MONTANA IS MUY BIEN!!! by Montana Grant
By angelamontana

Posted: May 14, 2024

Montana was named for a Spanish word meaning “Mountains or Mountainous country”. This name was not suggested by the Spanish. Instead, when Montana Territory was to become a state, congressmen suggested the name. The congress argued that over half of the potential state was flat, but the” Montana” name stuck. 

Oro De Plata” is the motto of the Treasure State. “Gold and Silver” are a big part of our state wealth. No Spanish settlements are known to exist in Montana.

There are many Spanish based names across North America. Colorado means “red silt” in Spanish. The river and the territory have kept that reference. Spanish Conquistadors wee looking for “Goods, God, and Glory”. This meant gaining riches, spreading their religion, and making themselves famous. 

There is evidence in old Spanish archives that the Spanish referred to the Montana area as “Mountainous”. Some Spanish exploration did occur into Big Sky Country. Had there have been more Spanish colonization, Montana could have been called “Big Spain Country”. 

Other evidence of Spanish being in Montana exists. The government of Spain sent dragoons to intercept the Lewis and Clark expedition, that was exploring in New Spain. They claimed a large chunk of North America from Florida to Alaska. The dragoons just missed finding the Lewis and Clark party by a few weeks. They did capture the southern Fremont expedition and forced them to leave their land claims. 

Many expeditions explored the region. Some were by water. Spanish galleons have been discovered off the Oregon coast. Coronado took 2,500 Spaniards and allied native Indians on an expedition from Arizona to Kansas and beyond. Little evidence of the exact routes is known. Some expeditions broke off and traveled north toward Montana and Wyoming. Others ventured away and were destroyed by the native peoples. 

The Spaniards left evidence of their presence. Horses, pigs, chickens, dogs, mules, and other livestock were brought over from Europe. Over 14,000 horses were once under Spanish control in North America. After the Navajo, Apache’s, and Comanche fought the Spaniards, they left their horses and returned to Mexico. Other huge battles between Spanish and allied tribes against the Cherokee and many other tribes along the Mississippi River took place. Over 10,000 combatants fought in southern Georgia and Alabama. The Spanish were defeated there as well. Their luck of conquest in South and Latin America did not happen in North America. 

Spain’s worst contribution to the new world could be diseases like smallpox and venereal diseases, and other deadly pathogens. The “Barbaric tribes” fought back furiously. There were never enough Spaniards or Spanish allies to defeat the larger North American tribes. This concept was passed on through tribal history. The Native tribes that later fought against the US Army may have believed they too could defeat the smaller invaders, like the US Army. 

The Spanish brought the first Black Men into North America along with slavery. They also tried to enslave the native tribes. Ironically the same was true for the Vikings and other early attempts at European and Asian colonization. 

Evidence of Chinese ships has been found along the California coast. Some survivors may have been introduced into the local gene pools. 

Spanish armor such as helmets and chest gear were prized trade items among local Native tribes. Swords, horseshoes, nails, chain mail pieces, and crossbow bolts have been found throughout the western states and in Montana.

In modern times, a massive migration of Spanish heritage and Hispanic populations are entering all 50 American states. Whether they are legal or illegal, they are coming to Montana too. 

I wonder if the Spaniards were any good at fly fishing. 

Senor Montana Grant

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