Utah Territory

Utah Territory

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The '''Territory of Utah''' was an [[organized incorporated territory of the United States]] that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 4, 1896, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the [[United States|Union]] as the [[State of Utah]]. The territory was organized by an organic act of [[United States Congress|Congress]] in [[1850]], on the same day that the [[State of California]] was admitted to the Union. The creation of the territory was part of the [[Compromise of 1850]] that sought to preserve the balance of power between slave and free states. With the exception of a small area around the headwaters of the [[Colorado River]] in present-day [[Colorado]] which had been acquired from [[Spain]] with the [[Adams-Onís Treaty]] of [[1819]], the [[United States]] had acquired all the land of the territory from [[Mexico]] with the [[Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo]] of [[1848]]. The creation of the Utah Territory was partially the result of the petition sent by the [[Mormon pioneers]] who had settled in the [[Salt Lake Valley|valley of the Great Salt Lake]] starting in [[1847]]. The Mormons, under the leadership of [[Brigham Young]], had petitioned Congress for entry into the Union as the [[State of Deseret]], with its capital as [[Salt Lake City]] and with proposed borders that encompassed the entire [[Great Basin]] and the watershed of the [[Colorado River (U.S.)|Colorado River]], including all or part of nine current U.S. states. The Mormon settlers had drafted a state constitution in [[1849]] and Deseret had become the ''de facto'' government in the Great Basin by the time of the creation of the Utah Territory. Following the organization of the territory, Young was inaugurated as its first governor on February 3, 1851. In the first session of the territorial legislature in October, the legislature adopted all the laws and ordinances previously enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Deseret. Mormon governance in the territory was regarded as controversial by much of the rest of the nation, partly fed by continuing lurid newspaper depictions of the [[polygamy]] practiced by the settlers, which itself had been part of the cause of their flight from the United States to the [[Great Salt Lake]] basin after being forcibly removed from their settlements farther east. [[Image:Utah Territory evolution animation - August 2011.gif|thumb|240px|left|The evolution of the Utah Territory from its creation by Congress in 1850 to 1896, when statehood was granted.]] Although the Mormons were the majority in the Great Salt Lake basin, the western area of the territory began to attract many non-Mormon settlers, especially after the discovery of silver at the [[Comstock Lode]] in 1858. In [[1861]], partly as a result of this, the [[Nevada Territory]] was created out of the western part of the territory. Non-Mormons also entered the easternmost part of the territory during the [[Pikes Peak Gold Rush]], resulting in the discovery of gold at [[Breckinridge, Colorado|Breckinridge]] in Utah Territory in 1859. In 1861 a large portion of the eastern area of the territory was reorganized as part of the newly created [[Colorado Territory]]. The arrival of the railroad, simultaneously from California and the east in [[1869]], was not regarded as especially beneficial by the Mormons who governed the territory. The ceremony of the driving of the [[golden spike]] at [[Promontory Summit]] to complete the [[First Transcontinental Railroad (North America)|transcontinental railroad]] was boycotted by the territory officials, who were wary of the encroachment of the outside world into the basin of the Great Salt Lake. The controversies stirred by the Mormon religion's dominance of the territory is regarded as the primary reason behind the long delay of 46 years between the organization of the territory and its admission to the Union in [[1896]] as the [[Utah|State of Utah]], long after the admission of territories created after it. In contrast, the Nevada Territory, although more sparsely populated, was admitted to the Union in [[1864]], only three years after its formation, largely as a consequence of the Union's desire to consolidate its hold on the silver mines in the territory. Colorado was admitted in [[1876]]. ==See also== {{Portal box|Utah|Colorado|Nevada|Wyoming|History}} *[[American Civil War]], 1861–1865 **[[Utah in the American Civil War]] *[[Compromise of 1850]] *[[First Transcontinental Railroad]] *[[Great Basin]] *[[Great Salt Lake]] *[[Historic regions of the United States]] *[[History of Utah]] *[[Latter Day Saint movement]] *[[List of Utah Supreme Court Chief Justices|Chief Judges of the Supreme Court of the Utah Territory]] *[[Mexican-American War]], 1846–1848 **[[Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo]], 1848 *[[Morrisite War]] *[[Mountain Meadows massacre]] *[[Runaway Officials of 1851]] *[[Territorial evolution of the United States]] **Territories of [[Spain]] that encompassed land that would later become part of the Territory of Utah: ***[[Great Basin|Gran Cuenca]] ***[[Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico]], 1598–1821 ***[[Las Californias|Nueva California]], 1768–1804 ***[[Alta California]], 1804–1821 **Territories of [[Mexico]] that encompassed land that would later become part of the Territory of Utah: ***[[Alta California]], 1821–1848 ***[[Santa Fé de Nuevo México]], 1821–1848 **[[U.S. territories]] that encompassed land that would later become part of the Territory of Utah: ***[[Mexican Cession]], 1848 ***[[State of Deseret]], 1849-1850 (extralegal) **[[U.S. territories]] that encompassed land that was previously part of the Territory of Utah: ***[[Territory of Jefferson]], 1859-1861 (extralegal) ***[[Territory of Colorado]], 1861–1876 ***[[Territory of Nebraska]], 1854–1867 ***[[Territory of Nevada]], 1861–1864 ***[[Territory of Idaho]], 1863–1890 ***[[Territory of Dakota]], 1861–1889 ***[[Territory of Wyoming]], 1868–1890 **[[U.S. states]] that encompass land that was once part of the Territory of Utah: ***[[State of Nevada]], 1864, additional territory annexed 1866 ***[[State of Colorado]], 1876 ***[[State of Wyoming]], 1890 ***[[State of Utah]], 1896 *[[Utah in the American Civil War]] *[[Utah Territorial Statehouse]] *[[Utah War]] ==External links== {{Commons category|Utah Territory}} * [http://CPRR.org/Museum/Utah_1851.html Utah in 1851, with the text of the 1850 Act of Congress to Establish the Territory of Utah], [[Central Pacific Railroad]] Photographic History Museum * [http://CPRR.org/Museum/Stewart-Iron_Trail.html Utah's Role in the Transcontinental Railroad], Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum {{Utah}} {{coord missing|United States}}