History of Wyoming/Introduction

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Introduction[edit]

Wyoming became the forty-fourth state admitted into the Union in 1890. However, to announce statehood in the year which Wyoming was inducted would be a significant misjudgment of its prolonged adversity, downfalls, and success. Culture was very defined throughout the state. Wyoming is often known for it's bison, cowboys, and oil. Wyoming's capital city, as well as it's largest city, is Cheyenne with a population of around 60,000 people.

The State of Wyoming has been a excellent patriotic state by putting forth training bases for the First and Second World War and having a extremely large air force base called Francis E Warren AFB which has about 4000 regular members. This also serves as the base of the Auxiliary Air Command. The US Army has limited personal in that area because of the close proximity to other large military bases. Wyoming has had a excellent history in the USN (United States Navy)for being the namesake for three surface ships and one submarine all of which have served in conflicts around the world. The USS Wyoming (BB-32) served in the Second World War and was severely damaged several times but survived the war and was honourably decommissioned in 1947. The State of Wyoming kept the ship's flag and battleship markings and put them into their Museum (Carter Museum of Naval History). They also kept their items and the hull was scrapped in New York in 1947. The current namesake of the state is the submarine USS Wyoming (SSBN-742) which is an Ohio Class submarine. The captain of this submarine wears a cowboy hat with the cow markings of its home state. She was also the first to allow female officers aboard and trains new officers for their first rotation.

Much of the state's history revolves around it's well known nickname of the 'Cowboy State'. This name was coined due to its vast heritage of cattle, cowboys and various western traditions. Cowboys have often been over dramatized in various books, movies, and television shows. However, their duties were quite simple throughout the state. They were hired by ranchers to care for the cattle until they were ready for the market. Although these tasks may have been simple or mundane, they often meant long hard hours and were essential to the Wyoming economy.

Cowboy performing his daily duties

Cattle were not the only animals which aided the state of Wyoming. The introduction of the Spanish Horse was vital for 'hunter gatherers'. Spanish horses were replaced with agile horses. These animals also provided transportation which made daily activities easier which ultimately shaped the culture of Wyoming. It is important to note that a less prominent and less praised culture that occurred within Wyoming. During a ten year cattle depression throughout the state, vigilantes began to emerge through the Wyoming Stock Growers Association. These men would lynch those who were a threat or became an enemy. Little to no effort was made to punish these murderers. In addition to somewhat barbaric measures of murder, immigrant Americans also did not cooperate with Native American Indians. The Indian wars which lasted from the 1850s throughout the 1870s consisted of broken treaties, encroachment of land, and conflicting hunting grounds. These events did not prove to be proud moments of Wyoming history, however remained to shape that state as it is viewed today.

Bison - Wyoming Native Animal
Wyoming State Flag

The way in which Wyoming is represented in the modern era and throughout history is depicted through the Wyoming state flag which was adopted in 1917. The flag illustrates a tremendous amount of detail. The flag depicts a bison which became a prominent animal throughout Wyoming. There are two males and a pillar which read, "oil", "mining", "livestock", and "grain". These four words are the pinnacle of Wyoming's history as each aspect contributed to the success and downfall of the state. Finally, there is a woman holding a scroll that reads "equal rights". In 1860, women had comprised of only one sixth of the population, however women's suffrage was a very significant topic within the state. In 1869, Wyoming passed their women's suffrage bill and proved to be a pioneer and innovator for women's rights across the United States.

Wyoming has served to be an exemplary state for The United States. The progression of women's rights, contribution to the economy, and it's proud American history, are all attributes that comprise the Cowboy State. The patriotic heritage continues into modern era, and the state's citizens act accordingly.


Overall, the state of Wyoming has a very fascinating and significant past. Wyoming has the reputation of being associated as the "Cowboy States" and with this label it will forever have an impact on the United States of America.

The Old West[edit]

The notion of the "The Old West" derives itself from the Western portion of the United States. In particular, the state of Wyoming carries many of the cultural attributes associated with the cliché of "The Old West". The state of Wyoming became known throughout American pioneer history as a place of trade. Europeans, in search of fur pelts, took an active interest in the development of the land. The fur trade provided a foundation upon which other trade would soon develop throughout the region. Wyoming was also utilized as a trade route, primarily for the transportation of gold from Oregon to California. But the commercial activity that truly created the association of The Old West and Wyoming was cattle ranch productions.


Another contributing factor to the association with The Old West was the clash between the native cultures and the settler culture. These culture clashes often characterized towns of The Old West, and Wyoming was no exception. Due to the fact that Wyoming was such a vital trade route, natives, as well as bandits, were continuously creating ambushes on different various paths in an effort to try and obtain cargo that was being transported across the region. The constant robberies indirectly helped the expansion and development of the region because an increase of military presence was required which led in part to the further construction of villages and posts.


The increase in development was timely to match an increase in migrating workers and gold seekers to the area. The most important post was Fort Laramie as it not only played a role in accommodating a growing population in the area, but it also became a leading centre for the cattle industry. With the expansion of commerce and development in Wyoming the concept of the Wild West began to fade. However, the cultural icons which had influenced the image of "The Old West" was still alive. The idea of the cowboy has always been centered around the West and primarily this image has been seen and idolized in many movies. In reality, the cowboy profession is a labour intensive and lonely lifestyle. However, the cattle industry had become very profitable for Wyoming. The idea of The Old West in relation to Wyoming is one that can be seen throughout the state's history. Furthermore, these cultural attributes can still be seen in modern day Wyoming. This is evident in a number of cases such as the states national sport consisting of the "rodeo" as well as the state's animal being the bison. These images and representations of Wyoming have encouraged people to link Wyoming with The Old West. This traditional Old West heritage has been and continues to be a prominent part of Wyoming's identity and is an association that will never fade.