Old Spanish Trail (trade route)
The Old Spanish Trail is a historical trade route that connected the northern New Mexico settlements of Santa Fe, New Mexico with those of Los Angeles and southern California. 700 mi long, the trail ran through areas of high mountains, arid deserts, deep canyons. It is considered one of the most arduous of all trade routes established in the United States. Explored, in part, by Spanish explorers as early as the late 16th century, the trail saw extensive use by pack trains from about 1830 until the mid-1850s; the name of the trail comes from the publication of John C. Frémont’s Report of his 1844 journey for the U. S. Topographical Corps. Guided by Kit Carson, from California to New Mexico; the name acknowledges the fact that parts of the trail had been known to the Spanish since the 16th century. Frémont's report named a trail, in use for about 15 years; the trail is important to New Mexico history because it established an arduous but usable trade route with California. The trail is a combination of known trails that were established by Spanish explorers and traders with the Ute and other Indian tribes.
The eastern parts of what became called the Old Spanish Trail, including southwest Colorado and southeast Utah, were explored by Juan Maria de Rivera in 1765. Franciscan missionaries Francisco Atanasio Domínguez and Silvestre Vélez de Escalante unsuccessfully attempted the trip to California, just being settled, leaving Santa Fe in 1776 and making it all the way into the Great Basin near Utah Lake before returning via the Arizona Strip. Other expeditions, under another Franciscan missionary, Francisco Garcés, Captain Juan Bautista de Anza explored and traded in the southern part of the region, finding shorter and less arduous routes through the mountains and deserts that connected Sonora to New Mexico and California, but did not become part of the Old Spanish Trail, with the exception of some of the paths through the Mojave Desert; the Mohave Trail, first traveled by Garcés, from the Mohave villages on the Colorado River westward across the Mojave Desert, between desert springs, until he turned northwestward to the Old Tejon Pass into the San Joaquin Valley looking for a route to Monterey.
Garcés returned to the Colorado following the whole length of the Mohave Trail from the San Bernardino Valley over the San Bernardino Mountains at Monument Peak, down the Mojave River and eastward to the Colorado River. The same trail was used by the first Americans to reach California by land, the expedition led by Jedediah Smith in November 1826; the Mojave desert section of the Mohave Trail is now a jeep trail called the Mojave Road. A route linking New Mexico to California, combining information from many explorers, was opened in 1829-30 when Santa Fe merchant Antonio Armijo led a trade party of 60 men and 100 mules to California. Using a short cut discovered by Rafael Rivera the previous year, the Armijo party was able to stitch together a route that connected the routes of the Rivera and Domínguez-Escalante Expeditions and the Jedediah Smith explorations with the approaches to San Gabriel Mission through the Mojave along the Mojave River. Upon the return of Antonio Armijo, the governor of New Mexico announced the success to his superiors in Mexico City.
As a reward, the governor named Armijo "Commander for the Discovery of the Route to California". Armijo's route was documented by him in a report to the governor, published by the Mexican government in June 1830. After this date, the route began to be used by traders for a single annual round trip. Word spread about the successful trade expedition and some commerce began between Santa Fe and Los Angeles. However, in 1830, due to resumed hostilities with the Navajo, the Armijo route west to the Colorado River Crossing of the Fathers was not practical, a new route north of the river had to be found, which used the trails of the fur traders and trappers of New Mexico through the lands of the Utes; this route ran northwest to the Colorado and Green Rivers crossed over to the Sevier River, which it followed until crossing westward over mountains to the vicinity of Parowan, Utah. It passed southward to the Santa Clara River, linking up with Armijo's route to California; this commerce consisted of one mule pack train from Santa Fe with 20 to 200 members, with twice as many mules, bringing New Mexican goods hand-woven by Indians, such as serapes and blankets, to California.
