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Geography and Landscape


The US state of Arizona, nicknamed the 'Grand Canyon State' or the 'Copper State', has an area of 295,234 km². From north to south, the length of Arizona is up to 630 km, from east to west the distance is up to 545 km. In terms of area, Arizona, located in the Southwestern United States, is the sixth largest US states in the world.

StateArea in km2
New Mexico315,194

 Grand Canyon Satellite Photo Photo: Public domain

Arizona is bordered to the south by Mexico (626 km), in the north on the states Utah and Colorado, on the west to Nevada and California and to the east to New Mexico. The point where the borders with Utah, New Mexico and Colorado meet is called Four Corners. The Colorado River forms the border with Nevada and California for a great length. The total border length of Arizona is 2,379 km.


Arizona LandscapePhoto: Moyan_Brenn Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

The landscape of Arizona is very varied in shape, but can certainly also be called colorful. This variety and richness of color was mainly caused by volcanic eruptions, soil elevations and erosion by wind and water, which also created the characteristic canyons and arches in this state.
The Arizona landscape can be divided into three geographic regions: the Colorado Plateau (336,700 km2) in the north, the Transition Zone in the center and the Basin and Range in the south and southwest of the state. the Colorado Plateau is especially defining for the landscape of Arizona, This plateau, whose height varies from 600-3900 meters above sea level, is characterized by the presence of deserts, wooded mountain peaks, jagged sand formations, green river valleys and deep gorges of which the Grand Canyon is the best, world-famous example. The mostly pine-wooded slopes are mainly around the northern city of Flagstaff, with the Kaibab National Forest, Prescott National Forest and Coconino National Forest.
The Transition Zone is located just south of the Colorado Plateau and north of the Basin and Range. This narrow strip of land is dominated by a number of rugged mountain ridges, including the Mazatzal, Santa Maria, Sierra Ancha and White Mountains, and valleys.
South of the Transition Zone and a narrow strip along the western border with California is the Basin and Ridge, which is characterized by the presence of a number of mountain ridges with names such as Chiricahua, Gila, Huachuca, Hualapai, Pinaleno, Santa Catalina Santa Rita, and Superstition, which lie from the northwest in a southeast direction and are separated from each other through fertile valleys. This is also where the lowest point in the state of Arizona is located, near the city of Yuma, the Colorado River flows at a height of 21 meters above sea level.

Main geographic areas of ArizonaPhoto: Mortadelo2005 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

North of Flagstaff lies the San Francisco Peaks, a volcanic ridge with about 400 dormant cone mountains, including Humphreys Peak as the highest point in Arizona (3851 meters). Humphreys Peak is not really a high mountain by American standards;Humphreys Peak ranks 129th on the list of highest mountains in the United States. Other high mountains of the San Francisco Peaks are Agassiz Peak (3766m), Fremont Peak (3648m), Aubineau Peak (3608m), Ree's Peak (3497m) and Doyle Peak (3493m). The highest mountains outside the San Francisco Peaks are Mount Baldy (3477 m), Mount Ord (3459 m) and Paradise Butte (3398 m), all ofWhite Mountains in Eastern Arizona. In Apache County is Mount Thomas (3390 m).

Humphreys Peak, highest peak from Arizona Photo: Adbar Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

At the same time, Arizona is largely desert, with a strip of the high-lying Mojave Desert (Mojave Desert) in the northwest of the state and the much lower Sonoran Desert to the south ( Sonora Desert), which extends into Mexico. In the northeast, Arizona is just touched by the Great Basin Desert, the largest desert in the United States, mainly located in Nevada and Utah.
The up to 600 meters high Mogollon Rim, named after Don Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollon, a 18th century Spanish governor of the province of New Mexico, is a sheer cliff that runs for 320 km from Central Arizona (Yavapai County) to the border with Southwestern New Mexico, forming the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau and Arizona practically in half. This is also where the largest ponderosa forest in the world can be found. Near Payson, Pine Creek cut its way through a calcium carbonate dam, creating the largest travertine (limestone) bridge in the world, the Tonto Natural Bridge.

