|State of Montana|
|Nickname(s): Big Sky Country, The Treasure State|
|Motto(s): Oro y Plata|
|Largest metro area||Billings Metropolitan Area|
|Area||Ranked 4th in the U.S.|
|- Total||147,042 sq mi
|- Width||630 miles (1,015 km)|
|- Length||255 miles (410 km)|
|- % water||1|
|- Latitude||44° 21′ N to 49° N|
|- Longitude||104° 2′ W to 116° 3′ W|
|Population||Ranked 44th in the U.S.|
|- Total||1,005,141 (2012 est)1|
|- Density||6.86/sq mi (2.65/km2)
Ranked 48th in the U.S.
|- Highest point||Granite Peak23
12,807 ft (3903.5 m)
|- Mean||3,400 ft (1040 m)|
|- Lowest point||Kootenai River at Idaho border23
1,804 ft (550 m)
|Before statehood||Montana Territory|
|Admission to Union||November 8, 1889 (41st)|
|Governor||Steve Bullock (D)|
|Lieutenant Governor||John Walsh (D)|
|- Upper house||Senate|
|- Lower house||House of Representatives|
|U.S. Senators||Max Baucus (D)
Jon Tester (D)
|U.S. House delegation||Steve Daines (R) (list)|
|Time zone||Mountain: UTC -7/-6|
|Abbreviations||MT Mont. US-MT|
Montana (i//) is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller "island ranges" are found throughout the state, for a total of 77 named ranges that are part of the Rocky Mountains. The state's name is derived from the Spanish word montaña (mountain). Montana has several nicknames, none official,4 including: "Big Sky Country" and "The Treasure State", and slogans that include "Land of the Shining Mountains" and more recently, "The Last Best Place".5 Montana is ranked 4th in size, but 44th in population and the 48th in population density of the 50 United States. The economy is primarily based on agriculture, including ranching, wheat and other small grain farming. Other significant economic activities include oil, gas, coal and hard rock mining, lumber, and the fastest-growing sector, tourism.6 The health care, service and government sectors also are significant to the state's economy.7 Millions of tourists annually visit Glacier National Park, the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park.8
Etymology and naming history
The name Montana comes from the Spanish word Montaña meaning "mountain" or more broadly, "mountainous country".9 Montaña del Norte was the name given by early Spanish explorers to describe the entire mountainous region of the west.9 The name Montana was eventually added to a bill by the United States House Committee on Territories, which was chaired at the time by Rep. James Ashley of Ohio, for the territory that would become Idaho Territory.10 The name was successfully changed by Representatives Henry Wilson (Massachusetts) and Benjamin F. Harding (Oregon) both complained that Montana had "no meaning".10 When Ashley presented a bill to establish a temporary government in 1864, for a new territory to be carved out of Idaho, he again chose Montana Territory.11 This time Rep. Samuel Cox, also of Ohio, objected to the name.11 Cox complained that the name was a misnomer given that most of the territory was not all mountainous and that a Native American name would be more appropriate than a Spanish one.11 Other names such as Shoshone were suggested, but it was eventually decided that the Committee on Territories could name it whatever they wanted, so the original name of Montana was adopted.11
With a total area of 147,046 square miles (380,850 km2),12 Montana is slightly larger than Japan.13 It is the fourth largest state in the United States after Alaska, Texas, and California;14 the largest landlocked U.S. state; and the 56th largest national state/province subdivision in the world.15 To the north, Montana shares a 545-mile (877 km) border with three Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.1617 The state borders North Dakota and South Dakota to the east, Wyoming to the south and Idaho to the west and southwest.16
The topography of the state is diverse and roughly defined by the Continental Divide, which splits much of the state into distinct eastern and western regions.18 Most of Montana's 100 or more named mountain ranges are concentrated in the western half of the state, most of which is geologically and geographically part of the Northern Rocky Mountains.1819 The Absaroka and Beartooth ranges in the south-central part of the state are technically part of the Central Rocky Mountains.20 The Rocky Mountain Front is a significant feature in the north-central portion of the state,21 and there are a number of isolated "island ranges" that interrupt the prairie landscape common in the central and eastern parts of the state.22 About 60 percent of the state is prairie, part of the northern Great Plains.23
The Bitterroot Mountains—one of the longest continuous ranges in the entire Rocky Mountain chain from Alaska to Mexico24—along with smaller ranges including the Coeur d'Alene Mountains and the Cabinet Mountains divide the state from Idaho, with the southern third of the Bitterroot range blending into the Continental Divide. Other major mountain ranges west of the Divide include the Cabinet Mountains, the Anaconda Range, the Missions, the Garnet Range, Sapphire Mountains, and Flint Creek Range.25
The northern section of the Divide, where the mountains give way rapidly to prairie, is known collectively as the Rocky Mountain Front. The front is most pronounced in the Lewis Range, located primarily in Glacier National Park. Due to the configuration of mountain ranges in Glacier National Park, the Northern Divide (which begins in Alaska's Seward Peninsula) crosses this region and turns east in Montana at Triple Divide Peak. It causes the Waterton River, Belly, and Saint Mary rivers to flow north into Alberta, Canada. There they join the Saskatchewan River, which ultimately empties into Hudson Bay.26
East of the divide, several roughly parallel ranges cover the southern part of the state, including the Gravelly Range, the Madison Range, Gallatin Range, Absaroka Mountains, and the Beartooth Mountains. The Beartooth Plateau is the largest continuous land mass over 10,000 feet (3,000 m) high in the continental United States. It contains the highest point in the state, Granite Peak, 12,799 feet (3,901 m) high. North of these ranges are the Big Belt Mountains, Bridger Mountains, Tobacco Roots, and several island ranges, including the Crazy Mountains and Little Belt Mountains.27
Between the mountain ranges are river valleys rich in agricultural resources and possessing multiple opportunities for tourism and recreation. Among the best-known areas are the Big Hole Valley, Bitterroot Valley, Gallatin Valley, Flathead Valley, and Paradise Valley.
East and north of this transition zone are the expansive and sparsely populated Northern Plains, with tableland prairies, smaller island mountain ranges, and badlands. Similar terrain extends into the Dakotas and Wyoming, as well as Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada. The isolated island ranges east of the Divide include the Bear Paw Mountains, Castle Mountains, Crazy Mountains, Highwood Mountains, Judith Mountains, Little Belt Mountains, Little Rocky Mountains, Snowy Mountains, Sweet Grass Hills, Bull Mountains, the Pryor Mountains and—in the southeastern corner of the state near Ekalaka—the Long Pines.19
The area east of the divide in the north-central portion of the state is known for the Missouri Breaks and other significant rock formations. Three buttes south of Great Falls are major landmarks; Square, Shaw, and Crown buttes, all of which are made of igneous rock, which is dense and has withstood weathering for many years. The underlying surface consists of shale. Many areas around these buttes are covered with clay surface soils, which have been derived from the weathering of the Colorado Formation. Farther east, areas such as Makoshika State Park near Glendive and Medicine Rocks State Park near Ekalaka also highlight some of the most scenic badlands regions in the state.28
The Hell Creek Formation in Northeast Montana is a major source of dinosaur fossils. Paleontologist Jack Horner, of the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, brought this formation to the world's attention with several major finds.29
Rivers, lakes and reservoirs
Montana contains thousands of named rivers and creeks,30 many of which are known for "blue-ribbon" trout fishing. Montana's water resources provide for recreation, hydropower, crop and forage irrigation, mining, and water for human consumption. Montana is one of few geographic areas in the world whose rivers form parts of three major watersheds (i.e. where two continental divides intersect). Its rivers feed the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and Hudson Bay. The watersheds divide at Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park.
