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

By James Crutchfield

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.

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 sixth 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.
Perfect for school or home, this collection of short but informative biographies is both a valuable resource and an entertaining read. For readers young and old, Bold Women in Montana History proves what women can accomplish when they dare to be bold.

Montana Legacy: Essays on History, People, and Place

By Harry Fritz

Montana Historical Society Press
Brown Paperback (320 pages)

Montana Legacy: Essays on History, People, and Place
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A rich and varied tapestry, Montana Legacy looks at the people, cultures, places, and events that shaped present-day Montana from Plentywood to Butte, Great Falls to Virginia City, and Billings to Browning. Designed to make readers think about Montana history in a new way, this anthology features 16 essays chosen for their relevance, readability, and scholarship.
The volume's editors--all well-known Montana historians--carefully selected topics, from the fur trade to power deregulation, that range across two centuries and expose Montana's cultural and geographical diversity.

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

Roadside History of Montana (Roadside History Series) (Roadside History (Paperback))

By Donald E. Spritzer

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

Roadside History of Montana (Roadside History Series) (Roadside History (Paperback))
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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.

Tribes and Trappers: A History of Montana, Volume One (Montana History Series) (Volume 1)

By Greg Strandberg

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (320 pages)

Tribes and Trappers: A History of Montana, Volume One (Montana History Series) (Volume 1)
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Montana's history is rich, colorful, and full of excitement in this fully-illustrated volume. See how Jedediah Smith and Jim Bridger blazed trails and made their names under the Big Sky. 

Read  about the day John Colter ran naked for his life, Blackfeet Indians fast on his heels. Watch as Hugh Glass is mauled by a grizzly, then left to die alone by the friends that had been paid to stay by his side. 
Have a toast with rowdy Mike Fink before he shoots a tin cup of whiskey from your head. And meet James Beckwourth, a former slave who became at home in the mountains of Montana.
  • Discover how the Native American tribes were pushed from their lands by westward expansion, first by Europeans and then Americans. 
  • Find out how tribes shook off their settled ways of life to become nomads of the Great Plains, hunting buffalo, stealing horses, and encountering whites and each other for the first time. 
  •  Learn of the Blackfeet, and their warrior ways. Discover the peaceful Shoshone, and how they were pushed from their lands. 
  • And find out about other, lesser known tribes like the Kootenai, Pend d'Oreilles, Gros Ventre, and Assiniboine. 
Montana comes alive from the time of the dinosaurs to the mid-19th century in this exciting first volume of the state's history, Tribes and Trappers.

Montana Before History

By Douglas H. MacDonald

Mountain Press Publishing Company
Paperback (204 pages)

Montana Before History
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Dig into Montana s past with this guide to the state s best archaeological sites. A cache north of Livingston, the oldest known evidence of humans in Montana, was left by mammoth hunters more than 11,000 years ago. Their cultural descendents survived in Montana until modern times, hunting game and gathering roots and berries. Montana Before History, organized chronologically from the Paleoindian period to the Late Prehistoric period, details how Montana s early peoples adapted to the rugged environment and several dramatic changes in climate. Learn how they hunted bison and other game before the introduction of the horse, how archaeologists can identify a culture by its projectile point, and where Montana s original hard-rock miners worked their quarries.

1959 Yellowstone Earthquake, The (Disaster)

By Larry E. Morris

Arcadia Publishing
Released: 2016-07-04
Paperback (144 pages)

1959 Yellowstone Earthquake, The (Disaster)
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At 11:37 p.m. on August 17, 1959, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake rocked Montana's Yellowstone country. In an instant, an entire mountainside fractured and thundered down onto the sites of unsuspecting campers. The mammoth avalanche generated hurricane-force winds ahead of it that ripped clothing from backs and heaved tidal waves in both directions of the Madison River Canyon. More than two hundred vacationers trapped in the canyon feared the dam upstream would burst. As debris and flooding overwhelmed the river, injured victims frantically searched the darkness for friends and family. Acclaimed historian Larry Morris tells the gripping minute-by-minute saga of the survivors who endured the interminable night, the first responders who risked their lives and the families who waited days and weeks for word of their missing loved ones.

Montana: A History of Two Centuries

By Richard B. Roeder

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.

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.

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