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Welcome to Wyoming

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Wyoming State Flag
Wyoming State Flag
Wyoming State Seal
Wyoming State Seal
Wyoming Location
Wyoming Location


Wyoming is a state of the western United States. While a small portion of the eastern section of the state is within the Great Plains, the majority is dominated by numerous distinct mountain ranges. Wyoming is also the least populous U.S. state with 493,782 people, although Alaska has a lower population density. The capital and largest city of Wyoming is Cheyenne.

Capital Cheyenne
Largest City Cheyenne
Governor (2005) Dave Freudenthal (D)
- Total
- Land
- Water
- % water

253,554 km² (10th)
251,706 km²
1,851 km²
- Total (2000)
- Density

493,782 (50th)
1.96 /km² (49th)
Admittance into Union
- Date
- Order

July 10, 1890
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6
41°N to 45°N
104°3'W to 111°3'W
- Highest
- Mean
- Lowest
450 km
580 km

4,207 m
2,040 m
945 m
ISO 3166-2 US-WY
State nickname Equality State

Official Languages



It is bordered on the north by Montana, on the east by South Dakota and Nebraska, on the south by Colorado, and on the west by Utah and Idaho. Devil's Tower, made famous in the film Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, is located near Moorcroft in Crook County.

Wyoming is generally considered an arid state with much of the land receiving less than 10 inches of rainfall a year. Consequently, the land supports few opportunities for farming. Ranching, however, is widespread, especially in areas near the numerous mountain chains. There are several major mountain ranges in the state, all part of the Rocky Mountains. The Snowy Range in the south central part of the state is an extension of the Colorado Rockies in both geology and appearance. The Wind River Range in the west central part of the state is remote and also has Gannett Peak, the highest peak in the state. The Big Horn Mountains in the north central portion are somewhat isolated from the bulk of the rest of the Rocky Mountains. Finally, the Teton Range in the northwest extends for 50 miles (80 km) and represents the most impressive section of mountains in the state, home to the second highest peak Grand Teton and Grand Teton National Park which preserves the most scenic section of the Teton range.

Several rivers begin or flow through the state, including the Yellowstone River, Powder River, and the Snake River.

The Continental Divide, which runs through most of North America forks in the south central part of the state. The waters that flow or precipitate into this area, known as the Great Divide Basin, do not flow to any ocean. Instead, due to the overall aridity of Wyoming, they simply sink into the soil or evaporate.

Wyoming sports the lowest population of any state and the lowest population density of the continental 48 states; however, non-contiguous Alaska's population density is lower, although its total population is higher.


The region known today as the state of Wyoming was originally inhabited by several Native American groups. The Crow, Arapahoe, Sioux, and Shoshone were but a few of the original inhabitants encountered when white explorers first entered the region. 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. Explorer Jim Bridger discovered South Pass in 1827, which later became the route followed by the Oregon Trail. In 1850, Bridger also 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.

After the Union Pacific Railroad reached the town of Cheyenne, which later became the state capital, in 1867, the population began to grow steadily in the Wyoming Territory, established on July 25, 1868. Unlike the states of Montana to the north South Dakota to the east and Colorado to the south, Wyoming never experienced a rapid population boom due to any major mineral discoveries such as gold or silver. Copper could also be found in some areas of the state.

Once government sponsored expeditions to the Yellowstone country were undertaken, the previous reports by men like Colter and Bridger were found to be true. This led to the creation of Yellowstone National Park which became the world's first National Park in 1872 and is located in the far northwestern portion of the state. Most of the territory that comprises Yellowstone National Park is located in Wyoming.

Wyoming was admitted to the Union on July 10, 1890. It was named after the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania, made famous by the 1809 poem Gertrude of Wyoming by Thomas Campbell. The name was suggested by Representative J. M. Ashbey of Ohio.

In 1869 Wyoming extended suffrage to women, at least partially in an attempt to garner enough votes to be admitted as a state. In addition to being the first U.S. state to extend suffrage to women, Wyoming was also the home of many other firsts for U.S. women in politics. It had the first female court bailiff and the first female justice of the peace in the country. Wyoming was also the first state in the Union to elect a woman governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross in 1925.