Tonto Natural Bridge in Payson, Arizona Photo: Rednelson Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The Kartchner Caverns are located in the Whetstone Mountains and were only discovered in 1974. The 3 ha cave complex, with a length of almost 4 km, contains enormous stalactites and stalagmites, but also the longest so-called straw stalactite, 6 meters high and only 5 cm thick. Approx. 35 km east of Tucson is Colossal Cave Mountain Park, home to the largest dry cave in the world.
Arizona's second city, Tucson, is wedged between four mountain ranges, the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north, the Ricon Mountains to the east, the Santa Rita Mountains to the south, and the Tucson Mountains to the west.

Arizona's main river is the Colorado, which forms part of its western border. The river has its source in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado (La Poudre Pass Lake), flows through the famous Grand Canyon, has a total length of 2330 km and visits no fewer than five states, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California.
The main tributary of the Colorado is the Gila River, which has a total length of 1,044 km, and flows through New Mexico in addition to Arizona. Other important tributaries are Green River, Utah, San Juan River, Utah, Little Colorado River, Arizona, Dolores River, Utah, Gunnison River, Colorado, and Virgin River, Nevada.

Colorado River, Arizona Horseshoe Bend Photo: Paul Hermans Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Rivers in Arizona over 200 km in length

riverlength in km
Little Colorado River544
Salt River322
Santa Cruz River296
Verde River274
Puerco River269
Virgin River261
San Francisco River256
San Pedro River230
Kanab Creek201

Very special in the landscape east of the Flagstaff's town is the Meteor Crater, one of the largest meteor craters in the world with a diameter of 1,265 meters, a circumference of 5 km and a depth of 174 meters. The impact took place some 50,000 years ago and more than 300 million tons of boulders and earth were displaced in one fell swoop.

Meteor Crater, ArizonaPhoto: Shane.torgerson Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

Another scenecally interesting place is is 'Painted Desert', a large area of reddish hills in the 378 km2 Petrified Forest National Park, a national park since 1962, which changes in many colors during the day depending on the sun. In addition, the presence of many dinosaur bones and petroglyphs makes it a perfect area for paleontologists.
To the south of Petrified Forest National Park is another lunar landscape with a forest of fossilized 225 million year old tree trunks, some with a diameter of 1.80 meters, and here too the beautiful hues are a real attraction.

Painted Desert, ArizonaPhoto: katsrcool Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

The second largest artificial reservoir in the United States, Lake Powell (640 km2), is spread across the territory of Northern Arizona and especially Southern Utah. After the opening of the Glen Canyon dam in 1966, it took until 1983 for the entire canyon carved out by the Colorado River to be filled with water. In total, the shores of the very jagged lake stretch over 3,140 km. The maximum length of the lake is 299 km, the maximum width 40 km, the average depth 40 meters and the maximum depth 170 meters. A special feature is the Rainbow Bridge National Monument, an 83m high sandstone arch that completely spans the Glen Canyon at that site and is probably the largest natural arch bridge in the world.
Other important reservoirs are on the border with California;Lake Havasu and Lake Mead on the Nevada border. Lake Mead is the largest man-made lake in the United States with an area of 650 km2, a maximum length of 190 km and a depth of up to 149 meters. The total coastal length of Lake Mead is 885 km. Lake Havasu has an area of 78 km2, a length of 73 km, an average depth of 11 meters and a maximum depth of 27 meters.
(Theodore) Roosevelt Lake is with an area of 85 km2 and a coastline of 206 km the largest lake in its entirety within the boundaries of Arizona. Other large lakes are San Carlos Lake (79 km2) and (New) Lake Pleasant (35 km2).

