The state of Utah is located in the western part of the United States, and was the 45th state to join the country in 1896. The state is the 31st most populous and the 13th largest by area in the country. Utah has a population of about 3 million people and its state capital is Salt Lake City, also known as SLC, or simply Salt Lake.
The earliest inhabitants of Salt Lake City were the Shoshone, Ute, and Paiute tribes, and later the Mormons. The land was public domain according to the United States government, and records show that Jim Bridger was the first US explorer in Salt Lake City in 1825. In 1847, a group of permanent settlers arrived in the unoccupied area of Salt Lake City. This group, the Latter-day Saints, was seeking a secluded area to practice their religion away from persecution and violence. Led by Brigham Young, it is believed that they founded the city. After extensive cultivation and irrigation of the valley, the Mormons were able to fend for themselves, and began to grow the city and its economy. Due to its proximity to the lake, the area got the name "Great Salt Lake City." The word "Great" was later dropped by the Territorial Legislature. Through mining and construction, Salt Lake City prospered in the years that followed.
Salt Lake City covers an area of 110.4 square miles and has an elevation th 4,327 feet above sea level. The city is located on the northwest corner of the state, and has Great Salt Lake in the northwest, and the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges in the east.
The city has an estimated population of 190,884 as of 2016. The racial composition is as follows: Caucasian (75.1%), Non-Hispanic (65.7%), African-American (2.6%), Hispanic or Latino (22.3%), and Asian (4.4%). Despite its history, less than 50% of its population belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Law and Government
Salt Lake City has had a non-partisan mayor council form of government for over 40 years. Like most states in the US, the mayor is elected by citizens, as well councillors, usually for a four-year term. The present mayor is Jackie Biskupski. Salt Lake City citizens have encouraged a heated debate on separation of government from the church, because the government has been accused of giving preferential treatment to the members of the Latter-day Saints Church.
CultureWith its rich history, Salt Lake City is home to many museums and most importantly, a church history museum, mostly dedicated to the Latter-day Saints Church. It stands next to the temple square and has materials, artifacts, and documents of the Latter-day Saints Church. The city is also known for its vibrant social festival culture. Many festivities take place in the area which celebrate the city’s diverse communities. Most of these festivals have existed for more than a decade, and bring the people of Salt Lake City together for cultural growth.