Montana History - the history of Montana
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Montana   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Montana History


Montana History

The Montana region has long been inhabited by Native American people: pictographs in caves dating back 2,100 years have been found. The Native American peoples included the Crow in the South, the Cheyenne in the Southeast, the Assiniboine and Gros Ventres in central and northern areas, and the Kootenai and Salish in the West.

Most of present day Montana falls within the former French colony of New France. This region was acquired from France, by the United States in 1803, in the Louisiana Purchase.

The new territory acquired by the United States was largely unexplored. This was rectified by Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804 to 1806). Lewis and Clark surveyed the Indian tribes, botany, geology and wildlife of the area, as well as looking for signs of possible interference from British or French Canadian hunters.

Gold and copper were found in the area in 1850s, and in 1864, Montana became a United States Territory. In the late 1860s, US government established three forts in the territory: Fort Shaw, Camp Cooke and Fort C. F. Smith. Montana was the scene of the Native Americans' last effort to keep their land, and the last stand Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer (at Little Big Horn in 1867). Sheer weight of numbers made the Native Americans' defeat inevitable, and in 1877 Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, formally surrendered.

Montana was admitted as the 41st state of the Union on November 8th 1889. The Homestead Act (1862), the Reclamation Act (1902), and the revised Homestead Act (1912) all brought European settlers to the region, greatly expanding the state's population.

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Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey

By Russell Rowland

Russell Rowland
Paperback (126 pages)

Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey
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  • Fifty Six Counties
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Montana has a long and celebrated tradition of artful, reflective nonfiction. From Joseph Kinsey Howard's Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome to K. Ross Toole's Montana: An Uncommon Land, we've been gifted with a series of erudite and sharp-eyed guides to help show us who we are. To this eminent list we can now add Russell Rowland's Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey. A native Montanan and an applauded novelist (In Open Spaces, High and Inside), Rowland spent the better part of a year studying and traveling around his beloved home state, from the mines of Butte to the pine forests of the Northwest, from the stark, wind-scrubbed badlands of the East to the tourist-driven economies of the West. Along the way, he considered our state's essential character, where we came from, and, most of all, what we might be in the process of becoming."Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey is astounding in beauty and vitality, interwoven with great wisdoms about human shadow and human light, touched by divine notions of the sacredness that binds all people, and graced with a hard won and ultimately natural sense of illumination."
Shann Ray, author of American Copper, winner of the Spur Award
"In a voice all his own, Rowland proves to be warm and personable, and yet cutting and real―basically, one couldn't wish for a better guide to the state of Montana. This book is utterly unique. A gorgeous accomplishment."
Laura Pritchett, author of Stars Go Blue, winner of the High Plains Book Award
"Fifty-Six Counties is a remarkable book: a macro-focused narrative using a wide-angle lens. If you have room for only one book about Montana on your shelf, make it this one.
David Abrams, author of Fobbit
"Fifty-Six Counties is an insightful consideration of our state's angles and attitudes; it's not an easy task but this result is grand."
Pat Williams, former US Congressman from Montana

It Happened in Montana: Remarkable Events That Shaped History (It Happened in the West)

By James A. Crutchfield

James A Crutchfield
Paperback (144 pages)

It Happened in Montana: Remarkable Events That Shaped History (It Happened in the West)
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  • It Happened in Montana Remarkable Events That Shaped History It Happened in the West
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Author James A. Crutchfield has mined thirty-seven of the most colorful episodes from Montana's provocative past--from the first glimpse of French explorers of the "Shining Mountains" in 1743 to the attempt to round up the wild horses of the Pryor Mountains. These episodes are a lively look at life in the Wild West.

