The Four Corners refers to a location where four states of the United States meet. The Four Corners occurs due to the convergence of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. The absolute location of the Four Corners is defined as 37° north latitude with 109° 03' west longitude. The region is located within the Colorado Plateau which is characterized by rural, arid, and rugged environment. The region attracts thousands of tourist who visit the monument, Mesa Verde National Park among several other attractions.
The Four Corner region was part of Mexico until 1848 when the Mexican-American war came to an end and the region ceded by Mexico. In 1861 the Congress established the territory of Colorado, and in 1863 it created the territory of Arizona from the western part of New Mexico Territory. The boundary between the two territories was defined as a line south of the southwest corner of Colorado Territory. Congress had earlier demarcated territorial boundaries using longitude and latitude lines or physical features such as a river, but in this instance, it sought to establish a point at which four territories would converge regardless of survey errors that were likely to occur during the demarcation process. In 1868, the government began surveying the territories with the aim of establishing Colorado as a state. Colorado became the first of the four territories to be declared a state. On January 4, 1896, Utah became the second territory to be declared a state. On January 06, 1912, New Mexico became a state, and on February 14, 1912, Arizona became the last of the four states to be admitted.
Four Corners Monument
A monument marks the point at which the states converge. The four states are the only states of the fifty that converge at a single point. The monument also serves as the borderline between the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation and the Navajo Nation. The Navajo government maintains the monument. It is located west of US Highway 160, 40 miles from Cortez, Colorado. The absolute location of the monument is 36° 59′ 56.3″ N, 109° 2′ 42.6″ W.
The convergence of the four states led to the rise of the region, but the accuracy of the monument has always been doubtful. Initially, the surveyors were required to follow the latitudes and longitudes, but they instead placed markers that that did not tally with the points. In 1919 and 1925, border claims led to a court case between New Mexico and Colorado but the Supreme court ruled that the boundaries would remain as placed by the markers. In 2009 the boundary issue found its way to the Congress after the media stated that it had been placed 2.5 miles from the correct location. The matter as used to rest when US National Geodetic Survey state that the surveyors had used the Washington meridian and not the Prime Meridian as the reference point. After modern survey equipment was used to locate the exact boundary, it was determined that the monument lies 1,807 feet from where present day surveyors would place it. However, the US National Geodetic Survey, the Supreme Court, and the Navajo governments agree that the surveyors did exemplary work given the survey technology at their disposal. The boundary was thus upheld.