|General Montana Information|
|Demonym:||Montanan||Population:||Ranked 44th in the US 997,195|
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Native Americans were the first inhabitants of the area to become known as the state of Montana. Tribes include the Crows in the south central region, the Cheyenne in the southeastern part of the state, the Blackfeet, Assiniboine and Gros Ventres in the central and northcentral area and the Kootenai and Salish in the western sector. The Pend d'Oreille were found around Flathead Lake, and the Kalispel occupied the western mountains.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806 was the first group of white explorers to cross Montana. Hard on the heels of the expedition arrived the fur trappers and traders. Trappers brought alcohol, disease and a new economic system to native populations. The fur trade was mostly over by the 1840's due to dwindling supplies of beaver, and the loss of popularity of the beaver hat.
Roman Catholic missionaries followed the trappers into Montana. They established Saint Mary's Mission in the Bitterroot Valley, thought to be the first permanent settlement in Montana. They also promoted agriculture and built a sawmill.
The discovery of gold brought many prospectors into the area in the 1860's, and Montana became a territory in 1864. The rapid influx of people led to boomtowns that grew rapidly and declined just as quickly when the gold ran out.
Montana's state site