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History of Arizona


History of Arizona

1895 map of the Arizona Territory by Rand McNally.

The history of Arizona as recorded by Europeans began in 1539 with the first documented exploration of the area by Marcos de Niza, early work expanded the following year when Francisco Vásquez de Coronado entered the area as well. Arizona was part of the state of Sonora, Mexico from 1822, but the settled population was small. In 1848, under the terms of the Mexican Cession the United States took possession of Arizona above the Gila River after the Mexican-American War, which became part of the Territory of New Mexico. By means of the Gadsden Purchase, the United States secured the northern part of the state of Sonora, what is now Arizona south of the Gila River in 1853.

In 1863, Arizona was split off from the Territory of New Mexico to form the Arizona Territory. The remoteness of the region was eased by the arrival of railroads in 1880. Arizona became a state in 1912 but was primarily rural with an economy based on cattle, cotton, citrus and copper. Dramatic growth came after 1945, as retirees who appreciated the warm weather and low costs emigrated from the northeast.

Major issues in recent years include illegal immigration and a crashing of real estate values caused by the Recession of 2008.


  • Mexican Arizona 1
  • American Arizona 2
    • Civil War 2.1
    • Indian control 2.2
    • Ranching 2.3
    • Copper 2.4
    • Wild West 2.5
  • 20th century 3
    • Tourism 3.1
    • Chinese 3.2
    • Statehood 3.3
    • The Great Depression 3.4
    • World War II 3.5
  • After 1945 4
    • National leadership 4.1
    • Retirement communities 4.2
    • Environmental issues 4.3
  • Recent events 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • Bibliography 8
    • Surveys 8.1
    • Economy and environment 8.2
    • Politics 8.3
    • Ethnicity and race 8.4
    • 19th century studies 8.5
  • External links 9

Mexican Arizona

Map of Mexico boundaries of 1840

Arizona was a part of northern Cooke and the Mormon Battalion, withdrawing from the town while the Americans marched through the town on their way to California. In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), Mexico ceded to the U.S. the northern 70% of modern-day Arizona above the Sonora border along the Gila River. During the California Gold Rush upwards of 50,000 men traveled through on the Southern Emigrant Trail pioneered by Cooke, to reach the gold fields in 1849.[1] The Pima Villages often sold fresh food and provided relief to distressed travelers among this throng and to others in subsequent years.

American Arizona

The Gadsden Purchase (shown with present-day state boundaries and cities).
Arizona Territory in 1866

Starting in 1853, the entirety of present-day Arizona was part of the New Mexico Territory. In 1849, the California Gold Rush led as many as 50,000 miners to travel across the region, leading to a boom in Arizona's population. In 1850, Arizona and New Mexico formed the New Mexico Territory. In 1853, President Franklin Pierce sent James Gadsden to Mexico City to negotiate with Santa Anna, and the United States bought the remaining southern strip area of Arizona and New Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase.

Before 1846 the Apache raiders expelled most Mexican ranchers. One result was that large herds of wild cattle roamed southeastern Arizona, By 1850, the herds were gone, killed by Apaches, American sportsmen, contract hunting for the towns of Fronteras and Santa Cruz, and roundups to sell to hungry Mexican War soldiers. and forty-niners en route to California.[2]

Civil War

During the Civil War, on March 16, 1861, citizens in southern New Mexico Territory around Mesilla (now in New Mexico) and Tucson invited take-over by the Confederacy. They especially wanted restoration of mail service. These secessionists hoped that a Confederate Territory of Arizona (CSA) would take control, but in March 1862, Union troops from California captured the Confederate Territory of Arizona and returned it to the New Mexico Territory.

The Battle of Picacho Pass, April 15, 1862, was a battle of the Civil War fought in the CSA and one of many battles to occur in Arizona during the war. Between three sides, Apaches, Confederates and Union forces. In 1863, the U.S. split up New Mexico along a north-south line to create the Arizona Territory. Prescott was a small village when it was replaced by Tucson as the territorial capital in 1877.

This ornate grain basket by Akimel O'odham dates from the early 20th century, showing the Native American dimension to the state's culture.

