Arizona, the Grand Canyon State

Arizona, the Grand Canyon State

by Sandra Merville Hart

Arizona is known as the Grand Canyon State.

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the country’s the first national parks. About 5,000,000 people visit this beautiful landmark every year.

Arizona’s early history

Arizona began as part of New Mexico. In 1863, it became the Arizona Territory.

Copper discovered in Arizona

In 1854, the discovery of copper made copper mining an important industry.

Visitors can tour the ASARCO Mineral Discovery Center, a working copper mine in Southern Arizona. There is a video theater, free exhibit center, cactus garden, and hour bus tour.

Oldest inhabited settlement in U.S.

A Hopi Indian village, Oraibi, dates back to 1150 AD or earlier and has been inhabited ever since. This village is believed to be the United States’ oldest continuously occupied settlement.


When settlers traveled west in the 1800s, Arizona’s Apache Indians fought to keep their land. One Apache warrior, Geronimo, fought fiercely for his people, leading many successful attacks before surrendering in 1886.

Arizona becomes a state

Arizona became a state on February 14, 1912. The capital is Phoenix.

wwii-937558_960_720Navajo Indians are World War II heroes

The United States Marines asked Arizonian Navajo Indians to send secret communications during World War II.

After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, these men, known as Navajo Code Talkers, created an oral code too tough for the enemy to crack. They played a crucial role in the war and saved countless lives.

Indian Tribal land

The United States’ greatest percentage of land set aside as Indian tribal land is found in Arizona.

saguaro-276676_960_720Other fun facts about Arizona

Arizona doesn’t “spring forward an hour or fall back an hour.” Only two states in the U.S. don’t observe Daylight Savings Time – Arizona is one of them. Only the Navajo Nation in northeast Arizona observe Daylight Savings Time.

Navajo National Monument  invites visitors to go back to the days when Native Americans lived in cliff dwellings.

The state reptile is the Arizona ridge-nosed rattlesnake.

Petrified Forest National Park amazes visitors with long-ago trees that have turned to stone.

The state flower is the Saguaro Cactus Blossom. It can grow taller than 50 feet and live over 200 years. The pure white flower blooms in the middle of the night and closes the next day.

Arizona can have the country’s highest and lowest temperature on the same day!



“Arizona,”, 2016/06/08

“Arizona,” State Symbols USA, 2016/06/08

“AZ Mine Tours,” Arizona Mining Association, 2016/06/08

Cheney, Lynne. Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2006.

Davis, Kenneth C. Don’t Know Much About the 50 States, Harper Collins Publishers, 2001.





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