Arizona History: The history of Arizona appearing with nomadic paleo-Indians who resided in the Americas in general, and the Salt River Valley in precise, about 9,000 years ago until about 6,000 BC. Mammoths were the leady prey of hunters. As that prey moved eastward, they tracked, voiding the area. Other nomadic tribes (archaic Indians) migrated into the area, mostly from Mexico to the south and California to the west. Around almost 1,000 BC, the nomadic began to be followed by two other types of cultures, frequently called the farmers and the villagers, inspired by the introduction of maize into their culture.

Out of these archaic Indians, the Hohokam civilization arose. The Hohokam first ended the area around 1 AD, and in about 500 years, they had begun to settle the canal system which enabled agriculture to develop in the area. They abruptly depart by 1450, for unknown reasons. By the time the first Europeans arrived at the beginning of the 16th century, the two main groups of native Indians who occupied the area were the O’odham and Sobaipuri tribes. While the first explorers were Spanish, their tries at settlement were hindered to Tucson and the south before 1800.

Central Arizona was first decided during the early 19th century by American settlers. Native Americans have resided what is now Arizona for thousands of years. It hovers a state with one of the widest percentages of Native Americans in the United States and has the second-biggest total Native American population of any state. In extension, the superiority of the Navajo Nation, the widest Native American reservation in the US, and the integrated Tohono O’odham Nation, the second biggest, are spotted in Arizona. Over a quarter of the area of the state is reservation land.

Arizona History
Arizona History

Quick Timeline

  • 10,000 B.C.: Indians inhabit Arizona.
  • 300 B.C.: Hohokam arrives in southern Arizona and goes on to build complex canal systems along the Salt and Gila rivers.
  • 1400 A.D.: Indian settlements decline.
  • 1528: Spanish explorers first arrive searching for the Seven Cities of Gold.
  • 1629: Franciscans establish missions and become the first Europeans to settle in Arizona.
  • 1776: Tucson established.
  • 1821: Arizona becomes part of Mexico when it wins independence from Spain.
  • 1848: Mexico cedes Arizona to the U.S., later paying $15 million for it.
  • 1862: Arizona becomes a Confederate territory. The Battle of Picacho Pass south of Casa Grande is the westernmost battle of the Civil War.
  • 1867: Jack Swilling, a founder of Phoenix, notices ancient canals and forms an irrigation company. Water flows in canals by the next year and rich farmland can begin sustaining pioneers.
  • 1874: Tempe founder Charles Trumbull Hayden opens the Hayden Flour Mill, which becomes one of the territory’s most important businesses.
  • 1878: Mesa incorporates.
  • 1881: Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Railroads reach northern and southern Arizona.
  • 1894: Tempe incorporates.
  • 1912: Arizona becomes a state with a progressive constitution. Chandler is founded.
  • 1914: Women gain the right to vote, years before national suffrage.
  • 1920: Gilbert is incorporated, later becoming the “hay capital of the world” and the fastest-growing municipality in the U.S. through the 1990s.
  • 1936: Hoover Dam is dedicated to the Colorado River.
  • 1946: Arizona becomes a right-to-work state.
  • 1960: Del Webb opens Sun City, attracting 100,000 people on opening weekend and making the cover of Time. Arizona’s population reaches one million.
  • 1961: Stewart Udall becomes U.S. Interior Secretary, the first Arizonan to hold a cabinet post.
  • 1968: The Central Arizona Project is authorized. London Bridge arrives on the Colorado River.
  • 1975: Raul Castro becomes Arizona’s first Hispanic governor.
  • 1978: Apache Junction is incorporated.
  • 1987: Pope John Paul II visits Arizona and holds mass for 75,000 in Tempe’s Sun Devil Stadium.
  • 1988: Gov. Evan Mecham is impeached and removed from office. Rose Mofford becomes the first woman governor.
  • 1989: Queen Creek is incorporated.
  • 1992: Voters approve the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday.
  • 1997: Gov. Fife Symington is forced to resign after being convicted of bank fraud. The conviction was overturned in 1999 and in 2001, President Bill Clinton pardoned him.
  • 2001: The Arizona Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees in Phoenix, winning the World Series.
  • 2003: Lori Piestewa is the first woman to die in the Iraq invasion. A member of the Hopi tribe, she’s also the first Native American to die in combat. Gov. Janet Napolitano stirs controversy while pushing for Phoenix’s Squaw Peak to be renamed Piestewa Peak, but the change is made.

