Starting sometime after AD 1250 the Anasazi migrated out of Utah and Colorado, the Fremont culture disappeared, and people in Utah stopped farming and went back to hunting and gathering. The climate turned drier, with long periods of drought, including a 30-year drought that began in AD 1270. With a growing population, food may have become scarce. We know there was violence during this time—perhaps a reaction to scarce resources.
The Numic-speaking people migrated into Utah around AD 1200. They might have either driven out or assimilated the previous inhabitants into the Numic culture.
Over time, Numic-speaking people evolved into four groups:
- Northern Shoshone: They lived in northern Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming, as hunter-gatherers.
- Goshute: Living in the west deserts of Utah, they masterfully adapted to this harsh climate.
- Southern Paiute: Living in southwestern Utah, they both hunted and gathered and did some farming using irrigation.
- Ute: Several groups of Ute people ranged throughout northern and central Utah. Some acquired horses early and became horse-traders, as well as slave-traders (raiding the Southern Paiutes and Navajos).