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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Montana: A History of Two Centuries

By Richard B. Roeder & William L. Lang

University of Washington Press
Paperback (480 pages)

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.

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.

Montana: Then and Now

By Aaron Parrett

Bangtail Press
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

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.

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

By James Crutchfield

TwoDot
Paperback (144 pages)

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.

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.

B is for Big Sky Country: A Montana Alphabet (Discover America State by State)

By Sneed B. Collard III

Brand: Sleeping Bear Press
Released: 2003-08-11
Hardcover (40 pages)

B is for Big Sky Country: A Montana Alphabet (Discover America State by State)
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"The sky in Montana somehow seems bigger, bluer, and more spectacular than in any other state." Author Sneed B. Collard, III writes, "it's simply because our sky stretches over such an abundance of beauty." In B is for Big Sky Country readers will find out where the Going-to-the-Sun Road really takes you and what city the copper capitol dome calls home.

We Pointed Them North: Recollections of a Cowpuncher

By E. C. Abbott

University of Oklahoma Press
Paperback (272 pages)

We Pointed Them North: Recollections of a Cowpuncher
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E. C. Abbott was a cowboy in the great days of the 1870's and 1880's. He came up the trail to Montana from Texas with the long-horned herds which were to stock the northern ranges; he punched cows in Montana when there wasn't a fence in the territory; and he married a daughter of Granville Stuart, the famous early-day stockman and Montana pioneer. For more than fifty years he was known to cowmen from Texas to Alberta as "Teddy Blue."

This is his story, as told to Helena Huntington Smith, who says that the book is "all Teddy Blue. My part was to keep out of the way and not mess it up by being literary.... Because the cowboy flourished in the middle of the Victorian age, which is certainly a funny paradox, no realistic picture of him was ever drawn in his own day. Here is a self-portrait by a cowboy which is full and honest." And Teddy Blue himself says, "Other old-timers have told all about stampedes and swimming rivers and what a terrible time we had, but they never put in any of the fun, and fun was at least half of it."

So here it is—the cowboy classic, with the "terrible" times and the "fun" which have entertained readers everywhere. First published in 1939, We Pointed Them North has been brought back into print by the University of Oklahoma Press in completely new format, with drawings by Nick Eggenhofer, and with the full, original text.

Visions and Voices: Montana's One-Room Schoolhouses

By text and photography by Charlotte Caldwell

Brand: Barn Board Press
Hardcover (312 pages)

Visions and Voices: Montana s One-Room Schoolhouses
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The story of Montana's one-room schoolhouses, as recollected and recounted by those most intimately connected to those places, is the story of the American frontier and the high value placed on education by those who came to homestead, mine, or work the railroads. It is a story of the Western spirit and of a culture marked by tenacity and endurance. These stories - told by students and teachers, many of whom are now in their eighties or nineties - tell of adventures traveling to and from school, the school day, recess games, family life, daily chores, and above all, the sense of community, as defined by these iconic humble schoolhouses. Their voices share memories and perspectives about a way of life, gone for the most part, and breathe life into these visions of rural heritage.

The preservation of one-room schoolhouses is important, as they are among Montana's first frontier structures. These treasures inform us about ourselves our history and our culture through the people who learned and taught in them.

One hundred percent of the net proceeds of this book will be donated to the Preserve Montana Fund, a campaign of collaboration between the Montana Preservation Alliance, the Montana History Foundation, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This donation will serve to create a challenge grant, earmarked for Montana's endangered one-room schoolhouses.

Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Montana History

By Dave Walter, Lyndel Meikle & Anne Sturdevant

Brand: TwoDot
Paperback (224 pages)

Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Montana History
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Book by Dave Walter, Salina Davis, Lyndel Meikle, Jodie Foley, Anne Sturdevant, Jon Axline


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