Wyoming is situated in a subregion of the Western United States called the Mountain West. It is also the least densely populated and populous state in the contiguous United States.
To the north and northwest, Wyoming is bordered by Montana, to the east by South Dakota and Nebraska, to the west by Idaho, to the southwest by Utah, and the south by Colorado. During the 2020 United States census, it had a population of 576,851, making it the least populated state in the country. The state’s capital is Cheyenne, which also has the most residents.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT WYOMING
- Capital City: Cheyenne
- Largest City: Cheyenne
- Nickname: Equality State
- Statehood: July 10, 1890, 44th state
- Population (as of 2020): 576,850
- Abbreviation: WY
- State bird: meadowlark
- State flower: Indian paintbrush
- Total Size Of The State: 97,914 sq mi (253,600 km2)
At least 12,000 years ago, people lived in what is now Wyoming’s vast open plains. A 245-foot stone shrine built near Lovell, Wyoming, may have served as a site for important ceremonies of these ancient people. In addition, the land was inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Arapaho, the Cheyenne, the Crow, the Shoshone, and the Ute, thousands of years later.
François Louis Verendrye is thought to have been the first European to arrive in 1742. As Wyoming became a U.S. territory in 1868, the U.S. cavalry (U.S. Army troops riding horses) and Native Americans fought for control of the land. Finally, Wyoming became a state in 1890.
In 1891, the Yellowstone Timberland Reserve included the Shoshone National Forest in northwest Wyoming. That was America’s first national forest. There are still Shoshone and Arapaho tribes living in Wyoming.
Why Does It Have That Name?
Wyoming’s origins have yet to be discovered. The name may have originated from a Delaware Indian word meaning “alternating mountains and valleys” or “large plains.” It may also arise from the Munsee language meaning “at the big river flat,” or from the Algonquin language meaning “a large prairie place.”
The state is known as the Equality State because it was the first state to grant women the right to hold public office, vote, and serve on juries.
Geographic Features and Landforms
The northern boundary of Wyoming is Montana; the western border is Montana, Idaho, and Utah; the southern edge is Utah and Colorado; and the eastern boundary is Nebraska and South Dakota. Each region has its characteristics.
The Great Plains are east of the state, consisting of shrubs and short grasses. The area is home to the famous Devils Tower National Monument site, the Black Hills. If you’ve never been to Devil’s Tower, it is a vast, interesting flat-topped hill.
The Rocky Mountain ranges run north to south across most of the state. The famous Rocky Mountains run across the state and are also home to the Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone. Yellowstone is the first-ever national park in the world. Yellowstone is famous for Old Faithful, a geyser that erupts approximately 17 times daily!
The Intermontane Basins area is between mountain ranges and has short grasses and few trees. Here you will discover the Red Desert, the country’s most extensive living dune system.
The Natural World
Red-tailed hawks, prairie falcons, pinyon jays, and mountain bluebirds are a few birds that soar over Wyoming. Buffalo, pronghorn, black bears, grizzlies, and bighorn sheep are among Wyoming’s many mammals. Here you can find frogs such as the Columbia spotted frog, toads, and salamanders such as the western tiger salamander.
Grasses, semi-desert shrubs, and desert shrubs, such as sagebrush and Rocky Mountain juniper, cover nearly the entire state. You will find ponderosa pines, lodgepole pines, and Douglas firs in forested areas. Wyoming is home to numerous wildflowers, including yarrow, sticky purple geranium, pink fairies, and Indian paintbrush (the state flower).
Besides coal, Wyoming produces petroleum, natural gas, bentonite from volcanic ash, used for construction, and detergents, among other things.
Some Fun Facts About Wyoming
- Wyoming has produced some famous people, including artist Jackson Pollock and writer Patricia MacLachlan, who wrote the book, Sarah, Plain and Tall.
- It’s also home to the National Museum of Wildlife Art, which has a three-quarter-mile-long sculpture trail. In addition, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, has ski resorts, dude ranches, and wildlife safaris that showcase the Yellowstone ecosystem. As a result, you can find massive sculptures of buffalo and moose galloping through the mountains!
- There are fewer people in Wyoming than in any other state.