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The open plains of Montana, and the region around Great Falls were home to numerous nomadic, and semi-nomadic Native American tribes for several thousand years before the arrival of explorers from Europe, or the later American settlers. As with other parts of Montana the region around the falls was rich with game, and likely was home to the
Shoshone, Nez Perce, Blackfeet, Flathead and Sioux tribes.
The abundance of game possibly attracted Westerners, and the region was within the hunting grounds of French fur trappers, but largely settled or even charted. This changed with the arrival of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805. The territory that makes up Montana was part of the Louisiana Purchase and became American territory in 1803.
Following the expedition, which is when Lewis and Clark viewed the Great Falls on the Missouri River and the Black Eagle Falls, the area still remained largely unsettled. For the next 75 years the region was only explored by hunters, trappers and the occasional gold miner. In 1884 the city of Great Falls was founded along the shores of the Sun and Missouri Rivers. Growing quickly, Great Falls was incorporated in 1888. Today, the city retains many of the charms from the days of its founding, and as such has become a popular tourist destination in Montana.