- History of Utah
Native Americans have lived in what is now
Utahfor several thousand years. Most archeological evidence dates the earliest habitation to about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. These paleolithic people utilized habitat near the Great Basin's swamps and marshes, which had an abundance of fish, birds, and small game animals. Big game, including bison, mammoths and ground sloths, also were attracted to these water sources. Over the centuries, the mega-fauna disappeared, while bison, mule deerand antelopebecame more predominant.
Around 8000 BCE, a very different people began to utilize the Utah area. Known as the Desert Archaic, these people sheltered in caves which edge areas of the
Great Salt Lake. Relying more on gathering than the previous Utah residents, their diet was mainly composed of cattailsand other salt tolerant plants such as pickleweed, burro weed and sedge. Red meat appears to have been more of a luxury, although these people used nets and the atlatlto hunt water fowl, ducks, small animals and antelope. Artifacts include nets woven with plant fibers and rabbit skin, woven sandals, gaming sticks, and animal figures made from split-twigs. About 3,500 years ago, lake levels rose and the population of Desert Archaic people appears to have dramatically decreased. The Great Basin may have been almost unoccupied for 1,000 years.
The Fremont culture, named from sites near the Fremont River in
Utah, lived in what is now north and western Utah and parts of Nevada, Idahoand Coloradofrom approximately 600 to 1300 CE. These people lived in areas close to water sources that had been previously occupied by the Desert Archaic people, and may have had some relationship with them. However, their use of new technologies define them as a distinct people. Fremont technologies include:
* use of the bow and arrow while hunting,
maizeand probably beans and squash,
* building above ground granaries of
* creating and decorating low-fired
* producing art, including jewelry and rock art such as
petroglyphs and pictographs.
The ancient Puebloan culture, also known as the Anasazi, occupied territory adjacent to the Fremont. The ancestral Puebloan culture centered around the present-day Four Corners area of the
Southwest United States, including the San Juan River region of Utah. Archaeologists debate when this distinct cultureemerged, but cultural development seems to date from about the common era, about 500 years before the Fremont appeared. It is generally accepted that the cultural peak of these people was around the 1200 CE. Ancient Puebloan culture is known for well constructed pithouses and more elaborate adobe and masonry dwellings. They were excellent craftsmen, producing turquoisejewelry and fine pottery. The Puebloan culture was based on agriculture, and the people created and cultivated fields of maize, beans, and squash and domesticated turkeys. They designed and produced elaborate field terracing and irrigation systems. They also built structures, some known as kivas, apparently designed solely for cultural and religious rituals.
These two later cultures were roughly contemporaneous, and appear to have established trading relationships. They also shared enough cultural traits that archaeologists believe the cultures may have common roots in the early American Southwest. However, each remained culturally distinct throughout most of their history. These two well established cultures appear to have been severely impacted by climatic change and perhaps by the incursion of new people in about 1200 CE. Over the next two centuries, the Fremont and ancient Pueblo people may have moved into the American southwest, finding new homes and farmlands in the river drainages of Arizona, New Mexico and northern Mexico.
In about 1200 CE, Shoshonean speaking peoples entered Utah territory from the west. They may have originated in southern California and shifted into a desert environment due to population pressure along the coast. They were an upland people with a hunting and gathering lifestyle utilizing roots and seeds, including the pinyon nut. They were also skillful fishermen, created pottery and raised some crops. When they first arrived in Utah, they lived as small family groups with little tribal organization. Four main Shoshonean peoples inhabited Utah country. The
Shoshonein the north and northeast, the Gosiutes in the northwest, the Utes in the central and eastern parts of the region and the Southern Paiutesin the southwest. Initially, there seems to have been very little conflict between these groups.
In the early 1500s, the San Juan River basin in Utah's southeast also saw a new people, the Díne or Navajo, part of a greater group of plains
Athabaskanspeakers moved into the Southwest from the Great Plains. In addition to the Navajo, this language group contained people that were later known as Apaches, including the Lipan, Jicarilla, and Mescalero Apaches.
Athabaskans were a hunting people who initially followed the bison, and were identified in 16th-century Spanish accounts as "dog nomads". The Athabaskans expanded their range throughout the 17th century, occupying areas the Pueblo peoples had abandoned during prior centuries. The Spanish first specifically mention the "Apachu de Nabajo" (Navaho) in the
1620s, referring to the people in the Chama valley region east of the San Juan River, and north west of Santa Fe. By the 1640s, the term Navaho was applied to these same people. Although the Navajo newcomers established a generally peaceful trading and cultural exchange with the some modern Pueblo peoples to the south, they experienced intermittent warfare with the Shoshonean peoples, particularly the Utes in eastern Utah and western Colorado.
Francisco Vásquez de Coronadomay have crossed into what is now southern Utah in 1540, when he was seeking the legendary Cíbola.
