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Utah's heritage and culture reaches all the way back to the age when dinosaurs ruled the eastern part of the state; living and dying, then leaving behind a wealth of fossils. Ancient Puebloan cultures, the Anasazi and Fremont Indians, raised corn in Southern Utah from about 1 to 1300 A.D. and left remnants of their art, lives, and beliefs scattered across the state in petroglyph and pictograph panels, ruins of their homes, and places of worship. Forbearers of the Ute and Navajo Tribes roamed the region for centuries before the arrival of explorers.

In 1776, as Americans battled for independence from England, Catholic Fathers Dominguez and Escalante explored and documented Utah's terrain. They were followed by other Spanish explorers and Mexican traders. In the 1820s fur trappers, including Jedadiah Smith, William Ashley and Jim Bridger, Discovered northern Utah's abundant trapping opportunities.

During 1847, 1,637 Mormons migrated to the Salt Lake Valley seeking religious freedom. They were followed by soldiers, miners, and Spanish sheep herders. By the time the first transcontinental railroad was completed at Promontory, Utah in May 1869, more than 60,000 Mormons had come to Utah by covered wagon or handcart.

Utahns, regardless of varied ethnic and religious backgrounds, share a sense that Utah's past is an important part of the state's future. From early settlement days, the cultural arts have been an important component of cities and towns across the state. Today, this tradition remains. Utahns actively support the arts and their ability to thoughtfully mirror and joyously celebrate life.

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