California had many horses and mules, many growing wild, with no local market, which were traded for hand-woven Indian products. Two blankets were traded for one horse, more blankets were required for a mule. California had no wool processing industry and few weavers, so woven products were a welcome commodity; the trading party left New Mexico in early November to take advantage of winter rains to cross the deserts on the trail and would arrive in California in early February. The return party would leave California for New Mexico in early April to get over the trail before the water holes dried up and the melting snow raised the rivers too high; the return party included several hundred to a few thousand horses and mules. Low-scale emigration from New Mexico to California used parts of the trail in the late 1830s when the trapping trade began to die. New Mexicans came to settle in Alta California by this route, some first settled in Politana established the twin settlements of Agua Mansa and La Placita on the Santa Ana River the first towns in what became San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
The family of Antonio Armijo moved to Alta California and his father acquired the Rancho Tolenas. A number of American
West Yellowstone, Montana
West Yellowstone is a town in Gallatin County, adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. The population was 1,271 at the 2010 census; the town is served by Yellowstone Airport. It is part of MT Micropolitan Statistical Area, it was founded in June 1908. The town's name changed several times until West Yellowstone was settled upon in 1920. For many, the town of West Yellowstone is a place to stay while traveling through Yellowstone National Park; the town is separated into two parts and commercial at the road D Parkway. South of D Parkway is a business area; the area north of D Parkway is known to locals as the "Madison Addition". The town has one school, serving kindergarten through 12th grade; as of the census of 2010, there were 1,271 people, 617 households, 298 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,588.8 inhabitants per square mile. There were 969 housing units at an average density of 1,211.3 per square mile. The racial makeup of the town was 86.6% White, 0.4% African American, 1.1% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 7.5% from other races, 3.5% from two or more races.
Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.9% of the population. There were 617 households, of which 23.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.7% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, 51.7% were non-families. 42.1% of all households were made up of individuals, 5.8% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.06, the average family size was 2.86. The median age in the town was 39.4 years. 20.9% of residents were under the age of 18. The gender makeup of the town was 53.1% male and 46.9% female. As of the census of 2000, there were 1,177 people, 518 households, 289 families residing in the town; the population density was 1,458.9 inhabitants per square mile. There were 806 housing units at an average density of 999.0 per square mile. The racial makeup of the town was 91.93% White, 0.34% African American, 0.85% Native American, 0.76% Asian, 4.84% from other races, 1.27% from two or more races.
Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.73% of the population. There were 518 households out of which 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.9% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 44.2% were non-families. 34.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.5% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.76. In the town, the population was spread out with 22.4% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 35.9% from 25 to 44, 28.5% from 45 to 64, 5.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 123.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 121.1 males. The median income for a household in the town was $30,703, the median income for a family was $37,250. Males had a median income of $24,297 versus $20,909 for females; the per capita income for the town was $19,136. About 9.1% of families and 12.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.2% of those under age 18 and 5.1% of those age 65 or over.
West Yellowstone is located at 44°39′45″N 111°6′21″W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.80 square miles, all of it land. At 7,000 feet above sea level and exactly halfway between the equator and the North Pole, West Yellowstone experiences a subarctic climate, with cold — sometimes bitterly cold — winters and brief but warm summers. West Yellowstone is snow-covered from the beginning of November until the beginning of May. At the peak of the snowpack, which occurs in early March, there are 3.5 – 4 feet of snow on the ground. In 2007-2008, West Yellowstone had snow on the ground from late October until mid May, with 4.5 feet of snow by late March. During the summer, the average low is 41 °F, the average high is 78 °F. During the winter, the average low is 1 °F, the average high is 24 °F. West Yellowstone holds the record low of any community in the lower 48 states at −66 °F, although Rogers Pass, Montana is colder, at −70 °F. However, the town's December record low of −59 °F is the monthly record low for the lower 48 states.