Lake Powell, Arizona and Utah Photo: PRA Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Rainbow Bridge National monument, Arizona Photo: Jason Hickey Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

After Montana and New Mexico, Arizona is the third largest state in the United States that is completely surrounded by land. Arizona is also the state with the least surface water after West Virginia and New Mexico, namely only 942 km2 (0.32% of the total area). Nevertheless, Arizona has a number of islands, mainly in the Colorado River (Beaver Island, Beehive Island, Channel Island, Deer Island, Driftwood Island, Haulapai Island, Mohave Rock, Pittsburg Point, River Island, Two Rocks), Lake Mead (Decision Island, Heron Point, Houseboat Island, Napoleons Tomb, Plane Crash Island, Pool Islands) and Lake Roosevelt (Haystack Island, Rabbit Island, Rock Island, Saddle Island, Shelter Island, Steamboat Rock). Other islands can be found in Lake Powell (Antelope Island), Lake Mohave (Bulls Head Rock), Lake Havasu (Hi Isle), Bartlett Lake (Hog Island, Panick Rock), Verde River (Punk Rock), and Saguaro Lake (Ship Rock) ).

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon, Arizona OverviewPhoto: Public Domain

One of the most remarkable geological phenomena on Earth is the Grand Canyon, which was created 5-6 million years ago by the Colorado River cutting its way through the hard and soft rock. The many colors of the stone layers each reflect a different geological era, the oldest layers date from about 2 billion years ago.

The Grand Canyon extends for a length of about 445 km from Northern Arizona to Southern Utah and has an area of about 4856 km2, just slightly smaller than the province of North Brabant (4913 km2). The Grand Canyon is a maximum of approximately 18 miles wide, a minimum of only 180 meters and in some places 1,829 meters deep. The North Rim is about 300 meters higher than the South Rim of the canyon.

Due to the height differences, the Grand Canyon has seven climate belts and a great biodiversity with more than 1500 plant species, 305 bird species and 76 mammal species. At the bottom of the Grand Canyon, temperatures can reach up to 43°C.

Proven human activities date back to the second millennium BC, and around 500 AD. appeared the Anasazi, the ancestors of the Pueblo Indians. About 2,000 residences have been found along the entire length of the Grand Canyon, but the Anasazi disappeared from the Grand Canyon eastward in the late 13th century.

The Grand Canyon was bought from the Mexicans in 1848 and declared a national park in 1919.

Grand Canyon, ArizonaPhoto: Amaltheus Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

Climate and Weather

Arizona has a mostly desert climate with hot summers but also night frosts, especially in winter. In the northern part of the state, which is at a higher elevation than the rest, the climate is noticeably colder with temperatures reaching below-18°C and precipitation as high as 600-650 mm per year. It is rare, but in Phoenix it can rain for days on end. The capital Phoenix and also Tucson (averaging 300mm of rainfall per year) are cities where the temperature is between 15°C and 21°C in winter and can rise to 37-46°C in the hottest month of July. Phoenix has an average of 325 sunny days per year and there is 170-180 mm of rain per year. From June through August, the maximum daytime temperature in Phoenix is exceeded only by cities in the Middle East.

Phoenix, Arizona Climate TablePhoto: Hedwig in Washington Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic no changes made

Lake Havasu City in western Arizona is also a place where it can get very hot in the summer with an average annual rainfall of only about 100 mm. Lake Havasu City also holds the dubious distinction of having the highest temperature ever recorded in Arizona: 53.3°C on June 29, 1994. Other places in Arizona where it was once more than 50°C are Buckeye, Laveen, Litchfield Park, Willow Beach, Yuma Airport, Casa Grande Monument and Phoenix Airport. Located low in western Arizona, Yuma and Bullhead City are widely regarded as the hottest and driest places in the United States. According to the Guinness Book of Records, Yuma is in any case the sunniest place on Earth, with an average of about 30 mm of rainfall and 339 sunny days per year. Bullhead City is considered the hottest place in the United States, especially in the summer when it is around 48-49°C daily during the day.
Cities like Flagstaff and Sedona are much cooler during the day with winter temperatures between -1°C and 5°C and in summer between 26°C and 33°C. In general, temperatures in Flagstaff are about 6-7°C lower year-round than Phoenix. In the northern part of Arizona, temperatures can drop below-18°C in winter.
The Sonoran Desert is a subtropical desert, yet it has two wet seasons with summer monsoons and winter rains.

