Arizona was one of the last states to join the Union in 1912, and the state is famous for all its natural wonders. There are beautiful mountains and plateaus, and magnificent desert areas and the most startling region of Arizona is by far the Grand Canyon, one of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders.
In the period 1100 – 1400 AD, ancient Indian people (the Sinagua) built impressive communal cliff dwellings in Arizona and the crumbling walls are a testimony to their great culture. Worth visiting is the National Monument of Montezuma Castle near Camp Verde.
Arizona’s capital Phoenix was built on Indian ruins and like the mythical bird that the city is named after, it developed rapidly out of history’s remains. Over the last decades, Arizona has experienced a spectacular increase in population, partly due to its very healthful climate, and many corporations have decided to be headquartered here, as have many retired persons.
The Colorado River bed in the Grand Canyon area is more or less at the same level as it did many million years ago. The canyon got shaped when grounds were continuing to rise so the river had to forcefully carve through it. The great forces caused by sand, water, and boulders were cutting away at the rising land shaping the Grand Canyon.
Quick Facts about Arizona
– The Grand Canyon, belonging to the world’s finest natural wonders.
– The Arizona trout, only to be found here.
– First in U.S. copper production.
– Leading in nonfuel-mineral production value.
– Hoover Dam (in part in Arizona) has the largest U.S. artificial water body.
– Casa Grande (Sonora), a 4-story Pueblo Culture castle building and a church.
– Arizona has the largest U.S. Indian reservation for the largest tribe, the Navajo.
– Kitts Peak National Observatory (Sells) is the world’s largest solar telescope.
Arizona brief history
The Pueblo peoples (Spanish for village) built an impressive civilization here from around 700 till the end of the 1200’s AD, and in the year 539 a Franciscan friar named Marcos de Niza came to the area to discover the fabled riches of the ‘Seven Cities of Cibola’.
The next year, in 1540, Vasques de Coronado set up an enormous expedition to explore the area of present-day Arizona and they discovered many things, but no wealth or riches. In that same year, Garcia Lopez de Cardenas went all the way to the great gorge, but he failed to recognize the magnificent beauty of what we now know as the Grand Canyon.
Until the Jesuits came to the region in 1692, there had been hardly any attention for the area, and the Jesuits, led by Eusebio Francisco Kino baptized thousands of residents, they taught them the best way to raise livestock and crops, and they also started to explore the region. The Santa Cruz Valley settlement of Tubac became the first European one in 1752 in present-day Arizona.
The region came first under Spanish command but was under Mexican rule until the beginning of the Mexican American War. Mexico claimed the Nueces River to be its northeastern border, whereas America claimed the Rio Grande to be its southern border. On April 25th, 1846, the Mexican Army opened fire at the Rio Grande, and the war had broken out.
In the days of the Gold Rush that started in 1849, some 60,000 individuals passed across the Arizona area on their way to California, and many suffered from brutal Indian attacks. In 1858 explorers discovered gold in the Fort Yuma area, and it wasn’t long before Gila City reached a population of 1,100 though that wasn’t long-lived.
Confederate cavalry captured Tucson in February of 1862, but U.S. Federal troops occupied Yuma in reaction. Also in that year the Battle of Apache Pass took place in July and this was one of the major battles of the Indian Wars that occurred in the 1860s till the early 1870s, and when government troops started to fire their howitzers, the Indians retreated. Peaceful Indians and many travelers were fearing Chief Geronimo’s raids during the period 1861 – 1880.
Phoenix was founded in 1866 and was initially a hay camp to feed the livestock at Camp McDowell, but when Jack Swilling started to restore the area’s irrigation canals that dated back to prehistoric times, the town began to grow rapidly. The name of the city comes from the phoenix bird legend. Fire burns the bird every 500 years but then it rises again from its ashes. That’s why the new town that was established on the ‘ashes’ of a prehistoric Hohokam site was given the name of Phoenix. In 1889, the town became Arizona’s capital, and in 1912, on February 14th, Arizona was admitted as the 48th state.
It was in the year 1916 that the already fragile relations with Mexico got even worse when Pancho Villa, a Mexican revolutionary, was thwarted upon attempting to enter Nogales, and in 1934, the state of Arizona wasn’t so pleased as it lost the so-called ‘water war’. The U.S. courts decided that a major share of the waters of the Colorado River should be awarded to California.
… Land of contrasts, Land of extremes, Land of contradictions, Land of surprises. A land that is always to be loved, but never to be fully understood… That is Arizona…