Because of its proximity to Yellowstone National Park, the town receives a large amount of tourism from China. To cater to these tourists, the town has commercial signage in six Chinese restaurants, it is estimated to receive more than half its annual business from Chinese tourists. The West Yellowstone Airport, a summer-operating airport, is to the west of town. U. S. Route 20 and U. S. Route 191 pass through the town; the Union Pacific Railroad operated the Butte Special, which linked with a coordinated train, the Yellowstone Special, which ran from Pocatello, Idaho to West Yellowstone. The two trains ran linked from Pocatello to Idaho Falls, where the latter train split off for West Yellowstone. Service ended in 1971. KWYS, broadcasting at 920 kHz and locally owned by Radio West, LLC, is located in and licensed to West Yellowstone. Angling in Yellowstone National Park Town of West Yellowstone West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Information Center Gallat
Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, popularly known as Chief Joseph, Young Joseph, or Joseph the Younger, was a leader of the Wal-lam-wat-kain band of Nez Perce, a Native American tribe of the interior Pacific Northwest region of the United States, in the latter half of the 19th century. He succeeded his father Tuekakas in the early 1870s. Chief Joseph led his band of Nez Perce during the most tumultuous period in their history, when they were forcibly removed by the United States federal government from their ancestral lands in the Wallowa Valley of northeastern Oregon onto a reduced reservation in the Idaho Territory. A series of violent encounters with white settlers in the spring of 1877 culminated in those Nez Perce who resisted removal, including Joseph's band and an allied band of the Palouse tribe, to flee the United States in an attempt to reach political asylum alongside the Lakota people, who had sought refuge in Canada under the leadership of Sitting Bull. At least 700 men and children led by Joseph and other Nez Perce chiefs were pursued by the U.
S. Army under General Oliver O. Howard in a 1,170-mile fighting retreat known as the Nez Perce War; the skill with which the Nez Perce fought and the manner in which they conducted themselves in the face of incredible adversity earned them widespread admiration from their military opponents and the American public, coverage of the war in U. S. newspapers led to popular recognition of the Nez Perce. In October 1877, after months of fugitive resistance, most of the surviving remnants of Joseph's band were cornered in northern Montana Territory, just 40 miles from the Canadian border. Unable to fight any longer, Chief Joseph surrendered to the Army with the understanding that he and his people would be allowed to return to the reservation in western Idaho, he was instead transported between various forts and reservations on the southern Great Plains before being moved to the Colville Indian Reservation in the state of Washington, where he died in 1904. Chief Joseph's life remains iconic of the American Indian Wars.
For his passionate, principled resistance to his tribe's forced removal, Joseph became renowned as a humanitarian and peacemaker. Chief Joseph was born Hinmuuttu-yalatlat in the Wallowa Valley of northeastern Oregon, he was known as Young Joseph during his youth because his father, was baptized with the same Christian name and become known as "Old Joseph" or "Joseph the Elder". While hospitable to the region's newcomers, Joseph the Elder grew wary when white settlers demanded more Indian lands. Tensions grew as the settlers appropriated traditional Indian lands for livestock. Isaac Stevens, governor of the Washington Territory, organized a council to designate separate areas for natives and settlers in 1855. Joseph the Elder and the other Nez Perce chiefs signed the Treaty of Walla Walla, with the United States establishing a Nez Perce reservation encompassing 7,700,000 acres in present-day Idaho and Washington; the 1855 reservation maintained much of the traditional Nez Perce lands, including Joseph's Wallowa Valley.
It is recorded that the elder Joseph requested that Young Joseph protect their 7.7-million-acre homeland, guard his father's burial place. In 1863, however, an influx of new settlers, attracted by a gold rush, led the government to call a second council. Government commissioners asked the Nez Perce to accept a new, much smaller reservation of 760,000 acres situated around the village of Lapwai in western Idaho Territory, excluding the Wallowa Valley. In exchange, they were promised financial rewards, a hospital for the reservation. Chief Lawyer and one of his allied chiefs signed the treaty on behalf of the Nez Perce Nation, but Joseph the Elder and several other chiefs were opposed to selling their lands and did not sign, their refusal to sign caused a rift between the "non-treaty" and "treaty" bands of Nez Perce. The "treaty" Nez Perce moved within the new reservation's boundaries, while the "non-treaty" Nez Perce remained on their ancestral lands. Joseph the Elder demarcated Wallowa land with a series of poles, proclaiming, "Inside this boundary all our people were born.