Pacific Ocean drainage basin
West of the divide, the Clark Fork of the Columbia (not to be confused with the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River) rises near Butte, Montana and flows northwest to Missoula, where it is joined by the Blackfoot River and Bitterroot River, and further downstream by the Flathead River, before entering Idaho near Lake Pend Oreille, where it joins with the Pend Oreille River, and then the Columbia River, which flows to the Pacific Ocean. The Clark Fork discharges the greatest volume of water of any river exiting the state.31 The Kootenai river in northwest Montana is another major tributary of the Columbia.32
Gulf of Mexico drainage basin
East of the divide, the Missouri River—formed by the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin rivers near Three Forks—flows due north through the west-central part of the state to Great Falls, then flows northeast to Fort Benton, takes a southeasterly course at Virgelle eventually flowing due east through the Missouri breaks and Fort Peck reservoir. The Missouri enters North Dakota near Fort Union.33 The Yellowstone River rises on the continental divide in Wyoming's Teton Wilderness near Younts Peak. It flows north through Yellowstone National Park, Montana's Paradise Valley to Livingston, Montana, then flows easterly across the state through Billings, Miles City, Glendive and Sidney. The Yellowstone enters the Missouri in North Dakota just east of Fort Union. The Yellowstone River is the longest undammed, free-flowing river in the contiguous United States.3435
Other major Montana tributaries of the Missouri include the Smith,36 Milk,37 Marias,38 Judith,39 and Musselshell Rivers.40 Montana also claims the disputed title of possessing the "world's shortest river," the Roe River, just outside Great Falls. Through the Missouri, these rivers ultimately join the Mississippi River and flow into the Gulf of Mexico.41
Hudson Bay drainage basin
The Northern Divide turns east in Montana at Triple Divide Peak. It causes the Waterton River, Belly, and Saint Mary rivers to flow north into Alberta, Canada. There they join the Saskatchewan River, which ultimately empties into Hudson Bay.26
Lakes and reservoirs
There are at least 3223 named lakes and reservoirs in Montana including the largest natural freshwater lake in the western United States, Flathead Lake. Other major lakes include Whitefish Lake in the Flathead valley and Lake McDonald and St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park. The largest reservoir in the state is Fort Peck Reservoir on the Missouri river which is contained by the second largest earthen dam and largest hydraulically filled dam in the world.48 Other major reservoirs include Hungry Horse on the Flathead River, Lake Koocanusa on the Kootenai River, Lake Elwell on the Marias river, Clark Canyon on the Beaverhead river, Yellowtail on the Bighorn river, Canyon Ferry, Hauser, Holter, Rainbow and Black Eagle on the Missouri River.
Flora and fauna
Vegetation of the state includes lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine; douglas fir, larch, spruce; aspen, birch, red cedar, hemlock, ash, alder; rocky mountain maple and cottonwood trees. Forests cover approximately 25 percent of the state. Flowers native to Montana include asters, bitterroots, daisies, lupins, poppies, primroses, columbine, lilies, orchids, and dryads. Several species of sagebrush and cactus and many species of grasses are common. Many species of mushrooms and lichens49 are also found in the state.
Montana is home to a diverse array of fauna that includes 14 amphibian,50 90 fish,51 117 mammal,52 20 reptile53 and 427 bird54 species. Additionally, there are over 10,000 invertebrate species, including 180 mollusks and 30 crustaceans. Montana has the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states.55 Montana hosts five federally endangered species–Black-footed ferret, Whooping Crane, Least Tern, Pallid sturgeon and White sturgeon and seven threatened species including the Grizzly bear, Canadian lynx and Bull trout.56 The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks manages fishing and hunting seasons for at least 17 species of game fish including seven species of trout, Walleye and Smallmouth bass57 and at least 29 species of game birds and animals including Ring-neck pheasant, Grey partridge, Elk, Pronghorn antelope, Mule deer, Gray wolf and Bighorn sheep.58
Montana contains Glacier National Park, "The Crown of the Continent"; and portions of Yellowstone National Park, including three of the park's five entrances. Other federally recognized sites include the Little Bighorn National Monument, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Big Hole National Battlefield, and the National Bison Range. Approximately 31,300,000 acres (127,000 km2), or 35 percent of Montana's land is administered by federal or state agencies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service administers 16,800,000 acres (68,000 km2) of forest land in ten National Forests. There are approximately 3,300,000 acres (13,000 km2) of wilderness in 12 separate wilderness areas that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System established by the Wilderness Act of 1964. The U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management controls 8,100,000 acres (33,000 km2) of federal land. The U.S. Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service administers 110,000 acres (450 km2) of 1.1 million acres of National Wildlife Refuges and waterfowl production areas in Montana. The U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation administers approximately 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) of land and water surface in the state. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks operates approximately 275,265 acres (1,113.96 km2) of state parks and access points on the state's rivers and lakes. The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation manages 5,200,000 acres (21,000 km2) of School Trust Land ceded by the federal government under the Land Ordinance of 1785 to the state in 1889 when Montana was granted statehood. These lands are managed by the state for the benefit of public schools and institutions in the state.59
- Big Hole National Battlefield near Wisdom
- Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area near Fort Smith
- Glacier National Park
- Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site at Deer Lodge
- Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
- Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument near Crow Agency
- Nez Perce National Historical Park
- Yellowstone National Park
Montana is a large state with considerable variation in geography, and the climate is, therefore, equally varied. The state spans from 'below' the 45th parallel (the halfway line between the equator and the north pole) to the 49th parallel, and elevations range from under 2,000 feet (610 m) to nearly 13,000 feet (4,000 m) above sea level. The western half is mountainous, interrupted by numerous large valleys. Eastern Montana comprises plains and badlands, broken by hills and isolated mountain ranges, and has a semi-arid, continental climate (Köppen climate classification 'BSk'). The Continental Divide has a great effect on the climate. It restricts the flow of warmer air from the Pacific from moving east, and cooler, drier continental air from moving west. The area west of the divide experiences a modified northern Pacific coast climate, with milder winters, cooler summers, less wind, and a longer growing season.61 Low clouds and fog often form in the valleys west of the divide in winter, but this is rarely seen in the east.62
Average daytime temperatures vary from 28 °F (−2 °C) in January to 84.5 °F (29.2 °C) in July.63 The variation in geography leads to great variation in temperature. The highest observed summer temperature was 117 °F (47 °C) at Glendive on July 20, 1893, and Medicine Lake on July 5, 1937. Throughout the state, summer nights are generally cool and pleasant. Temperatures decrease as altitude increases, and extremely hot weather is less common above 4,000 ft (1,200 m).dubious Snowfall has been recorded in all months of the year in the more mountainous areas of central & western Montana, though it is rare in July and August.61
The coldest temperature on record for Montana is also the coldest temperature for the entire contiguous U.S. On January 20, 1954, −70 °F (−57 °C) was recorded at a gold mining camp near Rogers Pass. Temperatures vary greatly on such cold nights, and Helena, 40 miles (64 km) to the southeast had a low of only −36 °F (−38 °C) on the same date.61 Winter cold spells are usually the result of cold continental air coming south from Canada. The front is often well defined, causing a large temperature drop in a 24-hour period. Conversely, air flow from the southwest results in "Chinooks". These steady 25–50 mph (or more) winds can suddenly warm parts of Montana, especially areas just to the east of the mountains, where temperatures sometimes rise up to 50 °F (10 °C) – 60 °F (15 °C) for periods of ten days or longer.6164
Loma is the location of the most extreme recorded temperature change in a 24-hour period in the United States. On January 15, 1972, a chinook wind blew in and the temperature rose from −54 °F (−48 °C) to 49 °F (9 °C).65
Average annual precipitation is 15 inches (380 mm), but great variations are seen. The mountain ranges block the moist Pacific air, holding moisture in the western valleys, and creating rain shadows to the east. Heron, in the west, receives the most precipitation, 34.70 inches (881 mm). On the eastern (leeward) side of a mountain range, the valleys are much drier; Lonepine averages 11.45 inches (291 mm), and Deer Lodge 11.00 inches (279 mm) of precipitation. The mountains themselves can receive over 100 inches (2,500 mm), for example the Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park gets 105 inches (2,700 mm).62 An area southwest of Belfry that averaged only 6.59 inches (167 mm) over a sixteen-year period. Most of the larger cities get 30 to 50 inches (760 to 1,300 mm) of snow each year. Mountain ranges themselves can accumulate 300 inches (7,600 mm) of snow during a winter. Heavy snowstorms may occur anytime from September through May, though most snow falls from November to March.61
The climate has become warmer in Montana and continues to do so.66 The glaciers in Glacier National Park have receded and are predicted to melt away completely in a few decades.67 Many Montana cities set heat records during July 2007, the hottest month ever recorded in Montana.6668 Winters are warmer, too, and have fewer cold spells. Previously these cold spells had killed off bark beetles which are now attacking the forests of western Montana.6970 The combination of warmer weather, attack by beetles, and mismanagement during past years has led to a substantial increase in the severity of forest fires in Montana.6670 According to a study done for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science, portions of Montana will experience a 200 percent increase in area burned by wildfires, and an 80 percent increase in related air pollution.7172
Montana is one of only two continental US states (along with Colorado) which is antipodal to land. The Kerguelen Islands are antipodal to the Montana–Saskatchewan–Alberta border. No towns are precisely antipodal to Kerguelen, though Chester and Rudyard are close.73
Various indigenous peoples lived in the territory of the present-day state of Montana for thousands of years. Historic tribes encountered by Europeans and settlers from the United States included the Crow in the south-central area; the Cheyenne in the southeast; the Blackfeet, Assiniboine and Gros Ventres in the central and north-central area; and the Kootenai and Salish in the west. The smaller Pend d'Oreille and Kalispel tribes lived near Flathead Lake and the western mountains, respectively.
