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Utah, state in the Rocky Mountain region of the western United States bordered by Utah to the north, Wyoming to the northeast, Colorado to the east, Arizona to the south, and Nevada to the west.

Land and climate

Utah has three main land regions. The state's northeast corner is part of the Rocky Mountains, primarily the Uinta and Wasatch ranges. Eastern and southern Utah lie in the Colorado Plateau region, where rivers have cut hundreds of deep canyons and erosion has created spectacular land formations.The Basin and Range Region of western Utah, one of the nation's driest areas, has dry plains and the broad, barren salt flats of the Great Salt Desert. The Colorado and the Green are the state's chief rivers. Great Salt Lake, the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River, is saltier than the ocean; only the Dead Sea is saltier. Deserts cover about a third of the state and forests another third. Utah has cold winters and warm summers.Principal cities are Salt Lake City, Provo, and West Valley City.


Manufacturing and service industries are the economy's mainstays, and Utah is a leading mining state. Chief manufactured goods are machinery, transportation equipment, processed foods, electrical equipment, and fabricated metals. Chief mining products are oil, coal, natural gas, uranium, copper, gold, magnesium, and natural salts. Agriculture is less important than in the past. Chief farm products are beef and dairy cattle, turkeys, hay, wheat, barley, corn, apples and other fruits, potatoes, and greenhouse and nursery products.


Utah's constitution was adopted in 1895. The governor serves a 4-year term. The state legislature consists of 29 senators serving 4-year terms and 75 representatives serving 2-year terms. In the U.S. Congress, Utah is represented by 2 senators and 3 representatives.


When two Spanish Franciscan monks led an expedition into Utah in 1776, it was inhabited by Native American tribes that included the Ute, Paiute, and Shoshone. European-American fur traders soon followed, but no permanent white settlement occurred until the Mormons, led by Brigham Young, arrived at present-day Salt Lake City in 1847. The Mormons, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, sought refuge from religious persecution. In 1848, the United States acquired Utah as part of the settlement of the Mexican War. Utah applied for statehood as the state of Deseret in 1849, but Congress refused, instead creating the Utah Territory (which was larger than present-day Utah). In the 1850s and 1860s, fighting—including the Black Hawk War—erupted between Mormons and the Native Americans they displaced. The first transcontinental railroad, completed at Promontory Point, Utah, in 1869, brought new settlers. Utah won statehood in 1896, after clashes between Mormons and U.S. authorities, especially over the practice of polygamy, which the Mormons discontinued in 1890. Utah was hit hard by the Great Depression, but World War II renewed demands for its mining and manufacturing. Industry's importance grew in the 1950s and 1960s, as did the rise of tourism. In recent years, Utah has sought new businesses to avoid too much dependence on oil and mining. It also has worked to clean up pollution and protect its deserts and other land and water resources.



Additional topics

21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - United Empire Loyalists to Victor Emmanuel