River.
1858 – Gold is discovered at Gold Creek, sparking a gold rush in the area.
1863 – Montana becomes part of the Idaho Territory.
1864 – Montana Territory is formed.
1864 – The city of Helena is founded.
1872 – Yellowstone National Park is established in southern Montana.
1875 – Helena becomes the capital of the Montana Territory.
1876 ​​- General George Custer is defeated at the Battle of Little Big Horn.
1877 – Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce family are defeated at Bear Paw during the famous retreat to Canada.
1889 – Montana becomes her 41st state.
1910 – Glacier National Park is established.
1914 – Women get the right to vote in Montana.
1916 – Janet Rankin becomes the first woman elected to Congres