The history of the province is replete of intriguing past as many varied stories and circumstances were recounted by elders. Suffice it to say that the origin of the province has not been recorded. Spanish exploratory attempts to conquer Mountain Province were made between 1566 to 1665. Total subjugation of the area was never achieved throughout the three (3) centuries of Spanish rule because the fierce, warlike and hostile Igorots and formidable travel obstacles intimidated the Spaniards. Spanish occupation of some portions of the Cordilleras ended on September 3, 1899 when the Spanish headquarters in Bontoc was taken by Filipino forces. Some brave Igorots joined their lowland brothers in the fight against the Americans in 1898. After the establishment of the civil government during the American occupation in 1901, Mountain Province became a special province of the Philippines in 1907. Bontoc-Lepanto, Amburayan, Ifugao, Kalinga, Benguet and
Apayao comprised the sub-provinces. Samuel Cane, the provincial supervisor, was appointed governor and Bontoc was made the capital town. In 1908, the old Mountain Province was created with seven (7) sub-provinces which later was merged into five (5) provinces: Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc, Apayao, Kalinga (BIBAK). In 1967, the division of these five provinces gave birth to four (4) new provinces namely: Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao and Mountain Province.
The sub-province of Bontoc retained its name Mountain Province and maintained Bontoc as its capital town. On March 25, 1967, Mt. Province became an independent province. Then President Ferdinand E. Marcos, appointed and inducted into office the first provincial officials. This new province came into operation on April 7, 1967, hence, this day is celebrated as Mountain Province Day. On June 15, 1987, Mountain Province became part of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
Mountain Province is bounded on the north by the provinces of Kalinga, Apayao and Abra; on the south by the mountains of benguet and Ifugao; on the east by Isabela and the west by the province of Ilocos Sur. It extends to an area of 229,231 hectares where 83% is mountainous while 17% make up hills and valleys .
Principally, the province is composed of high mountain ranges, limited terraces and floodplains. It is a province of rivers, falls, mountains and caves. Such a terrain nurtures a sturdy and hardworking people.
Mountain Province is composed of ten (10) municipalities namely: Bontoc, Barlig, Bauko, Besao, Natonin, Paracelis, Sabangan, Sadanga, Sagada and Tadian.
The province has two (2) seasons - dry from November to April and wet for the rest of the year. The maximum rain periods are not very pronounced with a short dry season lasting only from 1 to 3 months.
Mountain province has a population of 140,439 in 2000, total household of 27,721 and land area of 229,231 hectares (NSO). The natives are mostly Bontocs who occupy the central and northern part of the province. Tthe Aplai who are predominantly found in the western part and the Balangaos in the eastern portion.
Mountain Province boasts of being the first province to be evangelized by the American missionaries and so most of its people particularly, the elders could speak English. Aplai is the major dialect. The inhabitants could also speak Ilocano and Filipino.
The furniture industry is a growing venture in the province. Fixtures and furniture are made from raw materials like pinewood, bamboo and steel. Backstrap weaving which was also an old-age handicraft expanded to use of loom. Colorful costumes are now designed for product lines like bag, purses, tapestry, ethnic costumes, blankets, linen and other fashion accessories.