Indian control

In the late 19th century the Army built a series of forts to guarantee the Indians would stay on their reservations. The first was Fort Defiance, set up 1851 to awe the Navajos. Small skirmishes were common. In April 1860 one thousand Navajo warriors under Manuelito attacked the fort and were beaten off.[3] The fort was temporarily abandoned during the Civil War but was reoccupied in 1864 by Colonel Kit Carson and the 1st New Mexico Infantry. Carson's force trapped the Navajos and forced them on the Long Walk to the reservation. They promised to no longer raid their neighbors, and instead focused on sheep ranching; the more sheep a man owned the higher his social status.[4] Fort Defiance was the agency for the new Navajo reservation until 1936; today it provides medical services to the region.[5]

Fort Defiance, painted 1873 by Seth Eastman

Fort Apache was built on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation by soldiers from the 1st Cavalry and 21st Infantry in 1870. Only one small battle took place, in September 1881, with three soldiers wounded. When the reservation Indians were granted U.S. citizenship in 1924, the fort was permanently closed down.[6] Fort Huachuca, east of Tucson, was founded in 1877 as the base for operations against Apaches and raiders from Mexico. From 1913-33 the fort was the base for the "Buffalo Soldiers" (black soldiers) of the 10th Cavalry Regiment. During World War II, the fort expanded to 25,000 soldiers, mostly in segregated all-black units. Today the fort remains in operation and houses the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and the U.S. Army Network.[7]


After the Civil War Texans brought large-scale ranching to southern Arizona. They introduced their proven range methods to the new grass country. Texas rustlers also came, and brought lawlessness. Inexperienced ranchers brought poor management resulted in overstocking, and introduced destructive diseases. Local cattleman organizations were formed to handle these problems.[8] The Territory experienced a cattle boom in 1873-91, as the herds were expanded from 40,000 to 1.5 million head. However the drought of 1891-93 killed off over half the cattle and produced severe overgrazing. Efforts to restore the rangeland between 1905 and 1934 had limited success, but ranching continued on a smaller scale.[9]

Arizona's last major drought occurred during Dust Bowl years of 1933-34. This time Washington stepped in as the Agricultural Adjustment Administration spent $100 million to buy up the starving cattle. The Taylor Grazing Act placed federal and state agencies in control of livestock numbers on public lands.[10] Most of the land in Arizona is owned by the federal government which leased grazing land to ranchers at low cost. Ranchers invested heavily in blooded stock and equipment. James Wilson states that after 1950, higher fees and restrictions in the name of land conservation caused a sizable reduction in available grazing land. The ranchers had installed three-fifths of the fences, dikes, diversion dams, cattleguards, and other improvements, but the new rules reduced the value of that investment. In the end, Wilson believes, sportsmen and environmentalists maintained a political advantage by denouncing the ranchers as political corrupted land-grabbers who exploited the publicly owned natural resources.[11]


Inspiration Copper Company smelter at Miami, Arizona, c. 1915

In 1885 Lewis Williams opened a copper smelter in Bisbee and the copper boom began, as the nation turned to copper wires for electricity. The arrival of railroads in the 1880s made mining even more profitable, and national corporations bought control of the mines and invested in new equipment.[12] Mining operations flourished in numerous boom towns, such as Bisbee, Douglas, Ajo and Miami.

Wild West

Hourly re-enactment for tourists of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral


  • The Arizona State Archives has government and private collections relating to Arizona History
  • Arizona history Governor's website
  • A chronology of historical events in Arizona from the state's library
  • Arizona's Ordinance of Secession, March 16, 1861

External links

  • Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1889). The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft: History of Arizona and New Mexico. History Co. , famous book; online free
  • De Long, Sidney Randolph (1905). The history of Arizona: from the earliest times known to the people of Europe to 1903. Whitaker & Ray. 
  • Farish, Thomas Edwin (1918). History of Arizona. Filmer Brothers.  vol 5 (early 20th century) online free
  • Hinton, Richard Josiah (1878). The Hand-book to Arizona: its resources, history, towns, mines, ruins and scenery ... Payot, Upham & Co. 

