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Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

Arizona is the 48th state and last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the Union, achieving statehood on February 14, 1912, coinciding with Valentine's Day. Historically part of the territory of Alta California in New Spain, it became part of independent Mexico in 1821. After being defeated in the Mexican–American War, Mexico ceded much of this territory to the United States in 1848. The southernmost portion of the state was acquired in 1853 through the Gadsden Purchase.

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Anasazi food storage building ruins at Tusayan Pueblo.
The known history of the Grand Canyon area stretches back 10,500 years when the first evidence for human presence in the area started. Native Americans have been living at Grand Canyon and in the area now covered by Grand Canyon National Park for at least the last 4,000 of those years. Anasazi, first as the Basketmaker culture and later as the more familiar Puebleoans, developed from the Desert Culture as they became less nomadic and more dependent on agriculture. A similar culture, the Cohonina, also lived in the canyon area. Drought in the late 13th century was the likely cause for both cultures to move on. Other cultures followed, including the Paiutes, Cerbat, and the Navajo, only to be later forced onto reservations by the United States Government. Under direction by conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado to find the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola, Captain García López de Cárdenas led a party of Spanish soldiers with Hopi guides to the Grand Canyon in September of 1540. Not finding what they were looking for, they left. Over 200 years passed before two Spanish priests became the second party of non-Native Americans to see the canyon.

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Antelope Canyon
Credit: Luca Galuzzi

An HDR image of Upper Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona. Antelope Canyon is the most-visited and most-photographed slot canyon in the Southwestern United States. It was formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone, primarily due to flash flooding and secondarily due to other sub-aerial processes. Photography within the canyons is difficult due to the wide exposure range (often 10 EV or more) made by light reflecting off the canyon walls.

Did you know...

Did you know?
  • ...that Arizona SB1070, the state's new immigration enforcement law, has attracted national attention as the broadest and strictest anti-illegal immigration measure in decades within the United States?



  • ...that the Baptist Foundation of Arizona (BFA) filed for the largest bankruptcy of a religious organization in U.S. history after its 600 million dollar fraud went undetected by the same Big Five firm that audited Enron?




  • ... that Dwight B. Heard is credited with making Arizona's cotton industry more competitive after becoming president of the Arizona Cotton Association?

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Major Frederick Russell Burnham, DSO
Frederick Russell Burnham, DSO (May 11, 1861September 1, 1947), was an American scout and world traveling adventurer best known for his service as Chief of Scouts to the British Army in Colonial Africa and for teaching woodcraft (i.e., scoutcraft) to Robert Baden-Powell, becoming one of the inspirations to the founding of the Scouting Movement. But much earlier in his life, Burnham worked as a cowboy and a hired gun in Arizona for the losing side of the Pleasant Valley War, the most violent of the range wars. Marked for death and almost killed by a bounty hunter, he made the difficult journey out of Globe and hid out in Tombstone. In the 1880s in Arizona, he fought against the Apache, was hired as a scout for the U.S. Army in the Geronimo champaign, worked the mines, guarded Wells Fargo shipments, and became a professional hunter. Burnham is also known for having worked with Arizona boy scouts in 1936 on a state-wide campaign to save the Bighorn Sheep. This effort led to the establishment of two federally protected bighorn game ranges in Arizona, which Burnham himself dedicated in 1939: Kofa National Wildlife Refuge and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. His son was captain of the University of Arizona football team (1905-1908), and several of his descendants still reside in Arizona. His grandson, Russell Adam Burnham, is a Tucson native and was the U.S. Army's Soldier of the Year in 2003, and the U.S. Army Medical Corps NCO of the Year in 2007.

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