Wyoming was the location of the Johnson County War of 1892 which was fought between large cattle operations and free ranging interests.

Law and Government

Wyoming is one of the most conservative and, in national politics, most staunchly Republican states in the nation. The state has not voted for a Democrat for president since 1964 and there are no reliably Democratic counties. In the 2004 presidential election, George W. Bush won his third-largest victory, with 69% of the vote. Current Vice President Dick Cheney is a Wyoming native and represented the state in Congress from 1979 to 1990.

However, Democrats have held the governorship for all but eight years since 1975. The current governor, Democrat Dave Freudenthal, was elected in 2002 and has one of the highest approval ratings of any Governor in the nation.



2004 Population estimate – 506,529
Foreign-born population – 11,000 (2.2%)
Population Rank: 51st of the 50 states and the District of Columbia


The racial makeup of Wyoming:

88.9% White
6.4% Hispanic
2.3% Native American
0.8% Black
0.6% Asian
1.8% Mixed race

The five largest ancestry groups in Wyoming are: German (25.9%), English (15.9%), Irish (13.3%), American (6.5%), Norwegian (4.3%).


The religious affiliations of the people of Wyoming are shown in the table below:

  • Christian – 78%
    • Protestant – 53%
      • Lutheran – 9%
      • Baptist – 9%
      • Methodist – 6%
      • Presbyterian – 4%
      • Episcopal – 4%
      • Other Protestant or general Protestant – 21%
    • Roman Catholic – 18%
  • Mormon – 7%
  • Other Religions – 1%
  • Non-Religious – 21%
Historical populations

Important Cities and Villages

The Wyoming municipalities with populations over 10,000 are, in descending order:


Colleges and Universities

  • Casper College
  • Central Wyoming College
  • Eastern Wyoming College
  • Laramie County Community College
  • Northwest College
  • Sheridan College
  • University of Wyoming
  • Western Wyoming Community College
  • Wyoming Technical Institute (WyoTech)

Professional Sports Teams

  • Casper Rockies, minor league baseball

State designations and symbols

  • Capital: Cheyenne
  • Nickname: Big Wonderful Wyoming, Equality State, Cowboy State
  • State motto: "Equal Rights"
  • Population: 493,782 (2000 census)
  • State flower: Indian Paintbrush
  • State mammal: Bison
  • State bird: Western Meadowlark
  • State tree: Plains Cottonwood
  • State gemstone: Jade
  • State fish: Cutthroat Trout
  • State reptile: Horned Toad
  • State Fossil: Knightia
  • State dinosaur: Triceratops
  • State coin: Golden Dollar
  • State sport: Rodeo

Famous People from Wyoming

  • Native Americans
    • Red Cloud (1822-1909), chief of the Oglala Sioux
    • Washakie (1804-1900), renowned Shoshone warrior
  • Political/Military Figures
    • Dick Cheney (1941-), 41st U.S. Vice-President
    • Stanley K. Hathaway, Governor of Wyoming and U.S. Secretary of the Interior
    • Nellie Tayloe Ross (1876-1977), first female governor of a U.S. State
  • Film/Theater
    • Burnu Acquanetta (1921-2004), actress and model
    • Harrison Ford (1942-), actor
    • Matthew Fox (1966-), actor
    • Isabel Jewell (1907-1972), actress
  • TV/Radio
    • Curt Gowdy (1919-), sportscaster
  • Music
    • Chris LeDoux (1948-2005), country music singer and rodeo champion
  • Art/Literature
    • Jackson Pollack (1912-1956), artist
    • Owen Wister (1860-1938), writer of Western novels
  • Athletics
    • Tom Browning (1960-), Major League Baseball pitcher
    • Rulon Gardner (1971-), Olympic wrestler gold medalist
  • Other
    • Buffalo Bill (1846-1917), colorful Old West figure
    • John Colter (1774-1813), explorer, first white man to step foot in Wyoming
    • Esther Hobart Morris (1814-1902), leader in the suffrage movement
    • Jedediah Smith (1799-1831), mountain man, trapper and explorer


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