It circles the graves of our fathers, we will never give up these graves to any man." Joseph the Younger succeeded his father as leader of the Wallowa band in 1871. Before his death, the latter counseled his son: My son, my body is returning to my mother earth, my spirit is going soon to see the Great Spirit Chief; when I am gone, think of your country. You are the chief of these people, they look to you to guide them. Always remember. You must stop your ears. A few years more and white men will be all around you, they have their eyes on this land. My son, never forget my dying words; this country holds your father's body. Never sell the bones of your father and your mother. Joseph commented: "I promised to do as he asked. A man who would not defend his father's grave is worse than a wild beast." The non-treaty Nez Perce suffered many injustices at the hands of settlers and prospectors, but out of fear of reprisal from the militarily superior Americans, Joseph never allowed any violence against them, instead making many concessions to them in the hope of securing peace.
A handwritten document mentioned in the Oral History of the Grande Ronde recounts an 1872 experience by Or
Lolo Pass (Idaho–Montana)
Lolo Pass, elevation 5,233 feet, is a mountain pass in the western United States, in the Bitterroot Range of the northern Rocky Mountains. It is on the border between the states of Montana and Idaho 40 miles west-southwest of Missoula, Montana; the pass is the highest point of the historic Lolo Trail, between the Bitterroot Valley in Montana and the Weippe Prairie in Idaho. The trail, known as naptnišaqs, or "Nez Perce Trail" in Salish, was used by Nez Perce in the 18th century, by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, guided by Old Toby of the Shoshone, on their westward snowbound journey in September 1805. After a winter at Fort Clatsop in present-day northwestern Oregon, the Corps of Discovery returned the following June; the Lolo Trail is a National Historic Landmark, designated for its importance to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, its role in the 1877 Nez Perce War. The name of the pass is sometimes said to have been Salish version of the French name Laurence or Laurent, but was a regular French nickname.
The name Lolo was not used by Clark. Its first known mention is in the 1810 journal of David Thompson, who described three fur trappers of French descent, named Michael and Gregoire; the pass was used in 1877 during the Nez Perce War as some of the Nez Perce under Chief Joseph tried to escape the U. S. Army. Shortly after crossing the pass, the two sides clashed at the Battle of the Big Hole in Montana. U. S. Highway 12, belatedly completed in 1962, crosses the pass. At the August dedication ceremony at Lolo Pass attended by thousands, the states' governors, Bob Smylie of Idaho and Tim Babcock of Montana, cut through a ceremonial cedar log with a two-man crosscut saw. Lolo Hot Springs is 7 miles east of the pass in Montana; the first limited services in Idaho are in Powell, 13 miles to the west of the pass another 65 miles to Lowell, at the confluence of the Lochsa and Selway Rivers to form the Middle Fork of the Clearwater. The primary city in Idaho served by U. S. 12 is Lewiston, 170 miles west of the pass at the border with Washington, where the Clearwater meets the Snake.
On March 1, 2014, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game announced that 23 wolves had been killed in the Lolo Pass area, in order to boost elk populations. List of National Historic Landmarks in Idaho List of National Historic Landmarks in Montana National Register of Historic Places listings in Idaho County, Idaho National Register of Historic Places listings in Missoula County, Montana National Park Service: Lolo Pass Visitor Center and Rest Area Idaho Transportation Dept. - webcam - Lolo Pass Idaho Transportation Dept. - roadside historical marker - Lolo Summit Lolo Pass Visitor Information Center Lewis and Clark: Additional Sites The Lewis & Clark Expedition: Documenting the Uncharted Northwest Name, a National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places lesson plan
The California Trail was an emigrant trail of about 3,000 mi across the western half of the North American continent from Missouri River towns to what is now the state of California. After it was established, the first half of the California Trail followed the same corridor of networked river valley trails as the Oregon Trail and the Mormon Trail, namely the valleys of the Platte, North Platte and Sweetwater rivers to Wyoming. In the present states of Wyoming and Utah, the California and Oregon trails split into several different trails or cutoffs. By 1847, two former fur trading frontier forts marked trailheads for major alternative routes through Utah and Wyoming to Northern California; the first was Jim Bridger's Fort Bridger in present-day Wyoming on the Green River, where the Mormon Trail turned southwest over the Wasatch Range to the newly established Salt Lake City, Utah. From Salt Lake the Salt Lake Cutoff went north and west of the Great Salt Lake and rejoined the California Trail in the City of Rocks in present-day Idaho.
