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State nickname: "The Grand Canyon State" or "The Copper State"

(In Detail)
Capital Phoenix
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water
 - % water
Ranked 6th
295,254 km2
294,312 km2
942 km2
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 20th
Admittance into Union
 - Order
 - Date

February 14, 1912
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7
(Arizona doesn't observe DST except in the Navajo Nation)
31°20'N to 37°N
109°3'W to 114°50'W
500 km
645 km
3,851 meters
1,250 meters
21 meters
ISO 3166-2:US-AZ

Arizona was the 48th State admitted to the United States and is considered to be part of the Southwest. It is one of the Four Corners states located south and east of the Colorado River, bordering New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California and Mexico. Major cities are Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff. 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:

  • Pagago Indian word "arizonac" meaning (place of) little springs
  • Spanish words "árida zona" meaning arid zone
  • Aztec word "arizuma" meaning silver bearing

Arizonac is a small town about eight miles south of the United States-Mexican border. In 1736 a small silver-mining camp called "Real Arissona" by the Spanish was established near the town. 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.

USS Arizona was named in honor of this state.

Table of contents


Beyond its original native inhabitants, Marcos de Niza[?], a Franciscan, first explored the area in 1539. Father developed a number of missions and taught the indians Christianity at the the turn of the 18th century. Spain ceded Arizona to Mexico in 1821 and 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 organized into a United States territory[?] on February 24, 1863.

At the direction of Brigham Young, Mormons came from Utah in the mid to late 1800s to the Phoenix Valley (or "Valley of the Sun"), Prescott, Snowflake, Heber[?] and many other Arizona municipalities to settle there. One of the first LDS temples built in the southwest was the Mesa temple[?] finished in 1917(?).

Arizona was admitted into the union on February 14, 1912.

Law and Government Main article: Law and Government of Arizona[?]

See: List of Congressmen

The government consists of a thirty-member senate and a 60-member house of Representatives. The majority party is the Republican party, which has held power since 1950. The 2002 budget of the Arizona state legislature is 14.3 billion, while the executive budget is 13.8 billion. Besides the money spent on state agencies, money has also been allocated for tax cuts, pay raises for government employees, and health insurance for government employees. The executive budget has allocated money to previously passed legislation.

The governor is elected for a four-year term, and may serve any number of terms, though no more than two in a row. Senators and Representatives are elected for two year terms, and may also serve as many as they like, but no more than four in a row.

The Governor of Arizona is Janet Napolitano, a Democrat. She has been governor since 2003. Napolitano was born in New York City, moving to Arizona after graduating from law school in 1983. At this time Napolitano clerked for a U.S. Appeals Court judge before joining a Phoenix lawfirm and becoming a partner in 1989. She was appointed United States Attorney for the District of Arizona by President Clinton in 1993. In 1998, Napolitano was elected as the first female Attorney General by Arizona voters. During this time, she prosecuted a number of cases -- many backlogged -- and established herself as a guardian of children, the elderly, women, and the environment.See:List of Arizona Governors

The two Arizona State Senators are Senator John McCain (Republican) and Senator Jon Kyl[?] (Republican). John McCain was first elected in 1982. Since then, he has worked especially hard for campaign finance reform (The McCain-Feingold Bill[?]), and against pork barrel spending. He also supports health care and education. He is a member of the Senate Committees of Commerce, Science, and Transportation. McCain was born in the Panama Canal zone in 1936, attended the United States Naval Academy, and pursued a career as an aviator. He was shot down and became a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than five years. He retired from the Navy the year before he was first elected to office. McCain has seven children, four grandchildren, and lives with his wife Cindy in Phoenix.

Senator Jon Kyl was elected to the Senate in 1994. He then served in the House of Representatives before being re-elected to the Senate in 2000. He promotes lower taxes, national defense, tough crime and drug laws, victims rights, health care, and education. He is a member of the Senate Judiciary committee, Finance committee, Energy and Natural Resources, and Intelligence Committee. He is also chairman of the Steering Committee, as well as chairman of that gracefully named committee, the Committee on Committees. Kyl was born on April 25, 1942, in Oakland, Nebraska. He went to the University of Arizona, and graduated with honors. He is 60 years old. His wife is Caryll Collins, and they have two children and four grandchildren. Before entering into politics, he was a lawyer with Jennings, Strouss & Salmon in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Grand Canyon State
State Bird:Cactus Wren[?]
State Blossom:Saguaro Blossom
State Capital:Phoenix
State Gem:Turquoise
State Motto:Ditat Deus (God Enriches)
State Nicknames:"The Grand Canyon State"
"The Copper State"
State Songs:"Arizona March Song"
State Tree:Palo Verde[?]


Main Article: Geography of Arizona[?]

See:List of Arizona counties
 Arizona state parks

Like other states of the southwest, Arizona has an abundance of topigraphical characteristics in addition to its desert climes. More than half of the state features mountains and plateaus and contains the largest stand of Ponderosa Pine in the United States. The Mogollon Rim[?] cuts across the northeast corner of the state and marks the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau[?] where the state experienced its worst forest fire ever in 2002.

  • Largest City: Phoenix
  • Highest Point: Humphreys Peak[?] - 12,633 ft. near Flagstaff
  • Lowest Point: Colorado River - 70 ft.


Early in its history, Arizona's economy relied on the the five "C's": copper, cotton, cattle, citrus and corn. At one point Arizona was the largest producer of cotton in the country. Copper is still found in abundance from many of its small mining towns. (See, for instance, Bisbee, Ajo or Globe.) While the state government itself is the state's largest employer, Motorola is the state's largest private employer followed far behind by Wal-Mart.


Population Breakdown: ([U.S. Census Bureau 2000 (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/04000)])
  • White: 75.5% (Not of Hispanic Origin: 63.8)
  • Native: 5.0
  • African American: 3.1
  • Asian: 1.8
  • Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.1
  • Other Race: 11.6
  • Persons reporting two or more races: 2.9%
See the list of Arizona Natives.

Important Cities and Towns

Notable People

Famous Arizonans also include Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor, author, Zane Grey, former Governor and Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt, architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, Presidential candidate and former Senator, Barry Goldwater and native son Rex E. Lee former Solicitor General.


Colleges and Universities

Professional Sports Teams

External Links

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