Bold Women in Montana History

By Beth Judy

Mountain Press Publishing
Paperback (252 pages)

Bold Women in Montana History
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From the Blackfeet warrior Running Eagle to the stereotype-smashing librarian Alma Jacobs, the eleven women portrayed in this engaging book were indeed bold breaking down barriers of sexism, racism, and political opposition to emerge as heroines of their time. The third in this Mountain Press s state-by-state series for teen readers, Bold Women in Montana History reveals the feminine side of the Tresure State s storied past.
Within these pages are stories of fearless femmes who dared to dream and resolved to take action. Among them we meet Annie Morgan, a Philipsburg homesteader whose mysterious life is only now coming to light; the bronc-riding Greenough sisters, Alice and Marge, who became rodeo stars during the sport s heyday; and Elouise Cobell, champion of Native American rights.

Montana: A History of Two Centuries

By Richard B. Roeder & William L. Lang

Michael P Malone
Paperback (480 pages)

Montana: A History of Two Centuries
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  • Montana A History of Two Centuries
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Montana: A History of Two Centuries first appeared in 1976 and immediately became the standard work in its field. In this thoroughgoing revision, William L. Lang has joined Michael P. Malone and Richard B. Roeder in carrying forward the narrative to the 1990s. Fully twenty percent of the text is new or revised, incorporating the results of new research and new interpretations dealing with pre-history, Native American studies, ethnic history, women’s studies, oral history, and recent political history. In addition, the bibliography has been updated and greatly expanded, new maps have been drawn, and new photographs have been selected.

Montana (Second Edition): High, Wide, and Handsome

By Joseph Kinsey Howard

Brand: Bison Books
Paperback (349 pages)

Montana (Second Edition): High, Wide, and Handsome
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In these pages you will come to fall in love with a ruggedly diverse and strikingly beautiful state, a land that takes hold and won’t let go. Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome is widely recognized as a classic history and delightful ode to the idiosyncratic personalities, restless landscape, unforgettable peoples, and lively history of the Treasure State. William Kittredge provides a new introduction for this edition.

Fire and Brimstone: The North Butte Mining Disaster of 1917

By Michael Punke

Michael Punke
Released: 2007-08-28
Paperback (368 pages)

Fire and Brimstone: The North Butte Mining Disaster of 1917
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  • Fire and Brimstone The North Butte Mining Disaster of 1917
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The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Revenant--basis for the award-winning motion picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio--tells the remarkable story of the worst hard-rock mining disaster in American history.

The worst hard-rock mining disaster in American history began a half hour before midnight on June 8, 1917, when fire broke out in the North Butte Mining Company's Granite Mountain shaft. Sparked more than two thousand feet below ground, the fire spewed flames, smoke, and poisonous gas through a labyrinth of underground tunnels. Within an hour, more than four hundred men would be locked in a battle to survive. Within three days, one hundred and sixty-four of them would be dead.

Fire and Brimstone recounts the remarkable stories of both the men below ground and their families above, focusing on two groups of miners who made the incredible decision to entomb themselves to escape the gas. While the disaster is compelling in its own right, Fire and Brimstone also tells a far broader story striking in its contemporary relevance. Butte, Montana, on the eve of the North Butte disaster, was a volatile jumble of antiwar protest, an abusive corporate master, seething labor unrest, divisive ethnic tension, and radicalism both left and right. It was a powder keg lacking only a spark, and the mine fire would ignite strikes, murder, ethnic and political witch hunts, occupation by federal troops, and ultimately a battle over presidential power.

Roadside History of Montana (Roadside History Series)

By Spritzer. Don

Brand: Mountain Press Publishing Company
Released: 1999-05-01
Paperback (432 pages)

Roadside History of Montana (Roadside History Series)
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Roadside History of Montana goes well beyond cowboy stories to tell of the struggles of dryland farmers, the rowdy antics of mining- town denizens, and the heroism of smoke jumpers and park rangers. Author Don Spritzer's love of Montana in all its diversity shines through in each vignette as he introduces readers to Montana's independent, adventurous, and often eccentric people. Readers will learn surprising facts about the Treasure State's past and meet its most fascinating people, from the copper kings of Butte to the Freemen of Garfield County.
Dividing the state into six geographical-historical areas, Roadside History of Montana follows main highways to reveal the stories hidden within the vast Montana landscape, delighting readers with lively anecdotes along the way. Spritzer speaks of each little town and crossroad with the intimacy of someone who's been there-and indeed he has. Accentuating the text are 170 historical photographs and numerous maps.

