The Info List - Utah Territory

Territorial coat of arms (1876)

The Utah
Territory upon its creation. Modern state boundaries are shown for reference.


Fillmore (1851–1856) Salt Lake City

Government Organized incorporated territory


 •  1851–1858 Brigham Young

 •  1893–1896 Caleb Walton West

Legislature Utah
Territorial Assembly


 •  State of Deseret 1849

 •  Utah
Organic Act September 9, 1850

 •  Colorado Territory
Colorado Territory
formed February 28, 1861

 •  Nevada Territory
Nevada Territory
formed March 2, 1861

 •  Wyoming Territory
Wyoming Territory
formed July 25, 1868

 •  Statehood January 4, 1896

The Territory of Utah
was an organized incorporated territory of the United States
United States
that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 4, 1896, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Utah, the 45th state. The territory was organized by an Organic Act
Organic Act
of Congress in 1850, on the same day that the State of California
State of California
was admitted to the Union and the New Mexico Territory
New Mexico Territory
was added for the southern portion of the new Mexican land. The creation of the territory was part of the Compromise of 1850
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
Colorado River
in present-day Colorado, the United States
United States
had acquired all the land of the territory from Mexico
with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
of 1848. The creation of the Utah
Territory was partially the result of the petition sent by the Mormon pioneers
Mormon pioneers
who had settled in the valley of the Great Salt Lake
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
Great Basin
and the watershed of the 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
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 September, 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
Great Salt Lake
basin after being forcibly removed from their settlements farther east. Although the Mormons were the majority in the Great Salt Lake
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 Breckenridge 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 controversies stirred by the Mormon religion's dominance of the territory are 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 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.

The evolution of the Utah
Territory from its creation by Congress in 1850 to 1896, when statehood was granted.


1 See also 2 References 3 Further reading 4 External links

See also[edit]

portal Colorado
portal Nevada
portal Wyoming portal History portal

American Civil War, 1861–1865

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 History of slavery in Utah Latter Day Saint movement Chief Judges of the Supreme Court of the Utah
Territory Mexican-American War, 1846–1848

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 1848

Morrisite War, June 1862 Mountain Meadows massacre
Mountain Meadows massacre
September 7–11, 1857 Paiute War, 1860 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:

Gran Cuenca Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico, 1598–1821 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
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
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 Nataqua Territory, 1856–1861 (extralegal) 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

US 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

in the American Civil War Utah
Territorial Statehouse Utah
War, March 1857 – July 1858


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Further reading[edit]

Unpopular Sovereignty: Mormons and the Federal Management of Early Utah
Territory by Brent M. Rogers, 2017, University of Nebraska Press

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Utah

in 1851, with the text of the 1850 Act of Congress to Establish the Territory of Utah, Central Pacific Railroad
Central Pacific Railroad
Photographic History Museum Utah's Role in the Transcontinental Railroad, Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum Utah
State History Utah
Office of Tourism
Official Website

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