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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Forty Years a Fur Trader On the Upper Missouri: The Personal Narrative of Charles Larpenteur, 1833-1872

By Charles Larpenteur

Independently published
Paperback (167 pages)

Forty Years a Fur Trader On the Upper Missouri: The Personal Narrative of Charles Larpenteur, 1833-1872
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"The life-record kept by Charles Larpenteur is one of our most important sources of information concerning the fur trade of the Upper Missouri in the nineteenth century." — Milo Milton Quaife



Born in France in 1807, Larpenteur’s family left his native country after the Bourbon restoration and settled in Baltimore, Maryland.

Following an insatiable appetite to explore the uncivilized West, Larpenteur joined the Rocky Mountain Fur Company in 1833 and traveled west to the mouth of the Yellowstone River.

An important part of fur-trade history, chronicling the business in the American West in the nineteenth century, Forty Years a Fur Trader is also an insightful source of Native American history.

Larpenteur had daily dealings with the Native American tribes of Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota and his journals reveal that he and many of the other trappers showed great respect to the native people, learning to live among them without attempting to eradicate established Native American life.

Forty Years a Fur Trader on the Upper Missouri is the preeminent source for the history of the fur trade in the American West. Drawing upon daily journals recorded by Charles Larpenteur it provides fascinating insight into the history of the Midwest in the nineteenth century.

“Its true inwardness is turned inside out by a chronicler whose eyes never opened to see much difference between good and evil, and who so saw nothing to conceal.” — The American Historical Review

Charles Larpenteur was an American fur trader, whose memoir and diary frequently have been used as a source to fur trade history. He diligently kept a daily diary during his time in the trade and used it to write this book at the end of his life. He died in 1872.

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.

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.

Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey

By Russell Rowland

Bangtail Press, distributed by Farcountry Press
Paperback (126 pages)

Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey
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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

Montana: A Bicentennial History

By Clark C. Spence

W. W. Norton & Company
Paperback (240 pages)

Montana: A Bicentennial History
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At three times the size of Pennsylvania, with a county bigger than the whole state of Connecticut, Montana is a large place, once described as "bounded on the west by the Japan current, on the north by the aurora borealis, on the south by Price's Army, and on the east by the Day of Judgement."

Montana has a rich story, in which different people have sought both great fortune and modest prosperity. How well they succeeded is part of the story told in this engaging history.

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.

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.

The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology

University of Washington Press
Paperback (160 pages)

The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology
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  • Literary Criticism
Product Description:
This book is an anthology of some of the greatest stories and storytellers of the American West. Through eight chapters and over 800 pages, 150 writers present scores of myths, stories, poems, essays, and journals that document Montana’s significant literary tradition. The selections range from pre-white Indian days to the present, and, taken as a whole, they offer a powerful microcosm of the entire western experience.

The chapters, each prefaced by an original essay, progress chronologically from myths and tales of the Indian people to accounts of exploration and the fur trade, followed by the mining and stockmen’s frontiers, the agricultural and small town experience, as well as a special chapter on Butte--the richest hill on earth.

Contemporary chapters take up the emergence of the modern West in the middle years of the twentieth century as well as the renaissance of western literature in contemporary fiction and poetry. These chapters include many authors who have earned national reputations in fiction, poetry, and criticism, but they also include many younger writers whose careers are just beginning.

Montana Place Names: From Alzada To Zortman (Montana Historical Society Guide)

By Montana Historical Society Press

Montana Historical Society Press
Paperback (320 pages)

Montana Place Names: From Alzada To Zortman (Montana Historical Society Guide)
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Among Montana's most enduring legacies are the names assigned to its geographic features and places found on the state map. As long as humans have inhabited Montana they have named places. While the past two centuries have changed the way people live in Montana, the names given to some rivers, mountain ranges, cities, and towns have persisted, while others have changed with time. Naming Montana explores the origins of more than 1,000 Montana place names, drawing upon the knowledge of Montana Historical Society historians and the expertise of local historians from across the state. This new publication includes both geographic features, selected historic sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, historic photographs, and maps. The authors' extensive research illuminates the stories behind the names of places that we call home.

Montana Trivia

By Janet Spencer

Brand: Riverbend Publishing
Released: 2005-06-01
Paperback (160 pages)

Montana Trivia
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Q. Where is the only place to find answers on 1,326 questions about Montana. A. Here! This book is your personal compendium of the most incredible, unbelievable, wild, weird, arcane, fun, fascinating, and true facts about Montana. Great easy reading!


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