On average, it is seven degrees cooler at the South Rim than at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. In summer the temperatures are around 30°C during the day and around 10°C at night. In autumn it is even cooler and more changeable, and around the end of November snow can fall and it freezes at night. January is the coldest month with average nighttime temperatures between-6 and-12°C and maximum daytime temperatures between 4 and 10°C. In winter it can be beautiful clear weather, but snow storms are also possible. In the canyon it is much drier than at the top, with an average of about 200 mm per year against 400 mm. The temperature at the bottom of the canyon, often accompanied by strong winds, rises almost daily in summer to a minimum of 37°C with peaks of 43°C. In the middle of winter, the temperatures at the bottom of the canyon seldom drop below freezing, on average the temperatures are between 4 and 13°C.
On the North Rin it is about 10°C cooler during the day than on the South Rim. twice as much rainfall. The average daytime temperature in July is around 25°C, at night the temperature drops to around eight degrees. Due to snowfall, in the winter there are several meters of snow, the Noordrand is closed from the end of November until May.

Due to summer showers and winter storms, the Sonoran Desert, where approximately 280 mm of precipitation falls per year, is the greenest of all deserts in the Southwestern United States.
The hottest months are June, July, and August;December, January, February and March are the coldest. Most precipitation falls in the winter in the form of rain or snow. So much so that, mainly in eastern Arizona, near the New Mexico border, there are winter sports opportunities at the Arizona Snowbowl near Flagstaff, where the slopes of Agassiz Peak average 660cm of snow per year.

Heavy snow in Oro Valley, Southern Arizona just north of Tucson Photo: Krdonegan in the public domain

Other winter sports areas are in the White Mountains near the towns of Greer, Eager, Lakeside, Pinetop and Pringerville. Arizona's largest ski resort, Sunrise Park, is located near Greer. In this area, you should even watch out for snow storms. The southernmost ski resort in the United States is Mount Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains, just north of Tucson.
In the summer, from mid-July to early September, thunderstorms with short but very heavy rain showers. This can ensure that within minutes dry riverbeds turn into raging water flows, so-called 'flash floods', and roads become impassable. In September 2015, the town of Hildale, on the border of Arizona and Utah, was hit by a wall of water, mud and debris after a flash flood. Thirteen people died.

Another phenomenon common in the arid, flat areas of Arizona are the 'dust storms', gigantic dust clouds that are not only troublesome but also dangerous situations in the traffic.
For example, a dust storm in September 2015 disrupted air traffic to and from Phoenix. Visibility was very poor in large parts of the city and the mountains surrounding the city were also largely shrouded in dust clouds.

Dust storm near Phoenix, ArizonaPhoto: Public domain

Plants and Animals


Arizona's flora varies by region. The strongly deviating temperatures and average rainfall per region are the main reasons for this.

Southwestern Arizona is home to one of the largest drought regions in the entire United States, the Sonoran Desert, which is best known for its impressive cactus species. This area has two nature reserves, namely the Saguaro National Park (36,000 ha) and the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

The Grand Canyon National Park is home to 1,700 plant and flower species. The Coconino Plateau at the South Rim of the canyon is covered with piñon pine, ponderosa seeds, juniper berries and Gambel's oak. The Douglas fir, the American aspen and ponderosa seeds grow on the Kaibab Plateau on the North Rim. In the spring, asters, sunflowers and lupines bloom on both the South and North Rand.

Particularly close to Tombstone is the largest rose bush in the world, which stands in the patio of a hotel built in 1885. The shrub, of the Lady Bank variety, now has an area of approximately 800 m2.

