Parents and Teachers: Support Ducksters by following us on Ducksters Facebook or Ducksters Twitter.
Ducksters Educational SiteDucksters Educational Site
History Biography Geography Science Games

History >> US Geography >> US State History

Montana

State History

Native Americans

People have lived in the land of Montana for thousands of years. Archeologists call the first people that lived there the Paleo-Indians. By the time the Europeans arrived in the 1700s, Native American tribes lived throughout the state. Some tribes such as the Blackfeet, Shoshone, Crow, and Cheyenne lived in the plains region. They hunted buffalo and lived in temporary homes called tepees. Other tribes such as Kootenai and the Salish lived in the mountains. They lived in more permanent homes and were hunter-gatherers.


Montana is sometimes called Big Sky Country
Glacier National Park by Ryan Hagerty

Europeans Arrive

The first Europeans to venture into Montana were French fur traders in the 1700s. They set up trading posts and traded with the Native Americans for beaver furs. Over the next several years, the land was claimed by both the French and Spanish. In 1803, the United States bought the majority of Montana from the French as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

Lewis and Clark

In 1804, American explorers Lewis and Clark traveled through Montana following the Missouri River. They met with the Silish and the Shoshone people along the way. When they returned to the east they told of the beautiful land and the abundance of furs in the Montana region. Soon after, trappers and missionaries from the United States began to move into Montana.


Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park by Jon Sullivan

Early Settlers

In 1846, Fort Benton was established on the Missouri River by the American Fur Trading Company. Many more people came to Montana when gold was discovered in 1858. Boom towns such as Virginia City and Helena sprung up almost overnight. The Bozeman Trail was established as a route for people to take from the Oregon Trail to Virginia City. When the gold rush ended, many people stayed in Montana.

Montana Territory

Between 1848 and 1864, parts of Montana were included in a number of U.S. territories including the Oregon Territory, Washington Territory, Dakota Territory, and the Idaho Territory (1863). In 1864, the Montana territory was established with its first capital at Bannack. The capital city later moved to Virginia City in 1865 and then to Helena in 1875.

Battles with the Native Americans

As more and more settlers arrived in Montana, the Native Americans were pushed out of their traditional lands. In the 1870s, tribes such as the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Sioux began to organize and fight back. In 1876, the U.S. Army suffered one of its greatest defeats at the Battle of Little Big Horn. At this battle General George Custer and his men were soundly 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 eventually defeated.


General George Custer
General George Custer
from the Library of Congress

Becoming a State

In the 1880s, the railroad arrived in Montana bringing even more growth to the state. Cattle ranching had also become a large industry and farming grew as a result of homesteading in the area. On November 8, 1889, Montana was admitted as the 41st state.

Timeline More US State History:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming


Works Cited

History >> US Geography >> US State History





About Ducksters Privacy Policy   

Follow us on Ducksters Facebook or Ducksters Twitter

This site is a product of TSI (Technological Solutions, Inc.), Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved. By using this site you agree to the Terms of Use.