19th century studies

  • Benton-Cohen, Katherine. Borderline Americans: Racial Division and Labor War in the Arizona Borderlands (2009), on Hispanics
  • Fong, Lawrence Michael. "Sojourners and Settlers: The Chinese Experience in Arizona," Journal of Arizona History (Autumn 1980) 21#1 pp 1–30.
  • Goodman, James M. The Navajo Atlas: Environments, Resources, People and History of the Diné Bikeyah (1987)
  • Luckingham, Bradford, ed. Minorities in Phoenix: A Profile of Mexican American, Chinese American, and African American Communities, 1860-1992 (U. of Arizona Press, 1994)
  • Meeks, Eric V. Border Citizens: The Making of Indians, Mexicans, and Anglos in Arizona (2007) online edition
  • Officer, James E. Hispanic Arizona, 1536-1856 (U. of Arizona Press, 1987)
  • Sheridan, Thomas E. Los Tucsonenses: The Mexican Community in Tucson, 1854-1941 (U. of Arizona Press, 1986)

Ethnicity and race

  • August, Jack L., Jr. Vision in the Desert: Carl Hayden and Hydropolitics in the American Southwest, (Texas Christian University Press, 1999)
  • Berman, David R. Politics, Labor, and the War on Big Business: The Path of Reform in Arizona, 1890–1920 (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2012) 330 pp
  • * Berman, David R. George Hunt: Arizona's Crusading Seven-Term Governor (University of Arizona Press, 2015) 251 pp.
  • Goldberg, Robert Alan. Barry Goldwater (1995)
  • Johnson, James W. Arizona Politicians: The Noble and the Notorious (University of Arizona Press, 2002)
  • Myers, John L., ed. The Arizona Governors, 1912-1990 (Heritage Pubs, 1989)
  • Rice, Ross R. Carl Hayden: Builder of the American West (1994)
  • Rice, Ross R. "The 1958 Election in Arizona," Western Political Quarterly (1959) 12#1 Part 2 pp. 266–275 in JSTOR; every two years the journal publishes an article on Arizona elections
  • Timberg, Robert. John McCain: An American Odyssey (2007)
  • Wagoner, Jay J. Arizona Territory, 1863-1912: A Political History (1970)


  • Haskett, Bert. "The Early History of the Cattle Industry in Arizona," Arizona Historical Review (October 1935), 6#1 pp 3–42
  • Haskett, Bert. "History of the Sheep Industry in Arizona," Arizona Historical Review (July 1936) 7#1 pp 3–49.
  • Kupel, Douglas E. Fuel for Growth: Water and Arizona's Urban Environment (2008)
  • Logan, Michael F. (2006). Desert Cities: The Environmental History of Phoenix and Tucson. U. of Pittsburgh Press. 
  • Smith, Karen Lynn. The Magnificent Experiment: Building the Salt River Reclamation Project, 1890-1917 (U. of Arizona Press, 1986).
  • Sowards Adam M. "Reclamation, Ranching, and Reservation: Environmental, Cultural, and Governmental Rivalries in Transitional Arizona," Journal of the Southwest (1998) 40#3 pp 333+ online
  • Walker, Henry Pickering; Bufkin, Don (1986). Historical Atlas of Arizona (2nd ed.). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. 
  • Wilson, James A. "The Arizona Cattle Industry: Its Political and Public Image 1950-1963." Arizona and the West (1966): 339-348. in JSTOR

Economy and environment

  • Cheek, Lawrence W. (1995). Arizona. (Oakland, CA: Compass American Guides). ISBN 1-878867-72-5
  • Johnson, ed., G. Wesley Jr. (1993). Phoenix in the Twentieth Century: Essays in Community History. Univ. of Oklahoma Press.  
  • Johnson, G. Wesley, Jr. Phoenix, Valley of the Sun (1982), popular
  • Luckingham, Bradford. Phoenix: The History of a Southwestern Metropolis (1995)
  • Lucy, Beth and Noel J. Stowe, eds. Arizona at Seventy-Five: The Next Twenty-Five Years (Arizona Historical Society, 1987)
  • Melton, Brad, and Dean Smith, eds. Arizona Goes to War: The Home Front and the Front Lines during World War II (U. of Arizona Press, 2003)
  • Sheridan, Thomas E. (1995). Arizona: A History. U. of Arizona Press. 
  • VanderMeer, Philip. Desert Visions and the Making of Phoenix, 1860-2009 (2010) ISBN 978-0-8263-4891-3, scholarly
  • VanderMeer, Philip. Phoenix Rising: The Making of a Desert Metropolis (2002), popular
  • Wagoner, Jay J. Arizona Territory 1863-1912: A Political history (U. of Arizona Press, 1970).



