State of Arizona
Flag of Arizona State seal of Arizona
Flag Seal
Nickname(s):
The Grand Canyon State;
The Copper State;
The Valentine State
Motto(s): Ditat Deus (God enriches)
State song(s): "The Arizona March Song" and "Arizona"
Map of the United States with Arizona highlighted
Official languageEnglish
Spoken languagesAs of 2010
DemonymArizonan[1]
Capital
(and largest city)
Phoenix
Largest metroGreater Phoenix
AreaRanked 6th
 • Total113,990[2] sq mi
(295,234 km2)
 • Width310 miles (500 km)
 • Length400 miles (645 km)
 • % water0.35
 • Latitude31°  20′ N to 37° N
 • Longitude109°  03′ W to 114°  49′ W
PopulationRanked 14th
 • Total7,171,646 (2018)
 • Density57/sq mi  (22/km2)
Ranked 33rd
 • Median household income$56,581 [3] (29th)
Elevation
 • Highest pointHumphreys Peak[4][5][6]
12,637 ft (3852 m)
 • Mean4,100 ft  (1250 m)
 • Lowest pointColorado River at the Sonora border[5][6]
72 ft (22 m)
Before statehoodArizona Territory
Admitted to the UnionFebruary 14, 1912 (48th)
GovernorDoug Ducey (R)
Secretary of StateKatie Hobbs (D)
LegislatureArizona Legislature
 • Upper houseSenate
 • Lower houseHouse of Representatives
U.S. SenatorsKyrsten Sinema (D)
Martha McSally (R)
U.S. House delegation5 Democrats
4 Republicans (list)
Time zones 
 • most of stateMountain: UTC −7 (no DST)
 • Navajo NationMountain: UTC −7/−6
ISO 3166US-AZ
AbbreviationsAZ, Ariz.
Websitewww.az.gov
Arizona state symbols
Flag of Arizona.svg
Arizona-StateSeal.svg
Living insignia
AmphibianArizona tree frog
BirdCactus wren
ButterflyTwo-tailed swallowtail
FishApache trout
FlowerSaguaro cactus blossom
MammalRing-tailed cat
ReptileArizona ridge-nosed rattlesnake
TreePalo verde
Inanimate insignia
ColorsBlue, old gold
FirearmColt Single Action Army revolver
FossilPetrified wood
GemstoneTurquoise
MineralFire agate
RockPetrified wood
ShipUSS Arizona
SloganThe Grand Canyon State
SoilCasa Grande
State route marker
Arizona state route marker
State quarter
Arizona quarter dollar coin
Released in 2008
Lists of United States state symbols
Saguaro cactus flowers and buds after a wet winter. This is Arizona's official state flower.

Arizona (/ˌærɪˈznə/ (About this soundlisten); Navajo: Hoozdo Hahoodzo Navajo pronunciation: [xòːztò xɑ̀xòːtsò]; O'odham: Alĭ ṣonak Uto-Aztecan pronunciation: [ˡaɺi ˡʂonak]) is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

Arizona is the 48th state and last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the Union, achieving statehood on February 14, 1912, coinciding with Valentine's Day. Historically part of the territory of Alta California in New Spain, it became part of independent Mexico in 1821. After being defeated in the Mexican–American War, Mexico ceded much of this territory to the United States in 1848. The southernmost portion of the state was acquired in 1853 through the Gadsden Purchase.

Southern Arizona is known for its desert climate, with very hot summers and mild winters. Northern Arizona features forests of pine, Douglas fir, and spruce trees; the Colorado Plateau; mountain ranges (such as the San Francisco Mountains); as well as large, deep canyons, with much more moderate summer temperatures and significant winter snowfalls. There are ski resorts in the areas of Flagstaff, Alpine, and Tucson. In addition to the Grand Canyon National Park, there are several national forests, national parks, and national monuments.

About one-quarter of the state[7] is made up of Indian reservations that serve as the home of 27 federally recognized Native American tribes, including the Navajo Nation, the largest in the state and the United States, with more than 300,000 citizens. Although federal law gave all Native Americans the right to vote in 1924, Arizona excluded those living on reservations in the state from voting until the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of Native American plaintiffs in Trujillo v. Garley (1948).[8][9]

Etymology

The state's name appears to originate from an earlier Spanish name, Arizonac, derived from the O'odham name alĭ ṣonak, meaning "small spring", which initially applied only to an area near the silver mining camp of Planchas de Plata, Sonora.[10][11][12][13] To the European settlers, their pronunciation sounded like Arissona.[14] The area is still known as alĭ ṣonak in the O'odham language.[15] Another possible origin is the Basque phrase haritz ona ('the good oak'), as there were numerous Basque sheepherders in the area.[16][17][18] A native Mexican of Basque heritage established the ranchería (village) of Arizona between 1734 and 1736 in the current Mexican state of Sonora, which became notable after a significant discovery of silver there, c. 1737.[19]