The land in Montana east of the continental divide was part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Subsequent to the Lewis and Clark Expedition American, British and French fur traders operated in both east and western portions of Montana. Until the Oregon Treaty (1846), land west of the continental divide was disputed between the British and U.S. and was known as the Oregon Country. The first permanent settlement in what today is Montana was St. Mary's (1841) near present day Stevensville.74 In 1847, Fort Benton was established as the uppermost fur-trading post on the Missouri River.75 In the 1850s, settlers began moving into the Beaverhead and Big Hole valleys from the Oregon Trail and into the Clark's Fork valley.76
The first gold discovered in Montana was at Gold Creek near present day Garrison in 1852. A series of major mining discoveries in the western third of the state starting in 1862 found gold, silver, copper lead, coal (and later oil) that attracted tens of thousands of miners to the area. The richest of all gold placer diggings was discovered at Alder Gulch, where the town of Virginia City was established. Other rich placer deposits were found at Last Chance Gulch, where the city of Helena now stands, Confederate Gulch, Silver Bow, Emigrant Gulch, and Cooke City. Gold output from 1862 through 1876 reached $144 million; silver then became even more important. The largest mining operations were in the city of Butte, which had important silver deposits and gigantic copper deposits.
Prior to the creation of Montana Territory (1864–1889), various parts of what is now Montana were parts of Oregon Territory (1848–1859), Washington Territory (1853–1863), Idaho Territory (1863–1864), and Dakota Territory (1861–1864). Montana became a United States territory (Montana Territory) on May 26, 1864. The first territorial capital was at Bannack. The first territorial governor was Sidney Edgerton. The capital moved to Virginia City in 1865 and to Helena in 1875. In 1870, the non-Indian population of Montana Territory was 20,595.77 The Montana Historical Society, founded on February 2, 1865, in Virginia City is the oldest such institution west of the Mississippi (excluding Louisiana).78 In 1869 and 1870 respectively, the Cook–Folsom–Peterson and the Washburn–Langford–Doane Expeditions were launched from Helena into the Upper Yellowstone region and directly led to the creation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872.
As white settlers began populating Montana from the 1850s through the 1870s, disputes with Native Americans ensued, primarily over land ownership and control. In 1855, Washington Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens negotiated the Hellgate treaty between the United States Government and the Salish, Pend d'Oreille, and the Kootenai people of western Montana, which established boundaries for the tribal nations. The treaty was ratified in 1859.79 While the treaty established what later became the Flathead Indian Reservation, trouble with interpreters and confusion over the terms of the treaty led whites to believe that the Bitterroot Valley was opened to settlement, but the tribal nations disputed those provisions.80 The Salish remained in the Bitterroot Valley until 1891.81
The first U.S. Army post established in Montana was Camp Cooke on the Missouri River in 1866 to protect steamboat traffic going to Fort Benton, Montana. More than a dozen additional military outposts were established in the state. Pressure over land ownership and control increased due to discoveries of gold in various parts of Montana and surrounding states. Major battles occurred in Montana during Red Cloud's War, the Great Sioux War of 1876, the Nez Perce War and in conflicts with Piegan Blackfeet. The most notable of these were the Marias Massacre (1870), Battle of the Little Bighorn (1876), Battle of the Big Hole (1877) and Battle of Bear Paw (1877). The last recorded conflict in Montana between the U.S. Army and Native Americans occurred in 1887 during the Battle of Crow Agency in the Big Horn country. Indian survivors who had signed treaties were generally required to move onto reservations.82
Simultaneously with these conflicts, bison, a keystone species and the primary protein source that Native people had survived on for centuries were being destroyed. Some estimates say there were over 13 million bison in Montana in 1870.83 In 1875, General Philip Sheridan pleaded to a joint session of Congress to authorize the slaughtering of herds in order to deprive the Indians of their source of food.84 By 1884, commercial hunting had brought bison to the verge of extinction; only about 325 bison remained in the entire United States.85
Cattle ranching has been central to Montana's history and economy since Johnny Grant began wintering cattle in the Deer Lodge Valley in the 1850s and traded cattle fattened in fertile Montana valleys with emigrants on the Oregon Trail.86 Nelson Story brought the first Texas Longhorn Cattle into the territory in 1866.8788 Granville Stuart, Samuel Hauser and Andrew J. Davis started a major open range cattle operation in Fergus County in 1879.8990 The Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in Deer Lodge is maintained today as a link to the ranching style of the late 19th century. Operated by the National Park Service, it is a 1,900-acre (7.7 km2) working ranch.91
Tracks of the Northern Pacific Railroad (NPR) reached Montana from the west in 1881 and from the east in 1882. However, the railroad played a major role in sparking tensions with Native American tribes in the 1870s. Jay Cooke, the NPR president launched major surveys into the Yellowstone valley in 1871, 1872 and 1873 which were challenged forcefully by the Sioux under chief Sitting Bull. These clashes, in part, contributed to the Panic of 1873 which delayed construction of the railroad into Montana.92 Surveys in 1874, 1875 and 1876 helped spark the Great Sioux War of 1876. The transcontinental NPR was completed on September 8, 1883, at Gold Creek.
Tracks of the Great Northern Railroad (GNR) reached eastern Montana in 1887 and when they reached the northern Rocky Mountains in 1890, the GNR became a significant promoter of tourism to Glacier National Park region. The transcontinental GNR was completed on January 6, 1893, at Scenic, Washington.93
In 1881, the Utah and Northern Railway a branch line of the Union Pacific completed a narrow gauge line from northern Utah to Butte.94 A number of smaller spur lines operated in Montana from 1881 into the 20th century including the Oregon Short Line, Montana Railroad and Milwaukee Road.
