Prior to the whiteman, the lands around Bozeman consisted of Native American tribes like the Shoshone, Bangtail, Nez Perce, Sioux, and Blackfeet, Flathead, though the Gallatin Valley, per se, was not held by any particular tribe.
In July 1806, William Clark visited the Gallatin Valley as he travelled east from Three Forks, Montana following the Gallatin River. Journal entries from Clark's party briefly describe the future Bozeman as the "Valley of the Flowers," which came from the southwest Montana native tribes' apt description of the pristine Gallatin Valley land.
In 1863, John Bozeman and his trusty side-kick, John Jacobs, established the Bozeman Trail, a side trail off the famous Oregon Trail. The Bozeman Trail ran through the future city of Bozeman, across the Gallatin Valley and up to the mining town, Virginia City, Montana which lies on the western side of the Gallatin Valley in the Tobacco Root Mountains. John Bozeman began an agricultural colony in the Gallatin Valley to raise potatoes and wheat for Montana miners working in the Virginia City gold mines.
John Bozeman, Daniel Rouse, and William Beall platted the City of Bozeman in 1864, stating "standing right in the gate of the mountains ready to swallow up all tenderfeet that would reach the territory from the east, with their golden fleeces to be taken care of...." In 1865, Bozeman was appointed Gallatin County probate judge. About this time, he choose to discontinue leading wagon trains into Montana Territory. Soon thereafter, in 1868, the Indian Wars closed the Bozeman Trail, but the fertile Bozeman land soon attracted permanent settlers seeking agricultural real estate.
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The largest Rocky Mountain state in the Northwestern United States, Montana is bordered by both North Dakota and South Dakota on the east, Idaho on the west, Wyoming on the south, and Canada's provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan on the north.
Area: 147,138 sq mi (381,087 sq km).
Population: approximately 1 million in early 2012.
Largest city: Billings.
Motto: Oro y Plata (Gold and Silver).
State bird: Western Meadowlark.
State flower: Bitterroot.
State tree: Ponderosa Pine.
In and around Montana's mountainous western region are the large mineral deposits that make Montana famous: copper, silver, gold, platinum, zinc, lead, and manganese. The eastern part of the state is noted for petroleum and natural gas, and there are also some of the largest and extensive US open-pit mines with vast sub-bituminous coal deposits. Montana also mines vermiculite, chromite, tungsten, molybdenum, and palladium. Leading industries manufacture forest products, processed foods, and refined petroleum. Wheat is the most valuable farm item, with cattle also of primary importance. Other principal crops include barley, sugar beets, and hay.
Much of Montana, the fourth largest U.S. state, is still sparsely populated country dominated by spectacular natural features: high granite peaks, forests, lakes, and such natural wonders as Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks attract many visitors to Montana. Other places of interest include Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Big Hole National Battlefield, and Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site and the National Bison Range, near Ravalli, where herds of buffalo may be seen.