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Apart from the brief visit of the Scandinavians in the early eleventh century, the Western Hemisphere remained unknown to Europe until Columbus's voyage in 1492. However, the native peoples of North and South America arrived from Asia long before, in a series of migrations that began perhaps as early as forty thousand years ago across the land bridge that connected Siberia and Alaska.
Montana History Timeline
Important Dates, Events, and Milestones
Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in Montana history.
1680 - Montana natives acquire the horse.
1720 - Montana natives acquire the gun.
1803 - United States acquires most of Montana in the Louisiana Purchase
1805-1806 - Lewis and Clark Expedition crosses and recrosses Montana
1807 - Manuel Lisa builds first fur fort in Montana on the Yellowstone River
1828 - Fort Union, an American Fur Company post, is built at the mouth of the Yellowstone River
1841 - Father Pierre Jean de Smer establishes St. Mary's Mission in the Bitterrot Valley
1846 - The Oregon Treaty gives the rest of Montana to the US
1847 - Fort Benton founded on Missouri River as military and trading post; soon becoming world-renown "Head of Navigation" to the west, and world's furthest inland port. Steamboats brought gold seekers, fur traders, settlers and supplies, making Fort Benton the "Birthplace of Montana."
1853 - Johnny Grant starts the first beef herd in the Deer Lodge Valley
1857 - First sheep ranching begins in the Bitterroot Valley
1860 - First steamboat reaches Fort Benton
Placer miners rush to gold strike on Grasshopper Creek (Bannack)
14 July, James Stuart becomes first lawman in Montana History, elected sheriff of Gold Creek with jurisdiction covering most of Western Montana. Served to April 1863.
1865 - Montana's first US Marshal appointed by President Lincoln: George M. Pinney, serving from 1865 to 1867. Pinney first sets up his office in Butte, later moving to Helena.
1866 - US Military Post, Camp Cooke, created on the Judith River.
1870 - Open-range cattle industry begins on Montana Prairies
1872 - Congress creates Yellowstone National Park
1873 - Beginning of Royal Canadian Mounted Police, to "destroy illegal whiskey trade and lawlessness" caused by the "Whoop-Up Trail" operation from Fort Benton into Canadian Northwest Territories, the "Trail" having been created by Fort Benton's first sheriff, and subsequently participated in and protected by five of his successors.
1880 - Utah and Northern Railroad enters Montana
1885 - Montana Territorial Government creates first "state" law enforcement agency: Montana Department of Livestock.
1889 - 08 November, Montana becomes 41st state of United States under President Benjamin Harrison's administration, 16 original counties established, and 16 sheriffs appointed by new state government.
1890 - First hydroelectric dam is built at Great Falls
1902 - Montana Capitol Building is completed.
1903 - Amalgamated Copper Company paralyzes the state's economy with the shut-down to force legislative relief.
1909 -Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad ("Milwaukee Road") is completed through Montana.
1910-1918 - Homesteading boom peaks on Montana's plains.
1911-1925 - "County-busting" craze creates 25 new Montana counties.
1914 - Montana women receive the franchise (right to vote).
1916 - Jeanette Rankin elected the first woman in the US Congress.
1918 - February, Mrs Leo Hunter, Rosebud County Sheriff's Office, appointed first female law officer in state.
1919 - First of severe agricultural depressions (extending into the early 1940s) begins in Montana; oil is discovered in the Cat Creek field.
1921 - Wave of bank failures begins in Montana.
1922 - KDYS (Great Falls), Montana's first licensed radio station, broadcasts.
1923 - Jack Dempsey-Tommy Gibbons world heavyweight championship fight is staged in Shelby.
1926 - Montana artist Charlie Russell dies in Great Falls.
1930 - Significant tourist industry begins in Montana.
1936 - Rural Electrification Administration (REA) begins work in Montana
1941 - Congresswoman Jeanette Rankin votes against US entry into World War II
1943 - Smith Mine disaster kills 70 coal miners
1950 - Great Falls replaces Butte as Montana's largest city
1951 - Petroleum boom begins in eastern Montana
1952 - Mike Mansfield is first elected to the US Senate
1953 - KOOK-TV (Billings), Montana's first licensed television state, broadcasts
1956 - Construction of the federal interstate-highway system begins in Montana
1959 - Severe earthquakes hit upper Madison Valley
1961 - Malmstrom Air Force Base (Great Falls) becomes site of the nation's first ICBM missile command
1964 - Congress passes federal Wilderness Act
1968 - Yellowtail Dam is completed; Work begins on Libby Dam
1969 - Large-scale strip mining of coal begins at Colstrip
1970 - Consolidation creates the Burlington Northern Railroad
1972 - Montana's electorate approves new constitution
1975 - Underground mining ceases in Butte
1976 - Mike Mansfield retires from US Senate; becomes US ambassador to Japan
1981 - Milwaukee Road declares bankruptcy
1982 - Copper-mining operations cease at Butte's Berkeley Pit
1989 - Montana celebrates its statehood centennial
1990 - Montana's timber-industry income declines, while gains occur in tourism and specialized mining
1991 - Riot at State Prison in Deer Lodge results in five deaths.
1994 - 4,500 wildfires rage across Montana, burning 286,000 acres.
1995 - Wolves are returned to Yellowstone National Park, where they thrive.
1997 - A prison-population overflow creates a housing crisis for inmates, some sent out-of-state.
1998 - The Montana Power Company sells its electric generating facilities to Pacific Power and Light, Global, Inc.
1999 - As highway deaths rise, Montana reinstitutes a daylight speed limit of 70 mph on 2-lane paved roads.
State History Timelines
State History Timelines
Chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in United States history from discovery to present
What is the past, and why is it important? How do we learn about events in the past?
Study history will allow students to gain a frame of reference for understanding history and for recognizing that the past is different depending on who is remembering and retelling it.