Montana State Flag
Montana State Seal
is a state in the western United
States. The name probably comes from the Spanish word montaņa ("mountain").
The state ranks fourth in size but has a low population and population
density, with much of the state being rural. The economy is primarily
ranching-based, with some agricultural crops (wheat, barley, sugar beets)
and a significant lumber and mineral industry.
The western one-third
of the state is primarily mountainous terrain, while the eastern two-third
is part of the northern Great Plains. Originally inhabited by Native
Americans, modern-day Montana
became Montana Territory in 1864 and later became the 41st state in
1889. The state became the first to elect a female member of Congress,
Jeannette Rankin. Montana's people are largely homogenous, with 89.5
percent of the population white (but with a sizable American Indian
representation at 6.2 percent). The state is generally regarded as Republican;
many are surprised to hear that the state has a Democratic governor
(Brian Schweitzer), Democratic-controlled legislature (the Montana State
Legislature), and one Democratic U.S. Senator (Max Baucus).
The state capital
is Helena. The
largest city is Billings.
Its U.S. postal abbreviation is MT.
The USS Montana
was named in honor of the state.
- % water
381,156 kmē (4th)
- Total (2000)
2.39 /kmē (48th)
November 8, 1889
N to 49° N
104°2' W to 116°2' W
River in the World
the movie 'Star Trek: First Contact', Montana
is the location of the historical first contact between humans and
an alien race, the Vulcans.
and Canada share a 877km
(545-mile) northern border. The state borders the Canadian provinces
of British Columbia,
Alberta and Saskatchewan.
To the east is the border with North
Dakota; to the southeast is a short border with South
Dakota. In the south is the Wyoming
border, and on the west and southwest is the Idaho
border, marked by the Bitterroot River.
With a land area
of 376,978 kmē (145,552 square miles), Montana
is the fourth largest in the United
States (after Alaska,
Texas, and California).
Major rivers in the state include the Missouri, Clark Fork of the Columbia,
Milk, Flathead and Yellowstone. Montana
is also one of many areas to claim the disputed title of "world's shortest
river" (the Roe River).
contains Glacier National Park and portions of Yellowstone National
Park. Other sites include the Little Bighorn National Monument, Bighorn
Canyon National Recreational Area, Big Hole National Battlefield, and
the National Bison Range. There are also a number of national forests
and National Wildlife Refuges. The Federal government administers 36,000,000
acres (146,000 kmē). 275,000 acres (1100 kmē) are administered as state
parks and forests.
The surface of the
state is highly diverse. In the west it is extremely mountainous. The
Bitterroot Mountains from the western boundary line, and east of this
the main chain of the Rocky Mountains cross the state. Between these
ranges is a great basin, forming one-fifth of the entire area. East
of the Rocky Mountains is a rolling tableland, traversed by several
large rivers. In the south near the Yellowstone River the mountains
reach an altitude of 10,000 feet and the peaks are perpetually covered
with snow. Besides the prominent mountain ranges there are many spurs,
detached ridges, and smooth, sloping buttes. The mountains are intersected
by numerous valleys and canyons, through which flow most beautiful rivers.
The highest point in the state, Granite Peak, is 12,799 feet high.
The principal river
systems in Montana are the
Clark Fork of the Columbia, the Missouri, and the Yellowstone. The Clark
Fork rises in the Rocky Mountains near Butte, and after flowing west
turns north and forms portion of the Idaho
boundary. The Missouri river, formed by the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin
rivers crosses the northeastern part of the state and enters North
Dakota. The Yellowstone, a tributary of the Missouri, rises in the
Yellowstone Park in Wyoming,
flows northeast across the state through grand canyons and gorges, and
enters the Missouri, a few miles east of the North
Vegetation of the
area includes pine, larch, fir, spruce, aspen, birch, cedar, ash, and
alder trees. Additionally, flowers native to Montana
include asters, bitterroots, daisies, lupines, poppies, primroses, columbine,
lilies and dryads. Sagebrush and various species of grass are common
plants in the region, and forests cover 1/4 of the state.
were the first inhabitants of modern-day Montana.
Groups included the Crows in the south-central area, the Cheyenne in
the southeast, the Blackfeet, Assiniboine and Gros Ventres in the central
and north-central region and the Kootenai and Salish in the western
sector. The smaller Pend d'Oreille and Kalispel tribes were found around
Flathead Lake and the western mountains, respectively.
became a United States territory (Montana Territory) on May 26, 1864
and the 41st state on November 8, 1889.
was the scene of the Native Americans' last effort to keep their land.
For instance, the last stand of U.S. Army Lt. Colonel George Armstrong
Custer was fought in Montana
near the present day town of Hardin.
Montana was also the location
of the final battles of the Nez Perce Wars.
has long been central to Montana's history and economy. The Grant-Kohrs
Ranch National Historic Site in Deer Lodge Valley is maintained as a
link to the ranching style of the late 19th century. It is operated
by the National Park Service, but is also a 1900-acre (7.7 kmē) working
Law and Government
The capital of Montana
is Helena and
its current Governor is Brian Schweitzer (Democrat) who was sworn in
on January 3, 2005. Its two U.S. senators are Max Baucus (Democrat)
and Conrad Burns (Republican).
Several Indian reservations
are located in Montana:
Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Northern
Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Crow Indian Reservation, Rocky Boys Indian
Reservation, Blackfeet Indian Reservation, and the Flathead Indian Reservation.
The Bureau of Economic
Analysis estimates that Montana's total state product in 2003 was $26
billion. Per capital personal income in 2003 was $25,406, 47th in the
nation. Its agricultural outputs are cattle, wheat, barley, sugar beets,
hay, and hogs. Its industrial outputs are mining, lumber and wood products,
food processing, and tourism.
As of 2003, the
population of Montana is
The racial makeup
of the state is:
- 90.6% White,
- 0.3% Black
- 6.2% American
- 2.0% Hispanic,
of any race
- 0.5% Asian
- 1.7% Mixed race
Source: U.S. Census
Bureau, Census 2000.
The five largest
ancestry groups in Montana
are: German (27%), Irish (14.8%), English (12.7%), Norwegian (10.6%),
The religious affiliations
of the citizens of Montana
- 55% Protestant
- 27% Roman Catholic
- 3% Other Christian
- 0% Other religions
- 11% Non-religious
The three largest
Protestant denominations in Montana
are: Lutheran (12% of the total state population), Methodist (9%), Baptist
Important Cities and Towns
Colleges and Universities
Valley Community College
State University System
State University - Billings
State University - Bozeman
State University Northern
- Rocky Mountain
- Miles Community
of Great Falls
of Montana System
Tech of The University of Montana
Montana College of The University of Montana
The Minor League Baseball
- Missoula Osprey
- Great Falls White
- Helena Brewers
- Billings Mustangs
has several ski areas including:
Major highways include:
- Interstate 15
- Interstate 90
- Interstate 94
- U.S. Highway
- U.S. Highway
- U.S. Highway
- Howard, Joseph
Kinsey. Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome. Bison Books: 2003. ISBN
- Lang, William
L., et. al. Montana: A History of Two Centuries. University of Washington:
1991. ISBN 0295971290.
- Toole, Kenneth
Ross. Montana: An Uncommon Land. University of Oklahoma: 1984. ISBN
- Doig, Ivan, Dancing
at the Rascal Fair.
- Doig, Ivan, English
- MacLean, Norman,
A River Runs Through It.
- MacLean, Norman,
Young Men and Fire.
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