National & State Symbols
Wyoming History Timeline
Important Dates, Events, and Milestones
Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in Wyoming history.
Around 11,000 BCE, evidence suggest Native American inhabit the area now known as Wyoming, principally the Clovis, Folsom and Plano cultures. During 1100–1200 CE, native peoples construct a medicine wheel in the Big Horn Mountains. It is 25 yards in diameter and features 28 spokes extending from the rim to the center.
Wyoming became the 44th state to join the union in 1890. Wyoming was the first U.S. state to allow women to vote--an achievement that represented one of the early victories of the American women’s suffrage movement. Today, although it is the 10th largest state by area, Wyoming has the smallest population of all the states, with just over 550,000 residents.
18th Century Wyoming History Timeline
1742-43 - Francois Louis Verendrye entered area of Wyoming.
19th Century Wyoming History Timeline
1807 - Fresh from the Lewis and Clark expedition, mountain man, fur trapper, and explorer John Colter stumbles upon a land where hot water shoots straight into the air, the earth bubbles as if it were boiling, and almost extinct geysers thunder as if possessed by angry spirits. He calls the area in his written reports "Colter''s Hell."
1811 - Wilson Price Hunt party, the first organized expedition through Wyoming, crossed the state on the way to Astoria, in present day Oregon.
1812 - Robert Stuart and returning Astorians crossed the Continental Divide in the vicinity of South Pass and built the first known cabin in Wyoming, on North Platte River near Bessemer Bend.
1822 - William Ashley puts an ad in a St. Louis paper to recruit able-bodied men for his new enterprise. There is no shortage of willing young men. Ashley will not build a chain of forts to manage his fur trading operation. Instead, he sends his men out alone and makes arrangements to meet them all at a central place a year later. At the predetermined time, Ashley will load up his wagons with supplies and head off to meet his men.
1825 - Beginning of fur trade rendezvous period. Ashley's yearly journey begins in St. Louis and takes him deep into the heart of the Rockies. His wagons are the first vehicles to penetrate the west, blazing a wagon road for the settlers who will follow a decade later. When Ashley finally reaches his men each year, it is cause for celebration--a wild party they call "the rendezvous."
1827 - Ashley's party took first wheeled vehicle, a four - pounder cannon, through South Pass.
1832 - Capt. B. L. E. Bonneville took first wagons through South Pass, built Ft. Bonneville near present Daniel.
1833 - Bonneville discovers oil.
1834 - Ft. Laramie, first permanent trading post in Wyoming, established by William Sublette and Robert Campbell. Military post 1849 - 1890. Most of the great Indian treaties will be signed there
1836 - Narcissa Whitmarrand Eliza Spalding, brides of missionaries, first White women to pass over the Oregon Trail to the Far West.
1837 - Rendezvous is attended by more than 2,000 trappers, traders and Indians. Styles have already begun to change and top money is not received for the furs
1840 - First Catholic Mass celebrated in Wyoming, Father Pierre DeSmet officiating, near present Daniel.
1843 - Ft. Bridger, second permanent settlement, established by Jim Bridger and Louis Vasquez. Military post 1858 - 1890.
1847 - Mormon migration to Utah. Mormon ferry established on North Platte River.
1849 - US Government purchased Ft. Laramie.
1853 - Ft. Supply, first agricultural settlement, established by Mormons near Ft. Bridger. Deserted and burned in 1857.
1854 - Grattan Fight near Ft. Laramie.
1857 - Col. Albert S. Johnston Army reached site of Ft. Bridger and established temporary Camp Scott.
1861 - Transcontinental telegraph completed and Pony Express discontinued.
1872 - Yellowstone Park, first national park, created.
1873 - State prison is established in Laramie. The Wyoming Stock Growers Association is formed.
1881 - Jim Bridger, famous scout and guide, died in Missouri, July 17. Buried at Westport, Missouri.
1883 - Electric lights introduced in Cheyenne.
1884 - Fremont County is organized.
