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General background about this state

Montana Flag     Montana Great Seal


  Great Falls
  West Yellowstone

Montana is a U.S. state located in the Western United States. The state borders North Dakota and South Dakota to the east, Wyoming to the south, Idaho to the west and southwest, and Canada to the north.

  • NICKNAME: The Treasure State
  • POPULATION: 1,015,165 (2013 est.)
  • CAPITAL: Helena
  • STATE BIRD: Western Meadowlark
  • STATE FLOWER: Bitterroot
  • AREA: 147,040 sq. mi.
  • TIME ZONE: Mountain
  • ENTERED UNION: Nov. 8, 1889
  • ALTITUDE: High, 12,807 ft. Granite Peak
  • CLIMATE: Cold winters, hot summers, light rain in east; Cooler summers, milder winters, more rain in the west.


As inhabitants of an area large enough to accommodate either Germany or Japan, Montanans are said to be "so accustomed to vastness that anything less than huge seems trivial to them. Here, at Three Forks on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, originates one of the great rivers of America-the mighty Missouri, which drains an area of more than 500,000 square miles before joining the Mississippi.

It was up the Missouri in the early 1800's that the first Montanans came-fur traders and mountain men in search of beaver for the fashionable glossy hats of eastern dandies. Yet it was the Rockies which were to make Montana, for in them men of the mid-19th Century found gold and silver and, later, the copper of Butte, where lay "the richest hill on earth". But Indians roamed the mineral area. On June 25, 1876, George Armstrong Custer, the legendary general of the U.S. Seventh Calvary, went in search of the Sioux and their Cheyenne allies, and found death near the Little Bighorn River.

The Grinnell Glacier
The Grinnell Glacier, Montana

Cattle and wheat are still big industries in Montana, while lumber and mineral extraction continues to prosper. The state continues to mine gold, silver, coal, and talc and has one of the highest percentages of Craft-Breweries in the nation (ranked #3 per capita). Tourism is also important to the economy with over ten million visitors a year, with Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, Little Bighorn, and 3 of the 5 entrances to Yellowstone drawing tourists from around the globe.



  • Many dinosaur fossils have been found in Montana, including nests with eggs and juveniles. The nests led paleontologist Jack Horner, consultant to the movie Jurassic Park, to conclude that dinosaurs exhibited family behavior.
  • One of the world's highest sports centers is located in Butte, which has an elevation of 5,549 feet.
  • Montana is the only state with river systems that empty into the Gulf of Mexico, Hudson Bay, and the Pacific Ocean.
  • Montana is home to the most diverse species of mammals in the U.S., there are at least 19 large mammal and 96 small mammal species.
  • Montana has a tribally-controlled college on each of its Indian reservations. tribes include the Crow, Northern Cheyenne, and Blackfeet.
  • The western portion of the state rises up in tall, rugged Rocky Mountain country. Many of the mountains are covered with snow for about 8 to 10 months of the year.


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