Chouteau County, Montana

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Chouteau County is a county located in the North-Central region of the U.S. state of Montana. As of 2000, the population was 5,970. Its county seat is Fort Benton[1]. It was established in 1865 as one of the original nine counties of Montana, and named in 1882 after Pierre Chouteau, Jr., a fur trader who established a trading post that became Fort Benton, which was once an important port on the Missouri River.

It is home to the Chippewa-Cree tribe on the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation. It contains part of the Lewis and Clark National Forest.



According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,997 square miles (10,352.2 km2). 3,973 square miles (10,290.0 km2) is land and 24 square miles (62.2 km2) (0.59%) is water.

Chouteau County was once the largest county in the Montana Territory and the second largest in the United States, with an area of 15,439 square miles (39,990 km2) in the early 20th century. However, some parts of the county were over 250 miles (400 km) from Fort Benton, and in 1909 an agreement was reached to subdivide the county.

Chouteau County lost half of its population from 1910 to 1930.

The land is mostly prairie. The Bear Paw Mountains rise in the eastern section and the Little Rockies and the Highwood ranges are in the southern portion. Major rivers include the Teton River, Marias River, Milk River and the Arrow River.

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