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Montana facts and history plus travel and tourism information.
Montana's expansive frontier features wide open skies, huge prairies, glacier lakes, and the Rocky Mountains in the west. The area's first European explorers were Lewis and Clark in 1805, who traveled along the Missouri River and the Yellowstone River. Other major rivers, the Gallatin River and the Madison River, are prized by fly fishermen. The land in Montana is inhabited by mountain lions, grizzly bears, and wolves, as well as moose, elk, bison, and wild horses.
Gold was discovered in Montana in 1862, and large deposits of silver and copper also attracted miners. Oil, phosphate, and zinc are among Montana's abundance of resources, and cattle ranching plays an important role in Montana's economy today.
Before Europeans came to Montana, the Cheyenne and Sioux tribes roamed Montana, living off the state's many natural resources and wildlife. However, as the United States expanded westward and settlers began fencing the open ranges, conflicts inevitably arose. Battles at The Rosebud and the Little Bighorn in 1876 limited these Native Americans to living on Indian Reservations.
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Montana History and Geography