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Missoula is a city in the U.S. state of Montana and is the county seat of Missoula County. It is located along the Clark Fork River near its confluences with the Bitterroot and Blackfoot Rivers in western Montana and at the convergence of five mountain ranges, thus is often described as the "hub of five valleys"., the United States Census Bureau estimated the city's population at 72,364 and the population of the Missoula Metropolitan Area at 116,130. In the 1990s, Missoula overtook GreatFalls as Montana’s second‑largest city, behind Billings. Missoula is home to the University of Montana, a public research university.Missoula was founded in 1860 as Hellgate Trading Post while still part of Washington Territory. By 1866, the settlement had moved east, 5mi upstream, and renamed Missoula Mills, later shortened to Missoula. The mills provided supplies to western settlers traveling along the Mullan Road. The establishment of Fort Missoula in 1877 to protect settlers further stabilized the economy. The arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1883 brought rapid growth and the maturation of the local lumber industry. In 1893, the Montana Legislature chose the city as the site for the state's first university. Along with the U.S. Forest Service headquarters founded in 1908, lumber and the university remained staples of the local economy for the next hundred years. Missoula is in Montana. Plan your tour of Missoula and United States travel itinerary using our United States trip planning tool .
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