In 1540 a detachment under Garcia Lopez de Cardenas, a lieutenant of the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, came close to southern Utah, while exploring the Colorado River. The first known European to enter Utah was Juan Maria Antonio de Rivera, a Spaniard who journeyed northwest from Abiquiu, New Mexico, and reached the Colorado River at present-day Moab in the fall of 1765. Eleven years later, in 1776, an expedition led by two Francisco friars, Francisco Atanasio Dominguez and Francisco Velez de Escalante, passed through Utah in an unsuccessful effort to create a route between the Spanish settlements of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Monterey, California. Subsequently, Santa Fe merchants carried on trade with the inhabitants of the Utah region.
During the 1820s fur trappers entered the region from three different directions: from New Mexico came men like Etienne Provost and Anton Robidioux; from Canada came Peter Skene Ogden and his Hudson’s Bay Company brigade; and American trappers, including Jedediah Smith, William Ashley, and James Bridger pushed west from St. Louis, Missouri. In 1824 Bridger and Provost were the first Americans to visit the Great Salt Lake. Smith became the first American to reach California overland when he traveled from the Great Salt Lake to California in 1826 and returned the following year. In 1843 and in the years afterward the famous explorer and future Republican Party nominee for United States president, John Charles Frémont, made valuable maps and scientific reports on the region. "Utah" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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