Nataqua Territory

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United States Gotoarrow.png Nevada Gotoarrow.png Nataqua Territory

Nataqua Territory was an unrecognized provisional United States territory in northeast California and western Nevada from 1856 to 1861. At the time the location of the eastern boundary of California and the western boundary of Utah were still vague. Utah in 1849 had claimed land as far as the crest of the Sierra Nevada. Utah erected Carson County in 1854, organized it in 1855, and sent 60 Mormon families in the spring of 1856 to colonize the east slope of the Sierra Nevada. Non-Mormon residents on the east slope felt physically cut off from California, and alarmed at the prospect of coming under political control of Salt Lake City.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

In the summer of 1857 most Sierra east slope Mormons in Carson Valley hurried off to defend Salt Lake City from an invasion by the U.S. Army. The time was ripe for the remnant non-Mormon residents of the east slope to double their efforts to exert independence from both California and Utah. A new convention on 8 August 1857 in Genoa (formerly Mormon Station) petitioned Congress for the creation of the Nevada Territory, and absorbed the Nataqua movement by making it a county in the proposed territory. On 3 October 1857 the Honey Valley residents in convention appealing to California again asserted they were not part of California. Also they agreed to throw in their lot with the Genoa convention by requesting inclusion in the Nevada Territory. Nevertheless, the U.S. Congress dragged its feet and delayed immediate recognition of the proposed Nevada Territory. California continued to consider Honey Valley within its jurisdiction.[1]

In July 1859 a new Genoa convention responded by declaring their independence from Utah, and setting up a Nevada Territory provisional constitution. The border with California was cited as the crest of the Sierra from Oregon to 35 degrees north latitude. In September residents voted to approve the new constitution and elected Peter Roop as their provisional governor.

In the meantime the discovery of the Comstock Lode and other rich mineral strikes were drawing a rush of new residents into the Carson Valley area. This demonstrated the need for local government. Finally on 2 March 1861 Congress recognized Nevada Territory. However, Nataqua was renamed Roop County at that time.


  1. Davis, 228-29.