  1. ^ C. L. Sonnichsen, Tucson: The Life and Times of an American City (1987) pp 30-38
  2. ^ Larry D. Christiansen, "The Extinction of Wild Cattle in Southern Arizona," Journal of Arizona History (1988) 29#1 pp 89-100.
  3. ^ "History of Arizona" Page 163, 1915
  4. ^ John O. Baxter, "Restocking the Navajo Reservation after the Bosque Redondo," New Mexico Historical Review (1983) 58#4 pp 325-345
  5. ^ Clayton R. Newell, "Fort Defiance, Arizona." On Point: Journal of Army History, (June 2008) 14#1 pp 44-47
  6. ^ Clayton R. Newell, "Fort Apache Arizona," On Point: Journal of Army History, (Winter 2012) 17#3 pp 44-47
  7. ^ Clayton R. Newell, "Fort Huachuca Arizona," On Point: Journal of Army History, (Spring 2010) 14#4 pp 45-47
  8. ^ James A. Wilson, "West Texas Influence on the Early Cattle Industry of Arizona," Southwestern Historical Quarterly (1967) 71#1 PP 26-36.
  9. ^ Nathan Sayre, "The Cattle Boom in Southern Arizona: Towards A Critical Political Ecology," Journal of the Southwest, (1999) 41#2 pp 239-271
  10. ^ Conrad J. Bahre and Marlyn L. Shelton. "Rangeland Destruction: Cattle and Drought in Southeastern Arizona at the Turn of the Century," Journal of the Southwest, (1996) 38#1 pp 1-22
  11. ^ James A. Wilson, "The Arizona Cattle Industry: Its Political and Public Image, 1950-1963," Arizona & the West (1966) 8#4 pp 339-348
  12. ^ Robert L. Spude, "Mineral Frontier in Transition: Copper Mining in Arizona, 1880-85," New Mexico Historical Review (1976) 51#1 pp 19-34
  13. ^ Eric L. Clements, "Bust and bust in the mining West," Journal of the West (Oct 1996) 35#4 pp 40-53
  14. ^ C.L. Sonnichsen, "Tombstone in Fiction," Journal of Arizona History," (Summer 1968) 9#2 pp 58-76,
  15. ^ Hubert I. Cohen, "Wyatt Earp at the O. K. Corral: Six Versions," Journal of American Culture, (June 2003) 26#2 pp 204-223
  16. ^ Melanie Sturgeon, "Belgian Jennie" Bauters: Mining-Town Madam, Journal of Arizona History, (Winter 2007) 48#4 pp 349-374
  17. ^ For colorful details see June 2009Phoenix MagazineJana Bommersbach, "Jana's View: (Un)Clean Sweep," ; Acme is now the ghost town of Goldroad.
  18. ^ Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company (1906). The Grand Canyon of Arizona: Being a Book of Words from Many Pens, about the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in Arizona. Santa Fe Railroad. p. 121. 
  19. ^ Dimitri Ioannides; Dallen J. Timothy (2010). Tourism in the USA: A Spatial and Social Synthesis. Taylor & Francis. p. 21. 
  20. ^ Mark Neumann (1999). On The Rim: Looking for the Grand Canyon. U. of Minnesota Press.  ch. 1
  21. ^ William D. Kalt (2006). Tucson Was a Railroad Town: The Days of Steam in the Big Burg on the Main Line. VTD Rail Pub. 
  22. ^ Grace Peña Delgado, "Of Kith and Kin: Land, Leases, and 'Guanxi' in Tucson's Chinese and Mexican Communities, 1880s-1920s," Journal of Arizona History 2005 46(1): 33-54,
  23. ^ Cindy Hayostek, "Douglas Delegates to the 1910 Constitutional Convention and Arizona's Progressive Heritage," Journal of Arizona History 2006 47(4): 347-366
  24. ^ Linda C. Noel, "'I am an American': Anglos, Mexicans, Nativos, and the National Debate over Arizona and New Mexico Statehood," Pacific Historical Review, (Aug 2011) 80#3 pp 430-467, at p 436
  25. ^ Ross R. Rice, Carl Hayden: Builder of the American West (1994)
  26. ^ Jack L. August, Jr., "Water, Politics, and the Arizona Dream: Carl Hayden and the Modern Origins of the Central Arizona Project, 1922-1963," Journal of Arizona History (1999) 40#4 pp 391-414
  27. ^ James A. Williams, "Before the New Deal" Private Charity and Government Efforts to Help the Poor in Tucson, 1929-1933," Journal of Arizona History, (2009) 50#2 pp 103-124,
  28. ^ Michael A. Hiltzik, Colossus: Hoover Dam and the Making of the American Century (2010)
  29. ^ Stanton, Shelby L. (1984). Order of Battle: U.S. Army World War II.  
  30. ^ Christine Marín, "Mexican Americans on the Home Front: Community Organizations in Arizona During World War II," Perspectives in Mexican American Studies 1993 4: 75-92
  31. ^ Julie A. Campbell, "Madres Y Esposas: Tucson's Spanish-American Mothers and Wives Association," Journal of Arizona History 1990 31(2): 161-182,
  32. ^ Thomas Fujita-Rony, "Arizona and Japanese American History: The World War II Colorado River Relocation Center," Journal of the Southwest (2005) 47#2 pp 209+. online
  33. ^ Resident Population Data - 2010 Census
  34. ^ Patrick Graham, "Urban Development Putting the Squeeze on Arizona Citrus Industry Agriculture: As groves are swallowed up by sprawl, the importance of grapefruits, oranges, lemons and tangerines to the state's economy is shrinking steadily," June 27, 1999 onlineAssociated Press,
  35. ^ Thomas E. Sheridan (1995). Arizona: A History. U. of Arizona Press. p. 326. 
  36. ^ Michael F. Logan (2006). Desert Cities: The Environmental History of Phoenix and Tucson. U. of Pittsburgh Press. p. 148. 
  37. ^ Robert Alan Goldberg, Barry Goldwater (1997) covers the Arizona years.
  38. ^ Jacqueline Vaughn (2007). Conflicts Over Natural Resources: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 132. 
  39. ^ Donald W. Carson; James W. Johnson (2004). Mo: The Life and Times of Morris K. Udall. U. of Arizona Press. 
  40. ^ Joan Biskupic (2006). Sandra Day O'Connor: How the First Woman on the Supreme Court Became Its Most Influential Justice. Harper Collins. 
  41. ^ Judith Ann Trolander, "Age 55 or Better: Active Adult Communities and City Planning," Journal of Urban History, (Nov 2011) 37#6 pp 952-974
  42. ^ Barry Goldwater, The Conscience of a Majority (1969) in Brian Allen Drake, "The Skeptical Environmentalist: Senator Barry Goldwater and the Environmental Management State," Environmental History, (2010) 15#4 pp 587-611, quote p. 589
  43. ^ Sheridan (1995). Arizona: a history. p. 349. 
  44. ^ Gabe Judkins, "Declining Cotton Cultivation in Maricopa County, Arizona: An Examination of Macroand Micro-Scale Driving Forces," Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers (2008) Vol. 70, pp 70-95
  45. ^ a b Archibold, Randal C. (April 24, 2010). "U.S.'s Toughest Immigration Law Is Signed in Arizona".  
  46. ^ "19 firefighters working Yarnell Hill Fire confirmed dead". FOX 10. June 30, 2013. Retrieved June 30, 2013. 
  47. ^ a b Staff writers (June 30, 2013). "Yarnell Hill Fire: Wildfire grows to more than 2,000 acres, 19 firefighters killed". ABC15. Retrieved July 1, 2013 (updated). 
  48. ^  


