History and quick facts – Montana (MT)

Before the West was settled by people of European descent, many Native American tribes called the region that was later to become Montana their home.    In early times, Montana’s Native Americans enjoyed and lived off the fruits of the land, especially buffalo.

Shortly after the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806, mountain men and prospectors arrived to seek riches. Later, homesteaders settled the land. In the 1870s, large cattle ranches developed in many areas of Montana Territory.

During the 1900’s, many Montanans made a living from harvesting timber, mining, and agriculture.  All these industries still remain important to the state’s economy, but tourism has grown rapidly and is now a major source of income for business owners and workers.

Probably more so than in many areas of the U.S. Montana’s tourist industry is tied to the seasons.  Visits peak in summer and then drop off.  For visitors, there’s more demand for resources  such as lodging and recreational activities in the summer and this often leads to higher prices.  Late spring and early fall are  wonderful in Montana, too.  So for those who can, these seasons are a great choice when planning travel to the state.

Montana (MT) has a population of about 1,042,520 (northern European ancestry, German, Irish, English, and Norwegian being common), plus a large population of Native Americans.  Montana is sparsely populated, with it’s residents scattered over a huge area of 147,000 square miles.

Population of Major Montana Cities and Towns:

•Billings, pop. 110,323 •Missoula, pop. 72,364 •Bozeman, pop. 45,250 •Helena, pop. 31,169 •Great Falls, pop. 59,178 •Butte, pop. 34,553

•Glendive, pop. 5,332 •Kalispell, pop. 22,761 •Miles City, pop. 8,647 •Lewistown, pop. 5,870  •Havre, pop. 9.846 •Dillon, pop. 4,257

plains, mountains, and rivers in Montana
Physical Map of Montana With Selected Towns and Cities

Click on map for a more detailed view.

State Bird: Western Meadowlark; State Flower: Bitterroot; State Animal: Grizzly Bear; State Fish: Cutthroat Trout; State Tree:Ponderosa Pine

Major Rivers: •Yellowstone River (south-central and southeast Montana) •Missouri River (north-central and northeast Montana) •Clark Fork River (western Montana) •Bitterroot River (southwest Montana); •Madison River (southwest Montana) •Milk River (north-central Montana) •Marias River (north-central Montana).

Major Lakes: •Flathead Lake (near Kalispell) •Canyon Ferry Lake (near Helena) •Lake Koocanusa (near Libby) •Whitefish Lake (near Whitefish •Fort Peck Lake (near Wolf Point) •Lake McDonald (in Glacier National Park) •Hebgen Lake (near West Yellowstone).

Major Mountain Ranges: •Absaroksa Range (Near Livingston); •Beartooth Range (near Red Lodge); •Flint Creek Range (near Deer Lodge); •Crazy Mountains (near Big Timber) •Gallatin Range (near Bozeman)

•Bitterroot Mountains (near Missoula) •Madison Range (near Ennis) •Mission Mountains (near Polson) •Big Snowy Mountains (near Lewistown) Elkhorn Mountains (near Helena) •Pryor Mountains (near Billings) •Flathead Range (near Kalispell) •Cabinet Mountains (near Thompson Falls).

Montana State Library’s Natural Resource  Information System maps Montana mountain ranges, rivers, and lakes.

State Gemstones: Agate and Sapphire; State Motto: Oro y Plata (Gold and Silver); Nicknames: The Treasure State; Big Sky Country; The Land of the Shining Mountains.

Photos by various people and organizations indexed on the Web by Google show the beauty and variety of landscapes in Montana:  Photo gallery of mountainous western Montana.   Photo gallery  of the plains of eastern Montana.  Enjoy!


Copyright © 2017 John Sandy

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Best Guide – Montana