Saguaro National Park, Arizona Photo: Joe Parks Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

The more than impressive saguaro cactus is only found in the Sonoran Desert, grows up to 15 meters high, weighs up to 7,000 kg and can live for 200 years. It is a very slow-growing solitary plant that, for example, is only two meters high for the first fifty years and is only fully grown after about 150 years. The first branching, in total the number of 'arms' can rise to about 40, only appears after about 75 years and the fruits of this giant cactus species are edible! In late spring, around May, small white flowers appear on the top of the cactus, which are considered the symbol for Arizona. They bloom only one night and die the next morning. This cactus species is so special that all specimens are chipped to prevent theft.
Other cacti species that are characteristic of the Sonoran Desert are the organ pipe cactus, which has branches from the base and occurs alone, often in groups, along the Mexican border, and the hedgehog cactus. In total, about a hundred cactus species are found in Southwest Arizona.

The saguaro cactus flower is the Arizona State Symbol F Photo: Ken Bosma Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

Other typical Arizona flora

The torchwood (English: devil's walking tick or ocotillo) is quite common in the Sonoran and Chihuahan deserts and is perfectly adapted to the difficult desert conditions. In severe drought, the plant appears to die, but if enough rain falls, leaves and the distinctive reddish-orange flowers develop within a week, which are very popular with hummingbirds. Individual plants can develop dozens of spiny stems that can reach between three and six meters in height and are over 70 years old.

Coach whip or torch wood, typical of the deserts in Arizona Photo: Alan Vernon Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

The Pinus arizonica has long been considered one of varieties of the evergreen stately ponderosa or yellow pine (Pinus ponderosa), but is now recognized as a separate species. The Pinus arizonica covers large areas of the Colorado Plateau, can reach 25-30 meters in height and provides food and protection for many animals. The needles of the pine are usually in groups of five together and the pine cones are 5-11 cm long.

Pinus arizonica forest on Mount Lemmon, Southern Arizona Photo: Debbie Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

The Iris missouriensis or Rocky Mountain iris grows mainly on mountain meadows at an altitude of 1800-2700 meters. The bladlour plant grows to about 20-40 cm high and bears one or two (occasionally three or four) beautiful purple flowers with white and yellow accents.

Iris missouriensis, characteristic of the mountains in Arizona Photo: Walter Siegmund Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no cahanges made

The foothills palo verde (yellow palo verde or foothill palo verde) is a twig-like, thorny shrub with yellow flowers, mainly found on rocky hills in southern Arizona. The green bark of the foothills palo verde contains chlorophyll, which ensures that photosynthesis continues even if the shrub loses its yellow-green leaves during the dry season. The foothills palo verde grows very slowly and can be several hundred years old. The seeds of the saguaro cactus can develop in the shade of the palo verde foothills.

The offshoots can be z r getting old in Arizona Photo: Stan Shebs Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The sagebrush shrub covers much of the Great Asin Desert in northern Arizona.


Gilamonster ArizonaPhoto: Public domain

Despite the often desolate landscape, Arizona's wildlife is surprisingly varied. A number of species are found all over Arizona, otherwise species have adapted to the harsh conditions to such an extent that they can no longer occur anywhere else. and toad species, including the ravine tree frog, the red-spotted toad and Ramsey Canyon leopard frog found nowhere else in the world. Ten toad lizard species are found in the Sonoran Desert, including the toad lizard, the Texan toad lizard, the giant horned lizard and the smooth horned toad lizard. Of the lizards, the poisonous, rare gila monster is protected. The desert scorpion is also poisonous, as are two spider species, the black widow and the brown recluse spider. The fauna of the Petrified Forest in Eastern Arizona includes three iguana species: the spotted iguana, the collar iguana, and the western hedge iguana. Arizona has only one species of salamander, the tiger salamander.

The Grand Canyon National Park is home to 89 mammal species, 355 bird species, 56 reptile and amphibian species, and 17 fish species. Special is the Kaibab squirrel with its white tail and black belly. While most mammals are small and belong to the rodents or bats, there are indeed large mammals in Arizona, including desert bighorn sheep, black bear, mountain lion, pecari wine, and bobcat. The black-footed bunzing, a mustelike, was virtually extinct in the wild in 1981. Through a sophisticated breeding program there were again about 1000 copies in 2011. The rarest wolf species in the world, the Mexican wolf, is also slowly climbing out of a deep valley again. In 1998 a re-production was started in Eastern Arizona (Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area) and at the beginning of 2015, 109 specimens were officially counted. but more specimens are likely to be present in this area.
The Arizona state bird is the North American cat ferret in the little bear family, which includes raccoons. The state bug of Arizona is the Papilio multicaudata butterfly of the page family.

