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A northwestern frontier State of the United States, is included almost wholly between lat. 45° and 49° N., and long. 104° and 116° W. It is bounded on the north by British America, east by North Dakota and South Dakota, south by Wyoming, the Yellowstone National Park, and Idaho, and west by Idaho. Originally part of New France, ceded to Spain, 1763; receded to France, 1801; ceded to the United States, 1805; successively part of the Territory of Louisiana, 1805; Missouri, 1812; Missouri and Oregon, 1848; Washington, 1853; Nebraska, 1854; Dakota and Washington, 1861; Idaho, 1863. Area 146,080 square miles in twenty-six counties. Population, 1890, 132,159; in 1900, 243,329. Capital, Helena.

Sieur de la Verendrye and his sons, with a party of explorers, leave the Lake of the Woods, April 29, 1742; they reach the upper Missouri and Yellowstone rivers and arrive at the Rocky Mountains......January, 1743

Lewis and Clarke's expedition cross Montana to the Pacific Ocean. Returning, Captain Lewis descends the Missouri from the Great Falls, and Captain Clarke the Yellowstone from Livingstone, and meet at the mouth of the Yellowstone......1805

Emanuel Lisa builds a trading-post on the Yellowstone......1809

Gen. William H. Ashley, of St. Louis, builds a trading-post on the Yellowstone......1822

American Fur Company builds Fort Union on the Missouri, 3 miles above the mouth of the Yellowstone......1829

Steamboat Assiniboine, built by the American Fur Company, ascends the Missouri to Fort Union in 1833; winters near the mouth of Popular Creek......1835

Father Peter John de Smet visits the Flathead Indians in Gallatin Valley......1840

De Smet establishes a mission on the St. Mary's River in the Bitter Root Valley......September, 1842

De Smet establishes St. Ignatius mission in the Flathead Lake Valley......1845

American Fur Company builds Fort Benton......1846

Steamboat El Paso reaches the mouth of Milk River......1850

Francis Finlay, alias “Benetsee,” a half-breed Scotch-and-Indian trader, settled in what is now Deer Lodge county on Gold Creek, discovers gold......1852

Gov. Isaac I. Stevens explores a route for a Pacific Railroad from St. Paul across Montana to the Pacific Ocean......1853

Sir George Gore leaves St. Louis with forty men, explores the headwaters of Powder River, and builds a fort on Tongue River, 8 miles from its junction with the Yellowstone......1855

John Silverthorn trades tobacco, etc., with “Benetsee” for gold-dust......1858

Stern-wheel steamboat the Chippewa reaches Fort Brule, 12 miles below Fort Benton......July 17, 1859

Chippewa reaches Fort Benton, the first steamboat to arrive there, but is followed the same day by the Key West......July 2, 1860

Capt. James Fisk's first expedition, consisting of 100 men and thirty women and [431] children from Minnesota, arrives at Gold Creek, Deer Lodge county......Sept. 26, 1862

Discovery of gold in the Alder Gulch near present site of Virginia City, Madison county, by a party of prospectors consisting of William Fairweather and others......May 22, 1863

Twenty-four outlaws, including the sheriff and two deputies, hanged by a vigilance committee, and eight banished. At their trial and by confession it was found that these outlaws had murdered 102 people in Montana......December, 1863–February, 1864

Law creating Montana Territory out of a portion of Idaho approved by President Lincoln......May 26, 1864

Gold discovered in “Last chance Gulch,” in Lewis and Clarke county, on present site of Helena......July 21, 1864

Montana Post, first newspaper in the Territory, started at Virginia City......1864

First territorial legislature meets at Bannock......Dec. 12, 1864

Historical Society of Montana incorporated......Feb. 2, 1865

First National Bank of Helena, the first in Montana, organized......1866

Helena Herald first issued......1866

Steamer Key West leaves Sioux City, April 14, 1869, reaches the Yellowstone May 6, and ascends that river to Powder River, a distance of 245 miles......1869

Congress sets apart a tract near the headwaters of the Yellowstone as a public park; a small portion lies in Montana, bordering on Wyoming......March 1, 1872