Brief History Of Arizona

Early Arizona

  • The first European to reach Arizona was a Spaniard called Marcos de Niza in 1539.
  • However, for centuries the Spanish existence in Arizona was minor. When Mexico became sovereign from Spain in 1821 Arizona became a Mexican province.
  • However, in 1848 Mexico was imposed to hand over most of what is now Arizona to the USA. In 1850 it became part of the province of New Mexico. Another section of Arizona was recovered by the USA in 1853 by the Gadsden Purchase. When the Civil War came in 1861 the people of Arizona followed the Confederacy.
  • However, in 1862 Union forces won the war of Picacho Peak and the Union took control. Yet on 24 February 1863 Arizona was made an independent territory from New Mexico.
  • In 1880 Arizona had a population of 40,000. By 1900 it was over 122,000.
  • In 1889 Phoenix was made the capital of Arizona. In the late 19th century many colonists went to Arizona. In the 1860s and 1870s ranching became common. Mining also developed. Both silver and copper were drilled in Arizona and mining towns grew up.
  • Meanwhile, the native people were forced onto reservations, and forts were formed by the US army. The last native revolution ended in 1886 when Geronimo ceded. One of the most famous events in the history of Arizona was the gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone on 26 October 1881. (It was actually combated on a vacant lot by the OK Corral).
Arizona Historical Map
Arizona Historical Map

Modern Arizona

  • The Grand Canyon has formed a national monument in 1908 and in 1919 it was started a national park. Meanwhile, the Theodore Roosevelt Dam was made in 1911. Finally, Arizona was signed to the union as the 48th state on 14 February 1912.
  • The same year, 1912 Arizona awarded women the right to vote. Like the rest of the USA Arizona went through badly during the depression of the 1930s but its population bloated during the Second World War.
  • The population of Arizona continued to grow speedily after 1945. By 1950 it attained almost 750,000. By 1990 it had escalated to over 3,665,000 In 2018 the population of Arizona was 7 million.
  • Today there is still a great copper mining industry in Arizona.

Cultural Life In Arizona

Although traditionally a center for Native American community arts and crafts, Arizona has had no circles of painters and writers proportionate to those of neighboring New Mexico. Significance in painting, crafts, drama, music, and publishing, however, has increased with population growth. Architecture and the graphic arts have been especially influenced by Southwestern regional themes.

Arizona History Museum
Arizona History Museum

Few of the state’s artists are native-born. Among its best-known writers are Zane Grey, Edward Abbey, and Barbara Kingsolver. A few native-born authors of the 20th century, such as Marguerite Noble, Alberto Ríos, and Eva Antonia Wilbur-Cruce, subsidized to a genre that emphasizes the real hardships of the region along with its austere beauty.

New Native American writers are active in the state though most were born outside Arizona incorporate Leslie Marmon Silko, N. Scott Momaday, Luci Tapahonso, Laura Tohe, Simon Ortiz, and Ofelia Zepeda. Present-day Native American arts and crafts, prosecuted within the ethics of the tribes, receive worldwide devotion.

In particular, Hopi and Navajo painters, silver and jewelry craftsmen, weavers, basketmakers, and potters develop a high volume of much-desired and costly work. No city controls as an art center, although Scottsdale, Tucson, Sedona, and Tubac have colonies of working artists.

Flagstaff and Tucson are home to a number of well-respected photojournalists. The Phoenix Art Museum has durable collections of Western American, Asian, Latin American, and European art, as well as a fashion design collection. The Arizona State Museum at the University of Arizona in Tucson, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, and the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff feature archaeological and traditional collections of Indian arts and crafts.

Music orchestras, theatres, ballets, and opera are well supported in Phoenix and Tucson. More than any other art form, architecture exemplifies the communication between the local traditions of the Southwest and modern international trends. Several fine examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work including his home at Taliesin West and the futuristic, embryonic city of Arcosanti designed by Paolo Soleri are found in Arizona.

Among the many architectures in the Spanish style, the Heard Museum is outstanding, and the Nogales Public Library incorporates the Spanish Southwestern and present-day styles. Probably the most photographed house in all of Arizona is the San Xavier del Bac Mission (popularly called the “White Dove of the Desert”), located near Tucson and finished by the Franciscans in 1797.

