The fabled Apache and Navajo nations began arriving in Arizona in the 13th century, and somewhere between the 11th and 14th centuries, the Pueblo Indian culture built their mysterious prehistoric cliff dwellings across America's southwest, many of which still exist today.
Arriving in 1539 in search of the Seven Cities of Gold, Marcos de Niza, Franciscan friar from Spain, was the first European to explore Arizona; soon after, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado followed in his quest for gold.
The early settlements built here were for missionary purposes only. In 1775, the Spanish established Fort Tucson, and in fact, Tucson is one of the oldest cities in the United States of America.
Following Mexico's successful War of Independence from Spain in 1821, the Arizona region came under Mexican control. Then, during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), both America and Mexico fought for control of Texas. When that war ended, (by agreement) the fast-growing U.S. took possession of Texas, and what is now California, Nevada, Utah, smaller parts of New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming, and of course, Arizona.
In 1853, the remaining lands below the Gila River were also acquired by the U. S. and became a part of the Territory of New Mexico, with Fort Whipple its capital. In 1865, Prescott became the capital, then Tucson; back to Prescott in 1877, and finally Phoenix in 1889.
As prospectors rushed west to join the California Gold Rush of 1849, gold, silver and copper were also discovered in Arizona, which attracted most of the early settlers. Those frontiersmen (pioneers of sorts) faced many obstacles, including the war parties of the great American Indian chiefs, Geronimo and Cochise.
In the 1870's mining operations flourished as some of the largest copper deposits ever were discovered at Bisbee. Silver was discovered at Tombstone, but that frontier town became famous (not for silver) but for its western lawlessness. Wyatt Earp and his brothers gained their reputations after the Gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone in 1881.
In the late 19th century, Brigham Young sent Mormons from Utah to settle in the Arizona Territory; they subsequently founded several cities, including Heber, Mesa, Safford and Snowflake.
Arizona became the 48th State on February 14, 1912, and the last contiguous state admitted to the Union. Following WWI and WWII, the population grew rapidly as the state's agricultural, manufacturing and mining industries expanded and prospered.
...Sing the song that's in your hearts, sing of the great Southwest, Thank God, for Arizona, in splendid sunshine dressed. Lyrics from the state's official song, "Arizona," by Margaret Rowe Clifford.
World famous for its stunning scenery, Arizona is home to many of the planet's most spectacular natural wonders, including the Grand Canyon. For those reasons and many more, warm-weather tourism is one of Arizona's most important industries.
Stylish and rustic, Arizona is a mix of Native American Indian and Hispanic cultures, and represents the real flavor and essence of the American West. It's a favorite stop of golfers and vacationers, and remains one of the world's most popular retirement destinations.
The state of Arizona is home to some of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States. The capitol of Phoenix is home to 1.3 million people and continues to grow as both a vacation destination and favored place to call home. The dry, hot climate is a favorite of the active retiree crowd.
Science museums, vast nature preserves, and some the world's finest health spa resorts are located in Arizona. The city of Sedona is known for its famous energy vortexes, spiritual community, and amazing red rock monuments. Tucson is famous for its art galleries and southwest architecture.