In this episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be talking about Utah, the Beehive State. Named for the Ute people, a Native American tribe that has occupied for area for hundreds of years, Utah became the 45th state admitted to the U.S. on January 4, 1896, after the territory was won in the Mexican-American War in 1848.
With a total land area of 82,144 sq mi (212,761 km), Utah is a shade larger than Uganda, and just smaller than Romania. The state is bordered by Colorado to the east, Wyoming to the northeast, Idaho to the north, Arizona to the south, and Nevada to the west. It also touches a corner of New Mexico in the southeast, where the famous ‘four corners’ monument can be found. The state is currently home to around 3.2 million people, 62% of whom are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or LDS, known to most people as Mormons. The LDS church migrated there in 1847, while it was still Mexican territory, to escape persecution, but it soon became part of the United States. Utah has the second highest birth rate of any US state, and it is the only state to have a majority of its population belonging to a single church.
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Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Hong Kong, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Ireland. Our guest in this episode is Prof. Greg Jackson from the podcast History That Doesn’t Suck. (Theme music by Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella)
Some further reading:
- For more on the early history of Utah’s native settlers, see A History of Utah’s American Indians by Forrest Cuch.
- The Fremont Culture discussed in this episode is detailed further in this whitepaper from the National Parks Service.
- ThoughtCo discusses the Puebloans here.
- The website of Hovenweep National Park, which Joe mentioned in this episode can be found here.
- National Geographic’s discussion of “The Lost World Of The Old Ones” reveals more on the cliffside granaries used by the Puebloans.
- For the more visually-minded, this YouTube documentary discusses the tragic fate of the Donner Party.
- Prof. Greg Jackson’s History That Doesn’t Suck podcast also has an episode on the Donner Party
- Joe touched on the design of Utah’s city blocks, which is elaborated on in this episode of the design podcast 99% Invisible.
- The History Channel has a documentary on The Utah War, a clip of which is used in this episode.
- David Roberts’ article on the same topic, entitled “The Brink of War” on Smithsonian.com is also worth reading.
- Hubert Howe Bancroft’s History of Utah is also referenced in this episode.
- The joining of the coasts by telegraph is detailed online by the Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum.
- Joe also quotes from Beehive History, Vol. 8, which can be found here.
Music that might interest listeners: