Wyoming, abbreviated WY and Wyo., Is a state in the United States, one of the mountain states. The state has a total area of 253 349 km2 and has 579 315 residents (US Census, 2017), making it the least populous state of the United States. The capital is Cheyenne.
The name Wyoming is a distortion of Algonkin maughwauwame, which means ‘severe erasure, large prairie’. The state is also called The Cowboy State or The Equality State, because in 1869 Wyoming as the first state gave women the right to vote.
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The eastern part belongs to the Great Plains, a wavy plain, 1500-1800 meters above sea level. The central and western parts are filled by the Rocky Mountains, which at Gannett Peak reach 4207 meters above sea level. In the northwest corner is Yellowstone National Park. The North Platte River flows through the state to the east.
The climate is dry and continental, but often with large local variations. Cheyenne (1850 m asl) in the southeast has an average temperature of –3.9 °C in January; 18.9 °C in July and 375 mm of precipitation. However, the annual rainfall varies from approx. 100 mm in desert areas in the southwest, to over 1000 mm in high mountain areas. Parts of the state are bush steppe and desert. In the mountains spruce, pine and aspen are common tree species.
Of the population, 84 percent are white, 10 percent Hispanic, 2.7 percent indigenous, and 1.3 percent black / African American (US Census, 2017). 64.8 per cent live in cities or urban areas (2010). The largest cities are the capital Cheyenne, Casper and Laramie. The most important institution of higher education is the University of Wyoming in Laramie, founded in 1886, which is a popular study site for Norwegian engineering students. The largest church community is the Protestant and Roman Catholic Church, and the Mormons.
Wyoming sends two senators and one representative to the federal congress in Washington DC.
With the help of irrigation, hay, wheat and sugar beets are grown. Half the area is utilized as grazing for cattle, sheep and pigs. Wyoming is a petroleum-producing state. The largest fields are in Salt Creek north of Casper. Iron ore, phosphate, plaster and limestone are also extracted.
The industry includes food, wood processing and machinery, among others. Tourism plays a significant role in the economy, and Wyoming is visited annually by 8.7 million tourists (2017). Hunting and fishing are widespread.
A fur trading station was established in 1834, and around it came the first permanent settlement in the area. In 1869, Wyoming was organized as territory and in 1890 joined the Union as the 44th state of the United States.
In 1925, Nellie Tayloe Ross was elected as the first woman governor in one of the states of the United States, and is still the only woman to have been governor of Wyoming.