Montana flag

Capital: Helena

State abbreviation/Postal code: Mont./MT

Governor: Steve Bullock, D (to Jan. 2021)

Lieut. Governor: Mike Cooney, D (to Jan. 2021)

Senators: Steve Daines, R (to Jan. 2021); Jon Tester, D (to Jan. 2019)

U.S. Representatives: 1

Historical biographies of Congressional members

Organized as territory: May 26, 1864

Entered Union (rank): Nov. 8, 1889 (41)

Present constitution adopted: 1972

Motto: Oro y plata (Gold and silver)

State symbols:

flowerbitterroot (1895)
treeponderosa pine (1949)
stonessapphire and agate (1969)
birdWestern meadowlark (1981)
song“Montana” (1945)

Nickname: Treasure State

Origin of name: From the Spanish word meaning “mountain.”

10 largest cities (2012): Billings, 106,954; Missoula, 68,394; Great Falls, 58,893; Bozeman, 38,695; Butte-Silver Bow,1 33,730; Helena , 29,134; Kalispell, 20,487; Upper Yellowstone Valley, 12,251; Havre, 9,620; Blackfeet, 9,319

Land area: 145,552 sq mi. (376,980 sq km)

Geographic center: In Fergus Co., 11 mi. W of Lewistown

Number of counties: 56

Largest county by population and area: Yellowstone, 147,972 (2010); Beaverhead, 5,543 sq mi.

State forests: 7

State parks: 50

Residents: Montanan

2015 resident population est.: 1,032,949

2010 resident census population (rank): 989,415 (44). Male: 496,667 (50.2%); Female: 492,748 (49.8%). White: 884,961 (89.4%); Black: 4,027 (0.4%); American Indian: 62,555 (6.3%); Asian: 6,253 (0.6%); Other race: 5,975 (0.6%); Two or more races: 24,976 (2.5%); Hispanic/Latino: 28,565 (2.9%). 2010 population 18 and over: 77.4%; 65 and over: 14.8%; median age: 39.8.

See additional census data

Area codes

Tourism office

1. The city is part of a consolidated city-county government and is coextensive with Silver Bow County.

First explored for France by François and Louis-Joseph Verendrye in the early 1740s, much of the region was acquired by the U.S. from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Before western Montana was obtained from Great Britain in the Oregon Treaty of 1846, American trading posts and forts had been established in the territory.

The major Indian Wars (1867–1877) included the famous 1876 Battle of the Little Big Horn, better known as “Custer's Last Stand,” in which Cheyenne and Sioux defeated George A. Custer and more than 200 of his men in southeast Montana.

Much of Montana's early history was concerned with mining, with copper, lead, zinc, silver, coal, and oil as principal products. Butte is the center of the area that once supplied half of the U.S. copper.

Fields of grain cover much of Montana's plains. It ranks high among the states in wheat and barley, with rye, oats, flaxseed, sugar beets, and potatoes as other important crops. Sheep and cattle raising make significant contributions to the economy.

Tourist attractions include hunting, fishing, skiing, and dude ranching. Glacier National Park, on the Continental Divide, has 26 glaciers, 200 lakes, and many streams with good trout fishing. Other major points of interest include the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Virginia City, Yellowstone National Park, Fort Union Trading Post and Grant-Kohr's Ranch National Historic Sites, and the Museum of the Plains Indians at Browning.

See more on Montana:
Encyclopedia: Montana
Encyclopedia: Geography
Encyclopedia: Economy
Encyclopedia: Government
Encyclopedia: History
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Selected famous natives and residents:

See also: