Wyoming is a state in the Western United States. The majority of the state is dominated by the mountain ranges and rangelands of the Rocky Mountain West, while the easternmost section of the state includes part of a high altitude prairie region known as the High Plains. While the tenth largest U.S. state by size, Wyoming is the least populous, with a U.S. Census estimated population of 522,830 in 2007, a 5.9% increase since 2000. The capital and the most populous city of Wyoming is Cheyenne.
Several Native American groups originally inhabited the region now known as Wyoming. The Crow, Arapaho, Lakota, and Shoshone were but a few of the original inhabitants encountered when white explorers first entered the region. Although French trappers may have ventured into the northern sections of the state in the late 1700s, John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, first described the region in 1807. His reports of the Yellowstone area were considered at the time to be fictional. Robert Stuart and a party of five men returning from Astoria discovered South Pass in 1812. The Oregon Trail later followed that route. In 1850, Jim Bridger located what is now known as Bridger Pass, which the Union Pacific Railroad used in 1868 — as did Interstate 80, ninety years later. Bridger also explored Yellowstone and filed reports on the region that, like those of Colter, were largely regarded as tall tales at the time.
The region may have acquired the name Wyoming as early as 1865, when Representative J. M. Ashley of Ohio introduced a bill to Congress to provide a "temporary government for the territory of Wyoming". The name Wyoming derives from the Munsee name xwé:wamənk, meaning "at the big river flat", originally applied to the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania, made famous by the 1809 poem Gertrude of Wyoming by Thomas Campbell.
The United States admitted Wyoming into the Union as the 44th state on July 10, 1890.
- Episode 118: "Cry Wolf"