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Arizona, abbreviated Ariz. or AZ (also referred to as the Grand Canyon
State), is a state of the United States and borders south of Mexico,
while the Colorado River forms the border with California and Nevada in the
west. To the north, Arizona borders Utah, and east to New Mexico. Arizona has a
total area of approx. 295,230 km2 and has 7,016,270 inhabitants (US
Census, 2017). Arizona was listed as the 48th state of the United States on
February 14, 1912. The capital and largest city is Phoenix.
Arizona can be roughly divided into two main geographical areas: the
1500-2000 meter high wooded Colorado Plateau in the north and the Gila Basin
around the Gila River in the south. To the north, the Colorado River has carved
one of the world's most magnificent erosion valleys, the Grand Canyon. The
mountains reach over 3000 meters, with Humphreys Peak (3851 meters) as the
highest. The landscape in the south is dominated by a desert plain with isolated
mountains and highlands.
The population of Arizona grew strongly from approx. 9,700 in 1870 to
approx. 88,000 in 1890, partly due to gold and other mining operations and
partly because Mormon leader Brigham Young sent missionaries and settlers south
from Utah. They founded, among other things, the city of Mesa and large parts of
the Valley of the Phoenix ("Valley of the sun"). After World War IIThe
population of Arizona grew sharply, largely due to the introduction of air
conditioning, which made the warm climate of the state more suitable to live in.
From 1945 to 1960, the population increased by about 160 percent, from
approx. 500,000 to over 1.3 million inhabitants. Between 1980 and 1990, growth
was 35 percent, and from 1990 to 2000 a further approx. 40 percent. The main
reason for the growth in these decades was the retiree's escape from colder
areas north and east of the United States to Arizona's warm winter climate. The
establishment of special areas such as Sun City and Green Valley contributed to
this. In 2017, Arizona was the 6th fastest growing state in the United States
(U.S. Census, 2017).
54.9 percent of the population is considered white, 31.4 percent
are Hispanic (Hispanic or Latino), and black / African Americans make up five
percent of the population. About 21 percent are Hispanic, most of Mexican
origin. 5.3 percent are American Indigenous
peoples; only California and Oklahoma have a larger indigenous population. The
largest tribes are navajo, hopi, apache, papago and pima. Many live in the
17 reserves which cover an area of approx. 80 000 km2. 90 percent
of the population lives in densely populated areas. The largest cities are the
capital Phoenix with 1,514,000 inhabitants and the university city
of Tucson with 526,000 inhabitants (US Census, 2017).
The industry is the most important industry with particular emphasis on the
electrotechnical and electronic industry in connection with space research and
defense. The mining operation is concentrated on copper, with Arizona accounting
for more than half of the US total production. Also extraction of pumice,
silver, gold, molybdenum, natural helium, vanadium, uranium and oil. Agriculture
relies on artificial irrigation, and the state has two of the world's largest
dam plants, the Hoover and Glen Canyon ponds. The Central Arizona Project (1968)
is a large federal water channel that supplies water to cities
like Tucson and Phoenix. Since the 1930s, Arizona has been in litigation
with California over the Colorado River's water resources, as Arizona claims
California uses more water than they are entitled to. After a series of Supreme
Court judgments (including in 1963, 1983 and 2000), the dispute is still under
The state's most important agricultural product is cotton, but also fruit and
vegetable production. The favorable climate and numerous natural attractions
such as Monument Valley (on the Utah border), Petrified Forest and not least
the Grand Canyon have made tourist traffic the state's fourth most important
source of income.
Arizona sends two senators and nine representatives to Congress.
Arizona was inhabited by a number of tribal communities,
including Navaho and Apache, for thousands of years before the first Europeans
arrived. The first, who came from Mexico, was led by the Spanish Franciscan
monk Marcos de Niza in 1539. During the period 1692-1711 a number of mission
stations were built, and Spaniards built so-called "presidios" in Tubac in 1752
and in Tucson in 1775. When Spain relinquished Arizona to Mexico in 1821, the
present Arizona became part of Nueva California, also called Alta
After the US-Mexico War 1846-1848, most of Arizona became American in 1848.
In 1854, the area south of the Gila River was acquired through the
so-called Gadsden acquisition in 1854. During the American Civil War, the area -
along with western parts of present-day New Mexico - organized as territory in
1863. The wars between the settlers and the Apaches, led by Geronimo, continued
until 1886. The area was established as a state and admitted to the Union in
1912 as the last of the 48 central states of the continental United States.