The main Oregon and California Trails crossed the Green River on several different ferries and trails that led to or bypassed Fort Bridger and crossed over a range of hills to the Great Basin drainage of the Bear River. Just past present-day Soda Springs, both trails turned northwest, following the Portneuf River valley to the British Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Hall on the Snake River in present-day Idaho. From Fort Hall the Oregon and California trails went about 50 miles southwest along the Snake River Valley to another "parting of the ways" trail junction at the junction of the Raft and Snake rivers; the California Trail from the junction followed the Raft River to the City of Rocks in Idaho near the present Nevada-Idaho-Utah tripoint. The Salt Lake and Fort Hall routes were about the same length: about 190 miles. From the City of Rocks the trail went into the present state of Utah following the South Fork of the Junction Creek. From there the trail followed along a series of small streams, such as Thousand Springs Creek in the present state of Nevada until approaching present-day Wells, where they met the Humboldt River.
By following the crooked, meandering Humboldt River Valley west across the arid Great Basin, emigrants were able to get the water and wood they needed for themselves and their teams. The water turned alkaline as they progressed down the Humboldt, there were no trees. "Firewood" consisted of broken brush, the grass was sparse and dried out. Few travelers liked the Humboldt River Valley passage. Humboldt is not good for man nor beast... and there is not timber enough in three hundred miles of its desolate valley to make a snuff-box, or sufficient vegetation along its banks to shade a rabbit, while its waters contain the alkali to make soap for a nation. At the end of the Humboldt River, where it disappeared into the alkaline Humboldt Sink, travelers had to cross the deadly Forty Mile Desert before finding either the Truckee River or Carson River in the Carson Range and Sierra Nevada mountains that were the last major obstacles before entering Northern California. An alternative route across the present states of Utah and Nevada that bypassed both Fort Hall and the Humboldt River trails was developed in 1859.
This route, the Central Overland Route, about 280 miles shorter and more than 10 days quicker, went south of the Great Salt Lake and across the middle of present-day Utah and Nevada through a series of springs and small streams. The route went south from Salt Lake City across the Jordan River to Fairfield, Utah west-southwest past Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge, Utah, Utah, to Ely, Nevada across Nevada to Carson City, Nevada. In addition to immigrants and migrants from the East, after 1859 the Pony Express, Overland stages and the First Transcontinental Telegraph all followed this route with minor deviations. Once in western Nevada and eastern California, the pioneers worked out several paths over the rugged Carson Range and Sierra Nevada mountains into the gold fields and cities of northern California; the main routes were the Truckee Trail to the Sacramento Valley and after about 1849 the Carson Trail route to the American River and the Placerville, California gold digging region.
Starting about 1859 the Johnson Cutoff and the Henness Pass Route across the Sierras were improved and developed. These main roads across the Sierras were both toll roads so there were funds to pay for maintenance and upkeep on the roads; these toll roads were used to carry cargo west to east from California to Nevada, as thousands of tons of supplies were needed by the gold and silver miners, etc. working on the Comstock Lode near the present Virginia City, Nevada. The Johnson Cutoff, from Placerville to Carson City along today's U. S. Route 50 in California, was used by the Pony Express year-round and in the summer by the stage lines, it was the only overland route from the East to California that could be kept open for at least horse traffic in the winter. The California Trail was used from 1845 until several years after the end of the American Civil War. After about 1848 the most popular route was the Carson Route which, while rugged, was still easier than most others and entered California in the middle of the gold fields.
The trail was heav
The Oregon Trail is a 2,170-mile historic East–West, large-wheeled wagon route and emigrant trail in the United States that connected the Missouri River to valleys in Oregon. The eastern part of the Oregon Trail spanned part of the future state of Kansas, nearly all of what are now the states of Nebraska and Wyoming; the western half of the trail spanned most of the future states of Oregon. The Oregon Trail was laid by fur traders and trappers from about 1811 to 1840, was only passable on foot or by horseback. By 1836, when the first migrant wagon train was organized in Independence, Missouri, a wagon trail had been cleared to Fort Hall, Idaho. Wagon trails were cleared farther west, reached all the way to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, at which point what came to be called the Oregon Trail was complete as annual improvements were made in the form of bridges, cutoffs and roads, which made the trip faster and safer. From various starting points in Iowa, Missouri, or Nebraska Territory, the routes converged along the lower Platte River Valley near Fort Kearny, Nebraska Territory and led to rich farmlands west of the Rocky Mountains.
