Absaroka (proposed state)

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proposed U.S. state
State of Absaroka
Official seal of Absaroka
Map of the United States with Absaroka highlighted
Map of the United States with Absaroka highlighted
CountryUnited States
Admitted to the Union(Not admitted)
CapitalSheridan (proposed 1939)
Largest cityRapid City
U.S. House delegationList
 • Total62,800 sq mi (162,700 km2)
Area rank22nd (hypothetical)
 • Length460 mi (740 km)
 • Width210 mi (340 km)
unknown ft (unknown m)
Highest elevation13,775 ft (4,199 m)
Lowest elevation
unknown ft (unknown m)
 • Total367,019
 • Rank51st of 51 (hypothetical)
 • Density5.84/sq mi (5.84/km2)
 • Density rank50th of 51 (hypothetical)
Time zoneUTC-07:00 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-06:00 (MDT)
Latitude43° N to 45° 56′ N
Longitude102° W to 111°3′ W
Contemporary map

Absaroka[1] (/æbˈsɑːrəkə/)[2] was an area in the United States, comprising parts of the states of Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming, that contemplated secession and statehood in 1939. The region's complaints came from ranchers and independent farmers in remote parts of the three states, who resented the New Deal and Democratic control of state governments, especially the government of Wyoming.[3] One of the leaders of the secessionist movement was A. R. Swickard, the street commissioner of Sheridan, Wyoming, who appointed himself "governor" and started hearing grievances in the "capital" of Sheridan.[4] Increasing tourism to the region was also a motivation for the proposed state, as Mount Rushmore (constructed 1927–1941) would be within Absaroka according to some plans.[5]

In a craze for state secession felt by the public, state automobile license plates bearing the name were distributed, as well as pictures of "Miss Absaroka 1939".[6]

The movement was unsuccessful and fairly short-lived. The chief record of its existence comes from the Federal Writers' Project, which included a story about the plan as an example of Western eccentricity.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Absaroka is from the Crow word meaning "children of the large-beaked bird", also shared with the Absaroka Range.
  2. ^ "Absaroka". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  3. ^ Johnson, Kirk. "A State That Never Was in Wyoming". New York Times. July 24, 2008.
  4. ^ Florence, Mason, Marisa Gierlich, and Andrew Dean Nystrom. 2001. Lonely Planet Rocky Mountains: Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. p413.
  5. ^ Michael J. Trinklein (2010). Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It. Quirk Books. ISBN 978-1-59474-410-5
  6. ^ License plate for "State of Absaroka." Inventory of the H.H. Horton papers, 1897–1960. Series III, Box 4: Artifacts, circa 1917–circa 1939. University of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
  7. ^ Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Wyoming. Wyoming: A Guide to Its History, Highways, and People. Oxford University Press. 1941.

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