North American Cat Ferret, Arizona SymbolPhoto: Robertbody at en. wikipedia CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Arizona State Bug: Papilio multicaudataPhoto: Alan Schmierer in the public domain

Southern Arizona is one of the best places in the United States for bird watchers and ornithologists, with about 500 species already spotted there and about a quarter of all North American birds nest in this regio. In the eastern part, the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek and Ramsey Canyon reserves, the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, the water and dry lands south of Wilcox and the Portal-Cave Creek Area in the Chiricahua Mountains near the Mexican border are mainly the most suitable places for bird watching. In the western part of southern Arizona, these are the Buenos Aires and Imperial National Wildlife Refuges.

In Arizona there are 14 breeding hummingbird species and a number of passers-by, including the bumblebee hummingbird, with up to 5.7 cm. smallest bird in the world, and further Anna's hummingbird, Costa's hummingbird, rosy hummingbird, black-crowned hummingbird, Berylamazilia, blue-throated jewel hummingbird, broad-beaked hummingbird, broad-tailed hummingbird, Rivoli's hummingbird, white-eared sapphire hummingbird, matchstick hummingbird, red-eared hummingbird/violet-eyed hummingbird/violet azalea, violet cinnabar also the smallest owl in the world, the cactus or gnome owl, is found in Arizona. Ramsey Canyon, near Sierra Vista in the far southeast of Arizona, is known as the 'Hummingbird Capital of the United States'. Arizona's bird symbol is the Cactus Wren (photo).

Cactus Wren, Arizona bird symbolPhoto : Mark Wagner Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic no changes made

The Grand Canyon is home to the rare California condor, in fact a New World vulture species and the largest bird in North America with a wingspan of 2.7 meters. In the wild, following a reintroduction program, several hundred specimens, reaching the age of sixty, can be found in California and Northern Arizona. Much less rare is the turkey vulture.

California condor, rare in ArizonaPhoto: Stacy Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

Eye-catching Arizona animals

The white-nosed coati, coati or pizote is a lively member of the raccoon family with a monkey tail, an anteater's muzzle, a bear's ungainly gait and mask of a raccoon. They normally live in large groups in trees, but in the mountainous southeast of Arizona mainly in caves and crevices and are constantly foraging for food.

The desert bighorn sheep, a subspecies of the bighorn sheep, mainly lives in the mountains of the Sonio Desert and the Mojave Desert, especially on practically inaccessible slopes and cliffs of canyons. With unique sole pads, they remain perfectly balanced on a rocky surface. With their long twisted horns, the males fight against competitors and the horns are also used to break open cacti for food.

One of the five subspecies of the copper-tailed trogon, Trogon elegans canescens, migrates in summer from northwestern Mexico to the mountains and canyons of southeastern Arizona. These rare birds, about 30 cm tall, make their nests in burrows made by woodpeckers in dead maples. The brightly colored male has an emerald green back and throat, a bright red chest with a white band over it.

Copper Tail Trogon, migrating from Mexico to ArizonaPhoto: Dominic Sherony Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

A subspecies of the gila woodpecker is a characteristic inhabitant of the Sonoran Desert and nests in the saguaro cactus, nests that are also used by owls, rats, lizards, purple swallows and other birds. The hammer noises the woodpecker makes are not only intended to make holes, but also indicate its territory. and occurs in the arid lowlands of Arizona. The Texas rattlesnake, which normally grows to a maximum length of 120 cm, with its triangular head and light to white bands is flat before the rattle, especially active in the late afternoon and night.

