You Are At: AllSands Home > Travel > Places > State of Arizona
In 1540 the territory which is now called Arizona was explored by a Spanish expedition led by Coronado who found it to be a wildly rugged area with canyons, dry plains, lush forest and isolated mountain ranges. Bordered on the west by the Colorado Rockies, Arizona scenic wonders remained unsettled until the 1690's when Jesuit missionary Eusebio Kino founded the first mission in the territory near what is known today as Nogales, Arizona.
Arizona was part of a half million square mile territory gained by the United States as a result of the Mexican War. The treaty of 1848 sealed the ownership of Arizona but a dispute of the southern boundary was later resolved by the Gadsden Purchase. By the 1900's Arizona like many of the southwest territories was populated by predominantly spanish speaking people. Though their numbers were small their culture and institutions had a great influenced on the Arizona territory. Bringing with them stock raising, mining and irrigated farming techniques, the Spanish implemented new laws, ranching methods and created the legal framework for distribution of land and water. Arizona was officially made a territory in 1863.
The big magnet that drew people to the southwest began with the Gold Rush of 1849. Even though there was intermittent warfare with the Apache from 1861 to 1886 , important strikes were discovered in Arizona in the 1860's through 1870's. This led to an influx of mining towns that appeared to spring up overnight. By 1870 mining and ranching flourished in the Arizona Territory. Since the area's history had been shaped by the scarcity of water, many irrigation projects permitted the growth of agriculture.
In 1912 Arizona became the 48th state to join the Union. Today this scenic 113,909 square mile state houses the southern part of the Grand Canyon. The region abounds with minerals such as copper, silver, gold and molybdenum. Arizona is well know today for the many Federal projects that aid their large Native American population. The capitol of Arizona is Phoenix. The State Bird is the Cactus Wren and the State Flower is the Saguaro Cactus Blossom. Nicknamed the Grand Canyon State, the word Arizona is a Spanish interpretation of the Aztec Indian word arizuma which means silver bearing.