Greetings From Arizona The 48th State
Arizona, was the last of the contiguous, the Lower 48, to fill in the American map. On February 14, 1912, with its wild and lawless frontier days behind it, Arizona joined the Union after surviving Civil War skirmishes, gunfights, and the Apache Wars. At that time Arizona’s population was approximately 215,000. In comparison, the population of neighboring state California was more than 11 times larger, at roughly 2.4 million.
Long before Arizona became a state, its land was scoured by Native Americans in search of minerals for trade and decoration. Historians estimate mining took place as early as 1,000 B.C. Native Americans heated copper and shaped turquoise into jewelry and decorations. The Tohono O’odham people mined hematite and the Apaches used cinnabar as body paint.
Spaniards arrived in the mid-1500s in search of wealth and cities of gold. As the land began to change hands, Mexicans, Europeans and Americans from the young nation entered the territory in search of its well-known deposits of gold, silver, copper and other minerals found in the mountains and desert sands. Prospectors risked their lives in search of instant wealth. While a few struck it rich, most were not so lucky. In some cases, great fortunes were made and lost in short order. In Arizona’s history, approximately 400,000 mining claims have been filed in the state, with about 4,000 companies formed in the industry, some of them vital economic contributors to this day.
Sheepherders and cattlemen also came to Arizona to stake their claim on a new life, contributing to the reputation of the “Wild West” when their hostility toward each other erupted into range wars over land and water for their herds. To protect settlers from unfriendly natives, the U.S. Army came West and built forts. Several major conflicts between the cavalry and Native Americans, most notably members of the Apache tribe, took place in Arizona. After the surrender of Geronimo in 1886, ranchers, farmers and other settlers rapidly expanded their claims on land in the territory. While the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad began construction in 1866, a period of brisk railroad construction commenced in the 1880s, bringing another wave of settlers, trade, and civilization to Arizona.
Many people in search of a new life headed west and north during the 19th century to seek their fortunes, or to simply make a living and raise families. These courageous pioneers laid the foundation for the Arizona of today, and the storytelling and folklore that originated in those early days has been transformed into scores of classic books and movies. Who hasn’t heard of the legendary marshal Wyatt Earp and his sidekick Doc Holliday, and the famous Shootout at the O.K.
Who hasn’t seen classic Western movies such as Stagecoach, Red River, Fort Apache, The Searchers and Rio Bravo? All starred John Wayne and were filmed in part right here in Arizona? Wherever you go throughout this great state, the history of the Old West surrounds you.
From the 1950s through the 1970s, Arizona became known for its five Cs of copper, cattle, cotton, citrus and climate. These days you can add a sixth C, for Canadians. From business, tourism and residential perspectives, Canadians have been a major boom for Arizona’s economy. In fact, Canadians now represent the largest foreign sector of the state’s tourist trade, as well as the majority of new Arizona businesses started by foreign entities and foreign ownership of both commercial and residential properties across the greater Phoenix area.
Today, 104 years after Arizona became a state, the population has grown to an estimated 6.7 million people. Phoenix is the state’s biggest city and the country’s sixth largest overall. Maricopa County, of which Phoenix is the county seat, accounts for an estimated population of approximately 4.1 million residents. Tucson is the state’s second-largest city, with the population of the greater Tucson metropolitan area exceeding 1 million people. Arizona’s 23rd governor is Doug Ducey, a Republican, who was sworn into office on January 5, 2015.
Arizona remains a highly popular travel destination for visitors from the U.S. and around the world. In 2015, tourism in the state reached record numbers, with more than 40 million overnight visitors accounting for a whopping $20.9 billion of direct spending according to the Arizona Office of Tourism.
What’s The Draw, You Might Ask?
Arizona offers roughly 330 days of sunshine per year, outdoor recreational opportunities including world-class golfing, luxurious resorts and hotels, exceptional cuisine, exciting nightlife, premier shopping areas, and an abundance of historical landmarks and natural attractions. The state is rich in Native American culture, with its imprint readily apparent across the state and more readily so on its numerous reservations. The history of the Old West can be found statewide from Southern Arizona mining towns of Bisbee and Tombstone, Colorado River port of Yuma, in Central Arizona’s Valley of the Sun in Phoenix and Scottsdale, as well as in Northern Arizona in the former territorial capital of Prescott, the red rocks of Sedona, the Route 66 town of Flagstaff and the terminus of the Grand Canyon Railway in Williams. Running along Arizona’s northern border are the Grand Canyon, houseboat capital Lake Powell, and the iconic Monument Valley on the Navajo Reservation. And let’s not overlook the desert water resort towns of Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City on the Colorado River, both of which are favorites among outdoor enthusiasts.
With NBA, WNBA, MLB, NFL, Arena Football, and NHL teams, Cactus League Spring Training, the Waste Management Phoenix Open, two annual College Bowl games and two annual NASCAR race weekends at Phoenix International Raceway, Arizona offers sporting events year-round to meet every interest. In 2016, Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium hosted the College Football Playoff National Championship. And in 2017, the same venue will host the NCAA’s Men’s Basketball Final Four.
Dotting the calendar are other international events such as the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. Plus, the beauty of Arizona’s natural landscape provides the ideal backdrop for a vast array of outdoor activities, from swimming, fishing, boating and hot air ballooning to horseback riding, skiing, hiking and much more. As we all know, the 48th State is also known as the Grand Canyon State, a natural wonder that drew 5.52 million visitors in 2015 at its National Park.
All of these wonderful attributes are wrapped in Arizona’s warm hospitality and Southwestern charm, guaranteed to give visitors memories lasting a lifetime. For more information visit www.WanderExploreDine.com