 Texas rattlesnake is also found in Arizona Photo: Gregory Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

Overview of snake species in Arizona

Arizona Black Rattlesnakerunnerring neck hose
Arizonan coral snakehorn rattlesnake or sidewinderNarrow-headed Garter Snake
brown pointed-headed snakemilk hoseSonora Digging Hose
three-stripe boaMexican Threadworm Snaketiger rattlesnake
checkered garter snakeMexican hook nose snakeWestern Digging Snake
ordinary king snake or chain snakeMojaver RattlesnakeWestern Black-necked Garter Snake
shiny snakeprairie rattlesnakeblack-tailed rattlesnake
gopher snakepointed nose hosewhip hose
green rat snakeringless sand hose

Overview of bat species in Arizona

pale batsmooth-nosed bat
Choeronycteris mexicanaleaf-nosed bat new world
Euderma maculatumsmooth-nosed bat
Eumops underwoodifree-tailed bat
gray batsmooth-nosed bat
big brown batsmooth-nosed bat
guano batfree-tailed bat
Idionycteris phyllotissmooth-nosed bat
little brown batsmooth-nosed bat
long-nosed batleaf-nosed bat new world
Lasionycteris noctivaganssmooth-nosed bat
Macrotus californicusleaf-nosed bat new world
hat batfree-tailed bat
Myotis auriculussmooth-nosed bat
Myotis californicussmooth-nosed bat
Myotis ciliolabrumsmooth-nosed bat
Myotis evotissmooth-nosed bat
Myotis thysanodessmooth-nosed bat
Myotis velifersmooth-nosed bat
Myotis volanssmooth-nosed bat
Myotis yumanensissmooth-nosed bat
Nyctinomops femorosaccusfree-tailed bat
Nyctinomops macrotisfree-tailed bat
ghost-faced batpleated lip bat
Townsend's big-eared batsmooth-nosed bat
western red batsmooth-nosed bat
western pipistrellesmooth-nosed bat
western yellow batsmooth-nosed bat

Western pipistrelle batPhoto: Gilles San Martin Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

Overview bird species in Arizona

Alaska RandloperAmerican Common Gullbigua cormorant
Allen's HummingbirdAmerican pochardBlue Grouse
wormwood tyrantAmerican Kestrelblue bishop
American Purple GrouseAmerican Wrenblue jay
American Blue HeronAmerican Little BitternHen harrier
Ringed PloverAmerican curlewblue black-throated warbler
American Tree CreeperAnna's Hummingbirdblue-gray mosquito trap
American Wood ThrushaplomadovalkBlue-throated Jewel Hummingbird
American Woodland Ridermacaw parakeetBlue-throated Bluebird
American killersArkansas King's TyrantBlue-winged Teal
Little TernAustralian Gray or Mongrel KiteBlue-winged Warbler
American Frigate Birdevening fat beakblue-footed or blue-legged booby
American Gold Roosterevening buntingbleaching tyrant
American golden ploverAsian Stone Partridge or Chukar Partridgepale bunting
American Gray RiderAztec ThrushBlonde Fairy Siran
Great Gray Shrikeazure warblerbobolink or rice troepial
American Little EgretBaird's buntingbarn swallow
American cliff swallowBaird's sandpiperBonapartes Sandpiper
American AvocetBaltic Groupialvariegated ice bunting
American crowband kingfisherpied thrush
American bullheadband-tailed hawkvariegated sandpiper
American cootband-tailed pigeoncolorful singer
American nightjarBartrams riderbobwhite quail or bobwhite
American Eagle OwlBells vireotree martin
American sandpipermountain sapwoodBotteri's bunting
American or White-headed Sea Eaglemountain bluebirdBrazilian Scops Owl
American or black mergansermountain solitairebroad-billed hummingbird
American rosefinchmountain spot thrushBroad-tailed Hummingbird
American RedstartBering Gullbroad-winged hawk
American snake-neck birdBirch Feather TyrantBrewers bunting
American wigeonBerylamaziliaBrewers troopial
American Sparrowhawkbeech tyrantgoldeneye
American Black-winged StiltBewicks WrenGlasses singer (photo)

