Portal:Utah

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The Utah Portal

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Utah is a western state of the United States, in the Rocky Mountain region. The name Utah is derived from the Southern Ute word for "higher up." In addition to the Ute Tribe, the Paiute, Navajo, Shoshone, and Goshute nations also inhabit portions of the state.

Utah had a population of 2,389,039 in 2004, according to a Census Bureau estimate. About 85% of Utah's population resides in the valleys and on the western slope of the Wasatch Mountains in northern and central Utah. Residents are called Utahns. The state is generally rugged and arid, and has spectacular natural scenery. It is a popular summer and winter tourist destination. Salt Lake City, the ski resorts in the Wasatch Range, and the national parks of the south are the most popular destinations.

Utah's capital is Salt Lake City, a vibrant metropolitan city. The small community of Fillmore, in Millard County, was designated as the territorial capital in 1854, four years after Utah Territory was organized. In 1856, the capital was moved back to Salt Lake City, which became the capital of the state when Utah was admitted to the Union in 1896. Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, which gave a significant boost to the state's tourist industry (especially the ski resorts).

Salt Lake City, Utah is also the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which approximately 60% of Utah residents are members. The LDS Church has a strong cultural influence on the state, resulting in Utah being one of just two states where gambling is illegal.

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Salt Lake City in 1913
Credit: U.S. Geological Survey
Downtown Salt Lake City, Utah in 1913, looking east along 200 South from West Temple Street. To the far left is the Salt Lake Temple. The very white building right of the Temple is Hotel Utah, about one year old at the time. Just visible on the right side of the photo is the Salt Lake City and County Building clocktower. The Wasatch Mountains are in the background.

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Ute, 1878

The Utes (/juːts/; "yoots") are an ethnical related group of American Indians now living primarily in Utah and Colorado. There are three Ute tribal reservations: (1) Uintah-Ouray in northeastern Utah (3,500 members), (2) Southern Ute (1,500 members) and (3) Ute Mountain (2,000 members) — both in southwestern Colorado. (All numbers are approximate) The name of the state of Utah was derived from the name Ute.

The native Ute language belongs to the Uto-Aztecan (Shoshone) family of languages and is a dialect of Southern Numic. However, most current Utes speak only English. Other American Indian groups with native Shoshonean dialects include the Bannocks, Comanches, Chemehuevi, Goshutes, Paiutes and Shoshones.

Prior to the arrival of white settlers, the Utes occupied significant portions of what are today eastern Utah, western Colorado and parts of New Mexico and Wyoming. The Utes were never a unified group; instead, the Utes consisted of numerous nomadic bands that maintained close associations with other neighboring groups. Some of the larger groups included the Moache, Capote, Uncompahgre, White River, Uintah, Pahvant, Timanogots, San Pitch, Moanumts, Sheberetch and Weeminuche. Unlike many other tribal groups in this region, there is no tradition or evidence of migration to the areas now known as Colorado and Utah — ancestors of the Ute appear to have occupied this area for at least a thousand years.

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Thomas L. Kane

Thomas L. Kane (January 27, 1822 – December 26, 1883) was an American attorney, abolitionist, and military officer who was influential in the western migration of the Latter-day Saint movement and served as a Union Army colonel and general of volunteers in the American Civil War. He received a brevet promotion to major general for gallantry at the Battle of Gettysburg.

In March 1850, in the midst of debate over establishing Utah territory, Kane delivered an important lecture before the Philadelphia Historical Society. He described the religion of the Latter-day Saints, their conflicts with other settlers, and the desolation he witnessed during a visit to the recently abandoned Nauvoo, Illinois. He also described the Saint's westward trek. One thousand copies of the lecture, with associated notes and materials, were printed and distributed, primarily to members of the U.S. Congress and influential men in the Executive Branch. When Utah was granted a territorial government by Congress on September 9, 1850, Fillmore asked Kane to be the first governor. He declined and recommended Young. Throughout the 1850s, he promoted Utah statehood and defended the Church's interests at every opportunity.

In 1858, Kane helped prevent bloodshed by mediating a dispute between the Mormons and the federal government, known as the Utah War.

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State of Deseret
Credit: User:Decumanus
The boundaries of the provisional State of Deseret as proposed in 1849 are shown in orange. The area of the Utah Territory as organized in 1859 is shaded in red.

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Coordinates: 39°18′N 111°36′W / 39.3°N 111.6°W / 39.3; -111.6