City histories

See also

On June 30, 2013, nineteen members of the Prescott Fire Department were killed fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire.[46] The fatalities were members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a hotshot crew,[47] of whom only one survived as they were working in another location.[47]

Illegal immigration continued to be a prime concern within the state, and in April 2010, Arizona SB1070 was passed and signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer.[45] The measure attracted national attention as the most thorough anti-illegal immigration measure in decades within the United States.[45]

Super Bowl XXX was played in Tempe in 1996 and Super Bowl XLII was held in Glendale in 2008.

Recent events

Cotton acreage declined dramatically, freeing up land for suburban sprawl as well as releasing large amounts of water and ending the need for expensive specialized machinery. Cotton acreage plunged from 120,000 acres in 1997 to only 40,000 acres in 2005, even as the federal treasury gave the state's farmers over $678 million in cotton subsidies. Many farmers collect the subsidies but no longer grow cotton. About 80% of the state's cotton is exported to textile factories in China and (since the passage of NAFTA) to Mexico.[44]

Water issues were central. Agriculture consumed 89% of the state's strictly limited water supply, while generating only 3% of the state's income. The Groundwater Management Act of 1980, sponsored by Governor Babbitt, raised the price of water to farmers, while cities had to reach a "safe yield" so that the groundwater usage did not exceed natural replenishment. New housing developments had to prove they had enough water for the next hundred years. Desert foliage suitable for a dry region soon replaced water-guzzling grass in Arizona lawns.[43]

I feel very definitely that the [Nixon] administration is absolutely correct in cracking down on companies and corporations and municipalities that continue to pollute the nation's air and water. While I am a great believer in the free competitive enterprise system and all that it entails, I am an even stronger believer in the right of our people to live in a clean and pollution-free environment. To this end, it is my belief that when pollution is found, it should be halted at the source, even if this requires stringent government action against important segments of our national economy.[42]

The issues of the fragile natural environment, compounded by questions of water shortage and distribution, led to numerous debates. The debate crossed traditional lines, so that the leading conservative, Senator Barry Goldwater, was also keenly concerned. For example, Goldwater supported the controversial Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP). He wrote:

Water delivered by the Central Arizona Project's canal.

Environmental issues

The warm winters and low cost of living attracted retirees from the snow belt who moved permanently to Arizona after 1945, bringing their pensions, Social Security and savings with them. Trolander shows that real estate entrepreneurs catered to them with new communities with amenities pitched to older people, and with few facilities for children. Typically they are "gated" (with controlled access), and have pools, recreation centers, and sometimes a golf course. In 1954, two developers bought 320 acres (1.3 km2) of farmland near Phoenix and opened the nation's first master-planned, adult community dedicated exclusively to retirees at Youngtown. In 1960, developer Del Webb, inspired by the amenities in trailer parks in Florida, added facilities for "active adults" in his new Sun City planned community near Phoenix. In 1962 Ross Cortese opened the first of his gated Leisure Worlds. Other developers copied the popular model so that by 2000, 18% of the retirees in the state lived in "lifestyle" communities.[41]

Retirement communities

Although a small state, Arizona produced numerous national leaders for both parties. Two Republican Senators were presidential nominees: Barry Goldwater[37] in 1964 and John McCain in 2008. Both carried Arizona and lost the national election. Senator Ernest McFarland, a Democrat, was the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate 1951-52, and Congressman John Rhodes was the Republican Minority Leader in the House, 1973-81. Democrats Bruce Babbitt (Governor 1978-87)[38] and Morris Udall (Congressman 1961-90)[39] were contenders for their party's presidential nomination. In 1981 Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman on the Supreme Court, serving until 2006.[40]

National leadership

The population grew rapidly after 1945, exploding by almost ten times from 700,000 in 1950 to over 5 million in 2000. Most of the growth was in the Phoenix area, with Tucson a distant second. Urban growth doomed the state's citrus industry, as the groves were turned into housing developments.[34] The cost of water made cotton growing less and less profitable, so the state's production steadily declined. By contrast, manufacturing employment jumped from 49,000 in 1960 to 183,000 by 1985, with half the workers in well-paid high tech firms such as Motorola, Hughes Aircraft, and Goodyear Aircraft, Honeywell, and IBM in the Phoenix area.[35] By 1959, Hughes Aircraft built advanced missiles with five thousand workers in Tucson.[36]

After 1945

Military installations peppered the state, such as Davis-Monthan Field in Tucson, a main training center for air force bomber pilots. Two relocation camps opened for Japanese and Japanese Americans brought in from the West Coast.[32]

Heavy government spending during World War II revitalized the Arizona economy, which was still based on copper mining, citrus and cotton crops and cattle ranching, with a growing tourist business.

During the war Mexican-American community organizations were very active in patriotic efforts to support American troops abroad, and made efforts to support the war effort materially and to provide moral support for the young American men fighting the war, especially the young Mexican-American men from local communities. Some of the community projects were cooperative ventures in which members of both the Mexican-American and Anglo communities participated. Most efforts made in the Mexican-American community, however, represented localized American home front activities that were separate from the activities of the Anglo community.[30] Mexican-American women organized to assist their servicemen and the war effort. An underlying goal of the Spanish-American Mothers and Wives Association was the reinforcement of the woman's role in Spanish-Mexican culture. The organization raised thousands of dollars, wrote letters, and joined in numerous celebrations of their culture and their support for Mexican-American servicemen. Membership reached over 300 during the war and eventually ended its existence in 1976.[31]

Fort Huachuca became one of the largest nearly-all-black Army forts, with quarters for 1,300 officers and 24,000 enlisted soldiers. The 92nd and 93rd Infantry Divisions, composed of African-American troops, trained there.[29]

Construction of military bases in Arizona was a national priority because of the state's excellent flying weather and clear skies, large amounts of unoccupied land, good railroads, cheap labor, low taxes, and its proximity to California's aviation industry. Arizona was attractive to both the military and private firms and they stayed after the war.

