Wyoming – The Land of Equality and Natural Beauty|
Wyoming is the land of plains and mountains situated in the western part of the nation. It holds the nation’s Great Plains and Rocky Mountains. But the name Wyoming means more than plains and mountains. To the Americans, the name Wyoming always connotes western US state that represents best the grandeur, the freedom, the West’s elbowroom.
Wyoming is the least populous U.S. state. It is the home of the Oregon Trail, of the first transcontinental railroad, of the mountain men and the cowboys. Wyoming is also among the few states with clear, cool, fresh, crisp and clean air. Haunting in its natural beauty is a remote wilderness.
Wyoming is situated about midway between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean. Looking on a map, this state appears to be rectangular in shape and it is one of the states that are not bordered by mountains, rivers or ocean shores.
In the north, Wyoming is bordered by Montana, on the east by South Dakota and Nebraska, by Colorado on the south and by Utah and Idaho on the west.
Wyoming’s landscape is made up of high plains, lofty mountain ranges, and extremely eroded plateaus. Generally, it is an arid state wherein much of the land receives less than 10 inches of rainfall annually. Situated in the south central section of the state is the Snowy Range which seems to be an extension of the Colorado Rockies in geology and appearance.
There are several rivers flowing through this Equality State. Among them are Powder River, Yellowstone River and the Snake River.
Generally, Wyoming is a portion in the dry interior of North America. The precipitation varies from place to place. During summer, Wyoming has moderate temperature while winter in the mountainous portions is long and cold, with deep snow.
As mentioned above, Wyoming is the nation’s least populous state with an estimated population of 506, 529, as of 2004. The foreign-born inhabitants are about 11,000.
Wyoming’s racial makeup is composed of 88.9% White, 6.4% Hispanic, 2.3% Native American, 0.8% Black, 0.6% Asian and 1.8% Mixed race.
English, German, Irish, American and Norwegian are the five largest ancestry groups found in this state.
As to religious affiliations, 78% of the population are Christians, 1% have other religions and 21% are non-religious. Among the Christians, 53% are Protestants, 18% are Roman Catholic and 7% are Mormon.
Cattle and sheep remain to be significant in Wyoming, like they were before. But at present, the state’s petroleum, coal, sodium carbonate and uranium, proved to bring greater wealth. Wyoming’s coal reserves are estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of tons.
In this state, most of the people make their living from trade and service industries, government work, manufacturing and the construction industry. Tourism is growing in big importance because as the states become crowded, the enormous plains in such states are getting more and more attractive.
Crude petroleum comprises the largest part of the state’s mining income. Almost all the counties produce petroleum except for Park, Campbell and Sweetwater counties which hold the greatest producing oil fields.
Early settlers in Wyoming were very eager for schools. They even made use of any equipment at hand. The first school in Wyoming was built at Fort Laramie in 1852. And in 1969, when Wyoming became a territory, the legislature passed a law that gave way to an educational system sustained by taxation. This law was later reviewed and adopted.
Wyoming now has a number of colleges and universities including Casper College, Central Wyoming College, Eastern Wyoming College, Laramie County Community College, Northwest College, Sheridan College, University of Wyoming, Western Wyoming University College and Wyoming technical Institute.
Cities and Towns
The cities of Wyoming aren’t that large. Only the Cheyenne and the Casper have inhabitants exceeding 40,000.
Cheyenne is Wyoming’s capital city. It is situated in the southeastern section of the state and was put-up in 1867 by the Union Pacific railroad. Among Wyoming’s major cities, Casper is the most centrally located. It is the state’s chief business center for the large stock-raising and mining area of east central Wyoming.
The University of Wyoming was established in Laramie. This city is also the hub for stock-raising, lumbering, and recreational spot in the southeast.
Wyoming is known for being the most conservative and the most loyal Republican state in the nation. Its territorial legislature in 1869 was the first legislature in the United States that gives the women the right to vote and to have a place in public office on an equal basis with men. This is the main reason why Wyoming has long been recognized as the Equality State.
The state government’s executive branch is headed by the governor, which, together with other higher elected officials, is going to take the office for 4-year term.
The state legislature is composed of the Senate, which are elected for 4-year terms, and representatives with 2-year terms.
Wyoming’s judicial system is made up of Supreme Court, district courts and justices of the peace.