Montana Homeland Security and Emergency Services Resources

At various times, areas of Montana were included in the territories of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri and even Louisiana. The United States acquired most of the land in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and obtained the western region in the Oregon Treaty of 1846. Montana became the 41st state on November 8, 1889.

In 1847, Fort Benton was built by the American Fur Company and it has remained the oldest continuously populated town in the state. The discovery of gold in 1862 in Grasshopper Creek attracted thousands of prospectors to the region who built mining camps. These camps include Diamond City, Virginia City and Bannock.

The cattle industry was introduced to Montana in 1866 when Nelson Story drove a herd of one thousand longhorn cattle into the state from Texas. The completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1883 provided the means to ship meat to the eastern markets and the cattle industry grew very quickly.

During the 1880's, Butte Hill was referred to as the "Richest Hill on Earth". Both gold and silver were discovered there and eventually copper was even mined from the hill. The Anaconda Company purchased the property and the copper mines remained open until the 1980's.

Agriculture is one of the state’s main sources of revenue. Grain covers a lot of the Montana plains and the state ranks high in the production of wheat and barley. The cattle and sheep industry, still contribute a significant amount to the economy. And, Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, hunting, fishing and other activities attract thousands of tourists each year.

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