Tags: US State Facts | Utah History | Mormon Church | Old Spanish Trail

Utah History: 8 Events That Shaped the State

By    |   Monday, 09 Mar 2015 03:02 PM

Utah has been celebrated for its majestic mountains that bring in skiers from all over the world. Lakes and deserts also enhance the beauty of the state's landscape. Utah's history includes rugged explorers and settlers with a variety of ethnic backgrounds.

Here are eight events that helped shape the state of Utah:

1. Spanish explorers led by Franciscan friars tried to promote Christianity to Native Americans in the region in 1776. They were also looking for a northern route from the New Mexico to California regions along the unspoiled landscape.

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2. Trailblazers continued to explore the region in the early 1800s. Trappers and mountain men mapped routes and helped develop the Old Spanish Trail and other trails used by pioneers in the 1840s. Noted explorer and mapmaker Jon C. Fremont was among the explorers reporting on the geography of the area.

3. Mormons came to the area in large numbers in 1847. According to History.com, they were looking for a safe haven from persecution in the East and Midwest, and a religious sanctuary to build their homes and churches. It is said that in 1848 flocks of seagulls ate crickets that had been destroying the crops planted by the Mormon pioneers. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would later dedicate the Seagull Monument at the Temple Square in Salt Lake City in 1913.

4. The first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869 as the Union and Central Pacific Railroads linked together in the Utah Territory at Promontory Summit. The railroad also brought coalmines and other industries to the territory, attracting immigrants of Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Greek descent to the Utah population.

5. Utah became a state in 1896. For years, federal authorities had difficulties with the practice of polygamy within the large Mormon population, but the Mormon Church finally renounced the practice in 1890, helping to change Utah history.

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6. In 1915, Joe Hill, a miner with the Industrial Workers of the World, was executed in Utah for the murder of two people in Salt Lake City. The case still remains controversial and Hill became a symbol of workers for organized labor unions.

7. Utah's snowy landscape helped it to win the bid for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. However, controversy and scandal broke out before the competition began. Some bidders were charged with bribing International Olympic Committee members and some members were forced to resign. The Games went on as planned with success.

8. Utah had the youngest population of any state in the U.S. by 2010 with about 33 percent of its residents under age 18. The state also continued to have the highest birth rate.

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Utah has been celebrated for its majestic mountains that bring in skiers from all over the world. Lakes and deserts also enhance the beauty of the state's landscape. Utah's history includes rugged explorers and settlers with a variety of ethnic backgrounds.
Utah History, Mormon Church, Old Spanish Trail
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2015-02-09
Monday, 09 Mar 2015 03:02 PM
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