Wyoming is a state in the Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. It is bordered by Montana to the north and northwest, South Dakota and Nebraska to the east, Idaho to the west, Utah to the southwest, and Colorado to the south. With a population of 576,851 in the 2020 United States census, Wyoming is the least populous state despite being the 10th largest by area, with the second-lowest population density after Alaska. The state capital and most populous city is Cheyenne, which had an estimated population of 63,957 in 2018.
Wyoming’s western half is covered mostly by the ranges and rangelands of the Rocky Mountains, while the eastern half of the state is high-elevation prairie called the High Plains. It is drier and windier than the rest of the country, being split between semi-arid and continental climates with greater temperature extremes. Almost half of the land in Wyoming is owned by the federal government, generally protected for public uses. The state ranks sixth by area and fifth by proportion of a state’s land owned by the federal government. Federal lands include two national parks (Grand Teton and Yellowstone), two national recreation areas, two national monuments, several national forests, historic sites, fish hatcheries, and wildlife refuges.
Indigenous peoples inhabited the region for thousands of years. Historic and current federally recognized tribes include the Arapaho, Crow, Lakota, and Shoshone. The land that is now Wyoming passed into American sovereignty in pieces with the Louisiana Purchase, Oregon Treaty, and lastly the Mexican Cession. The opening of Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, and California Trail carried vast numbers of pioneers through a region once documented only by fur trappers and spurred the establishment of forts, such as Fort Laramie, that continue to serve as population centers today. The Transcontinental Railroad supplanted the wagon trails with a route through southern Wyoming in 1867, bringing new settlers and founding towns, including the state capital of Cheyenne. On March 27, 1890, Wyoming became the 44th state in the union. Farming and ranching, and the attendant range wars, feature prominently in the state’s history.
Today Wyoming’s economy is largely based on tourism and the extraction of minerals such as coal, natural gas, oil, and trona. Agricultural commodities include barley, hay, livestock, sugar beets, wheat, and wool. It was the first state (barring New Jersey before 1807) to allow women the right to vote and the right to assume elected office, as well as the first state to elect a female governor. Due to this part of its history, its main nickname is “The Equality State” and its official state motto is “Equal Rights”. It is among the least religious states in the country, and is known for its political culture leaning towards libertarian conservatism. The Republican presidential nominee has carried the state in every election since 1968.