Those who know me well, know how much I like traveling, especially in the US. The first time I’ve been to the USA I was only 4 years old. Since then, I’ve traveled to numerous states even though there are still plenty I’d like to visit. Today I’d like to take you on a virtual journey to Montana, one of the states I have visited during one of my trips in the US. Before telling you all about it though, I’d like to start with some fun facts! You might have noticed at the top of this page a Spotify link redirecting you to the official Montana state song: go ahead and let it play as you read on 😉
- The flag of the state of Montana consists of the image of the Montana state seal centered on a blue field. Within the seal, a plow, shovel, and pick rest in a field in front of the Great Falls of the Missouri River. The ribbon contains the state motto, Oro y plata (Spanish for “Gold and silver”). The Great Seal of the State of Montana was adopted in 1865, when Montana was a United States Territory.
- Montana has two nicknames: it is known both as Big Sky Country as well as the Treasure State. Big Sky Country originates from a book by Alfred Bertram Guthrie Jr., “Big Sky”, which was adopted for the 1962 promotion of the Montana State Highway Department; it’s a fairly recent nickname. It is a reference to the unobstructed skyline in the state that seems to overwhelm the landscape at times. The Treasure State nickname is due to the state’s rich mineral reserves. As a matter of fact, you might know Montana for its mines so it’s no coincidence that the state’s motto is “oro y plata”.
- Since 1969 the state’s gemstones are sapphire and agate. The Montana Yogo Sapphire is the only North American gem to be included in the Crown Jewels of England, pretty cool huh?!?
Here you can read more about how these gemstones came to be the official state’s gemstones.
- Custer’s Last Stand also known as The Battle of the Little Bighorn but a.k.a. The Battle of the Greasy Grass by the Lakota, took place near Little Bighorn River in 1876. The fight was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho, who were led by several major war leaders including Crazy Horse and Chief Gall, and were inspired by the visions of Sitting Bull (Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake). The U.S. 7th Cavalry, including the Custer Battalion, a force of 700 men led by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, suffered a major defeat. Five of the 7th Cavalry’s twelve companies were annihilated; Custer was killed, as were two of his brothers, a nephew, and a brother-in-law. You can read more about it in this book.
- In 1983 the grizzly bear became the official animal of the state. As a matter of fact, Montana has the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states. Read more about it here.
- I already told you about the state animal so it’s time to discover the official state bird, tree and flower which are respectively the Western Meadowlark, the Anderson Pine and the Bitterroot.
- Montana is home to seven Indian reservations: Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Reservation, Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation, Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Crow Tribe of the Crow Reservation, Fort Belknap Tribes of the Fort Belknap Reservation, Fort Peck Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation, Little Shell Chippewa Tribe (state recognized) and Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.
- The Going-to-the-Sun-Road in Glacier Park is considered one of the most scenic drives in America.
Now that you’ve come this far, let me know how many of these fun facts you already knew! Are you ready to visit Montana now?
If you want to discover more about this beautiful state, stay tuned as I’ll be writing more about Montana in the “wandering” section of the blog!