Wyoming, state in the Rocky Mountain region of northwestern United States; bordered by Montana to the north, South Dakota and Nebraska to the east, Colorado to the south, Utah to the south and west, and Utah, Idaho, and Montana to the west.
Land and climate
Wyoming has the second-highest average elevation of any state (Colorado's is highest). Part of the Continental Divide runs northwest to southeast through central Wyoming. Wyoming has three major land regions. The Rocky Mountains in western, central, and southeastern Wyoming. The Rocky Mountains region is separated in central and northern Wyoming by the Intermontane Basins, which are relatively flat, treeless areas separating various sections of high mountain peaks. The Great Plains, in eastern Wyoming, is a region consisting of flat or gently rolling grassland. Three major river systems rise in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming: the Missouri, the Colorado, and the Columbia. Forests cover about one-sixth of the state. Yellowstone National Park, in the state's northwestern corner, has the world's largest geyser, magnificent waterfalls, and deep canyons. Wyoming's climate is dry, with warm, brief summers and long, cold winters. Principal cities are Casper and Cheyenne.
Mining and service industries (including tourism) lead Wyoming's economy. Chief mining products are petroleum, natural gas, coal, uranium, sodium carbonate, clays, Portland cement, and crushed stone. Manufacturing and agriculture account for only a small share of the gross state product. Chief manufactured goods are chemicals, nonelectrical machinery, processed foods, lumber and wood products, refined petroleum products, and stone, clay, and glass products. Ranching is the leading agricultural activity; chief livestock products are beef cattle, milk, sheep, and wool; chief crops are hay, barley, wheat, sugar beets, corn, and beans.
Wyoming's constitution was adopted in 1889. The governor serves a 4-year term. The state legislature consists of 30 senators serving 4-year terms and 64 representatives serving 2-year terms. In the U.S. Congress, Wyoming is represented by 2 senators and 1 representative.
Native American hunters were the area's first residents; the first Europeans—French fur trappers—arrived in the mid-1700s. John Colter, an American trapper, made the first records of the Yellowstone region in 1807. Over the next 30 years, the fur trade developed and European-American settlers passed through Wyoming on the Oregon Trail. Native Americans fought foreign encroachment on their lands (1849–76) until the U.S. Army wiped out or divided their forces. The Territory of Wyoming was created by Congress in 1868; in 1869 it became the first state or territory to give women the right to vote. Cattle and oil industries developed in the 1880s; in 1890 Wyoming became the 44th state. In 1892 the bitter John son County Warbroke out between cattle ranchers and sheep herders; tensions and occasional violence lasted into the early 1900s. Federal home stead acts brought new waves of settlers to the state in the early 1900s; 1912 brought the state's first oil boom. In 1924 Wyoming elected the nation's first woman governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross. Wyoming was hard hit by the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression of the 1930s but, since World War II, uranium and tourist industries have prospered; the state's population grew by 42% from 1970 to 1980. The 1980s brought economic decline and a drop-off in population. Wyoming's leaders are seeking more diverse industries to revive its economy.