Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


(In Detail) (Full size)
State nickname: "The Grand Canyon State" or "The Copper State"

Other U.S. States
Capital Phoenix
Largest City 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 United States. 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, Yuma 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:

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
1 History
2 Law and Government
3 Geography
4 Economy
5 Demographics
6 Important Cities and Towns
7 Notable People
8 Education
9 Professional Sports Teams
10 External links


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 1690's and early 1700's. 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 1821. 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.

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 towns to settle there. One of the first Latter-day Saint temples built in the Southwest was the Mesa temple, finished in 1927.

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).

The Grand Canyon State
State Bird:Cactus Wren
State Mammal:Ringtail Cat
State Tree:Palo Verde
State Flower:Saguaro Blossom
State Gem:Turquoise
State Fossil:Petrified Wood
State Neckwear:Bola Tie
State Capital:Phoenix
State Motto:Ditat Deus (God Enriches)
State Nicknames:"The Grand Canyon State"
"The Copper State"
State Songs:"Arizona March Song"


Main Article: Geography of Arizona
See:List of Arizona counties
 Arizona state parks

Like other states of the Southwest, Arizona has an abundance of topographical 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, a 2000-foot escarpment, cuts across the central section of the state and marks the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, where the state experienced its worst forest fire ever in 2002.

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 "five C's": copper, cotton, cattle, citrus and climate (i.e., tourism). 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, Wal-Mart is the state's largest private employer with 17,343 employees in 2003. Arizona lost much of its advantage as a high-technology industry leader between 1990 and 2001, according to a state Department of Commerce report. In 2001, 161,166 Arizonans were employed in the high-tech sector, accounting for about 8.3 percent of total private-sector employment of more than 1.9 million. High-tech payroll in 2001 was $2.2 billion, or 14.7 percent of the private-sector total. High-tech employment was led by software and computers, with 34,314; electronics components manufacturing, 30,358; aerospace manufacturing, 25,641; architectural and engineering services, 21,378; telecommunications, 21,224; and instruments manufacturing, 13,056.


Population Breakdown: ([U.S. Census Bureau 2000])
  • 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. From the rock and roll world, both Alice Cooper and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac are from Phoenix.


Colleges and Universities

  • Grand Canyon University
  • Mesa Community College
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Prescott College
  • Southwestern College
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Phoenix
  • Western International University

Professional Sports Teams

Spring Training

Arizona is an extremely popular location for Major League Baseball spring training. The state hosts the following major league teams for spring training:

External links