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The Wyoming in the 1920s


Wyoming landscape
Wyoming landscape

Like other states, Wyoming underwent considerable hardship during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Agricultural prices dropped, a number of mines closed down, and oil production declined. Difficulties were increased by a severe and prolonged drought that began in 1926 and continued well into the 1930s. Large areas of land, especially in southeastern Wyoming, where dry farming had been prevalent, were completely dried up.

In 1933 Wyoming became the last state to request financial aid during the Great Depression. In 1934 Congress adopted the Taylor Grazing Act, which was designed to help avoid overgrazing. With the aid of the U.S. Soil Conservation Service some parched regions were reclaimed and returned to use as irrigated pasture land.

World War II (1939-1945) provided new markets for Wyoming’s products. Cattle farmers saw demand for beef increase. After World War II, mineral production surpassed ranching and farming, becoming Wyoming’s most important industry. Major new oil discoveries were made in the Bighorn Basin and in northeastern Wyoming. By the end of the war, more than two dozen refineries were operating in the state, including a high-octane aircraft fuel plant at Cheyenne. Wartime demands for coal temporarily raised Wyoming’s annual coal production to 9 million metric tons.

After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, people of Japanese descent living on the Pacific Coast were relocated inland because they were perceived as a possible threat to the American war effort.

As many as 10,000 Japanese-Americans were sent to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming. Most had been residents of California, and few established residence in Wyoming after the camp was closed at the end of the war. In 1988 Congress allotted $20,000 in compensation to each living survivor of the Japanese relocation. "Wyoming" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.

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