Wyoming was inhabited by Native Americans for centuries, but was first explored by white men in 1807 when John Colter discovered the region that would come to be known as Yellowstone National Park. For some time, settlements in Wyoming were sparse and consisted primarily of trappers seeking beaver pelts to make hats for British gentlemen. The settlements began to grow into towns during the Gold Rush that brought many through Wyoming. Wyoming achieved statehood in 1889.
Besides being a frequent pit stop for travellers on their way west, Wyoming is also known for being the area where the last of the major battles with the Native Americans were fought. Ft. Kearny of north Wyoming, for example, reportedly had the bloodiest history of any fort in the West. One particularly famous battle took place in 1866 when 81 soldiers set out from Ft. Kearny and were ambushed and slaughtered by Indians led by Crazy Horse and Red Cloud.
The talk concerning statehood for Wyoming originally began in 1869, when land had been organized into Wyoming Territory. About two decades later in 1888, the Wyoming Territorial Assembly sent Congress a petition for admission into the Union. However, bills failed to pass in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Despite the setback, Governor Francis E. Warren decided to continue as if an enabling act had passed. On July 8, 1889, Wyoming Territory held an election of delegates to Wyoming's one and only Constitutional Convention. A few months later, the state's constitution was approved on Nov. 5, 1889.
Two years after failing to gain entry into the Union, Wyoming tried again. Eventually, both houses of Congress passed the bill, and President Benjamin Harrison signed it, as well, making Wyoming the 44th state of the United States.