Sunday, June 15, 2014

50 States: Wyoming

We have reached the end of our series. The very last state, in alphabetical order, is Wyoming.

Acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase, Wyoming (WY) became the 44th state on July 10, 1890, 31 years after it became a territory. It is located in the Rocky Mountain region and is the 9th largest state (97,105 square miles). There are nearly 600,000 Wyomingites; that means, there are only six people, on average, per square mile, making WY the least populated state. Two of the most noteworthy people born in Wyoming include artist Jackson Pollock and Vernon J. Baker who was the only black man to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor for WWII while he was still alive (he has since passed away). There have been scores of people associated with the television and film industry born there as well.

The capital is Cheyenne. The advertising slogan for Cheyenne is "Live the Legend." Check out the visitors' website. Before settlement by men of European descent, the Cheyenne, Crow, Shoshone, Sioux, and Ute tribes lived in this area.

Wyoming's nickname is the "Equality State," and the motto is "Equal Rights." Wyoming was the first state to grant women the right to vote; this took place in 1869.

The official flag of Wyoming was adopted in 1917. A white bison is prominently displayed in the center of the flag, and the seal of Wyoming is on the bison. On the seal is a woman who represents equal rights with a rancher and a miner on either side of her. Written on the columns beside the woman are the words livestock, grains, mines, and oil; these were the major industries of Wyoming. An eagle and a shield sit underneath the woman, and the dates of 1869 and 1890 flank the shield. These represent the dates that WY became a territory and a state, respectively.

The following are Wyoming's state symbols:

Bird...Western meadowlark
Reptile...Horned lizard
Fish...Cutthroat trout
Flower...Indian paintbrush
Tree...Plains cottonwood
Grass...Western wheatgrass

There have been 34 separate fossils found in Wyoming. If you are planning a trip to this state or have a chance to visit in the future, check out Fossil Butte National Monument.

Wondering what else there is to do in this sparsely populated state?

Hot Springs State Park

If you're looking for fairs and festivals or rodeos or tourist destinations related  to history, then go to Wyoming's Official State Travel Website.

*The very first national park was Yellowstone. This will be the first park discussed in the next series: U.S. National Parks.

Test your knowledge of Wyoming facts.

Since this is the last state and there are very few books about Wyoming for sale through, I will forego the list this week.

Join me next week as we tour the National Parks!