Hispanics in Utah
The land of Utah was home to multiple Indigenous bands and tribes, such as the Paiute, Shoshone, and Ute tribes for thousands of years before Europeans came to the Americas. Historians believe that a number of Native Americans, including the Utes, share common ancestry with the Aztecs. In 502 B.C. a great migration of Aztecs moved South due to a major drought. As Europeans came to the continent, the Spanish Empire claimed ownership over the larger Southern and Southwest area after friars Francisco Atanasio Dominguez and Silvestre Velez de Escalante explored New Mexico and Utah. This area, with Utah being the northernmost reaches, was taken as Mexican territory. In 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo passed ownership of the Southwest, about 50% of Mexican territory, to the United States. This treaty came after a battalion, of which 500 Mormon settlers participated, marched through Mexican territory. As more U.S. settlers came to the area, many generations of Mexicans who previously lived on the land were forced to leave. However, just a few decades later, Hispanics came to Utah in booming numbers to supply vital labor in the railroad, mining, and agricultural industries. This growth only continued with the advent of the Mexican Revolution in 1910.
Hispanics in Utah, unlike in other Southwestern states, did not have established Spanish-speaking communities to join. Nonetheless, beginning soon after large numbers of Hispanics began to move to Utah, groups of Hispanics in Utah actively created organizations to maintain cultural traditions and advocate for Hispanics at a governmental level.