Major airfields in Arizona during World War II.

World War II

The New Deal relief operations began on a large scale in 1933.[27] Construction programs were important, especially Hoover Dam (originally called Boulder Dam), begun by President Herbert Hoover. It is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border with Nevada. It was constructed by the Federal Bureau of Reclamation between 1931 and 1936. It operationalized a schedule of water use set by the Colorado River Compact of 1922 that gave Arizona 19% of the river's water, with 25% to Nevada and the rest to California.[28]

The Great Depression

Arizona's first Congressman was Carl Hayden (1877–1972).[25] He was the son of a Yankee merchant who had moved to Tempe because he needed dry heat for his bad lungs. Carl attended Stanford University and moved up the political ladder as town councilman, county treasurer and Maricopa County sheriff, where he nabbed Arizona's last train robbers. He also started building a coalition to develop the state's water resources, a lifelong interest. A liberal Democrat his entire career, Hayden was elected to Congress in 1912 and moved to the Senate in 1926. Reelection followed every six years as he advanced toward the chairmanship of the powerful Appropriations Committee, which he finally reached in 1955. His only difficult campaign came in 1962, at age 85, when he defeated a young conservative. He retired in 1968 after a record 56 years in Congress. His great achievement was his 41-year battle to enact the Central Arizona Project that would provide water for future growth.[26]

Signing of Arizona statehood bill in 1912

In 1912, Arizona almost entered the Union as part of New Mexico in a Republican plan to keep control of the U.S. Senate. The plan, while accepted by most in New Mexico, was rejected by most Arizonans. Progressives in Arizona favored inclusion in the state constitution of initiative, referendum, recall, direct election of senators, woman suffrage, and other reforms. Most of these proposals were included in the constitution that was submitted to Congress in 1912. Taft signed the statehood bill on February 14, 1912, and state residents promptly put the provision back in.[23] Hispanics had little voice or power. Only one of the 53 delegates at the constitutional convention was Hispanic, and he refused to sign.[24] In 1912 women gained suffrage (the vote) in the state, eight years before the country as a whole.

1903 editorial cartoon by Bob Satterfield, depicting Arizona and New Mexico as crazed gunfighters intent on gaining access to the "E pluribus unum tavern".


The Chinese came to Arizona with the construction of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1880. Tucson was the main railroad center[21] and soon had a Chinatown with laundries for the general population and a rich mix of restaurants, groceries and services for the residents. Chinese and Mexican merchants and farmers transcended racial differences to form 'guanxi,' which were relations of friendship and trust. Chinese leased land from Mexicans, operated grocery stores, and aided compatriots attempting to enter the United States from Mexico after the Mexican Revolution in 1910. Chinese merchants helped supply General John Pershing's army in its expedition against Pancho Villa. Successful Chinese in Tucson led a viable community based on social integration, friendship, and kinship.[22]


By 1869 Americans were reading John Wesley Powell's reports of his explorations of the Colorado River. In 1901, the Santa Fe Railroad[18] reached Grand Canyon's South Rim. With railroad, restaurant and hotel entrepreneur Fred Harvey leading the way, large-scale tourism began that has never abated.[19] The Grand Canyon has become an iconic symbol of the West and the nation as a whole.[20]

The luxury Harvey House hotel opened in 1905 overlooking the South Rim of the Grand Canyon; it remains in operation as the El Tovar Hotel.


20th century

Jennie Bauters (1862–1905) operated brothels in the Territory from 1896-1905. She was an astute businesswoman with an eye for real estate appreciation, and a way with the town fathers of Jerome regarding taxes and restrictive ordinances. She was not always sitting pretty; her brothels were burned in a series of major fires that swept the business district; her girls were often drug addicts. As respectability closed in on her, in 1903 she relocated to the mining camp of Acme. In 1905, she was murdered by a man who had posed as her husband.[16][17]

Connor Hotel in Jerome


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