History of Montana
The U.S. State of Montana was admitted as the 41st state of the union on November 8th, 1889. Indigenous tribes and Native Americans inhabited the land that comprises modern day Montana for thousands of years. The United States of America eventually purchased much of the land in 1803 as a part of the Louisiana Purchase. American, French, and British traders saw the area suitable for trade and set up a substantial fur trade in the area. Throughout the next fifty years, trade flowed through the territory and included the local Native American tribes. Eventually in 1850’s, people began to move into the area in search of gold. In 1852, gold was struck near present day Garrison. From there, the Montana gold rush drew more people to the region in search of gold, silver, and copper.
The Montana Territory was officially established in 1864, combining parts of the Oregon Territory, the Washington Territory, the Idaho Territory, and the Dakota Territory, respectively. As more people began to pour into the region, conflicts with the Native American population were provoked more frequently. This led the U.S. Army to establish Camp Cooke in 1866 to serve as protection for the growing population and for Fort Benton along the Missouri River. Several famous skirmishes between Americans and Native Americans took place in the subsequent years, such as the Battle of Little Bighorn and the Battle of Bearpaw.
While the gold rush profit remained unsustainable, the new inhabitants of the Montana Territory shifted to cattle ranching. This became a staple of Montana’s economy and history. When the railroad came through in the late 1800’s, easy access was given to those looking to take advantage of the Homestead Act. Although farmers came in small numbers, they came looking to start a new life in the Montana Territory. After several failed attempts at statehood, Montana was officially admitted to the union in 1889.
Present – Montana
As of a 2015 estimation by the United States Census Bureau, the population of Montana stands at 1,032,949 with the largest population in the Billings metropolitan area. Montana is famous for its sublime landscape and worldly beauty. The state is home to the world-renowned Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park, both of which attract millions of tourists each year, contributing greatly to the state’s economy.
Montana’s economy is built heavily around agriculture and grain farming. However, in recent years, Montana has expanded into the health care and service industries. In addition, Montana also boasts a very strong lumber industry.
Montana is the 4th largest of the fifty states in terms of area, and the 7th least populated. In addition, Montana is the 3rd most sparsely populated. The majority of the landscape is made up of vast mountain ranges and tall peaks. 77 of the ranges are identified as part of the Rocky Mountains.
Throughout its history, Montana has developed a natural attraction to artists and photographers for its majestic landscape. In addition, many authors have written about life in Montana and have found inspiration in the lifestyle that Montana warrants.