The earliest inhabitants of the state of Utah were the Ute, Gosiute, Southern Paiute, and Navajo Indians. In fact, the name of the state is derived from the Ute Indian language, which means 'people of the mountains'. A big wave of people arrived here in 1847 and settled where the present day Salt Lake City stands. They were of the Mormon faith and established the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. By 1852, there were 15,000 Mormons settled in this area. The United States acquired the region in 1848, which till then belonged to Mexico. Later in 1849, the people of the region named the area as the State of Deseret. Finally, by 1896, the area was established as the state of Utah by the United States government.
☞ It has a lot to offer to those in search of untamed wilderness and adventure. It has five majestic national parks, which are Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion. Located in Arches, Landscape Arch, which is 291 feet from one end to the other and rises about 100 feet above the ground, is a natural wonder to behold, along with many other impressive rock formations. The southeastern part of the state is snaked with challenging mountain biking trails. Slickrock, a world-famous trail, presents a challenge even to the experienced riders.
Utah hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002. A hub for winter activities, including skiing, its pristine snow-covered slopes draw a surge of visitors every year. To cater to these bustling crowds, there are a large number of luxurious ski resorts located in northern Utah near Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden, and Provo. The United States skiing team hails from this state.
☞ Utah's cultural experience is diverse and includes the Sundance Film Festival and the Utah Shakespearean Festival. The Sundance Film Festival is held in January and showcases the works of American and international independent filmmakers. A feast for both literature and theater lovers, this festival brings to life literary masterpieces.
☞ The large Mormon population in Utah has influenced its lifestyles and legislation. When calculated in 2007, about 60% of the population were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The headquarters of the church is located at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Within its area, lie several buildings and the juggernaut Salt Lake Temple. Ranked the 16th most visited tourist attraction in the United States by Forbes Magazine, it enthralls over five million visitors every year.
Utah is fast developing into a leader in the field of information technology. An ever-evolving modern state, the opportunities it offers are constantly increasing, just like its population and cities. Consequently, it also faces the problems arising out of progress. The manner in which it resolves these issues will dictate its stance amongst other advanced American states.