Pre-Columbian[ edit ] Thousands of years before the arrival of European explorers, the Ancestral Puebloans and the Fremont people lived in what is now known as Utah, some of which spoke languages of the Uto-Aztecan group. Ancestral Pueblo peoples built their homes through excavations in mountains, and the Fremont people built houses of straw before disappearing from the region around the 15th century.
Map showing Utah in when it was part of Mexico. From Britannica 7th edition. Another group of Native Americans, the Navajo , settled in the region around the 18th century. In the midth century, other Uto-Aztecan tribes, including the Goshute , the Paiute , the Shoshone , and the Ute people , also settled in the region. These five groups were present when the first European explorers arrived. A group led by two Catholic priests—sometimes called the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition —left Santa Fe in , hoping to find a route to the coast of California.
The expedition traveled as far north as Utah Lake and encountered the native residents. The Spanish made further explorations in the region, but were not interested in colonizing the area because of its desert nature. In , the year Mexico achieved its independence from Spain, the region became known as part of its territory of Alta California.
European trappers and fur traders explored some areas of Utah in the early 19th century from Canada and the United States. Due to the high salinity of its waters, He thought he had found the Pacific Ocean; he subsequently learned this body of water was a giant salt lake. After the discovery of the lake, hundreds of American and Canadian traders and trappers established trading posts in the region. Over the next 22 years, more than 70, pioneers crossed the plains and settled in Utah. The arid desert land was deemed by the Mormons as desirable as a place where they could practice their religion without harassment.
The Mormon settlements provided pioneers for other settlements in the West. Salt Lake City became the hub of a "far-flung commonwealth"  of Mormon settlements. With new church converts coming from the East and around the world, Church leaders often assigned groups of church members as missionaries to establish other settlements throughout the West.
Prominent settlements in Utah included St. Young had an expansionist's view of the territory that he and the Mormon pioneers were settling, calling it Deseret — which according to the Book of Mormon was an ancient word for "honeybee". This is symbolized by the beehive on the Utah flag, and the state's motto, "Industry". The entire Southwest became U.
The treaty was ratified by the United States Senate on March Learning that California and New Mexico were applying for statehood, the settlers of the Utah area originally having planned to petition for territorial status applied for statehood with an ambitious plan for a State of Deseret. The territory was given the name Utah after the Ute tribe of Native Americans.
Salt Lake City replaced Fillmore as the territorial capital in Disputes between the Mormon inhabitants and the U. The Mormons were still pushing for the establishment of a State of Deseret with the new borders of the Utah Territory. Most, if not all, of the members of the U. Members of the LDS Church were viewed as un-American and rebellious when news of their polygamous practices spread. In , particularly heinous accusations of abdication of government and general immorality were leveled by former associate justice William W.
The detailed reports of life in Utah caused the administration of James Buchanan to send a secret military "expedition" to Utah.
When the supposed rebellion should be quelled, Alfred Cumming would take the place of Brigham Young as territorial governor. The resulting conflict is known as the Utah War , nicknamed "Buchanan's Blunder" by the Mormon leaders. Although wagons and supplies were burned, eventually the troops arrived in , 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 traditions of their supposed territorial government. Brigham Young was among the first to send a message, along with Abraham Lincoln and other officials. This was a boon to the local economy as the army sold everything in camp for pennies on the dollar before marching back east to join the war. Connor arrived with a regiment of California volunteers in Connor established Fort Douglas just 3 miles 4.
Minerals were discovered in Tooele County and miners began to flock to the territory. Beginning in , Utah's Black Hawk War developed into the deadliest conflict in the territory's history.
Chief Antonga Black Hawk died in , but fights continued to break out until additional federal troops were sent in to suppress the Ghost Dance of During the s and s laws were passed to punish polygamists due, in part, to the stories coming forth regarding Utah.
Stenhouse, and Tell It All: My Life in Mormonism Fanny Stenhouse, Both of these women, Ann Eliza and Fanny, testify to the happiness of the very early Church members before polygamy began to be practiced. They independently published their books in These books and the lectures of Ann Eliza Young have been credited with the United States Congress passage of anti-polygamy laws by newspapers throughout the United States as recorded in "The Ann Eliza Young Vindicator", a pamphlet which detailed Ms Young's travels and warm reception throughout her lecture tour.
His book gives a witnessed account of his life in Utah, both the good and the bad. He finally left Utah and Mormonism after financial ruin occurred when Brigham Young sent Stenhouse to relocate to Ogden, Utah, according to Stenhouse, to take over his thriving pro-Mormon Salt Lake Telegraph newspaper. In addition to these testimonies, The Confessions of John D. Lee, written by John D. Lee—alleged "Scape goat" for the Mountain Meadow Massacre —also came out in The corroborative testimonies coming out of Utah from Mormons and former Mormons influenced Congress and the people of the United States.
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, Southern Utah became a popular filming spot for arid, rugged scenes featured in the popular mid-century western film genre. Since the establishment of Alta Ski Area in and the subsequent development of several ski resorts in the state's mountains, Utah's skiing has become world-renowned.
The dry, powdery snow of the Wasatch Range is considered some of the best skiing in the world the state license plate claims "the Greatest Snow on Earth".
The ski resorts have increased in popularity, and many of the Olympic venues built along the Wasatch Front continue to be used for sporting events. Preparation for the Olympics 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. Utah State Parks is also home to the state's off highway vehicle office, state boating office and the trails program.
In the s growth was phenomenal in the suburbs of the Wasatch Front. Sandy was one of the fastest-growing cities in the country at that time. Today, many areas of Utah continue to see boom-time growth. Management of transportation and urbanization are major issues in politics, as development consumes agricultural land and wilderness areas, with density of uses creating air pollution.