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Ravalli County is a county located in the southwestern part of the state of Montana. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 40,212. Its county seat is Hamilton.
Anthony Ravalli, a Jesuit missionary who came to the area in 1845
County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts
Ravalli County was once home to the Bitterroot Salish Indian Tribe. The tribe was first encountered in 1805 by the
Lewis and Clark Expedition, which noted the friendly nature of the tribe. The Roman Catholic Church took interest in
creating a mission in the area, and in 1841, Stevensville was founded. In 1891, the Salish tribe was relocated to the
current Flathead reservation under the Treaty of Hellgate.
In 1877, Chief Joseph and his tribe of Nez Perce passed through Ravalli county on their way to Canada in order to escape confinement to a reservation.
Ravalli County was created by the Montana Legislature on March 3, 1893 from Missoula County. It is named after the Italian Jesuit priest Father Antony Ravalli, who came to the Bitterroot valley in 1845.
As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,400 square miles (6,217 km2), of which, 2,394 square miles (6,201 km2) of it is land and 6 square miles (16 km2) of it (0.25%) is water.
Ravalli County is part of a north/south mountain valley bordered by the Sapphire Mountains on the East and the Bitterroot Mountains on the
West. It is often referred to as the Bitterroot Valley, which is named for the Bitterroot Flower. The county is entirely on the Pacific Ocean
side of the Continental Divide, which follows the Idaho-Montana border from Wyoming until Ravalli County. Here it turns east into Montana,
between Chief Joseph Pass and Lost Trail Pass, and follows the Ravalli County-Beaverhead County border
Bordering counties are as follows: