This is the year for the Arizona Centennial. One Hundred years ago, Arizona became a state. The short history of the area is:
- 15,000 years ago people populated the area.
- In 1541 Europeans came into the area. (Spaniards looking for gold).
- In 1848 the United States defeated Mexico in a war and gained an area the size of Europe. (From Texas to the Pacific,; From the Rio Grande river to Oregon ((approximate))).
- The U.S. then purchased a tiny sliver of flat land on the Southern border to build a railroad (Gadsen Purchase 1853).
- The area was part of New Mexico until 1863 when Lincoln divided the New Mexico territory into two. Arizona was considered a free state, New Mexico was a slave state.
- Previous to this Utah took a little piece of the territory near the Colorado river.
The name Arizona comes from an Indian word which means little spring. When air conditioning became cheap (1950), the state population started to explode. Today, 6.5 million people live in the state. Most live around Phoenix. There are 22 recognized Indian tribes. Indian tribes are considered sovereign nations and have there own laws. These get mixed with state and federal jurisdictions. Arizona is known for the five “C”‘s: copper, climate, citrus, cattle, cotton. The biggest attraction is the Grand Canyon. From November to April the weather is fantastic. The rest of the year is a dry heat. There are 300 days of sunshine. When Arizonians leave the state and visit Northern areas, they get discouraged because of clouds and rain. They then return to Arizona and dry out.