The state of Montana has a rich Native American history, with several tribes, including the Blackfeet, Crow, Salish, and Kootenai, having lived in the region for thousands of years. Many Native American traditions and customs are still practiced in Montana today, including powwows and traditional beadwork.
Blaine County, Montana, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Blackfeet Nation and Cree. These indigenous people relied on the abundant wildlife, such as bison and elk, for their sustenance and utilized the plains and valleys for their nomadic lifestyle.

In the late 18th century, European explorers and fur traders began to venture into the region. One of the most notable individuals was Meriwether Lewis, who explored the area as part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805. This opened the door for further American exploration and eventually the establishment of a permanent settlement.

Blaine County was officially established in 1895, named after James G. Blaine, an influential politician of the time. The establishment of the Great Northern Railway in the area in the late 19th century brought increased settlement and economic development. The railroad provided a means for transporting goods and people, leading to the growth of towns like Chinook and Harlem.

Like many other areas in the American West, Blaine County experienced a boom in the early 20th century due to the discovery of oil. The discovery in the Kevin-Sunburst Oil Field brought an influx of workers and increased economic activity to the area. However, the oil boom was short-lived, and the industry declined after a few years.

Today, Blaine County remains a rural area with a strong agricultural focus, characterized by vast prairies, rolling hills, and a close-knit community. While the economic landscape has shifted over time, the county's history and natural beauty continue to attract visitors and residents alike.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Blaine County, Montana.

  • 1805: The Lewis and Clark Expedition passes through the area that is now Blaine County.
  • 1887: The area is established as a county and named after James G. Blaine, a former Secretary of State.
  • 1916: The Great Northern Railway reaches Chinook, the county seat, leading to increased settlement and economic growth.
  • 1917: The first oil well is drilled in Blaine County, marking the beginning of the county's oil industry.
  • 1940s: The Fort Belknap Indian Reservation is established in the eastern part of Blaine County.
  • 1985: The Milk River Project, a large irrigation project, is completed, further supporting agriculture in the county.
  • 1997: The federal government designates part of the county as the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, preserving its natural and historical resources.