On Valentine’s day, 1912, Arizona became the 48th and final state in the contiguous U.S. Originally part of New Mexico, the land became a separate territory in 1863 before achieving statehood. Arizona got its start with the mining industry, leveraging native copper deposits throughout the terrain. The invention of air condition made the Grand Canyon State a pleasant and comfortable place to live, and the population boom now supports a diverse and thriving economy.
“Who wouldn’t gladly lay down his life to put another star on the flag?” proved to be the last words of Captain Buckey O’Neill, a soldier in the Spanish-American war who died at the battle of San Juan Hill. His sacrifice and that of many other American soldiers paved the way for President William Howard Taft to sign Arizona into statehood.
Known as “The Baby State”, for its status as the youngest state until Hawaii and Alaska were incorporated, Arizona belies its nickname with a vast and varied landscape. Arizona is the sixth largest state in the union and boasts the Grand Canyon, alpine peaks, and great stretches of desert. Its rich history includes dozens of native American tribes stretching back to prehistory. One of the crown jewels of this tradition is Oraibi, the oldest continuously inhabited city in America.
Arizona’s traditions are rooted in some of mankind’s most ancient civilizations, and the unique landmarks left behind by these peoples, along with the State’s natural beauty, form the backbone of a robust tourist economy, featuring a blend of Western and Mexican culture, unique landscapes, spectacular weather, and cosmopolitan cityscapes nestled in the heart of the desert.
Dozens of national parks, monuments, and historic sites draw visitors from all over the world, from the better known landmarks like the Grand Canyon and the Glen Canyon Dam to less celebrated but no less stunning features, such as the Vermillion Cliffs national monument.
There is no shortage of unique experiences, places, and people in Arizona. It’s taken 106 years to get to where it is today, and it would take another 106 to explore and celebrate all that the 48th state in the union has to offer.