Under Territorial Governor Thomas Meagher, Montanan's held a constitutional convention in 1866 in a failed bid for statehood. A second constitutional convention was held in Helena in 1884 that produced a constitution ratified 3:1 by Montana citizens in November 1884. For political reasons, Congress did not approve Montana statehood until 1889. Congress approved Montana statehood in February 1889 and President Grover Cleveland signed an omnibus bill granting statehood to Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Washington once the appropriate state constitutions were crafted. In July 1889, Montanan's convened their third constitutional convention and produced a constitution acceptable by the people and the federal government. On November 8, 1889 President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed Montana the forty-first state in the union. The first state governor was Joseph K. Toole.95 In the 1880s, Helena (the current state capital) had more millionaires per capita than any other United States city.96
The Homestead Act of 1862 provided free land to settlers who could claim and "prove-up" 160 acres (0.65 km2) of federal land in the midwest and western United States. Montana did not see a large influx of immigrants from this act because 160 acres was usually insufficient to support a family in the arid territory.97 The first homestead claim under the act in Montana was made by David Carpenter near Helena in 1868. The first claim by a woman was made near Warm Springs Creek by Miss Gwenllian Evans, the daughter of Deer Lodge Montana Pioneer, Morgan Evans.98 By 1880, there were farms in the more verdant valleys of central and western Montana, but few on the eastern plains.97
The Desert Land Act of 1877 was passed to allow settlement of arid lands in the west and allotted 640 acres (2.6 km2) to settlers for a fee of $.25 per acre and a promise to irrigate the land. After three years, a fee of one dollar per acre would be paid and the land would be owned by the settler. This act brought mostly cattle and sheep ranchers into Montana, many of which grazed their herds on the Montana prairie for three years, did little to irrigate the land and then abandoned it without paying the final fees.98 Some farmers came with the arrival of the Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railroads throughout the 1880s and 1890s, though in relatively small numbers.99
In the early 1900s, James J. Hill of the Great Northern and began promoting settlement in the Montana prairie to fill his trains with settlers and goods. Other railroads followed suit.100 In 1902, the Reclamation Act was passed, allowing irrigation projects to be built in Montana's eastern river valleys. In 1909, Congress passed the Enlarged Homestead Act that expanded the amount of free land from 160 acres (0.6 km2) to 320 acres (1.3 km2) per family and in 1912 reduced the time to "prove up" on a claim to three years.101 In 1916, the Stock-Raising Homestead Act allowed homesteads of 640 acres in areas unsuitable for irrigation. 102 This combination of advertising and changes in the Homestead Act drew tens of thousands of homesteaders, lured by free land, with World War I bringing particularly high wheat prices. In addition, Montana was going through a temporary period of higher-than-average precipitation.103 Homesteaders arriving in this period were known as "Honyockers", or "scissorbills."99 Though the word "honyocker", possibly derived from the slur "hunyak,"104 was applied in a derisive manner at homesteaders as being "greenhorns", "new at his business" or "unprepared",105 The reality was that a majority of these new had previous farming experience, though there were also many who did not.106 By 1910, they had filed claims on over five million acres, and by 1923, over 93 million acres were farmed.107 In 1910, the Great Falls land office alone saw over 1,000 homestead filings per month,108 and the peak of 1917– 1918 saw 14,000 new homesteads each year.109
However, a number of problems conspired against them. Farmers went heavily into debt.109 Most settlers were from wetter regions, unprepared for the dry climate, lack of trees, and scarce water resources.110 Then, the droughts of 1917–1921 proved devastating, as many left, and half the banks in the state went bankrupt after providing mortgages that could not be repaid.111
Honyocker, scissorbill, nester... He was the Joad of a [half] century ago, swarming into a hostile land: duped when he started, robbed when he arrived; hopeful, courageous, ambitious: he sought independence or adventure, comfort and security... The honyocker was farmer, spinster, deep-sea diver; fiddler, physician, bartender, cook. He lived in Minnesota or Wisconsin, Massachusetts or Maine. There the news sought him out--Jim Hill's news of free land in the Treasure State...
Montana and World War I
As World War I broke out, Jeannette Rankin, the first woman in America to be a member of Congress, was a pacifist and voted against the United States' declaration of war. However, her actions were widely criticized in Montana, public support for the war was strong, and wartime sentiment reached levels of hyper-patriotism among many Montanans.112 In 1917-18, due to a miscalculation of Montana's population, approximately 40,000 Montanans, ten percent of the state's population,112 either volunteered or were drafted into the armed forces. This represented a manpower contribution to the war that was 25 percent higher than any other state on a per capita basis. Approximately 1500 Montanans died as a result of the war and 2437 were wounded, also higher than any other state on a per capita basis.113 Montana's Remount station in Miles City provided 10,000 cavalry horses for the war, more than any other Army post in the US. The war created a boom for Montana mining, lumber and farming interests as demand for war materials and food increased.112
In June 1917, the U.S. Congress passed the Espionage Act of 1917 which was later extended by the Sedition Act of 1918, enacted in May, 1918.114 In February 1918, the Montana legislature had passed the Montana Sedition Act, which was a model for the federal version.115 In combination, these laws criminalized criticism of the U.S. government, military, or symbols through speech or other means. The Montana Act led to the arrest of over 200 individuals and the conviction of 78, mostly of German or Austrian descent. Over 40 spent time in prison. In May 2006, then-Governor Brian Schweitzer posthumously issued full pardons for all those convicted of violating the Montana Sedition Act.116
The Montanans who opposed U.S. entry into the war included certain immigrant groups of German and Irish heritage as well as pacifist Anabaptist people such as the Hutterites and Mennonites, many of whom were also of Germanic heritage. In turn, pro-War groups formed, such as the Montana Council of Defense, created by Governor Samuel V. Stewart as well as local "loyalty committees."112
War sentiment was complicated by labor issues. The Anaconda Copper Company, which was at its historic peak of copper production,117 was an extremely powerful force in Montana, but also faced noticeable opposition from socialist newspapers and increasing radicalization of unions.118 In Butte, a multi-ethnic community with significant European immigrant population, labor unions, particularly the newly-formed Metal Mine Workers’ Union, opposed the war on grounds that it mostly profited large lumber and mining interests.112 In the wake of ramped-up mine production and the Speculator Mine disaster in June, 1917,112 Industrial Workers of the World organizer Frank Little arrived in Butte to organize miners. He gave some speeches with inflammatory anti-war rhetoric. On August 1, 1917, he was dragged from his boarding house by masked vigilantes, and hanged from a railroad trestle, considered a lynching.119 Little's murder and the strikes that followed resulted in the National Guard being sent to Butte to restore order.112 Overall, anti-German and anti-labor sentiment increased and created a movement that led to the passage of the Montana Sedition Act the following February.120 In addition, the Council of Defense was made a state agency with the power to prosecute and punish individuals deemed in violation of the Act. The Council also passed rules limiting public gatherings and prohibiting the speaking of German in public.112
In the wake of the legislative action in 1918, emotions rose. U.S. Attorney Burton K. Wheeler and several District Court Judges who hesitated to prosecute or convict people brought up on charges were strongly criticized. Wheeler was brought before the Council of Defense, though he avoided formal proceedings, and a District Court judge from Forsyth was impeached. There were burnings of German-language books and several near-hangings. The prohibition on speaking German remained in effect into the early 1920s. Complicating the wartime struggles, the 1918 Influenza epidemic claimed the lives of over 5,000 Montanans.112 The period has been dubbed "Montana's Agony" by some historians due to the suppression of civil liberties that occurred.118
The Great Depression caused further hardship for farmers and ranchers and miners, but the economy bounced back in the 1940s. The wheat farms in eastern Montana make the state a major producer; the wheat has a relatively high protein content and thus commands premium prices. After 1940 tourism became the state's third largest industry with Yellowstone and Glacier national parks as the largest tourist attractions.citation needed
Montana and World War II
