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Utah Quick Facts
- On January 4th of 1896 Utah became the 45th state admitted to the Union.
- The capital and largest city in Utah is Salt Lake City.
- With a total land area of 84,899 square miles (219,888 square kilometers) Utah is the 13th largest U.S. state.
- This state is ranked 33rd in total population among U.S. states with 2,949,902 people (2014 U.S. Census Bureau estimate).
- Kings Peak, with an elevation of 13,518 feet (4,120 meters) located in the Uinta Mountains is the highest point in the state.
- Utah borders Wyoming to the northeast, Colorado to the east, Idaho to the north, Arizona to the south, and Nevada to the west. Utah also touches a small portion of New Mexico to the southeast.
- The state motto is "Industry".
Interesting Utah Facts
- This state's name is derived from the name of the Native American Ute tribe. The word "Ute" translates to "people of the mountains".
- A Gallup poll conducted in 2012 named Utah the best U.S. state to live in.
- Utah is one of the "four corners states", along with Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. This is the only spot in the United States where four states meet.
- The water in the Great Salt Lake in Utah is around 4 times saltier than sea water. The lake's tributaries deposit minerals in the lake but with no outlet to the sea this lake retains the minerals and therefore becomes salty. Water leaves the lake by evaporation only.
- With more than five million visitors per year Temple Square, a 10 acre complex owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), is one of biggest tourist attraction in the United States. Other major tourist attractions in this western state are the Great Salt Lake and Monument Valley.
- There are five national parks in Utah, including the famous Zion National Park and Arches National Park.
- Mining is an important industry in Utah. The Bingham Canyon Mine (also known as the Kennecott Copper Mine) located southwest of Salt Lake City is one of the largest open pit mines in the world.
- Utah is one of only three U.S. states whose boundaries are defined only by lines of latitude and longitude as opposed to natural boundaries such as rivers and lakes.
- The First Transcontinental Railroad, connecting the eastern United States to the western U.S. was completed on May 10th of 1869 at Promontory Summit, 66 miles (106 kilometers) northwest of Salt Lake City.
Utah History Facts
- An ancient people, the Anasazi, thought to be the ancestors of the modern-day Pueblo Indians, lived in the area that is now Utah thousands of years before the arrival of European explorers. Another pre-Columbian people indigenous to this region were the Fremont people.
- In 1540 the famous Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado explored what is today southern Utah. The Spanish made numerous explorations into the region but because of the desert climate did not establish any settlements there.
- By the 1700s there were five tribes living in the region that would become the U.S. state of Utah; they were the Navajo, Ute, Shoshone, Goshute, and the Paiute.
- When Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821 a region that included modern day Utah became the Mexican territory of Alta California.
- In the winter of 1824 a mountain man and scout by the name of Jim Bridger became the first European American to see the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Due to the high salt content of the water in the lake he initially thought it was the Pacific Ocean but later realized it was a huge lake.
- In July of 1847 a group of Mormon pioneers, led by Brigham Young, reached the Great Salt Lake and settled in the area; which was still a Mexican territory. The Mormons had left Illinois to escape harassment over their religious beliefs. Thousands of Mormons would follow this first group and settle in the Salt Lake Valley and other areas of Utah.
- What is basically now the entire Southwest region of the U.S. including the area that is now Utah was acquired from Mexico in 1848 upon the United States victory in the Mexican-American War.
- In 1850 the United States Congress passed a series of bills dubbed "The Compromise of 1850" which resulted in the creation of the Utah Territory. This territory not only contained the land that would later become the state of Utah but also contained land that would become the state of Nevada and parts of modern day Colorado and Wyoming.
- Brigham Young was the first governor of the Utah Territory.
- When the Utah Territory was created in 1850 the town of Fillmore, named for U.S. President Millard Fillmore, was named as the capital. Salt Lake City replaced Fillmore as the capital of the territory in 1856.
- There was a lot of tension between the population of Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) in Utah and the U.S. Government, especially in regards to their practice of polygamy. In 1857 this tension resulted in The Utah War (also called the Utah Expedition) which was an armed conflict between the Mormons in the Utah Territory and the U.S. military. The conflict lasted from May 1857 to July 1858.
- Between 1865 and 1872 the Black Hawk's War took place in the Utah Territory. This bloody war involved numerous armed conflicts between settlers and several Native American Indian tribes led by the Ute war chief Antonga Black Hawk.
- In 1890 the Mormons banned polygamy which opened the way for Utah gaining statehood in 1896. A condition for Utah gaining statehood was that a ban on polygamy be included in Utah's state constitution.