There is a misconception that the state's name originated from the Spanish term Árida Zona ("Arid Zone").[14]

History

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon

For thousands of years before the modern era, Arizona was home to many Native American tribes. Hohokam, Mogollon and Ancestral Puebloan cultures were among those that flourished throughout the state. Many of their pueblos, cliffside dwellings, rock paintings and other prehistoric treasures have survived and attract thousands of tourists each year.

La conquista del Colorado, by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau, depicts Francisco Vázquez de Coronado's 1540–1542 expedition

In 1539, Marcos de Niza, a Spanish Franciscan, became the first European to contact Native Americans. He explored parts of the present state and made contact with native inhabitants, probably the Sobaipuri. The expedition of Spanish explorer Coronado entered the area in 1540–1542 during its search for Cíbola. Few Spanish settlers migrated to Arizona. One of the first settlers in Arizona was José Romo de Vivar.[20]

Father Kino was the next European in the region. A member of the Society of Jesus ("Jesuits"), he led the development of a chain of missions in the region. He converted many of the Indians to Christianity in the Pimería Alta (now southern Arizona and northern Sonora) in the 1690s and early 18th century. Spain founded presidios ("fortified towns") at Tubac in 1752 and Tucson in 1775.

When Mexico achieved its independence from the Kingdom of Spain and its Spanish Empire in 1821, what is now Arizona became part of its Territory of Nueva California, ("New California"), also known as Alta California ("Upper California").[21] Descendants of ethnic Spanish and mestizo settlers from the colonial years still lived in the area at the time of the arrival of later European-American migrants from the United States.

Mexico in 1824. Alta California is the northwestern-most state.

During the Mexican–American War (1847–1848), the U.S. Army occupied the national capital of Mexico City and pursued its claim to much of northern Mexico, including what later became Arizona Territory in 1863 and later the State of Arizona in 1912. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) specified that, in addition to language and cultural rights of the existing inhabitants of former Mexican citizens being considered as inviolable, the sum of US$15 million dollars in compensation (equivalent to $434,365,384.62 in 2018.) be paid to the Republic of Mexico.[22] In 1853, the U.S. acquired the land south below the Gila River from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase along the southern border area as encompassing the best future southern route for a transcontinental railway.

What is now known as the state of Arizona was initially administered by the United States government as part of the Territory of New Mexico until the southern part of that region seceded from the Union to form the Territory of Arizona.[23] This newly established territory was formally organized by the Confederate States government on Saturday, January 18, 1862, when President Jefferson Davis approved and signed An Act to Organize the Territory of Arizona,[24] marking the first official use of the name "Territory of Arizona". The Southern territory supplied the Confederate government with men, horses, and equipment. Formed in 1862, Arizona scout companies served with the Confederate States Army during the Civil War. Arizona has the westernmost military engagement on record during the Civil War with the Battle of Picacho Pass.

Geronimo (far right) and his Apache warriors fought against both Mexican and American settlers.

The Federal government declared a new U.S. Arizona Territory, consisting of the western half of earlier New Mexico Territory, in Washington, D.C., on February 24, 1863. These new boundaries would later form the basis of the state. The first territorial capital, Prescott, was founded in 1864 following a gold rush to central Arizona.[25] The capital was later moved to Tucson, back to Prescott, and then to its final location in Phoenix in a series of controversial moves as different regions of the territory gained and lost political influence with the growth and development of the territory.[26]

Although names including "Gadsonia," "Pimeria," "Montezuma" and "Arizuma" had been considered for the territory,[27] when 16th President Abraham Lincoln signed the final bill, it read "Arizona," and that name was adopted. (Montezuma was not derived from the Aztec emperor, but was the sacred name of a divine hero to the Pima people of the Gila River Valley. It was probably considered—and rejected—for its sentimental value before Congress settled on the name "Arizona.")

Brigham Young, patriarchal leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City in Utah, sent Mormons to Arizona in the mid- to late 19th century. They founded Mesa, Snowflake, Heber, Safford, and other towns. They also settled in the Phoenix Valley (or "Valley of the Sun"), Tempe, Prescott, and other areas. The Mormons settled what became northern Arizona and northern New Mexico. At the time these areas were in a part of the former New Mexico Territory.