When the U.S. entered World War II on December 7, 1941, many Montanans already had enlisted in the military to escape the poor national economy of the previous decade. Another 40,000-plus Montanans entered the armed forces in the first year following the declaration of war, and over 57,000 joined up before the war ended. These numbers constituted about 10 percent of the state’s total population, and Montana again contributed one of the highest numbers of soldiers per capita of any state. Many Native Americans were among those who served, including soldiers from the Crow Nation who became Code Talkers. At least 1500 Montanans died in the war.121 Montana also was the training ground for the First Special Service Force or "Devil's Brigade," a joint U.S-Canadian commando-style force that trained at Fort William Henry Harrison for experience in mountainous and winter conditions prior to deployment.121122 Air bases were built in Great Falls, Lewistown, Cut Bank and Glasgow, some of which were used as staging areas to prepare planes to be sent to allied forces in the Soviet Union. During the war, about 30 Japanese balloon bombs were documented to have landed in Montana, though no casualties nor major forest fires were attributed to them.121
In 1940, Jeanette Rankin had once again been elected to Congress, and in 1941, as she did in 1917, she voted against the United States' declaration of war. This time she was the only vote against the war, and in the wake of public outcry over her vote, she required police protection for a time. Other pacifists tended to be those from "peace churches" who generally opposed war. Many individuals from throughout the U.S. who claimed conscientious objector status were sent to Montana during the war as smokejumpers and for other forest fire-fighting duties.121
The planned battleship USS Montana was named in honor of the state. However, the battleship was never completed, making Montana the only one of the 48 states during World War II not to have a battleship named after it. Additionally, Alaska and Hawaii have both had nuclear submarines named after them. As such Montana is the only state in the union without a modern naval ship named in its honor. However, in August 2007 Senator Jon Tester made a request to the Navy that a submarine be christened USS Montana.123
Cold war Montana
In the post-World War II Cold War era, Montana became host to U.S. Air Force Military Air Transport Service (1947) for airlift training in C-54 Skymasters and eventually Strategic Air Command (1953) strategic air and missile forces based at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls. The base also hosted the 29th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Air Defense Command from 1953 to 1968. In December 1959, Malmstrom AFB was selected as the home of the new Minuteman I ballistic missile. The first operational missiles were in-place and ready in early 1962. In late 1962 missiles assigned to the 341st Strategic Missile Wing would play a major role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. When the Soviets removed their missiles from Cuba, President John F. Kennedy said the Soviets backed down because they knew he had an "Ace in the Hole," referring directly to the Minuteman missiles in Montana. Montana eventually became home to the largest ICBM field in the U.S. covering 23,500 square miles (61,000 km2).124
Native American population
Approximately 66,000 people of Native American heritage live in Montana. Stemming from multiple treaties and federal legislation, including the Indian Appropriations Act (1851), the Dawes Act (1887), and the Indian Reorganization Act (1934), seven Indian reservations, encompassing eleven tribal nations, were created in Montana. A twelfth nation, the Little Shell Chippewa is a "landless" people headquartered in Great Falls, recognized by the state of Montana but not by the U.S. Government. The Blackfeet nation is headquartered on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation (1851) in Browning, Crow on the Crow Indian Reservation (1851) in Crow Agency, Confederated Salish and Kootenai and Pend d'Oreille on the Flathead Indian Reservation (1855) in Ronan, Northern Cheyenne on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation (1884) at Lame Deer, Assiniboine and Gros Ventre on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation (1888) in Fort Belknap Agency, Assiniboine and Sioux on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation (1888) at Poplar, and Chippewa-Cree on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation (1916) near Box Elder. Approximately 63% of all Native people live off the reservations, concentrated in the larger Montana cities with the largest concentration of urban Indians in Great Falls. The state also has a small Métis population, and 1990 census data indicated that people from as many as 275 different tribes lived in Montana.125
Montana is a relative hub of beer microbrewing, ranking third in the nation in number of craft breweries per capita in 2011.127 There are significant industries for lumber and mineral extraction; the state's resources include gold, coal, silver, talc, and vermiculite. Ecotaxes on resource extraction are numerous. A 1974 state severance tax on coal (which varied from 20 to 30 percent) was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Montana, 453 U.S. 609 (1981).128
Tourism is also important to the economy with millions of visitors a year to Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, the Missouri River headwaters, the site of the Battle of Little Bighorn and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park.citation needed
Montana's personal income tax contains 7 brackets, with rates ranging from 1 percent to 6.9 percent. Montana has no sales tax. In Montana, household goods are exempt from property taxes. However, property taxes are assessed on livestock, farm machinery, heavy equipment, automobiles, trucks, and business equipment. The amount of property tax owed is not determined solely by the property's value. The property's value is multiplied by a tax rate, set by the Montana Legislature, to determine its taxable value. The taxable value is then multiplied by the mill levy established by various taxing jurisdictions—city and county government, school districts and others.citation needed
As of February 2013, the state's unemployment rate is 5.6 percent.129
Many well-known artists, photographers and authors have documented the land, culture and people of Montana in the last 100 years. Painter and sculptor Charles Marion Russell, known as "the cowboy artist" created more than 2,000 paintings of cowboys, Indians, and landscapes set in the Western United States and in Alberta, Canada.130 The C. M. Russell Museum Complex located in Great Falls, Montana houses more than 2,000 Russell artworks, personal objects, and artifacts.
Evelyn Cameron, a naturalist and photographer from Terry documented early 20th century life on the Montana prairie, taking startlingly clear pictures of everything around her: cowboys, sheepherders, weddings, river crossings, freight wagons, people working, badlands, eagles, coyotes and wolves.131
Many notable Montana authors have documented or been inspired by life in Montana in both fiction and non-fiction works. Pulitzer Prize winner Wallace Earle Stegner from Great Falls was often called "The Dean of Western Writers".132 James Willard Schultz ("Apikuni") from Browning is most noted for his prolific stories about Blackfeet life and his contributions to the naming of prominent features in Glacier National Park.133
Major cultural events
Montana hosts numerous arts and cultural festivals and events every year. Major events include:
- Bozeman was once known as the "Sweet Pea capital of the nation" referencing the prolific edible pea crop. To promote the area and celebrate its prosperity, local business owners began a "Sweet Pea Carnival" that included a parade and queen contest. The annual event lasted from 1906 to 1916. Promoters used the inedible but fragrant and colorful sweet pea flower as an emblem of the celebration. In 1977 the "Sweet Pea" concept was revived as an arts festival rather than a harvest celebration, growing into a three-day event that is one of the largest festivals in Montana.134
- Montana Shakespeare in the Parks has been performing free, live theatrical productions of Shakespeare and other classics throughout Montana since 1973.135 The Montana Shakespeare Company is based in Helena.136
- Since 1909, the Crow Fair and Rodeo in Hardin has been an annual event every August on the Crow Agency and is currently the largest Northern Native American gathering, attracting nearly 45,000 spectators and participants.137 Since 1952, North American Indian Days has been held every July in Browning.138
Colleges and universities
The Montana University System consists of:
Tribal Colleges in Montana include:
There are three private, non-profit colleges in Montana:
There are no major league sports franchises in Montana due to the state's relatively small and dispersed population, but a number of minor league teams play in the state. Baseball is the minor-league sport with the longest heritage in the state, and Montana is currently home to four Minor League baseball teams, all members of the Pioneer Baseball League:
Collegiate and High School sports
All of Montana's four-year colleges and universities field a variety of intercollegiate sports teams. The two largest schools, the University of Montana and Montana State University, are members of the Big Sky Conference and have enjoyed a strong athletic rivalry since the early twentieth century. Six of the Montana's smaller four-year schools are members of the Frontier Conference.139 One is a member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.140 A variety of sports are offered at Montana high schools.141 Montana allows the smallest—"Class C"—high schools to utilize six-man football teams,142 dramatized in the independent 2002 film, The Slaughter Rule.143
- Billings Bulls
- Bozeman Icedogs
- Glacier Nationals
- Great Falls Americans
- Helena Bighorns
- Missoula Maulers
Numerous other sports are played at the club and amateur level. In 2011, Big Sky Little League won the Northwest Region, advancing to the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, PA for the first time in state history.