A group led by two Catholic priests—sometimes called the
Dominguez-Escalante Expedition—left Santa Fe in 1776, hoping to find a route to the Californiacoast. The expedition traveled as far north as Utah Lakeand encountered the native residents.
Jim Bridger—explored some regions of Utah in the early 1800s. The city of Provo was named for one such man, Étienne Provost, who visited the area in 1825. The city of Ogden, Utahis named for a brigade leader of the Hudson's Bay Company, Peter Skene Ogdenwho trapped in the Weber Valley.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as Mormon pioneers, first came to the Salt Lake Valleyon July 24, 1847. At the time, the territory which would become the state of Utah was still under the control of Mexico. As a consequence of the Mexican-American War, the land became the territory of the United Statesupon the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, February 2, 1848. The treaty was ratified by the United States Senateon March 10.
Colonizing the desert
Upon arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, the Mormons literally had to make a place to live. They created irrigation systems, laid out farms, built houses, churches and schools. Access to water was crucially important. Almost immediately,
Brigham Youngset out to identify and claim additional community sites. While it was difficult to find large areas in the Great Basinwhere water sources were dependable and growing seasons long enough to raise vitally important subsistence crops, satellite communities began to be formed.
Shortly after the first company arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, the community of Bountiful was settled to the north. In 1848, settlers moved into lands purchased from trapper
Miles Goodyearin present day Ogden. In 1849, Tooele and Provo were founded. Also that year, at the invitation of Ute chief Wakara, settlers moved into the Sanpete Valley in central Utah to establish the community of Manti. Fillmore, Utah, intended to be the capital of the new territory, was established in 1851. In 1855, missionary efforts aimed at western native cultures led to outposts in Fort Lemhi, Idaho, Las Vegas, Nevadaand Elk Mountain in east central Utah.
The experiences of returning members of the
Mormon Battalionwere also important in establishing new communities. On their journey west, the Mormon soldiers had identified dependable rivers and fertile river valleys in Colorado, Arizona and southern California. In addition, as the men traveled to rejoin their families in the Salt Lake Valley, they moved through southern Nevada and southern Utah. Jefferson Hunt, senior Mormon officer of the Battalion, actively searched for settlement sites, minerals and other resources. His report encouraged 1851 settlement efforts in Iron County, near present day Cedar City. These southern explorations eventually led to Mormon settlements in St. George, Utah, Las Vegas and San Bernadino, California, as well as communities in southern Arizona.
tate of Deseret (proposed)
Statehood was petitioned for in 1849-50 using the name
Deseret. The proposed State of Deseretwould have been quite large, encompassing all of what is now Utah, and portions of Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico and California. The name of Deseret was favored by the LDS leader Brigham Young as a symbol of industry and was derived from a reference in the Book of Mormon. The petition was rejected by Congress. One reason for the rejection was the reluctance of Congress to grant such a large piece of territory to a state controlled and populated by Mormons. Another reason may have been the low population levels. However, other states, without the stigma of being connected to Mormons, achieved statehood with small populations. It is unclear how much Congress knew about the Mormon practice of polygamy in 1849 and 1850. Utah would not become a state until 1896.
In 1850, the
Utah Territorywas created with the Compromise of 1850, and Fillmore was designated the capital. In 1856, Salt Lake City replaced Fillmore as the territorial capital.
Disputes between the
Mormoninhabitants and the US Government intensified after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintspractice of polygamy was known to the government. The polygamous practices of the Mormons, which were made public in 1854, would be the major reason Utah was denied statehood until almost 50 years after the Mormons had entered the area.
After news of their polygamous practices spread, the members of the LDS Church were quickly viewed as un-American and rebellious. In 1857, after news of a false rebellion spread, the government sent troops on the "Utah expedition" to quell the supposed rebellion and to replace
Brigham Youngas territorial governor with Alfred Cumming. The resulting conflict is known as the Utah War.
As troops approached Salt Lake in northern Utah, nervous Mormon settlers and
Paiutesattacked and killed 120 immigrants from Arkansasin southern Utah. The attack became known as the Mountain Meadows massacre. The massacre became a point of contention between LDS leaders and the federal government for decades. Only one man, John D. Lee, was ever convicted of the murders, and he was executed at the massacre site.
Before troops led by
Albert Sidney Johnstonentered the territory, Brigham Young ordered all residents of Salt Lake City to evacuate southward to Utah Valleyand sent out a force, known as the Nauvoo Legion, to delay the government's advance. Although wagons and supplies were burned, eventually the troops arrived, and Young surrendered official control to Cumming, although most subsequent commentators claim that Young retained true power in the territory. A steady stream of governors appointed by the president quit the position, often citing the unresponsiveness of their supposed territorial government. By agreement with Young, Johnston established Fort Floyd 40 miles away from Salt Lake City, to the southwest.
Salt Lake City was the last link of the
First Transcontinental Telegraph, completed in October 1861. Brigham Young was among the first to send a message, along with Abraham Lincolnand other officials.