During the nineteenth century, a series of gold and silver rushes occurred in the territory, the best known being the 1870s stampede to the silver bonanzas of Tombstone, Arizona in southeast Arizona, also known for its legendary outlaws and lawmen.[28] By the late 1880s, copper production eclipsed the precious metals with the rise of copper camps like Bisbee, Arizona and Jerome, Arizona.[29][30] The boom and bust economy of mining also left hundreds of ghost towns across the territory, but copper mining continued to prosper with the territory producing more copper than any other state by 1907, which earned Arizona the nickname "the Copper State" at the time of statehood.[31][32] During the first years of statehood the industry experienced growing pains and labor disputes with the Bisbee Deportation of 1917 the result of a copper miners’ strike.[33] The state continues to produce half of the nation's newly mined copper.

Children of Depression-era migrant workers, Pinal County, 1937

20th century to present

During the Mexican Revolution from 1910 to 1920, several battles were fought in the Mexican towns just across the border from Arizona settlements. Throughout the revolution, many Arizonans enlisted in one of the several armies fighting in Mexico. Only two significant engagements took place on U.S. soil between U.S. and Mexican forces: Pancho Villa's 1916 Columbus Raid in New Mexico, and the Battle of Ambos Nogales in 1918 in Arizona. The Americans won the latter.

After Mexican federal troops fired on U.S. soldiers, the American garrison launched an assault into Nogales, Mexico. The Mexicans eventually surrendered after both sides sustained heavy casualties. A few months earlier, just west of Nogales, an Indian War battle had occurred, considered the last engagement in the American Indian Wars, which lasted from 1775 to 1918. U.S. soldiers stationed on the border confronted Yaqui Indians who were using Arizona as a base to raid the nearby Mexican settlements, as part of their wars against Mexico.

Arizona became a U.S. state on February 14, 1912. Arizona was the 48th state admitted to the U.S. and the last of the contiguous states to be admitted.

Eleanor Roosevelt at the Gila River relocation center, April 23, 1943

Cotton farming and copper mining, two of Arizona's most important statewide industries, suffered heavily during the Great Depression. But during the 1920s and even the 1930s, tourism began to develop as the important Arizonan industry it is today. Dude ranches, such as the K L Bar and Remuda in Wickenburg, along with the Flying V and Tanque Verde in Tucson, gave tourists the chance to take part in the flavor and activities of the "Old West." Several upscale hotels and resorts opened during this period, some of which are still top tourist draws. They include the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in central Phoenix (opened 1929) and the Wigwam Resort on the west side of the Phoenix area (opened 1936).

Arizona was the site of German POW camps during World War II and Japanese-American internment camps. Because of wartime fears of a Japanese invasion of the West Coast, the government authorized the removal of all Japanese-American residents from western Washington, western Oregon, all of California, and western Arizona. From 1942 to 1945, they were forced to reside in internment camps built in the interior of the country. Many lost their homes and businesses. The camps were abolished after World War II.

The Phoenix-area German P.O.W. site was purchased after the war by the Maytag family (of major home appliance fame). It was developed as the site of the Phoenix Zoo. A Japanese-American internment camp was on Mount Lemmon, just outside the state's southeastern city of Tucson. Another POW camp was near the Gila River in eastern Yuma County.

Arizona was also home to the Phoenix Indian School, one of several federal Indian boarding schools designed to assimilate Native American children into mainstream European-American culture. Children were often enrolled into these schools against the wishes of their parents and families. Attempts to suppress native identities included forcing the children to cut their hair, to take and use English names, to speak only English, and to practice Christianity rather than their native religions.[34]

Numerous Native Americans from Arizona fought for the United States during World War II. Their experiences resulted in a rising activism in the postwar years to achieve better treatment and civil rights after their return to the state. After Maricopa County did not allow them to register to vote, in 1948 veteran Frank Harrison and Harry Austin, of the Mojave-Apache Tribe at Fort McDowell Indian Reservation, brought a legal suit, Harrison and Austin v. Laveen, to challenge this exclusion. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled in their favor.[9]

Arizona's population grew tremendously with residential and business development after World War II, aided by the widespread use of air conditioning, which made the intensely hot summers more comfortable. According to the Arizona Blue Book (published by the Arizona Secretary of State's office each year), the state population in 1910 was 294,353. By 1970, it was 1,752,122. The percentage growth each decade averaged about 20% in the earlier decades, and about 60% each decade thereafter.

In the 1960s, retirement communities were developed. These age-restricted subdivisions catered exclusively to the needs of senior citizens and attracted many retirees who wanted to escape the harsh winters of the Midwest and the Northeast. Sun City, established by developer Del Webb and opened in 1960, was one of the first such communities. Green Valley, south of Tucson, was another such community, designed as a retirement subdivision for Arizona's teachers. Many senior citizens from across the U.S. and Canada come to Arizona each winter and stay only during the winter months; they are referred to as snowbirds.