From the early to mid-1830s the Oregon Trail and its many offshoots were used by about 400,000 settlers, miners and business owners and their families. The eastern half of the trail was used by travelers on the California Trail, Mormon Trail, Bozeman Trail, before turning off to their separate destinations. Use of the trail declined as the first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, making the trip west faster and safer. Today, modern highways, such as Interstate 80 and Interstate 84, follow parts of the same course westward and pass through towns established to serve those using the Oregon Trail. In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson issued the following instructions to Meriwether Lewis: "The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri river, & such principal stream of it, as, by its course & communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean, whether the Columbia, Colorado and/or other river may offer the most direct & practicable water communication across this continent, for the purposes of commerce."
Although Lewis and William Clark found a path to the Pacific Ocean, it was not until 1859 that a direct and practicable route, the Mullan Road, connected the Missouri River to the Columbia River. The first land route across what is now the United States was mapped by the Lewis and Clark Expedition between 1804 and 1806. Lewis and Clark believed they had found a practical overland route to the west coast. On the return trip in 1806, they traveled from the Columbia River to the Snake River and the Clearwater River over Lolo pass again, they traveled overland up the Blackfoot River and crossed the Continental Divide at Lewis and Clark Pass and on to the head of the Missouri River. This was a shorter and faster route than the one they followed west; this route had the disadvantages of being much too rough for wagons and controlled by the Blackfoot Indians. Though Lewis and Clark had only traveled a narrow portion of the upper Missouri River drainage and part of the Columbia River drainage, these were considered the two major rivers draining most of the Rocky Mountains, the expedition confirmed that there was no "easy" route through the northern Rocky Mountains as Jefferson had hoped.
Nonetheless, this famous expedition had mapped both the eastern and western river valleys that bookend the route of the Oregon Trail across the continental divide—they just had not located the South Pass or some of the interconnecting valleys used in the high country. They did show the way for the mountain men, who within a decade would find a better way across if it was not to be an easy way. Founded by John Jacob Astor as a subsidiary of his American Fur Company in 1810, the Pacific Fur Company operated in the Pacific Northwest in the ongoing North American fur trade. Two movements of PFC employees were planned by Astor, one detachment to be sent to the Columbia River by the Tonquin and the other overland under an expedition led by Wilson Price Hunt. Hunt and his party were to find possible supply routes and trapping territories for further fur trading posts. Upon arriving at the river in March 1811, the Tonquin crew began construction of what became Fort Astoria; the ship left supplies and men to continue work on the station and ventured north up the coast to Clayoquot Sound for a trading expedition.
While anchored there, Jonathan Thorn insulted an elder Tla-o-qui-aht, elected by the natives to negotiate a mutually satisfactory price for animal pelts. Soon after, the vessel was attacked and overwhelmed by the indigenous Clayoquot killing most of the crew except its Quinault interpreter, who told the PFC management at Fort Astoria of the destruction; the next day, the ship was blown up by surviving crew members. Under Hunt, fearing attack by the Niitsitapi, the overland expedition veered south of Lewis and Clark's route into what is now Wyoming and in the process passed across Union Pass and into Jackson Hole, Wyoming. From there they went over the Teton Range via Teton Pass and down to the Snake River into modern Idaho, they abandoned their horses at the Snake River, made dugout canoes, attempted to use the river for transport. After a few days' travel they soon discovered that steep canyon
Montana is a landlocked state in the Northwestern United States. Montana has several nicknames, although none are official, including "Big Sky Country" and "The Treasure State", slogans that include "Land of the Shining Mountains" and more "The Last Best Place". Montana is the 4th largest in area, the 8th least populous, the 3rd least densely populated of the 50 U. S. states. The western half of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller island ranges are found throughout the state. In all, 77 named; the eastern half of Montana is characterized by badlands. Montana is bordered by Idaho to the west, Wyoming to the south, North Dakota and South Dakota to the east, the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Saskatchewan to the north; the economy is based on agriculture, including ranching and cereal grain farming. Other significant economic resources include oil, coal, hard rock mining, lumber; the health care and government sectors are significant to the state's economy. The state's fastest-growing sector is tourism.
