Utah became a state 123 years ago today — after abandoning polygamy

SALT LAKE CITY — Happy birthday, Utah!

123 years ago, the territory formerly known as “Deseret” became “Utah” after President Grover Cleveland signed a proclamation making us the 45th state in the nation. The presidential proclamation signed on Jan. 4, 1896 required the state to give up the practice of polygamy as a condition of statehood.

There were other hurdles, too: Women had the right to vote in Utah well before the rest of the nation. Slavery was also a hot topic.

Utah state archives from the time said that upon news of statehood, people erupted in “pandemonium” and filled the streets.

Read the proclamation here:

The presidential proclamation making Utah a state on Jan. 4, 1896 (from Utah State Archives)

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