The Montana Medicine Show's Genuine Montana History

By B. Derek Strahn

Riverbend Publishing
Paperback (264 pages)

The Montana Medicine Show s Genuine Montana History
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This book is a collection of episodes from the popular radio program, Montana Medicine Show by Derek Strahn, that originates at KGLT studios on the campus of Montana State University-Bozeman. Though the program strives to inform, its main objective is to entertain to relate some interesting or quirky anecdote and provide an enjoyable or thought-provoking glimpse of Montana s past. Given the fleeting nature of radio and the need to make a quick impression, the 117 stories are packed with colorful quotations and vivid first-hand accounts. The lively style is fun to read, and the book adds compelling illustrations to every story. Floods, fires, earthquakes, and blizzards frequently take the stage. But at the center of it all are the people. Montana s medicine show is filled with a raucous cast of hucksters, risk-takers, reformers, warriors, and reprobates. Here one will find manly men and feisty women, tradition-clinging conservatives and reckless radicals. As the uncompromising journalist Joseph Kinsey Howard said, Montana has lived the life of America, on a reduced scale and at breakneck speed. Its history has been bewilderingly condensed, a kaleidoscopic newsreel, unplotted and unplanned... Enjoy some of the state s most extraordinary moments in The Montana Medicine Show s Genuine Montana History.

From Hell to Breakfast in Old Montana: A True Saga

By Leland Blanchard

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (114 pages)

From Hell to Breakfast in Old Montana: A True Saga
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It's the bygone West as you never imagined it. Oral accounts and recently unearthed papers provide an intimate peek into deeply troubled lives of fortune seekers lured to Montana by coal mining and homesteading. The principal backdrop is the town of Roundup, which in 1909 began to shake, rattle and roll to the beat of a new century. The stresses and strains of life in raw and primitive outposts brought out the worst in some individuals, from the bizarre to the barbaric. Even decades later, when hard times were over, we encounter irrational behavior that suggests emotional damage stemming from the past.

Montana: Then and Now

By Aaron Parrett

Parrett Aaron
Paperback (200 pages)

Montana: Then and Now
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When Montana Territory was established in 1864, it was a land of tepees and ramshackle cabins, of lawless vigilantes and miners scraping out meager livings. One hundred and fifty years later, the dramatic changes to the Treasure State are overshadowed only by the startling similarities. On the occasion of Montana's 150th territorial anniversary, and with a perspective born from a lifetime's devotion to the history of his home state, author Aaron Parrett compares where we started with where we are today, and along the way shows us a Montana we never could have previously imagined.

"In the tradition of Joseph Kinsey Howard and K. Ross Toole, Aaron Parrett interrogates Montana as both place and idea, revealing that what has long distinguished the state-robust island communities surrounded by a sea of redemptive space-has largely survived."
Edwin Dobb
U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

"Aaron Parrett has told Montana's story entertainingly without shying from the darker bits. The result is a romp through our state's history that is at once lighthearted and intelligent."
Molly Holz
Editor, Montana The Magazine of Western History

"Aaron Parret's Montana: Then and Now stitches together the tapestry that is Montana's 150-year-long history with the perspective born of years of sincere appreciation and study. This account gives us pause and at the same time gives us hope, that Montana's next generation realizes its role in preserving the unique qualities inherent in the 'last best place.'"
Stephanie Ambrose Tubbs
Why Sacagawea Deserves the Day Off and Other Lessons of the Lewis and Clark Trail

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