The capital city of Utah, USA, Salt Lake City is the most populous city in the state. Founded as Great Salt Lake City on July 24, 1847, it had a population of 2.01 lakhs in the year 2017.
Brigham Young, a prophet who led the members of the Latter-day Saints, founded Salt Lake City. The Mormon pioneers, who practiced polygamy and held several other controversial beliefs, were persecuted by the US Government. It led to their migration from the midwestern United States to Salt Lake City.
Peeping Into the Past
Before the Mormon pioneers arrived in Salt Lake Valley, the Ute, Shoshone, and Paiute tribes inhabited the region. Many explorers had traversed the region, and Jim Bridger discovered the Great Salt Lake area in 1825.
When the Latter-day Saints arrived in the valley, the area surrounding the lake was still undisturbed and free of human intervention. The construction of the Salt Lake Temple was started under the directives of Brigham Young in 1853, and took 40 years for its completion.
The Utah War(1857-58)
The attempt to establish a new state, 'Deseret', was rebuffed by the US government, and the state of Utah was formed in 1850. The federal government of USA was against the practice of polygamy that was followed by Mormon pioneers.
Many other disputes between the government and the Latter-day Saints members finally culminated into the Utah War of 1857. The Mormons feared the large U.S. army that marched towards them.
They followed the strategy of indirectly weakening their enemy. They stopped every provision to the U.S. army. The war lasted for about 3 months, from May through July; it ended with the US army's march in the already evacuated city.
Mormons and Non-Mormons
With the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, the population of Salt Lake City started to increase. With the increase in population, there was a rise in diversity, too. Various ethnic groups settled in the city. A rift was created between those who supported the Mormons and the ones who opposed them.
The Liberal Party, which opposed the Mormons, and the Mormon Church's People's Party were the political groups that dominated the politics of the region. The Edmunds Act of 1882, however, brought about a change in the region, and started the process of accommodating outsiders.
The Edmunds Act was aimed at prohibiting the practice of polygamy. It was a moral victory for the federal government as well as non-Mormons. The Mormon Church's People's Party was dissolved followed by the dissolution of the Liberal Party. Members of these two parties entered the Democratic or the Republican party.
Salt Lake City has undergone a lot of changes after the 'liberalization' process as a result of the Edmunds Act. The Great Depression affected the city to a great extent, but World War II brought a new lease of life for the city's war-related industries. Thereafter, the city has grown a lot economically. Many industries were established in Salt Lake City.
In spite of the tremendous changes, conflicts, and disputes around and over it, the city has retained its unique character through the ages.