25 July 1868

The Wyoming Territory is established.

On this day in 25 July 1868, Congress created the Wyoming Territory. To do so, Republican-led lawmakers carved out land from the Dakota, Idaho and Utah territories.

The proposal had been on the congressional docket since 1865, when Rep. James M. Ashley, chairman of the House Committee on Territories, pressed his fellow legislators to provide a “temporary government for the territory of Wyoming.” But Ashley’s bill failed to advance out of his committee.

When the Senate took up the issue again, in 1868, several other names were put forward for the new territory. They included Shoshone, Arapaho, Sioux, Platte, Big Horn, Yellowstone, Sweetwater, Lincoln and Cheyenne, the last the name of the eventual state capital.

By then, however, the name “Wyoming” was already in wide use. It soon emerged as the most popular choice of the still sparse populace. It was adopted from a Delaware Indian word that meant “at the big river flat” and originally designated Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley.

The federal government acquired the land that is now Wyoming’s eastern sector in 1803 from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Several years later, John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition, became the first non-Native American known to have entered the region. He explored the area around what is now Yellowstone National Park and brought back word of its geysers and hot springs.

25 July 2007

Pratibha Patil becomes India’s first female president.


Pratibha Patil has won the 12th Presidential Elections of the Republic of India, becoming the first woman president of the second most populous country in the world.

Patil, 72, previously governor of the state of Rajasthan, had support from the governing coalition. She won approximately two thirds of the vote, almost double the number of votes of her nearest rival Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who resigned as Vice-President after losing the poll.

Patil was a last-minute candidate who appeared when the coalition that leads the congress and the communist allies could not choose a common candidate. The supporters of Patil hope that her election could bring to the spotlight, problems that affect women in India, such as the high murder rate or domestic violence and abuse.

More than 4,500 members of the Parliament of India and state Legislative Assemblies were eligible to vote for the largely ceremonial office.

Patil was recently the centre of controversy after allegations that a bank gave out cheap loans to her relatives, and for her controversial statements about the Muslim veil.

The President-elect will succeed the 11th President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, an engineer and scientist. She is expected to be sworn in on July 25 in the Central Hall of Parliament.

The President of India, also called Rashtrapati, is the head of state and first citizen of India and the Supreme Commander of the Indian armed forces. The President’s role is largely ceremonial. The powers of the President of India are comparable to those of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The real executive authority in India is vested in the Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister. In 1966, Indira Gandhi became the first and to date the only female prime minister of India.