The state’s leading book publisher, the University of Arizona Press, drops a variety of scholarly and popular titles, most with a Southwestern focus. The Arizona ancient Society also reinforces a journal- and book-publishing program. The state’s most widely known publication, Arizona Highways, brings diverse features of Arizona to a worldwide audience.

The daily Arizona Republic and weekly New Times, disclosed in Phoenix, are popular sources of news and editorials. A diversity of sports and recreational activities provide satisfaction and relaxation. Professional sports teams include the Arizona Cardinals (gridiron football), Phoenix Suns (men’s basketball), Arizona Diamondbacks (baseball), Arizona Coyotes (hockey), and Phoenix Mercury (women’s basketball).

Diverse desert and forest lands and many man-made lakes captivate thousands of hunting and fishing devotees, campers, hikers, and amateur prospectors and historiographers throughout the year.


  • Capital: Phoenix
  • State abbreviation/Postal code: Ariz./AZ
  • Governor: Doug Ducey, R (to Jan. 2019)
  • Senators: Jeff Flake, R (to Jan. 2019); John McCain, R (to Jan. 2023)
  • U.S. Representatives: 9
  • Secy. of State: Michele Reagan, R (to Jan. 2019)
  • Atty. General: Mark Brnovich, R (to Jan. 2019)
  • Treasurer: Jeff DeWit, R (to Jan. 2019)
  • Organized as territory: Feb. 24, 1863
  • Entered Union (rank): Feb. 14, 1912 (48)
  • Present constitution adopted: 1911
  • Motto: Ditat Deus (God enriches)
  • State symbols:
    1. flower of saguaro cactus (1931)
    2. bird cactus wren (1931)
    3. colors blue and old gold (1915)
    4. song “Arizona” (1919)
    5. tree palo verde (1954)
    6. neckwear bola tie (1971)
    7. fossil petrified wood (1988)
    8. gemstone turquoise (1974)
    9. mammal ringtail (1986)
    10. reptile Arizona ridgenose rattlesnake (1986)
    11. fish Arizona trout (1986)
    12. amphibian Arizona tree frog (1986)
    13. butterfly two-tailed swallowtail (2001)
  • Nickname: Grand Canyon State
  • Origin of name: Uncertain. Perhaps from the O’odham Indian word for “little spring”
  • 10 largest cities (2013): Phoenix, 1,513,367; Tucson, 526,116; Mesa, 457,587; Chandler, 249,146; Glendale, 234,632;Gilbert, 229,972; Scottsdale, 226,918; Tempe, 168,228; Peoria, 162,592; Surprise, 123,546
  • Land area: 113,595 sq mi. (294,315 sq km)
  • Geographic center: In Yavapai Co., 55 mi. ESE of Prescott
  • Number of counties: 15
  • Largest county by population and area: Maricopa, 4,009,412 (2013); Coconino, 18,618 sq mi.
  • State parks: 28
  • Residents: Arizonan, Arizonian
  • 2015 resident population: 6,828,065


Who First Discovered Arizona?
The History Of Arizona As Recorded By Europeans Began In 1539 With The First Documented Exploration Of The Area By Marcos De Niza, Early Work Expanded The Following Year When Francisco Vásquez De Coronado Entered The Area As Well.
What Is Az Famous For?
Arizona Is Known For The Grand Canyon And The Desert. But There Is So Much More Than That! Mountains, Snow, Very Large City (Phoenix), Smallish City (Tucson), Mountain City (Flagstaff), And Lots Of Cute Small Towns.
How Did Arizona Get Its Name?
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. To The European Settlers, Their Pronunciation Sounded Like Arizona.
Who Is The Most Famous Person In Arizona?
Rex Allen Singer, Actor, Willcox, Michael Carbajal World Champion Boxer, Phoenix, Lynda Carter Actress, Phoenix, Cochise Apache Indian Chief, Arizona Territory, Barbara Eden Was Born In Tucson, Arizona In 1934, Louie Espinoza Arizona’s First World Champion Boxer, Chandler.
What Are The 5 C's Of Arizona?
Arizona’s Five C’s Are Copper, Cattle, Cotton, Citrus, And Climate. In The Early Years Of The State, The Five C’s Served An Important Role In The Economy, With Many Jobs In Agriculture, Ranching, And Mining.
What's The Oldest City In Arizona?
The Oldest Incorporated Place In Arizona Is Tucson Which Incorporated In 1877 And The Most Recent Was The Town Of Tusayan Which Incorporated In March 2010.