Wyoming, state, United States: Native American Hostilities and Increased Settlement

Native American Hostilities and Increased Settlement

Native Americans hostile to encroachment in the early 1860s forced the rerouting of stagecoaches to the south, along the Overland Trail. Displaced from their former homes in the east and west, and waging internecine warfare for control of the rich buffalo ranges, the tribes feared further encroachment by the settlers on their hunting grounds, especially after the opening (1864) of the Bozeman Trail. Treaties were made and broken by both sides, and wars with the Sioux persisted, particularly in the Powder River valley.

Meanwhile, S Wyoming was relatively free of attacks, and a gold rush, stimulated by the discoveries at South Pass (1867), brought the first heavy influx of settlers to that region; the flow was increased by the uncovering of vast coal deposits in SW Wyoming. Probably the greatest stimulus to settlement was the completion (1868) of the Wyoming sector of the Union Pacific RR. Towns, including Cheyenne, sprang up beside the tracks, and trade thrived on the demands of the road crews and the new settlers.

Sections in this article:

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. Political Geography