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Montana, whose official nickname is "Big Sky Country," was part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Found to be rich in gold and copper, it joined the Union as the 41st state in 1889. The capital of Montana is Helena. The word montaña means "mountainous," despite the fact that the average elevation of the state is only 3,400 feet, making it the lowest of the Rocky Mountain states. Montana is home to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, which honors the historic battle in 1876 between several Indian tribes including the Lakota Sioux, the Arapaho, and the Northern Cheyenne tribes versus the 7th Regiment of the United States Calvary, led by General George Armstrong Custer. This battle is usually called "Custer's Last Stand." The battle was fought in the ravines, the ridges, and bluffs of the Little Bighorn River. In 1868, the Fort Laramie Treaty was signed by many of the Lakota leaders. That treaty created a reservation in the western part of what is not South Dakota, and it also stated that the Sioux would give up their nomadic lifestyle. In return, the United States government would give them subsidies. Many other leaders and hunters refused to sign the treaty, including Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, and they felt no obligation to abide by it. After gold was found in the Black Hills, tensions were high, and eventually, the military was called to enforce the treaty. In the end, battle was a blazing victory for the Indians, and the 7th Cavalry was brutally defeated. Nearly half of the 7th Cavalry's companies were destroyed, and Custer, his two brothers, a brother-in-law, and a nephew were killed. All together, 268 soldiers were died and 55 were injured during the battle. On the other side, fewer than 50 were killed, including only one of the 5 chiefs, Lame White Man.





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