Arizona State Geography

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So you want to know about Arizona? Here are some highlights! Also check out the links to other sites about Arizona.

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Key Facts

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Arizona State Facts

Population (1994): 4,071,650 (23rd in size)

State size: 114,000 square miles (6th in size)

State Capital: Phoenix (named after the mythical bird the Phoenix)

Major cities: Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Tempe and Scottsdale.

Admission to union: The 48th State

Date entered the union: February 14, 1912

Origin of state name: Named from the Indian word "arizonac" meaning small spring.

Nicknames: Grand Canyon State, Rattlesnake Heaven

Bordering states: California, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico with Mexico on the south.

State bird: Cactus Wren

State flower: Saguaro Cactus Blossom

State tree: Paloverde

Motto: God Enriches


Geographic Landmarks

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The Grand Canyon is one of the seven Wonders of the World. It is 217 miles long, a mile deep, and up to 18 miles wide. On the side of the Grand Canyon are huge pinnacles of rock and stone. The Colorado River flows through the canyon.

In the Petrified Forest National Park, ancient trees over a million years old have turned to stone.

Other natural landmarks include the Painted Desert, Monument Valley, Meteor Crater and Canyon Diablo.

Alaska Geographic Landmarks


Points of Interest

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Arizona has many other attractions, other than the natural landscape, that bring tourists. Man-made structures include the Hoover Dam, Roosevelt Dam and Glen Canyon Dam.

Other points of interest include towns such as Tombstone, left over from the wild west days, is best known for the "Gunfight at OK Corral." There are also many ghost towns left from early gold rush days.

The Biosphere II near Tucson was built to provide a self-contained living environment. Eight people to lived for 2 years in the Biosphere as part of an isolation experiment in 1991 to 1993.



Major Industries

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Natural resources include gold, silver and copper. Agriculture includes cotton, grain and livestock. Tourism also contributes significantly to the economy.



Historical Highlights

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Arizona was originally the home of Apache, Hopi, Navajo and other tribes. The first Europeans were Spanish explorers traveling north from Mexico. In 1539, the Franciscan missionary Father Marcos de Niza came to Arizona in search of gold to claim for Spain. Other Spanish missionaries came to Arizona to establish missions and bring Christianity. In 1540, De Cardenas discovered the Grand Canyon.

In 1821, Mexico declared independence from Spain and Arizona became part of Mexico. In 1846, Mexico and the United States went to war. At the end of the Mexican War, in 1848, northern Arizona was ceded to the United States. A few years later, in 1853, the United States purchased the remainder of Arizona as part of the Gadsden Purchase.

In the 1850's, discovery of gold and copper brought many prospectors in search of their fortune. The local tribes fought to defend their land against the newcomers. The fighting continued until 1886 when the Apache Chief Geronimo finally surrenders to U.S. soldiers.



Population and Culture

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Initially settled by Native American tribes, the discovery of gold and silver brought many other settlers.  



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Interesting Tidbits

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Links to other sites about Arizona

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Links to Arizona Sites

Arizona State Flag


Arizona State Government home page

Arizona State Government Kids Page - history

Arizona State Government Kids Page - natural wonders

Arizona State Government Kids Page - wild life

Arizona State Government Kids Page - facts

Grand Canyon National Park home page

Arizona Guide - Arizona Office of Tourism

Arizona Highways online


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