Even to this day, the Mormons make up well over half the population in Utah. This is largely due to the decision of Brigham Young after Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormons, died in 1844. In Nauvoo, Illinois, the relationship between the Mormons and their neighbors was steadily declining, so Brigham Young made the call for the Mormons to vacate the area, and on July 24, 1847 the first band of Mormon settlers reached Salt Lake City, Utah. By 1869, over 70,000 new settlers, Mormon converts mostly, had arrived in Utah.
Using Salt Lake City in Utah as a headquarters, the Mormons soon began settlements in many other areas, such as Las Vegas Nevada, Mesa Arizona, and San Bernardino California. Still, Utah remained the center of the Mormon’s (particularly Brigham Young’s) attention. The Mormons viewed Utah as a place where they could live free from the harassment of others. The most prominent Utah cities, where they even established a “temple” were St. George, Manti, and Logan.
Brigham Young had a large idea for the Mormon Territory- originally Utah was to take up not only what is today Utah, but also what is now Nevada as well as parts of modern-day Wyoming and Colorado; and rather than Utah, the territory was to be called “Deseret”, which is a word that the Mormons believed meant “Beehive” in an ancient “Book of Mormon” language. Instead, however, the “Compromise of 1850” saw to it that the state was named “Utah” after the Ute Indian tribe, and also gave Utah the boundaries which it currently has in place, though Fillmore remained the Utah capitol city until Salt Lake took its place in 1856.