Wyoming historical overview
Many Spanish conquistadors, explorers, missionaries, and colonists garner much of the credit for the so-called early settlement of the southwestern and inter-Rocky Mountain regions of the United States in the middle of the sixteenth century. However, Mexican mestizos who accompanied the Spaniards northward were larger in number and provided most of the labor that greatly contributed to the heralded Spanish accomplishments. Whereas the nineteenth-century fur trading, livestock, mining, and railroad industries hastened Mexican mestizaje in the Wyoming territory, twentieth-century industrialization and commercial agriculture solidified the Mexican presence in the Cowboy State. Racial and ethnic discrimination experienced throughout the twentieth century produced political organizing and resilient Mexican American communities, which continue to significantly contribute to the Wyoming historical and cultural landscape at the turn of the twenty-first century.