In March 2000, Arizona was the site of the first legally binding election ever held over the internet to nominate a candidate for public office.[35] In the 2000 Arizona Democratic Primary, under worldwide attention, Al Gore defeated Bill Bradley. Voter turnout in this state primary increased more than 500% over the 1996 primary.

Three ships named USS Arizona have been christened in honor of the state, although only USS Arizona (BB-39) was so named after statehood was achieved.

Geography and geology

West Mitten at Monument Valley
Sonoran Desert at Saguaro National Park
Cathedral Rock near Red Rock Crossing in Sedona
See also lists of counties, islands, rivers, lakes, state parks, national parks, national forests, and volcanic craters.

Arizona is in the Southwestern United States as one of the Four Corners states. Arizona is the sixth largest state by area, ranked after New Mexico and before Nevada. Of the state's 113,998 square miles (295,000 km2), approximately 15% is privately owned. The remaining area is public forest and park land, state trust land and Native American reservations.

Arizona is well known for its desert Basin and Range region in the state's southern portions, which is rich in a landscape of xerophyte plants such as the cactus. This region's topography was shaped by prehistoric volcanism, followed by the cooling-off and related subsidence. Its climate has exceptionally hot summers and mild winters. The state is less well known for its pine-covered north-central portion of the high country of the Colorado Plateau (see Arizona Mountains forests).

Like other states of the Southwest United States, Arizona has an abundance of mountains and plateaus. Despite the state's aridity, 27% of Arizona is forest,[36] a percentage comparable to modern-day France or Germany[citation needed]. The world's largest stand of ponderosa pine trees is in Arizona.[37]

The Mogollon Rim, a 1,998-foot (609 m) escarpment, cuts across the state's central section and marks the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau. In 2002, this was an area of the Rodeo–Chediski Fire, the worst fire in state history.

Located in northern Arizona, the Grand Canyon is a colorful, deep, steep-sided gorge, carved by the Colorado River. The canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is largely contained in the Grand Canyon National Park—one of the first national parks in the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of designating the Grand Canyon area as a National Park, often visiting to hunt mountain lion and enjoy the scenery. The canyon was created by the Colorado River cutting a channel over millions of years, and is about 277 miles (446 km) long, ranges in width from 4 to 18 miles (6 to 29 km) and attains a depth of more than 1 mile (1.6 km). Nearly two billion years of the Earth's history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut through layer after layer of sediment as the Colorado Plateau uplifted.

Arizona is home to one of the most well-preserved meteorite impact sites in the world. Created around 50,000 years ago, the Barringer Meteorite Crater (better known simply as "Meteor Crater") is a gigantic hole in the middle of the high plains of the Colorado Plateau, about 25 miles (40 km) west of Winslow. A rim of smashed and jumbled boulders, some of them the size of small houses, rises 150 feet (46 m) above the level of the surrounding plain. The crater itself is nearly 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) wide, and 570 feet (170 m) deep.

Arizona is one of two U.S. states that does not observe Daylight Saving Time (the other being Hawaii). The exception is within the large Navajo Nation (which observes Daylight Saving Time), in the state's northeastern region.

Earthquakes

Generally, Arizona is at low risk of earthquakes, except for the southwestern portion which is at moderate risk due to its proximity to southern California. On the other hand, northern Arizona is at moderate risk due to numerous faults in the area. The regions near and west of Phoenix have the lowest risk.[38]

The earliest Arizona earthquakes were recorded at Fort Yuma, on the California side of the Colorado River. They were centered near the Imperial Valley, or Mexico, back in the 1800s. Residents in Douglas felt the 1887 Sonora earthquake with its epicenter 40 miles to the south in the Mexican state of Sonora.[39] The first damaging earthquake known to be centered within Arizona occurred on January 25, 1906, also including a series of other earthquakes centered near Socorro, New Mexico. The shock was violent in Flagstaff.

In September 1910, a series of 52 earthquakes caused a construction crew near Flagstaff to leave the area. In 1912, the year Arizona achieved statehood, on August 18, an earthquake caused a 50-mile crack in the San Francisco Range. In early January 1935, the state experienced a series of earthquakes, in the Yuma area and near the Grand Canyon. Arizona experienced its largest earthquake in 1959, with a tremor of a magnitude 5.6. It was centered near Fredonia, in the state's northwest near the border with Utah. The tremor was felt across the border in Nevada and Utah.[39]

Adjacent states