Because of the
American Civil War, federal troops were pulled out of Utah Territory, leaving the territory in LDS hands until Patrick E. Connor arrived with a regiment of California volunteers in 1862. Connor established Fort Douglas just three miles (5 km) east of Salt Lake City and encouraged his men to discover mineral deposits to bring more non-Mormons into the state. Minerals were discovered in Tooele County, and miners began to flock to the territory.
Beginning in 1865,
Utah's Black Hawk Wardeveloped into the deadliest conflict in the territory's history. Chief Antonga Black Hawkdied in 1870, but fights continued to break out until additional federal troops were sent in to suppress the Ghost Danceof 1872. The war is unique among Indian Warsbecause it was a three-way conflict, with mounted Timpanogos Utes led by Antonga Black Hawk exploited by federal and LDS authorities.
May 10, 1869, the First Transcontinental Railroadwas completed at Promontory Summit, north of the Great Salt Lake. The railroad brought increasing numbers of people into the state, and several influential businessmen made fortunes in the territory.
1870sand 1880s, laws were passed to punish polygamists, and in the 1890 Manifesto, the LDS Church finally agreed to ban polygamy. When Utah applied for statehood again, it was accepted. One of the conditions for granting Utah statehood was that a ban on polygamy be written into the state constitution. This was a condition required of other western states that were admitted into the Union later. Statehood was officially granted on January 4, 1896.
20th and 21st century
Beginning in the early 1900s, with the establishment of such national parks as
Bryce Canyon National Parkand Zion National Park, Utah began to become known for its natural beauty. Southern Utah became a popular filming spot for arid, rugged scenes, and such natural landmarks as Delicate Archand "the Mittens" of Monument Valleyare instantly recognizable to most national residents. During the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, with the construction of the Interstate highwaysystem, accessibility to the southern scenic areas was made easier.
Beginning in 1939, with the establishment of
Alta Ski Area, Utah has become world-renowned for its skiing. The dry, powdery snow of the Wasatch Rangeis considered some of the best skiing in the world. Salt Lake City won the bid for the 2002 Winter Olympicsin 1995, and this has served as a great boost to the economy. The ski resorts have increased in popularity, and many of the Olympic venues scattered across the Wasatch Frontcontinue to be used for sporting events. This also spurred the development of the light-rail system in the Salt Lake Valley, known as TRAX, and the re-construction of the freeway system around the city.
During the late 20th century, the state grew quickly. In the
1970s, growth was phenomenal in the suburbs. Sandy was one of the fastest-growing cities in the country at that time. Today, many areas of Utah are seeing phenomenal growth. Northern Davis, southern and western Salt Lake, Summit, eastern Tooele, Utah, Wasatch, and Washington counties are all growing very quickly. Transportationand urbanizationare major issues in politics as development consumes agricultural land and wilderness areas.
*May, Dean L. "Utah: A People's History". Bonneville Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1987. ISBN 0-87480-284-9.
* [http://www.media.utah.edu/UHE Utah History Encyclopedia] The University of Utah
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Utah War — Date March 1857 July 1858 Location Utah, Wyoming Result Brigham Young replaced as governor of the territory. A full pardon for charges of sedition and treason issued to the ci … Wikipedia
Utah Division (D&RGW) — Utah Division Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad Castle Gate in the Price Canyon, ca. 1929 Locale … Wikipedia
History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — For the book series on the LDS Church s early history, see History of the Church. The history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints (LDS Church) is typically divided into three broad time periods: (1) the early history during the… … Wikipedia
Utah Jazz — For the drum and bass musician, see Utah Jazz (producer). Utah Jazz 2011–12 Utah Jazz season … Wikipedia
Utah — This article is about the U.S. state of Utah. For other uses, see Utah (disambiguation). State of Utah … Wikipedia
Utah Utes men's basketball — Infobox CBB Team name = Utah Runnin Utes logo size = 150px university = University of Utah conference = Mountain West Conference conference short = MWC division = city = Salt Lake City stateabb = UT state = Utah coach = Jim Boylen tenure = 1… … Wikipedia
Utah — Estado de Utah Estado de los Estados Unidos … Wikipedia Español
Utah Museum of Natural History — infobox Museum name= Utah Museum of Natural History location= Salt Lake City, Utah established = 1963 [http://www.media.utah.edu/UHE/m/MUSEUMS.html] visitors = 78,000 [http://www.umnh.utah.edu/pageview.aspx?id=19949] latitude= 40.7595 longitude=… … Wikipedia
Utah Museum of Fine Arts — infobox Museum name= The Utah Museum of Fine Arts established= 1951 location= Marcia John Price Museum Building Salt Lake City, Utah type= Art museum visitors= director= David L. Dee latitude= 40.7602 longitude= 111.8432 website= [http://www.umfa … Wikipedia
Utah State Prison — Coordinates: 40°29.5′N 111°54′W / 40.4917°N 111.9°W / 40.4917; 111.9 … Wikipedia