Major sporting milestones
- In 1889, Spokane became the first and only Montana horse to win the Kentucky Derby. For this accomplishment, the horse was admitted to the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008.144145
- In 1904 a basketball team of young Native American women from Fort Shaw, after playing undefeated during their previous season, went to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition held in St. Louis in 1904, defeated all challenging teams and were declared to be world champions.146
- In 1923, the controversial Jack Dempsey vs. Tommy Gibbons fight for the heavyweight boxing championship, won by Dempsey, took place in Shelby.147
- Montana has produced two U.S. Champions and Olympic competitors in Men's Figure Skating, both from Great Falls: John Misha Petkevich, lived and trained in Montana prior to entering college, competed in the 1968 and 1972 Winter Olympics.148149 Scott Davis, also from Great Falls, competed at the 1994 Winter Olympics150
- Governor Judy Martz had been a member of the women's speed skating team at the 1964 Winter Olympics prior to entering politics151
Montana provides year round recreation opportunities for residents and visitors. Hiking, fishing, hunting, watercraft recreation, camping, golf, cycling, horseback riding, and skiing are popular activities.152
Fishing and hunting
Montana has been a destination for its world-class trout fisheries since the 1930s.153 Fly fishing for several species of native and introduced trout in rivers and lakes is popular for both residents and tourists throughout the state. Montana is the home of the Federation of Fly Fishers and hosts many of the organizations annual conclaves. The state has robust recreational Lake Trout and Kokanee Salmon fisheries in the west, Walleye can be found in many parts of the state, while Northern Pike, smallmouth and largemouth bass fisheries as well as catfish and paddlefish can found in the waters of eastern Montana.154 Robert Redford's 1992 film of Norman Mclean's A River Runs Through It was filmed in Montana and brought national attention to fly fishing and the state.155
Montana is home to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and has a historic big game hunting tradition. There are fall bow and general hunting seasons for elk, moose, pronghorn antelope, whitetail deer and mule deer. A random draw grants a limited number of permits for mountain goats and bighorn sheep. There is a spring hunting season for black bear and in most years, limited hunting of bison that leave Yellowstone National Park is allowed. Current law allows both hunting and trapping of a specific number of wolves and mountain lions. Trapping of assorted fur bearing animals is allowed in certain seasons and many opportunities exist for migratory waterfowl and upland bird hunting.156157
- Bear Paw Ski Bowl near Havre, Montana
- Big Sky Resort, at Big Sky
- Blacktail Mountain near Lakeside
- Bridger Bowl Ski Area near Bozeman
- Discovery Basin between Philipsburg and Anaconda
- Great Divide near Helena, Montana
- Lookout Pass off Interstate 90 at the Montana-Idaho border
- Lost Trail near Darby, Montana
- Maverick Mountain near Dillon, Montana
- Moonlight Basin near Big Sky
- Red Lodge Mountain Resort near Red Lodge
- Showdown Ski Area near White Sulphur Springs, Montana
- Snowbowl Ski Area near Missoula
- Turner Mountain Ski Resort near Libby
- Whitefish Mountain Resort near Whitefish
Big Sky, Moonlight Basin, Red Lodge, and Whitefish Mountain are destination resorts, while the remaining areas do not have overnight lodging at the ski area, though several host restaurants and other amenities.158 These day-use resorts partner with local lodging businesses to offer ski and lodging packages.159160
Montana also has millions of acres open to cross-country skiing on nine of its national forests plus in Glacier National Park. In addition to cross-country trails at most of the downhill ski areas, there are also 13 private cross-country skiing resorts.161 Yellowstone National Park also allows cross-country skiing.162
Snowmobiling is popular in Montana which boasts over 4000 miles of trails and frozen lakes available in winter.163 There are 24 areas where snowmobile trails are maintained, most also offering ungroomed trails.164 West Yellowstone offers a large selection of trails and is the primary starting point for snowmobile trips into Yellowstone National Park,165 where "oversnow" vehicle use is strictly limited, usually to guided tours, and regulations are in considerable flux.166
Snow coach tours are offered at Big Sky, Whitefish, West Yellowstone and into Yellowstone National Park.167 Equestrian skijoring has a niche in Montana, which hosts the World Skijoring Championships in Whitefish as part of the annual Whitefish Winter Carnival.168
Montana does not have a Trauma I hospital, but does have Trauma II hospitals in Billings, Missoula, and Great Falls.169 In 2013 AARP The Magazine named the Billings Clinic one of the safest hospitals in the United States.170
|This section requires expansion. (April 2013)|
Railroads have been an important method of transportation in Montana since the 1880s. Historically, the state was traversed by the main lines of three east-west transcontinental routes: the Milwaukee Road, the Great Northern, and the Northern Pacific. Today, the BNSF Railway is the state's largest railroad, its main transcontinental route incorporating the former Great Northern main line across the state. Montana RailLink, a privately held Class II railroad, operates former Northern Pacific trackage in western Montana.
In addition, Amtrak's Empire Builder train runs through the north of the state, stopping in Libby, Whitefish, West Glacier, Essex, East Glacier Park, Browning, Cut Bank, Shelby, Havre, Malta, Glasgow, and Wolf Point.
Billings Logan International Airport is the busiest airport in Montana, with Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport a close second.172 Montana's other major Airports include Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (formerly Gallatin Field) Missoula International Airport, Great Falls International Airport, Glacier Park International Airport, Helena Regional Airport, Bert Mooney Airport and Yellowstone Airport. Eight smaller communities have airports designated for commercial service under the Essential Air Service program.173
Historically, U.S. Route 10 was the primary east-west highway route across Montana, connecting the major cities in the southern half of the state. Still the state's most important east-west travel corridor, the route is today served by Interstate 90 and Interstate 94 which roughly follow the same route as the Northern Pacific. U.S. Routes 2 and 12 and Montana Highway 200 also traverse the entire state from east to west.
Montana's only north-south Interstate Highway is Interstate 15. Other major north-south highways include U.S. Routes 87, 89, 93 and 191. Interstate 25 terminates into I-90 just south of the Montana border in Wyoming.
Montana and South Dakota are the only states to share a land border which is not traversed by a paved road; Highway 212 passes through the northeast corner of Wyoming between Montana and South Dakota.174175
Law and government
The current Governor is Steve Bullock, a Democrat elected in 2012 and sworn in on January 7, 2013. His predecessor in office was two-term governor, Brian Schweitzer. Montana's two U.S. senators are Max Baucus and Jon Tester, both Democrats. The state's congressional representative is currently Republican Steve Daines, elected in 2012 and sworn in on January 3, 2013.
