a state in the western US; population 2,736,424 (est. 2008); capital, Salt Lake City; statehood, Jan. 4, 1896 (45). The region, a part of Mexico from 1821, was ceded to the US in 1848. The first permanent settlers, who arrived in 1847, were Mormons fleeing persecution. Statehood was refused until the Mormons renounced polygamy—a dispute that led to the Utah War 1857–58.