Utah shares its borders with five other states: Idaho, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and Wyoming. The state of Utah covers an area of 84,899 square miles, and it is one of the three states in the country having both the lines of the longitude and latitude defining the boundaries, the other states being Wyoming and Colorado.
Nevada was created in 1861 after the southern states, which formed the main opposition to the idea, seceded. The initial boundary with Nevada was at the 39th meridian west of Washington an additional degree of longitude was sliced from Utah territory in the following year. Nevada received statehood in 1864 and in 1866 it received another degree of latitude from Utah Territory because it wanted the Pahranagat mining area.
Utah’s border with Idaho at 42nd parallel was inherited from the former limit of the Mexican Land. In 1861 the Nebraska territory was expanded by Congress taking up Utah's northeastern corner which resulted in a notch. No explanation was given for the territorial shift.
The border with Wyoming was a result of the expansion of the Nebraska Territory in 1861 as well as the extension of Colorado's northern boundary when the Nebraska territory was reduced. The reason behind setting the Territory of Nebraska’s western border at the 33rd meridian west of Washington as opposed to the 32nd meridian is not known.
The initial eastern border of the Utah territory was at the Rocky Mountains. However, the miners from the Kansas territory to the west did not fit in well with the farmers in the Utah territory. The miners, therefore, petitioned Congress to have their territory in 1859 which was not granted. The territory of Colorado was created in 1861 from parts of western Kansas and the eastern part of Utah Territory.
The border with Arizona was as a result deliberation in Congress on the border between New Mexico Territory and Utah Territory. Stephen Douglas the Senator of Illinois initially suggested that the boundary should be 38th or 37th parallel to include most Mormon territories in the Utah territory.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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