Official State
Motto:   Equal Rights
Bird:   Western Meadowlark
Animal:   Bison
Fish:   Cutthroat Trout
Reptile:   Horned Lizard
Tree:   Plains Cottonwood
Grass:   Western Wheatgrass
U. Soil:   Forkwood
Gem:   Jade
Fossil:   Knightia

The Wyoming State Flag graphic

State Facts

Statehood:   July 10, 1890
Counties:   23
Size:   97,818 sq. mi.
L. Elev:   3,099 ft.
H. Elev:   13,804 ft.
A. Elev:   8,954 ft.
Pop:   579,315*
A. Pop:   5.04


NE Neighbors

•    Nebraska
•    Iowa
•    Missouri
•    Kansas
•    Colorado
•    Wyoming
•    South Dakota

Omaha & Neighbors

    Council Bluffs
    Sioux City
    Sioux Falls
    Grand Island
    Des Moines
    Cedar Rapids
    Iowa City
    North Platte
    Kansas City
    St. Louis



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Wyoming History

Archeologist have uncovered a site dating back 11,200 years showing mammoths next to bone tools, knives, and spearheads indicating North American Natives existence.  Arapahoe, Bannock, Blackfeet, Crow, Shoshone, and Sioux have been the major Native American groups living in Wyoming.  Also, the Flathead, Kiowa, Nez Percé, and Ute natives lived in Wyoming.  The bison and Great Plains culture was thriving when white explorers and settlers reached Wyoming.  The bison were often herded into brush corrals that lead to cliffs where the bison were run over the edge.  This was an easy way of acquiring meat for the natives. When enough had fallen over the edge that was needed, the rest were turned back out of the brush corral to live another day. When horses were adopted in the middle 1600s, herding was easier but the cliff runs continued until rifles were used.  Because of the great hunting grounds, several North American natives settled in Wyoming after being pushed out of their homelands in the east.  Due to the increased Native American nation numbers, Wyoming is where most native wars occurred, mostly over hunting territories.  The same is true with Native American and white settler battles.  Forts were built to protect travelers on their way to Oregon Territory along the Oregon Trail.

As more emigrants traveled through Wyoming, the Native Americans saw the decline of hunting game, and the effects that the travelers left on their grounds.  In 1841, a Cheyenne-Sioux attack party killed Henry Fraeb, a colleague of mountain man James Bridger (for whom Fort Bridger was named*).  After several incidents, in 1847, the government appointed Thomas Fitzpatrick as the first Native American agent for the Great Plains region.  Working with D. D. Mitchell, the superintendent of Indian affairs in St. Louis, a general conference of Native Americans of the Great Plains was announced in 1851.  Approximately 10,000 Native Americans attended the meeting held at the mouth of Horse Creek on the North Platte River.  Tribal territories were established to reduce intertribal conflicts and gifts valued at $50,000 were awarded to compensate for deterioration of Great Plains bison and grazing lands caused by the emigrants.  Annual annuities were awarded for a 50 year period (but was later changed to a 10 year period).

All was well for three years until a farmer's lost cow was found and killed by the Sioux.  Knowing only that the cow was missing, Lieutenant John Grattan of Fort Laramie took 29 men to a Sioux village to recover the cow.  When asked to surrender, the Sioux refused and a fight broke out.  In response to the Sioux Chief Brave Bear being killed, the Sioux responded by killing Grattan and all of his men.  Fort Laramie was no longer considered safe until reinforcement troops arrived to escort stagecoaches and trains through the territory.

Starting the next year, Colonel William Selby Harney led troops into battle with the Sioux over a period of two years.  After devastating losses, the Sioux stopped their attacks on white emigrants.  The region was peaceful until the Civil War in 1861 required troops travel back east.  Again without protection, emigrants traveling through Wyoming were attacked; so much that 1865 was known as the Bloody Year on the Great Plains.  The next year was not much better.  Three forts were built in the region despite Sioux objections.  In spite of being fully manned, a Fort Philip Kearney detachment of 81 led by Captain William Fetterman were all killed   In 1867 a peace treaty signed at Fort Laramie called for the evacuation of the new forts and the Sioux were given a 22,000 sq. mile tract of land in South Dakota west of the Missouri River, now known as the Great Sioux Reservation.  Most Sioux relocated to the reservation.  Both Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse refused and remained in their original territory.

When gold was discovered in the Black Hills, prospectors ventured into the Sioux territory.  Feeling that the treaty had been broken, some Sioux returned to join Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse in northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana.  In 1876, Colonel George Custer was sent to relocate the Sioux back to the reservation.  Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse resisted and led forces against Custer at Little Bighorn in Montana.  Due to Custer's loss, massive retaliations continued for the next year by which time most Sioux had returned to the reservation.

How do I find out even more

For more information on Great Plains Natives, check out these pages.

For more information on Wyoming, check out the Wyoming Official State website, and the Wyoming Visitors Guide website.