Southwestern Utah’s history dates back thousands of years, as in the rest of the continent. There have been several different native American cultures to inhabit this area. First were the nomadic Pleistocene hunters of large animals like the Clovis people, then the hunter-gatherers of the southwest known as the desert archaic culture who are believed to have became the well-known farmers commonly called the Anasazi and the Fremont. After them, the mostly-hunter-gatherer tribes of Paiutes made this place their home until European and new white Americans began to explore and settle the area. Spanish explorers passed through along the Spanish trail. Then American pioneers and trappers explored, but never settled the area. The Mormon church, in the 1850’s, was the first to settle the Washington County and Saint George area since the Paiutes. As their population grew along with the growing need for water, they expanded into neighboring areas like the Arizona Strip and Hurricane. In the 1870’s, the town of Silver Reef even thrived on silver mining for a brief period. In recent decades, southwest Utah has experienced a large amount of growth, with Saint George having the largest population in this corner of the state.