This state is located in the Northwestern part of the United States of America. Its name is probably derived from the Spanish word montaña, or maybe from the Latin montanus (both: mountain, mountainous). With an area of 380,838 square kilometers (147,042 square miles), Montana is the fourth largest state in the US and slightly bigger than Germany. Population density, however, is lower with roughly 944,632 in 2006. Montana is one of the so-called Mountain States, all of which have a part of the Rocky Mountains within their borders. Montana’s capital is Helena. Montana’s nickname “Treasure State” comes from its various natural resources (natural gas, coal, copper, silver and gold). With an estimated population of 101,876, Billings is the biggest city in Montana. The Glacier National Park and a small part of the Yellowstone National Park are located in Montana. The four largest rivers are the Missouri River, Milk River, Flathead River and Yellowstone River. Montana is also home to the world’s shortest river, the Roe River.
The territory of Montana was established between 1864 and 1889. Before then, the area had been part of the larger Idaho territory. During its first year as a separate territory, Bannack was the capital. In 1865 it was moved to Virginia City. In 1875 Helena became the capital of Montana, and it still is today. In the year of 1889 Montana became part of the U.S. – it was the 41st state to join the United states of America.
The biggest attractions are the two national parks, Glacier National Park in the north and Yellowstone National Park in the south. Other tourist attractions include the Little Big Horn Battlefield National Museum, Montana’s former capital Virginia City, the ghost town of Nevada City (Montana), the Grant-Kohr's Ranch National Historic Sites and the museum for the history of the Plains Indian in Browning. Montana has rich natural resources. The most important include copper, gold, silver, precious stones, vermiculite, talc, clay, antimony, limestone, phosphate, gypsum, rocks, sand and gravel. Just as important are the large crude oil, natural gas, and coal deposits. A major part of all industrial production in the state is based on the processing of those natural resources (oil and coal products, smelting, chemical products, metal products). Most important for the economy, however, is agriculture. In the Northeast and in the center of Montana, wheat, corn and barley is being grown, while in the South you can find ranches with cattle and livestock. Wine also grows in Montana. Forestry is a flourishing economic branch in the Northwest of the state, even though large parts of the forests are state owned. Real GDP per capita was $27,942 in 2006, putting Montana on 47th place in the national ranking.