The Great Salt Lake is a very large salt lake found in the state of Utah in the United States. It is the largest salt lake in the western hemisphere and largest lake in the United States, apart from the great lakes, with a surface area of about 4,400 km2 (1,700 sq mi). The lake has no outlet to the ocean and also has a much higher level of salinity than seawater. The Great Salt Lake is located in the north of Utah and provides the name to the nearby Salt Lake City, which is the capital and largest city in the state. Let’s find out who discovered this lake and when this occurred.
Who discovered the Great Salt Lake?
Firstly, it should be said that the Great Salt Lake was known to the Native Americans that lived in the area for thousands of years. However, the first person of European descent to discover the lake is the subject of much debate. The first European to have knowledge of its existence was Silvestre Vélez de Escalante who wrote about it, after being told about it by the native people, during the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition of 1776. However, it was not discovered at this time. It was first discovered in either 1824 or 1825 by American Jim Bridger or French-Canadian Étienne Provost. Today both men are usually credited as being the first to discover the lake independently.
The first scientific expedition to the lake occurred in 1843 led by American explorer John C. Frémont. He didn’t finish his survey because of the harsh winter and this task was completed between 1849 and 1851 by a team led by Howard Stansbury. Great Salt Lake City was established in 1847 by Mormon settlers who were seeking an isolated area to practice their religion.