Brief History of Montana

By | May 19, 2022

Population: 998.199 thousand people (2011)
Area: 381156.0 sq. km

According to, Montana Treasure State is the fourth largest state in the United States. Here, in a sparsely populated region, there is a large North American watershed between the basins of the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans, which runs along the ridges of the Rocky Mountains (Grand Peak Mountain, 3904 meters). Triple Divide Peak is considered to be the watershed point. Montana is sometimes referred to as the State of Origins. Here is the source of the Missouri – the main tributary of the Mississippi, as well as the Yellowstone River. To the west are the headwaters of the Pand Ouray and Flathead Lake of the Columbia River water system. To the north are the headwaters of the Saskatchewan water basin.

East Montana is part of the Great Plains, which in places cross the low spurs of the Rocky Mountains. The climate of the state is characterized by low rainfall, warm summers and cold snowy winters. A quarter of the territory of Montana is occupied by forests, where there is a great variety of coniferous trees. The bowels of the state are rich in minerals – coal, gas, oil, gold, copper, silver, tungsten, lead, molybdenum. And in the extraction of platinum and palladium, Montana is the leader in the country. Agriculture is developed on the prairies.

Despite the fact that the first Europeans in Montana were the French (1742), the name Montana is of Spanish origin and means “mountain, mountainous country.” Before the European invasion, the Cheyenne, Assiniboine, Crow and other tribes of pastoralists and buffalo hunters lived here on the prairies. Permanent settlements of fur traders and hunters began to appear in Monatn in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The development of remote lands (another nickname for Montana is recorded in history – “badlands”, bad lands) was accompanied by armed clashes with the Indians. Montana joined the United States as a territory in 1864 and became the 41st state in 1889.

Tourist attractions are associated with the nature of the state. Picturesque landscapes, lakes, mountains, glaciers, forests, waterfalls of the national park attract many travelers, hikers and extreme sportsmen. Also in Montana is part of the Yellowstone Park and the bison sanctuary. Lewis and Clark Cave is famous among tourists. In the cities of the state, the architecture of the 19th century has been preserved – mansions, old mining villages, churches.


Population: 105.845 thousand people (2009)
Area: 87.6 sq. km
Founded: 1877
Time zone: UTC-7, summer UTC-6
Altitude: 952 m

The city of Billings lies on the banks of the Yellowstone River, which forms beautiful waterfalls in its upper reaches. The semi-desert climate that dominates here determines the peculiarities of the weather. Hot summers and dry, but cold winters are considered commonplace for these places. The autumn and spring off-season lingers here for a short time. Billings is the largest city in the state. Surrounded by picturesque mountains, it attracts fans of outdoor activities. The coastal part of the city is often visited by fans of windsurfing and canoeing. For lovers of fishing here is a real expanse. See Montana counties.

Billing is also known as a student city. Within its boundaries is the main campus of the University of Montana. Many natural areas are considered local features. In one of the parks there is an art museum – the largest in the state among the cultural institutions of the art direction. The natural attractions of Billing are caves, where ancient rock paintings were discovered by researchers.


Population: 28.190 thousand people (2010)
Area: 36.3 sq. km
Founded: 1864
Time zone: UTC-7, summer UTC-6
Altitude: 1237 m

The capital of Montana is Helena. The city is located in a hilly area, near the lower reaches of the Missouri. Nearby is Lake Helena and towering mountains.

Helena owes her appearance to the gold diggers. In 1864, the first camp of prospectors, called “Last Chance”, was founded here. Later, when the population of the settlement steadily increased, the name was changed to Helena. However, the oldest street in the historic center of the city is still called “Last Chance Gorge”. By the end of the 19th century, it was perhaps the most prosperous city in the world: with a population of about 10 thousand, 50 millionaires lived here. Despite the fact that the gold reserves in Helena were quickly depleted, the city developed steadily thanks to the mining of lead and silver.

Of the sights, Helena boasts a bizarre grid of city streets in the old quarters, which meticulously repeat the boundaries of the miners’ plots. It is also worth highlighting the Montana Capitol building and the Gothic church of St. Helena. Not far from Helena is Marysville, an abandoned mining town that attracts tourists.

Brief History of Montana