The flags of four nations have flown over Arizona over the course of the last 500 hundred years. At various times the flags of
Spain, Mexico, The United States, and the Confederacy have flown over the state.
Arizona became the 48th, and last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the Union,
on February 14, 1912. The year 2000 Census ranks Arizona 20th by population. Today, Arizona has an estimated 6,239,482
Feb. 24, 1863
Statehood: February 14, 1912
2000 Population: 5,130,632 2006 Population
Native American Population: 322,200
Highest Elevation: Mount Humphreys at 12,633 ft.
Colorado River at 70 ft. Area: 113,998 sq miles
Avg Annual Rain: 12.7 in.
Location: The four corners area of the southwestern U.S. bordering
the states of New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, and Colorado. Also borders the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California.
Bird: Cactus Wren State Flower: Saguaro Bloom State Gem: Turquoise State Tree: Palo Verde State Fossil: Petrified Wood State Mammal: Ringtail State Reptile: Arizona Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake State Fish: Apache Trout State Amphibian: Arizona Treefrog
State Song: Arizona State
Nickname: Grand Canyon State
The state's humble beginnings began some 12,000 years ago with the migrating Paleo-Indians, a race of archaic hunters and gatherers.
These early inhabitants included the Clovis people whose stone tools and arrowheads have been found at a mommoth-kill site in southeastern
Arizona. In addition to mammoths these early hunters also encountered camels, sloths and horses. Due to climate change
and over-hunting of the larger mamals, the hunting societies disappeared, replaced some 7000 years later by pottery-making societies
such as the Hohokam. This period is known as the Archaic Period. It was during this period that settlers began growing
a small and primitive variety of maize at places like Bat Cave and the Tucson basin as early as 3500 BC.
The Archaic Times
Between A.D. 200 and 1450, the Hohokam culture thrived in southern Arizona. The Pima and Tohono O'odham are most probably the descendents
of that advanced civilization. This conclusion is based on oral tradition and the fact that O'odhams are found during the later periods
of the Hohokam culture. In addition to the Hohokams, this period also includes the Anasazi, Mogollon, and Patayan cultures
The tribes native to Arizona are divided into three groups: the Uto-Aztecan, the Athapascan, and the Yuman. Many
other tribes can be found here, but they moved to Arizona from other locations. These include the Paiute from Utah and the Yaqui from
Mexico, and the Apaches from Canada. Among the Uto-Aztecan tribes are the Hopi, the Pima, and the Papago.
While the Hohokam culture
was centered in southern Arizona, the Anasazi were located in the Four Corners region ( Northern New Mexico west of the
Pecos River, southwestern Colorado, most of southern Utah, and northern Arizona south to the Little Colorado River). The Anasazi existed
around two thousand years ago and are thought to be the ancestors of modern Indian tribes like the Hopi, the Zuni and the Pueblo.
Several Mogollon groups clustered within roughly 100 miles east and west of the New Mexico and Arizona border and extended some unknown
distance southward into Chihuahua and Sonora. These westernmost groups – with their signature brownware ceramics – give definition
to the Mogollon culture.
Payayan cultures appear near AD 875 and many cultural characteristics continued into historic times.
The Patayan Culture may have originally emerged along the Colorado River, extending from the area around modern Kingman northeast
to the Grand Canyon.
In southern Arizona the Hohokam culture gradually disappeared and was eventually replaced by the Tohono O'odhams (formerly known as
Papago) Indians. The Tohono O'odhams were primarily farmers, cultivating corn, beans, and cotton, but they also gathered wild vegetables,
including the fruits of various cactus. In additon to farming, many O'odhams also engaged in cattle raising. Baskets made by the
women from this period are intricate and beautifully made, and in demand by collectors.
The Spanish Arrive
The Spanish conquest of the American southwest began in 1539 when Mendoza, the Spanish Viceroy of Mexico, sent Fray Marcos de Niza
in search of the Seven Cities of Gold. Based on the greatly exagerrated reports by the Friar, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado
was enticed to make his famous expedition to Zuni Pueblo, in present-day New Mexico, of which Fray Marcos was the guide. The fabled
city was not found and the expediton was dissapointing in the end, but it did open the way for the missionaries.
Also in 1540,
as a naval complement to Francisco Vasquez de Coronado's overland expedition, Hernando de Alarcon, the Spanish navigator, explored
the peninsula of Baja California, becoming the first European to see the site of the present day City of Yuma. This expedition
was successful in penetrating the lower Colorado River some 80 miles, as far as the modern California-Arizona boundary.
Native American Tribes: Fourteen tribes on 20 reservations including: Navajo, Mohave, Apache, Hopi, Paiute, Tohono O'Odham, Pima,
Maricopa, Yavapaí, Hualapai, and Havasupai
The sun shines in southern Arizona 85% of the time
The "Father" of Independent Mexico
The missionaries arrived in the early 1600's. Spanish Jesuits came up from Mexico to establish missions and convert the natives to
Christianity. The Jesuit Father Eusebio Kino founded the missions of Guevavi (1692) and Tumacacori (1696), near Nogales, and San Xavier
del Bac (1700), near Tucson, as well as a number of visitas including one at Tubac.
By 1732 Tubac was a visita of Mission Guevavi
and a mission farm and ranch by 1738. In 1752, Spanish troops defeated an army of 2,000 Piman warriors and established the Presidio
of San Ignacio de Tubac, the headquarters of the Spanish in Southern Arizona. Tubac's biggest claim to fame is as the starting point
for an expedition led by Juan Bautista de Anza in 1775. De Anza led nearly 250 settlers across deserts and mountain ranges on the
first overland route to California. When the group finally reached the Pacific Ocean, they founded San Francisco.
On August 20, 1775, the Irishman Hugo O'Conor, Colonel of the Royal Spanish army, relocated the company of the presido at Tubac and
established the Presidio of San Agustín del Tucsón and laid the foundation for the modern day City of Tucson on the banks of the Santa
The Royal Presidio de San Augustin del Tucson was completed by 1781, and it remained under Spanish rule as part
of the region known as Pimería Alta until 1821, when Mexico became independent. Tucson remained the northern-most outpost of Mexico
until the arrival of American soldiers in 1856.
The Sinagua evolved, a tribe that moved into the area of present-day Flagstaff and south to Oak Creek Canyon around the year 1,000 A.D. Their name is derived from the Spanish for "no water," a reference to the leaky, porous limestone cliffs where the tribe built dwellings that were noted by the first Spanish explorers.
The Apache and Navajo migrated to Arizona about 1300 A.D. from the McKenzie River area in Canada. Arriving here around 1450 to 1500 AD, the Navajo moved into Canyon de Chelly and Chaco Canyon. The Apache moved into the Central Highland areas of Sedona, Tonto Basin and the White Mountains. Eventually some of the bands moved south into the Chirachua Mountains near today's Mexican border. The Navajo and the other Apache groups are clearly related through culture and language and thus are considered Apachean. Apachean peoples formerly ranged over eastern Arizona, northwestern Mexico, New Mexico, parts of Texas, and a small group on the plains.
All of these cultures expressed similarities, as well as differences, and are marked by intricate pottery and basket making skills. Cliff dwellings, pit houses, and pueblo style building are all hallmarks of this period.