1885 - Chinese Massacre at Rock Springs.
1887 - University of Wyoming opened.
1888 - Capitol building completed.
1889 - Wyoming Constitutional Convention.
1890 - Wyoming Territory admitted into Union as 44th state, July 10.
1892 - Johnson County Invasion.
1894 - Mrs. Cort F. Meyer (Estelle Reel) elected State Supertintendent of Public Instruction, one of the first women in the US elected to a state office.
1896 - After using a couple of other names for their town, Buffalo Bill's company picks Cody in the hopes that his reputation will bring in settlers. It works.
1898 - Jim Baker, scout and mountain man, died May 15.
20th Century Wyoming History Timeline
1903 - Tom Horn hanged in Cheyenne, November 20; buried in Boulder, Colorado.
1904 - Brothers Howard, Alden, and Willis Eaton establish the West's first dude ranch near Sheridan.
1906 - Devils Tower National Monument, first in US, created September 24.
1918 - Uranium discovered in Wyoming, near Lusk.
1927 - Guernsey Dam is completed.
1929 - Grand Teton National Park is established.
1930 - Ft. D.A. Russell renamed Ft. Francis E. Warren in honor of Senator Warren of Wyoming.
1933 - Nellie Tayloe Ross is the first woman director of the US Mint. She will serve until 1955.
1935 - State sales tax adopted.
1936 - The "bucking horse" appears on Wyoming license plates.
1938 - Cody begins its Cody Nite Rodeo. Alcova Dam is completed.
1939 - Trona is discovered in Sweetwater County. Seminoe Dam is completed.
1939 - Trona discovered in Sweetwater County.
1941 - Richard Cheney is born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on January 30th. He will grow up in Casper, Wyoming, and earn his bachelor's and master's of arts degrees from the University of Wyoming.
1942 - Heart Mountain Relocation Center established in Park County.
1945 - Junior College enabling legislation passed.
1947 - Ft. F.E. Warren became F.E. Warren Air Force Base.
1949 - Severe blizzard paralyzed entire state.
1951 - The first Southern Baptist church in the state, First Southern Baptist Church, is formed in Casper by a group of families principally related to the oil industry.
1953 - The Casper-Wood River, Illinois, oil pipeline is dedicated.
1954 - Wyoming's first TV station opened, Cheyenne.
1965 - 75th Anniversary of Statehood observed statewide.
1966 - Congress establishes Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. It is in Wyoming and Montana.
1972 - Yellowstone National Park Centennial.
1974 - Mineral severance tax legislation approved.
1976 - US Supreme Court ruling allows strip mining of extensive coal fields.
1978 - Largest radio telescope in the world built on Jelm Mountain. Operated by University of Wyoming.
1979 - July 16, Cheyenne hit by tornado.
1979 - 1980 - Cheyenne received record snowfall amount 121 1/2".
1981 - Johnson County Centennial, organized 1881.
1982 - University of Wyoming Arena - Auditorium completed.
1984 - Fremont County Centennial, organized 1884.
1985 - Freak rainstorm hits Cheyenne, 12 persons killed.
1992 - Voters approve term limitation initiative.
1995 - Wolves reintroduced in Yellowstone.
1998 - Former Wyoming Governor Mike Sullivan appointed Ambassador to Ireland.
21st Century Wyoming History Timeline
2000 - Dick Cheney is elected Vice President of the US
2008 - Wyoming rated Best State nationally for statewide litter eradication from public properties by the American State Litter Scorecord; Wyoming ranked most "business friendly" tax climate of all 50 states by the Tax Foundation
2009 - Wyoming ranked at top for fastest growing state
2010 - "Cowboy Ethics" new official state code
2011 - Environmental Protection Agency said chemicals from "fracking" had polluted groundwater near Pavillion
US History Overview
The word History comes from the Greek word historķa meaning "to learn or know by inquiry." History is not static. It's fluid. It changes and grows and becomes richer and more complex when any individual interacts with it.