This is a timeline of pre-statehood Montana history comprising substantial events in the history of the area that would become the State of Montana prior to November 8, 1889. This area existed as Montana Territory from May 28, 1864, until November 8, 1889, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Montana.
Montana is a state in the Mountain West division of the Western United States. It is bordered by Idaho to the west, North Dakota and South Dakota to the east, Wyoming to the south, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan to the north. It is the fourth-largest state by area, the eighth-least populous state, and the third-least densely populated state. Its state capital is Helena, while the largest city is Billings. The western half of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges, while the eastern half is characterized by western prairie terrain and badlands, with smaller mountain ranges found throughout the state. The state has a reputation for a libertarian bent in popular opinion and policy.
Bozeman is a city and the county seat of Gallatin County, Montana, United States. Located in southwest Montana, the 2020 census put Bozeman's population at 53,293, making it the fourth-largest city in Montana. It is the principal city of the Bozeman, MT Micropolitan Statistical Area, consisting of all of Gallatin County with a population of 118,960. It is the largest micropolitan statistical area in Montana, the fastest growing micropolitan statistical area in the United States in 2018, 2019 and 2020, as well as the second-largest of all Montana's statistical areas.
Virginia City is a town in and the county seat of Madison County, Montana, United States. In 1961 the town and the surrounding area were designated a National Historic Landmark District, the Virginia City Historic District. The population was 219 at the 2020 census.
The Judith River is a tributary of the Missouri River, approximately 124 mi (200 km) long, running through central Montana in the United States. It rises in the Little Belt Mountains and flows northeast past Utica and Hobson. It is joined by Dry Wolf Creek in northern Fergus County, and itself joins the Missouri in the White Cliffs Area approximately 18 mi (29 km) northwest of Winifred.
The Bozeman Trail was an overland route in the Western United States, connecting the gold rush territory of southern Montana to the Oregon Trail in eastern Wyoming. Its most important period was from 1863–1868. Despite the fact that the major part of the route in Wyoming used by all Bozeman Trail travelers in 1864 was pioneered by Allen Hurlbut, it was named after John Bozeman. Many miles of the Bozeman Trail in present Montana followed the tracks of Bridger Trail, opened by Jim Bridger in 1864.
Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park is a 3,000-acre (1,200 ha) public recreation and nature preservation area located twelve miles (19 km) east of Whitehall in Jefferson County, Montana. The state park includes two visitor centers, ten miles of hiking trails, a campground, and its namesake limestone caverns. The Lewis and Clark Caverns Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2018.
The Constitution of the State of Montana is the primary legal document providing for the self-governance of the U.S. State of Montana. It establishes and defines the powers of the three branches of the government of Montana, and the rights of its citizens. Its provisions are sovereign within the state, subject only to the limits imposed by the federal laws and constitution of the United States. The current Montana Constitution was adopted in 1972 and is the second enacted in the state's history.
The Washburn Expedition of 1870 explored the region of northwestern Wyoming that two years later became Yellowstone National Park. Led by Henry D. Washburn and Nathaniel P. Langford, and with a U.S. Army escort headed by Lt. Gustavus C. Doane, the expedition followed the general course of the Cook–Folsom–Peterson Expedition made the previous year.
Fort Ellis was a United States Army fort established August 27, 1867, east of present-day Bozeman, Montana. Troops from the fort participated in many major campaigns of the Indian Wars. The fort was closed on August 2, 1886.
Truman C. Everts was the first federal tax assessor for the Montana Territory and a member of the 1870 Washburn–Langford–Doane Expedition, which explored the area which later became Yellowstone National Park. He was lost in the wilderness for 37 days during the expedition and a year later wrote about his ordeal for Scribner’s Monthly.
Hell Gate is a ghost town at the western end of the Missoula Valley in Missoula County, Montana, United States. The town was located on the banks of the Clark Fork River roughly five miles downstream from present-day Missoula near what is now Frenchtown.
The bibliography of Yellowstone National Park identifies English language historic, scientific, ecological, cultural, tourism, social, and advocacy books, journals and studies on the subject of Yellowstone National Park topics published since 1870 and documented in Yellowstone related bibliographies and other related references.
James Kenneth "J.K." Ralston was an American painter of the Old American West whose primary topics were the American West and images of cowboys and American Indians. He also did commercial artwork.
The following works deal with the cultural, political, economic, military, biographical and geologic history of pre-territorial Montana, Montana Territory and the State of Montana.
Brevet Brigadier General Lester Sebastion Willson,, was a U.S. Civil War officer in the Union Army, Assistant Quartermaster General of New York, and a Montana merchant and politician in Bozeman, Montana. He was married at Albany, New York, on March 2, 1869, to Miss Emma D. Weeks, a native of Vermont. He died in Bozeman, Montana, on January 26, 1919.
Nelson Story Sr. was a pioneer Montana entrepreneur, cattle rancher, miner and vigilante, who was a notable resident of Bozeman, Montana. He was best known for his 1866 cattle drive from Texas with approximately 1000 head of Texas Longhorns to Montana along the Bozeman Trail—the first major cattle drive from Texas into Montana. His business ventures in Bozeman were so successful that he became the town's first millionaire. In 1893, he played a prominent role in the establishment of the Agricultural College of the State of Montana by donating land and facilities. He built the first Story Mansion on Main Street in Bozeman in 1880 and later built today's Story Mansion at the corner of Willson and College for his son, T. Byron Story in 1910. In his later years, he became a prominent real estate developer in Los Angeles, California.
The following works deal with the cultural, political, economic, military, biographical and geologic history of pre-territorial Wyoming, Wyoming Territory and the State of Wyoming.
Transportation in Montana comprises many different forms of travel. Montana shares a long border with Canada, hence international crossings are prevalent in the northern section of the state; there are 13 road crossings and one rail crossing.
Montana Highway 287 is a state highway in the U.S. state of Montana. The highway runs 42.822 miles (68.915 km) from MT 41 in Twin Bridges east to U.S. Route 287 in Ennis. MT 287 is the primary east–west highway of Madison County. The highway connects the county's four towns, including Sheridan and the county seat of Virginia City. The course of MT 287 follows the ultimate portions of two trails that met in Virginia City, the center of the Alder Gulch gold rush of the mid-1860s and the second territorial capital of Montana. Parts of the highway were improved from rudimentary roads around 1920 from Virginia City to Ennis. This connection became the first portion of Montana Highway 34 in the early 1930s; the highway was extended west to Twin Bridges in the late 1930s. MT 34 was reconstructed from Twin Bridges through Alder to Virginia City in the late 1930s and early 1940s and between Virginia City and Ennis in the late 1940s to mid-1950s. The MT 287 designation was first applied to a cross-state route from West Yellowstone to Canada in the late 1950s. The highway was rerouted in place of MT 34 in the early 1960s. MT 287 was replaced by US 287 along much of the cross-state corridor in the mid-1960s. The highway extended north of Twin Bridges to Whitehall until the late 1970s, when it achieved its current length.
This timeline is a chronology of significant events in the history of the U.S. State of Montana and the historical area now occupied by the state.