Nearly 13 million tourists annually visit Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, the Beartooth Highway, Flathead Lake, Big Sky Resort, other attractions. The name Montana comes from the Spanish word Montaña, which in turn comes from the Latin word Montanea, meaning "mountain", or more broadly, "mountainous country". Montaña del Norte was the name given by early Spanish explorers to the entire mountainous region of the west; the name Montana was added to a bill by the United States House Committee on Territories, chaired at the time by Rep. James Ashley of Ohio, for the territory that would become Idaho Territory; the name was changed by Representatives Henry Wilson and Benjamin F. Harding, who complained Montana had "no meaning"; when Ashley presented a bill to establish a temporary government in 1864 for a new territory to be carved out of Idaho, he again chose Montana Territory. This time Rep. Samuel Cox of Ohio, objected to the name. Cox complained the name was a misnomer given most of the territory was not mountainous and that a Native American name would be more appropriate than a Spanish one.
Other names such as Shoshone were suggested, but it was decided the Committee on Territories could name it whatever they wanted, so the original name of Montana was adopted. Montana is one of the nine Mountain States, located in the north of the region known as the Western United States, it borders North South Dakota to the east. Wyoming is to the south, Idaho is to the west and southwest, three Canadian provinces, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, are to the north. With an area of 147,040 square miles, Montana is larger than Japan, it is the fourth largest state in the United States after Alaska and California. S. state. The state's topography is defined by the Continental Divide, which splits much of the state into distinct eastern and western regions. Most of Montana's 100 or more named mountain ranges are in the state's western half, most of, geologically and geographically part of the Northern Rocky Mountains; the Absaroka and Beartooth ranges in the state's south-central part are technically part of the Central Rocky Mountains.
The Rocky Mountain Front is a significant feature in the state's north-central portion, isolated island ranges that interrupt the prairie landscape common in the central and eastern parts of the state. About 60 percent of the state is part of the northern Great Plains; the Bitterroot Mountains—one of the longest continuous ranges in the Rocky Mountain chain from Alaska to Mexico—along with smaller ranges, including the Coeur d'Alene Mountains and the Cabinet Mountains, divide the state from Idaho. The southern third of the Bitterroot range blends into the Continental Divide. Other major mountain ranges west of the Divide include the Cabinet Mountains, the Anaconda Range, the Missions, the Garnet Range, Sapphire Mountains, Flint Creek Range; the Divide's northern section, where the mountains give way to prairie, is part of the Rocky Mountain Front. The front is most pronounced in the Lewis Range, located in Glacier National Park. Due to the configuration of mountain ranges in Glacier National Park, the Northern Divide crosses this region and turns east in Montana at Triple Divide Peak.
It causes the Waterton River and Saint Mary rivers to flow north into Alberta, Canada. There they join the Saskatchewan River, which empties into Hudson Bay. East of the divide, several parallel ranges cover the state's southern part, including the Gravelly Range, the Madison Range, Gallatin Range, Absaroka Mountains and the Beartooth Mountains; the Beartooth Plateau is the largest continuous land mass over 10,000 feet high in the continental United States. It contains Granite Peak, 12,799 feet high. North of these ranges are the Big Belt Mountains, Bridger Mountains, Tobacco Roots, several island ranges, including the Crazy Mountains and Little Belt Mountains. Between many mountain ranges are rich river valleys; the Big Hole Valley, Bitterroot Valley, Gallatin Valley, Flathead Valley, Paradise Valley have extensive agricultural resources and multiple opportunities for tourism and recreation. East and north of this transition zone are the expansive and sparsely populated Northern Plains, with tableland prairies, smaller island mountain ranges, badlands.
The isolated island ranges east of the Divide include the Bear Paw Mountains, Bull Mountains, Castle Mountains, Crazy Mountains, Highwood Mountains, Judi