Arizona was the 48th state admitted to the United States and is part of the Southwest United States. It is one of the Four Corners states, south and east of the Colorado River, bordering New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California and Mexico, and touching Colorado. It is also the name of a U.S. Battleship, the USS Arizona.
Its major cities are Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Glendale, Chandler, and Scottsdale. Besides the Grand Canyon, a number of other National Forests, Parks, Monuments, and Indian reservations are located in the state.
Historians disagree about the origin of the name "Arizona" and its attachment to the region. Three possible derivations are:
- O′odham words "alÄ á¹£on" ("small spring"), actually the name of a town which is called "Arizonac" in English. Arizonac is a small town about eight miles (12 km) south of the United States–Mexican border. Historically, it may have been "alÄ son" or even "alÄ sona". The O′odham "l" is a voiced alveolar lateral fricative, which might sound to a Spanish or English speaker like an "r" sound. Later in the mid 18th century Spanish missionaries changed Father Eusebio Francisco Kino′s maps of the area; they renamed the town Arizonac as Arizona. As the maps were republished and circulated in Europe, the name Arizona became attached to the whole northern part of New Spain.
- Spanish words "árida zona" ("arid zone") Although, this would be grammatically incorrect because in Spanish, the noun precedes the ajective.
- Nahuatl word "arizuma" ("silver bearing"). In 1736, a small silver-mining camp called "Real Arissona" by the Spanish was established near Arizonac.
Beyond its original native inhabitants, Marcos de Niza, a Franciscan, explored the area in 1539. Coronado′s expedition entered the area in 1540–42 during its search for Cibola. Father Kino developed a chain of missions and taught the Indians Christianity in Pimería Alta (now southern Arizona and northern Sonora) in the 1690s and early 1700s. Spain founded fortified towns (presidios) at Tubac in 1752 and Tucson in 1775. All of what is now Arizona became part of Mexico′s northwest frontier upon the Mexican assertion of independence from Spain in 1810. The United States took possession of most of Arizona at the end of the Mexican War in 1848. In 1853 the land below the Gila River was acquired from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase. Arizona was administered as part of the Territory of New Mexico until it was organized into a separate territory on February 24, 1863.
With the encouragement of Brigham Young, Mormons went to Arizona from Utah in the mid to late 1800s to the Phoenix Valley (or "Valley of the Sun"), Mesa, Tempe, Prescott, Snowflake, Heber, and many other Arizona towns to settle there.
Arizona was also the site of a German and Italian prisoner of war camp during WWII. The site was purchased after the war by the Maytag family, and is currently the Phoenix Zoo. A Japanese internment camp was located on Mount Lemmon, just outside of the southeastern city of Tucson.
Arizona was admitted into the Union on February 14, 1912.
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