Politics in the state has been competitive, with the Democrats usually holding an edge, thanks to the support among unionized miners and railroad workers. Large-scale battles revolved around the giant Anaconda Copper company, based in Butte and controlled by Rockefeller interests, until it closed in the 1970s. Until 1959, the company owned five of the state's six largest newspapers.179
Historically, Montana is a swing state of cross-ticket voters who tend to fill elected offices with individuals from both parties. Through the mid-20th century, the state had a tradition of "sending the liberals to Washington and the conservatives to Helena." Between 1988 and 2006, the pattern flipped, with voters more likely to elect conservatives to federal offices. There have also been long-term shifts of party control. From 1968 through 1988, the state was dominated by the Democratic Party, with Democratic governors for a 20-year period, and a Democratic majority of both the national congressional delegation and during many sessions of the state legislature. This pattern shifted, beginning with the 1988 election, when Montana elected a Republican governor for the first time since 1964 and sent a Republican to the U.S. Senate for the first time since 1948. This shift continued with the reapportionment of the state's legislative districts that took effect in 1994, when the Republican Party took control of both chambers of the state legislature, consolidating a Republican party dominance that lasted until the 2004 reapportionment produced more swing districts and a brief period of Democratic legislative majorities in the mid-2000s.180
In presidential elections, Montana was long classified as a swing state, though the state has voted for the republican candidate in all but two elections from 1952 to the present.181 The state last supported a Democrat for president in 1992, when Bill Clinton won a plurality victory. Overall, since 1889 the state has voted for Democratic governors 60 percent of the time and Democratic presidents 40 percent of the time, with these numbers being 40/60 for Republican candidates. In the 2008 presidential election, Montana was considered a swing state and was ultimately won by Republican John McCain, albeit by a narrow margin of two percent.182
However, at the state level, the pattern of split ticket voting and divided government holds. Democrats currently hold both U.S. Senate seats, as well as four of the five statewide offices (Governor, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Secretary of State and State Auditor). The Legislative branch had split party control between the house and senate most years between 2004 and 2010, when the mid-term elections returned both branches to Republican control. The state Senate is, as of 2013, controlled by the Republicans 29 to 21, and the State House of Representatives at 61 to 39.180
Montana currently has only one representative in the U.S. House, having lost its second district in the 2000 census reapportionment, which makes it the poorest-represented U.S. state in the House (see List of U.S. states by population). Montana's population grew at about the national average during the 2000s, and it failed to regain its second seat in 2010. Like other states, Montana has two senators.183
A November 2011 Public Policy Polling survey found that 37 percent of Montana voters supported the legalization of same-sex marriage, while 51 percent opposed it and 12 percent were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 62 percent of respondents supported legal recognition for same-sex couples, with 32 percent supporting same-sex marriage, 30 percent supporting civil unions, 35 percent opposing all legal recognition and 3 percent not sure.184
Cities and towns
Montana has 56 counties with the United States Census Bureau stating Montana's contains 364 "places", broken down into 129 incorporated places and 235 census-designated places. Incorporated places consist of 52 cities, 75 towns, and two consolidated city-counties.185 Montana has one city, Billings, with a population over 100,000; and two cities with populations over 50,000, Missoula and Great Falls. These three communities are considered the centers of Montana's three Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The state also has five Micropolitan Statistical Areas centered on Bozeman, Butte, Helena, Kalispell and Havre.186 These communities, excluding Havre, are colloquially known as the "big 7" Montana cities, as they are consistently the seven largest communities in Montana, with a significant population difference when these communities are compared to those that are 8th and lower on the list.187 According to 2010 U.S. Census the population of Montana's seven most populous cities, in rank order, are Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, Bozeman, Butte, Helena and Kalispell.187 Based on 2000 census numbers, they collectively contain 34 percent of Montana's population.188 and the counties containing these communities hold more than 60 percent of the state's population.189 The geographic center of population of Montana, however, is located in sparsely populated Meagher County, in the town of White Sulphur Springs.190
The 2010 census put Montana's population at 989,415 which is an increase of 87,220 people, or 9.7 percent, since the year 2000. Growth is mainly concentrated in Montana's seven largest counties, with the heaviest percentile growth in Gallatin County, which saw a 32 percent increase in its population since 2000.192 The city seeing the largest percentile growth was Kalispell with 40.1 percent.citation needed The city with the largest actual growth was Billings with an increase in population of 14,323 since 2000.citation needed
On January 3, 2012, the Census and Economic Information Center (CEIC) at the Montana Department of Commerce estimated Montana had hit the one million mark sometime between November and December 2011.193 The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Montana was 1,005,141 on July 1, 2012, a 1.6 percent increase since the 2010 United States Census.1
According to the 2010 Census, 89.4 percent of the population was White (87.8 percent Non-Hispanic White), 6.3 percent American Indian and Alaska Native, 2.9 percent Hispanics and Latinos of any race, 0.6 percent Asian, 0.4 percent Black or African American, 0.1 percent Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 0.6 percent from Some Other Race, and 2.5 percent from two or more races.194 The largest European ancestry groups in Montana are: German (29.3 percent), Irish (16.4 percent), English (13.1 percent), and Norwegian (10 percent).citation needed
Montana has several predominantly Native American counties, mainly around each of the seven Indian reservations. The state has a larger Native American population (and percentage) than most US states. The seven reservations include more than twelve distinct Native American ethnolinguistic groups.194
While the largest European-American population in Montana overall is German, pockets of significant Scandinavian ancestry are prevalent in some of the farming-dominated northern and eastern prairie regions, parallel to nearby regions of North Dakota and Minnesota. Farmers of Irish, Scots, and English roots also settled in Montana. The historically mining-oriented communities of western Montana such as Butte have a wider range of European-American ethnicity; Finns, Eastern Europeans and especially Irish settlers left an indelible mark on the area, as well as people originally from British mining regions such as Cornwall, Devon and Wales. The nearby city of Helena, also founded as a mining camp, had a similar mix in addition to a small Chinatown.194 Many of Montana's historic logging communities originally attracted people of Scottish, Scandinavian, Slavic, English and Scots-Irish descent.citation needed
The Hutterites, an Anabaptist sect originally from Switzerland, settled here, and today Montana is second only to South Dakota in U.S. Hutterite population with several colonies spread across the state. In the late 20th century, the state also saw an influx of Amish, who relocated to Montana from the increasingly urbanized areas of Ohio and Pennsylvania.citation needed
Montana's Hispanic population is concentrated around the Billings area in south-central Montana, where many of Montana's Mexican-Americans have been in the state for generations. The highest density of African-Americans is located in Great Falls.citation needed
The Chinese in Montana, while a low percentage today, have historically been an important presence. About 2000–3000 Chinese miners were in the mining areas of Montana by 1870, and 2500 in 1890. However, public opinion grew increasingly negative toward them in the 1890s and nearly half of the state's Asian population left the state by 1900.196 Today, there is a significant Hmong population centered in the vicinity of Missoula.197 Montanans who claim Filipino ancestry amount to almost 3,000, making them currently the largest Asian American group in the state.194
|2000 (total population)||92.79%||0.50%||7.36%||0.79%||0.12%|
|2000 (Hispanic only)||1.74%||0.05%||0.28%||0.04%||0.01%|
|2005 (total population)||92.52%||0.62%||7.47%||0.82%||0.11%|
|2005 (Hispanic only)||2.22%||0.07%||0.23%||0.03%||0.01%|
|Growth 2000–05 (total population)||3.42%||28.09%||5.19%||7.11%||-4.46%|
|Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only)||2.87%||25.58%||5.91%||8.07%||-0.82%|
|Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only)||31.85%||52.36%||-13.46%||-13.52%||-39.22%|
|* AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander|
The religious affiliations of the people of Montana include:
- Christian: 82 percent
- Other religions: <1 percent
- Non-religious: 18 percentcitation needed
Large denominations (measured by numbers of adherents) include the Roman Catholic Church with 169,250 as of 2000[update]; the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 50,287 as of 2000[update];198 and (as of 31 December 2008[update]) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 45,517.citation needed
Montana's motto, Oro y Plata, Spanish for "gold and silver," recognizing the significant role of mining, was first adopted in 1865, when Montana was still a territory.199 A state seal with a miner's pick and shovel above the motto, surrounded by the mountains and the Great Falls of the Missouri River, was adopted during the first meeting of the territorial legislature in 1864-65. The design was only slightly modified after Montana became a state and adopted it as the Great Seal of the State of Montana, enacted by the legislature in 1893.200 The state flower, the Bitterroot, was adopted in 1895 with the support of a group called the Floral Emblem Association, which formed after Montana's Women's Christian Temperance Union adopted the bitterroot as the organization's state flower.201 All other symbols were adopted throughout the 20th century, save for Montana's newest symbol, the state butterfly, the Mourning Cloak, adopted in 2001,199 and the State Lullaby, "Montana Lullaby," adopted in 2007.202
The state song was not composed until 21 years after statehood, when a musical troupe led by Joseph E. Howard stopped in Butte in September 1910. A former member of the troupe who lived in Butte buttonholed Howard at an after-show party, asking him to compose a song about Montana and got another partygoer, the city editor for the Butte Miner newspaper, Charles C. Cohan, to help. The two men worked up a basic melody and lyrics in about a half-hour for the entertainment of party guests, then finished the song later that evening, with an arrangement worked up the following day. Upon arriving in Helena, Howard's troupe performed 12 encores of the new song to an enthusiastic audience and the governor proclaimed it the state song on the spot, though formal legislative recognition did not occur until 1945.203 Montana is one of only three states to have a "state ballad,"204 "Montana Melody," chosen by the legislature in 1983.199 Montana was the first state to also adopt a State Lullaby.202
Montana schoolchildren played a significant role in selecting several state symbols. The state tree, the ponderosa pine, was selected by Montana schoolchildren as the preferred state tree by an overwhelming majority in a referundum held in 1908. However, the legislature did not designate a state tree until 1949, when the Montana Federation of Garden Clubs, with the support of the state forester, lobbied for formal recognition.205 Schoolchildren also chose the Western meadowlark as the state bird, in a 1930 vote, and the legislature acted to endorse this decision in 1931.206 Similarly, the secretary of state sponsored a children's vote in 1981 to choose a state animal, and after 74 animals were nominated, the Grizzly bear won over the elk by a 2-1 margin.207 The students of Livingston started a statewide school petition drive plus lobbied the governor and the state legislature to name the Maiasaura as the state fossil in 1985.208
Various community civic groups also played a role in selecting the state grass and the state gemstones.209210 When broadcaster Norma Ashby discovered there was no state fish, she initiated a drive via her television show, Today in Montana, and an informal citizen's election to select a state fish resulted in a win for the blackspotted cutthroat trout211 after hot competition from the Arctic grayling. The legislature in turn adopted this recommendation by a wide margin.212
|State animal||Grizzly Bear Ursus arctos horribilis'199||1983|
|State bird||Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta199||1931|
|State butterfly||Mourning cloak Nymphalis antiopa199||2001|
|State fish||Blackspotted Cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarkii211||1977|
|State flower||Bitterroot Lewisia rediviva199||1895|
|State fossil||Duck-billed Dinosaur Maiasaura peeblesorum199||1985|
|State gemstones||Sapphire & Agate199||1969|
|State grass||Bluebunch wheatgrass Pseudoroegneria spicata199||1973|
|State motto||"Oro y Plata" (Spanish for "Gold and Silver")4||1865|
|State tree||Ponderosa Pine Pinus ponderosa'199||1949|
- Census Estimate 2012.
- National Geodetic Survey 2008.
- Geological Survey 2001.
- Montana Code 2011.
- Robbins, J. 2008.
- Economic Sectors 2013.
- Department of Labor 2013.
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- Sanders 1910, pp. 15-60.
- Library of Congress 1864.
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- Kugler 2013, p. 44.
- Anderson 2012, p. 4.
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- Madej & Jones 2007.
- Elias 2002, p. 55.
- Graetz & Clemenz 1984, p. 59.
- Aarstad et al. 2009, p. 58.
- Malone, Roeder & Lang 1991, p. 6-7.
- Cooper 2009, p. 11.
- Merrill-Maker 2006, pp. 57-63.
- Canadian Council for Geographic Education 2013.
- Montana State Library 2013.
- Montana Outdoors 2002.
- Newsmakers-Jack Horner 2013.
- Geological Survey—search 2013.
- Waterbody Report-Clark Fork River 2013.
- Waterbody Report-Kootenai River 2013.
- Matzko 2001, p. 27.
- Fish and Wildlife Service 2001.
- Paddling Montana 2000.
- Waterbody Report-Smith River 2013.
- Waterbody Report-Milk River 2013.
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- "U.S. Congress Passes Espionage Act". History Channel. June 15, 1917. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
- "USGS Geonames Search Result-Montana+Stream". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- "Verified Trauma Centers". American College of Surgeons. March 20, 2013. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- "Vermont Remains Top State in Capita per Brewery". Brewers Association. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
- "Welcome to the Montana High School Association". Montana High School Association. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
- "Welcome to the World Ski Joring Championships". Whitefish Skijoring. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
- "What was the Great Northern Railway?". Great Northern Railway Historical Society. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
- "Woman Suffrage Timeline (1840-1920)". National Women's History Museum. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
- "World War II in Montana 1939-1945" (PDF). Montana Historical Society. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- "Yellowstone in Winter: Current Management and Planning". National Park Service. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
- Axline et al, Jon (2005). Still Speaking Ill of the Dead: More Jerks in Montana History. Nashville, TN: Falcon Press. ISBN 1-58592-032-0.
- Bennion, Jon (2004). Big Sky Politics. Missoula, MT: Five Valleys Press. ISBN 1-888550-13-9.
- Brown, Kate (February 2001). "Gridded Lives: Why Kazakhstan and Montana are Nearly the Same Place". The American Historical Review (Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Historical Association) 106 (1): 17–48. JSTOR 2652223.
- Doig, Ivan (1987). Dancing at the Rascal Fair. New York City: Scribner Book Co. ISBN 978-0-684-83105-3.
- Doig, Ivan (1992). English Creek. Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith Publisher Inc. ISBN 0-8446-6608-4.
- Howard, Joseph Kinsey (2003). Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome. Lincoln, NE: Bison Books. ISBN 0-8032-7339-8.
- Howard, Joseph Kinsey (1946). Montana Margins: A State Anthology. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-8369-2652-8.
- Kittredge, William (1990). The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-96974-1.
- Lopach, James (1983). We the People of Montana: The Workings of a Popular Government. Nashville, TN: Falcon Press. ISBN 0-87842-159-9.
- MacLean, Norman (1976). A River Runs Through It. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-50060-8.
- Malone, Michael P.; Roeder, Richard B.; Lang, William L. (1991). Montana: A History of Two Centuries. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-97129-0.
- Toole, K. Ross (1984). Montana: An Uncommon Land. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-1890-3.
- Walter, Dave (2000). Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Montana History. Nashville, TN: Falcon Press. ISBN 1-58592-032-0.
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- Census of Montana
- Famous and Infamous Montanans
- General Information About Montana
- Geographic data related to Montana at OpenStreetMap
- List of Searchable Databases Produced by Montana State Agencies
- Montana Energy Data & Statistics – From the U.S. Department of Energy
- Montana Historical Society
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- Montana Official Travel Information Site
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- Montana at the Open Directory Project
- Montana State Capitol Information
- Montana State Facts From the U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Saturday Night Out – Montana 1936
- USGS Real-time, Geographic, and Other Scientific Resources of Montana
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Admitted on November 8, 1889 (41st)
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