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Wyoming, US (Population: 515,004)
State Capitol: Cheyenne

Major Cities: Casper, Laramie, Gillette, Rock Springs, Sheridan, Green River, Evanston, Riverton, Cody

State Nickname/Motto: Equality State – Equal Rights

Statehood Granted: July 10, 1890

History: The region known today as the state of Wyoming was originally inhabited by several American Indian tribes. The name Wyoming is derived from the Delaware (Munsee) name xwé:wamənk, meaning "at the big river flat", originally applied to the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania. The Crow, Arapaho, Lakota, and Shoshone were just a few of the nations encountered when European explorers first entered this territory. Although French trappers may have ventured into the northern sections of the state in the late 1700s, John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, was probably the first white American to enter the region in 1807. His reports of the Yellowstone area were considered at the time to be fictional. Robert Stuart and a party of five men returning from Astoria discovered South Pass in 1812. The route was later followed by the Oregon Trail. In 1850, Jim Bridger located what is now known as Bridger Pass, which was later used by both the Union Pacific Railroad in 1868, and in the 20th century by Interstate 80. Bridger also explored the Yellowstone region and like Colter, most of his reports on that region of the state were considered at the time to be tall tales.

Geography: Highest point: Gannett Peak 13,804 feet. The Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming. The state is a great plateau broken by a number of mountain ranges. In the northwest are the Absaroka, Owl Creek, Gros Ventre, Wind River and the Teton ranges. In the north central are the Big Horn Mountains; in the northeast, the Black Hills; and in the southern region the Laramie, Snowy and Sierra Madre ranges.

Ethnic Diversity: One Race (98.1%), White (92.4%), Black or African American (0.7%), American Indian and Alaska Native (1.9%), Asian (0.6%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.0%), Some other race (2.4%), Two or more races (1.9%), Hispanic or Latino (6.8%)*

Famous State People:

  • William “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846 - 1917) Founder of Cody, Wyoming and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in Nebraska; born in Iowa.
  • Leonard S. Hobbs (1896 - 1977) Developed the engine for turbo jet airplanes; born in Carbon County.
  • Curt Gowdy (1919 - ) Sportscaster, TV play-by-play man for AFL, NFL and major league baseball.
  • Jedediah S. Smith (1799 - 1830) Mountain man and first American to get to California from the East.
  • Alan K. Simpson (1931 - ) Wyoming senator from 1979-1997.
  • Francis E. Warren (1844 - 1929) First state governor.
  • James G. Watt (1938 - ) Former secretary of the Interior; born in Lusk.
  • Joseph M. Carey (1845 - 1924) Mayor of Cheyenne, first U.S. Senator from Wyoming, Wyoming Governor; born in Milton, Delaware.
  • Patricia MacLachlan (1938 - ) Author of children’s books and Newberry Medal for Sarah, Plain and Tall; born in Cheyenne.
  • Esther Hobart Morris (1814 - 1902) Helped women receive the right to vote in Wyoming and the nation’s first female judge; born in New York.
  • Jackson Pollock (1912 - 1956) Artist well known for his abstract paintings; born in Cody.
  • James Bridger (1804 - 1881) Trapper, guide and storyteller.
  • Dick Cheney(1941 - ) White House Chief of Staff to President Ford, U.S. congressman, Secretary of Defense and Vice president of the U.S.; grew up in Casper.
  • Nellie Davis Tayloe Ross (1876 - 1977) Governor of Wyoming; born November near St. Joseph, Missouri.

  • Major Colleges/Universities: Casper College, Central Wyoming College, Eastern Wyoming College, Northwest College, Sheridan College, University of Phoenix-Cheyenne Campus, University of Wyoming, Western Wyoming Community College

    State and National Parks: Bear River, Boysen, Buffalo Bill, Curt Gowdy, Edness K. Wilkins, Glendo, Guernsey, Hawk Springs, Hot Springs, Keyhole, Seminoe, Sinks Canyon, Bighorn National Forest Bridger-Teton National Forest, Medicine Bow National Forest, Shoshone National Forest, Thunder Basin National Grassland, Yellowstone National Park, Devils Tower National Monument, Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Fossil Butte National Monument, Grand Teton National Park, Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, Oregon Pony Express National Historic Trail

    Misc: In 2002, over six million people visited Wyoming’s national parks and monuments. The key tourist attractions in Wyoming include Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Devil’s Tower National Monument, and Fossil Butte National Monument. Each year Yellowstone National Park receives three million visitors. Historically, agriculture has been an important component of Wyoming’s economic identity. Its overall importance to the performance of Wyoming’s economy has waned. However, it is still an essential part of Wyoming’s culture and lifestyle. The main agricultural commodities produced in Wyoming include cattle ranching, hay, sugar beets, wheat and barley, and wool. Over 91% of land in Wyoming is classified as rural.

    *U.S. Census - 2005