History and Important People
For many years the Wyoming region was divided into two parts. The section west of the Continental Divide was part of three territories first Oregon, then Utah and Idaho. Eastern Wyoming was included in Nebraska and Dakota. Finally, in 1868, these sections were united into Wyoming Territory. The following year legislature granted that woman had the right vote and the right to hold office the first such legal recognition in the United States. In 1924 Wyoming elected the first woman governor in the US Nellie Ross.
On July 10, 1890, Wyoming was admitted to the Union as the 44th state. So the Equality State came to be with the motto "equal rights". The Sagebrush State, and Cowboy State are other nicknames. Its original name came from a Delaware Indian word probably meaning plains or meadows. The state lies about midway between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean. Here the Great Plains covering the eastern part of the state merge with the towering Rocky Mountains. The massive Rockies sweep across Wyoming from northwest to southeast.
Cheyenne was selected as the capital of Wyoming Territory in 1869. The state constitution was adopted in 1889. It became the state capital when Wyoming was admitted to the Union in 1890. Wyoming's chief tourist attraction was recognized in 1872 while Wyoming was still a territory Yellowstone became the first national park created by Congress.
Almost all of the territory west of the Mississippi River became a part of the United States through major annexations. Wyoming is the only state with land from all four of these acquisitions. The eastern section of the state was part of the Louisiana Purchase 1803. South-central Wyoming was annexed from Texas in 1845. The northwestern corner was part of the Oregon country1846. The rest of the region was granted to the United States by Mexico by treaty in 1848.
Among those who opened up the Wyoming frontier were fur trappers like Jim Bridger and scouts like Kit Carson, and explorers like John Bozeman and John C. Fremont. One of the first white women to see Wyoming was the missionary Narcissa Whitman. Robert Campbell and William Sublette built Fort William later becoming Fort Laramie in 1834 the first permanent settlement in what is now Wyoming. Rev. Vaux, chaplain at the fort, established the first school in the Wyoming area at Fort Laramie in 1852. Jim Bridger founded Fort Bridger in present Uinta County in 1843 used by the US Army during the Indian wars. Cheyenne was founded near Fort Russell in 1867. This fort is now the site of Warren Air Force Base, named in honor of Wyoming's first state governor. These forts served to protect emigrants in the great migration west on the California, Mormon, Oregon, and Bozeman trails. The Continental Divide, or Crest of the Rockies, is the backbone of the North American continent weaving across Wyoming. It was a challenge for hundreds of thousands of pioneers from the East bound for the Far West in covered wagons.
The whole Wyoming region was a favorite hunting ground for many Native American tribes mainly the Crow, Arapaho, Shoshone, and Cheyenne. The first white settlers were fur traders and trappers. Other pioneers won fame as Indian fighters and hardy mountain men. Buffalo Bill Cody toured Wyoming with his famous Wild West exhibition before founding the town of Cody. The great majority of settlers came from Eastern states and from Texas. The mail route of the legendary Pony Express crossed the territory in 1860-61. The Union Pacific Railroad tracks, which linked the East and West coasts, also went through Wyoming, but few people came to stay. For much of the 19th century the free open-range country was the desolate land of the cowboy. When cattle raising began to flourish after the American Civil War, Wyoming was the scene of many cattle drives. Because of the state's high, rugged terrain and sparse rainfall, much of the land is still fit for stock...
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