Expedition under Thomas P. Roberts explores the upper Missouri from the three forks down to Fort Benton......1872

Seat of government removed from Virginia City to Helena......1875

General Forsythe, under orders from General Sheridan, explores the Yellowstone, leaving Bismarck in the steamer Josephine, June 15, ascending to Huntley, 418 miles......June, 1875

Sioux Indians under Sitting Bull, near the Little Big Horn River, massacre Gen. George A. Custer, with five companies (276 men) of the 7th Cavalry, no man escaping......June 25, 1876

Fort Assiniboine, near the Milk River, established......May 9, 1879

Uncalled territorial bonds, amounting to $45,000, redeemed and cancelled, thus extinguishing all registered indebtedness of the Territory......March 1, 1883

Henry Villard, president of the Northern Pacific Railroad, completes the work on that road, by driving the last spike opposite the entrance of Gold Creek into Deer Lodge River......Sept. 8, 1883

Settlement in Deer Lodge and Gallatin counties of monogamic Mormons ex pelled from Utah for apostasy......1883

Constitutional convention meets Jan. 14, 1884, and adjourns Feb. 9; its constitution was ratified by the people Nov. 4, and submitted to Congress, asking admission into the Union......1884

First steamboat to successfully navigate the Missouri River above Great Falls is launched at Townsend......1886

Territorial legislature passes a localoption act, and provides for the observance of Arbor Day......1887

Coal-mining begun in Cascade county......1888

Montana admitted to the Union by act of Congress......Feb. 22, 1889

Legislature passes an Australian ballot act......1889

Laying of the corner-stone of the new capitol building on......July 4, 1889

Constitutional convention meets at Helena, July 4, 1889; adopts a constitution and adjourns, Aug. 17. Constitution ratified by the people, 24,676 for and 2,274 against......Oct. 1, 1889

Proclamation of President Harrison, admitting Montana into the Union as a State......Nov. 8, 1889

United States penitentiary at Deer Lodge becomes the property of the State of Montana upon its admission......1889

Owing to a dispute concerning the election returns in Silver Bow county, a Democratic and Republican House, each claiming a quorum of thirty members, including those from the disputed county, convene. Governor Toole, Democrat, sends a message to the Senate, comprised of eight Republicans and eight Democrats, and a Republican lieutenant-governor, and to the Democratic House also. The Republican Senate elects two United States Senators, and the House and Senate in joint session elect two Democratic United States Senators......December, 1889

First legislature of State meets at Helena......January, 1890 [432]

To block legislation, the eight Democratic Senators flee the State, six going to the Pacific coast and two to St. Paul, until the session expires......Feb. 5, 1890

Three Indian chiefs of the Comanches, Cheyennes, and Arapahoes, meet near Crow agency to behold the Great Spirit on the rocks (Messiah craze)......June 3, 1890

Rival houses of the legislature agree; the Republicans to have twenty-eight members, the Democrats twenty-seven and the speaker, subordinate offices, and control of committees......Jan. 29, 1891

Montana University opened at Helena; first graduation......June, 1891

Sept. 1 made a legal holiday, as Labor Day......1891

Legislature failing to elect a United States Senator, the governor appoints Lee Mantle, which appointee the Senate refuses to seat......Aug. 28, 1893

Helena selected as capital......November, 1894

State University at Missoula opened......September, 1895

Blackfeet and Fort Belknap reservations opened to settlement......February, 1896

First National Bank of Helena failed......Sept. 4, 1896

State capitol authorized; not to cost over $300,000......1898

Corner-stone of the new capitol laid by Governor Toole......July 4, 1899

State board of horticulture created. 1899

State school of mines opened at Butte......Sept. 11, 1900

Marcus Daly dies at New York......Nov. 12, 1900

Amendment to the constitution in reference to the Supreme Court carried......1900

Railroad accident killing about forty persons......Aug. 31, 1901


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Montana (Montana, United States) (9)
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Idaho (Idaho, United States) (4)
Fort Benton (Montana, United States) (4)
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Deer Lodge (Montana, United States) (3)
Yellowstone (United States) (2)
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Powder River (Montana, United States) (2)
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Tongue River (United States) (1)
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