Spectacle Parula SingerPhoto: William H. Majoros Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

glasses vireoDown Woodpeckereared trogon
Spectacled Sea DuckKittiwakescaled quail
brown gentthree-toed woodpeckerstriped sandpiper
brown pelicanthree-toed sandpiperspotted tawny owl
brown towieDwarf NuthatchSpotted Screaming Owl
brown-headed cowbirddwarf thrushregular mask singer
buffalo-headed duckLittle Petrelgila woodpecker
cactus or gnome owlacorn woodpeckergolden ground woodpecker
cactus mock thrushmagpieGold Kruingors
cactus wrenepaulet starlinggold ice cream
California condorpheasantGrace's singer
California Gullwhistling swangray phalarope
callio hummingbirdForsters sternGray Shearwater
Canadian NuthatchFranklin's GullGray-sided Tit
Canada GooseGambels titgray-striped buzzard
Canadian craneyellow-breasted vireogray-throated tyrant
Canadian taiga jayYellow-breasted WarblerGray-headed Warbler
Canadian singeryellow-bellied woodpeckergray-crowned mountain finch
Summer duckYellow-Jawed Meadow Starlinggray-cheeked thrush
Cassin's buntingyellow-throated warblergray junco
Cassin's king tyrantYellow-headed TitGray Cardinal
Cassin's rosefinchyellow headed groupialGray Tit
cayenne tyrantYellow-crowned night heronGray Nutcracker
Cedar Waxwingyellow-eyed juncogray sandpiper
Chaparral Fly PickerYellow-billed Divergray vireo
lemon singerYellow-billed Cuckoogray black-throated warbler
Connecticut singeryellow-rumped warblergrooved beak ani
Cooper's SparrowhawkScarlet Warblergreen kingfisher
Costa's hummingbirdyellow cardinalgreen heron
pine ice creamyellow ralgreen singer
dickcisselyellow black-throated warblergreen swallow
Fat-billed GrebeEared Cormorantgreen-tailed towie
Big-billed TyrantBlack-necked Grebe (photo)big dappled

Black-necked GrebePhoto: Davis Brossard Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

large phalaropeknot or knot sandpiperlong-tailed grackle
Great Yellow-legged Riderchestnut warblerlaysanalbatros
big gray snipcat birdlazuligors
big kiskadieruffLewis' woodpecker
great crested tyrantKentucky singerLincolns bunting
big piewieBarn OwlLouisianatangare
great racing cuckooNorthern PloverLouisiana Water Thrush
large pochardGreat Gray Shrikematch hummingbird
Great merganserklapperralLucy's singer
Great ScoterLittle Blue Heronmagnolia pendant
Great Egretlittle fairy tyrantmangrove warbler
hook beakLittle Yellow-legged Ridermarble godwit
hair woodpeckerlittle gray snipMask Yellowfinch
Harlequin Titlittle huntermask groupial
hawklittle black-headed gullMcCowns Ice Bunting
Heermann's gullsmall winnerminion singer
helmet quailsmallest hunterMexican rosefinch
Hermit Thrushsmallest sandpipermiddle hunter
Hermit WarblerGap Winter Kingmiddle merganser
burrowing owl, shoco or burrowing owlCattle EgretMississippi vine
hole swallowcockade sawbeakswamp bunting
Bumblebee Hummingbirdwhite-fronted gooseswamp wren
house sparrowking tyrantMonkskaptiran
Hutton's vireocopper-tailed trogonMonk Warbler
Ice DivergadwallMontezuma Quail
long-tailed duckcurved-billed thrushCommon Sparrow
Ice Buntingcrossbillsparrow bunting
Icelandic goldeneyeCrested DiverNashville singer
inca pigeonquackNevadagors
indigogorslowland levertangareNorth American Scops Owl
bald-headed storklaughing gullNorth American Bittern
turkeylaughing ternNorth American rough-winged martin
cinnamon teal (photo0Ladder WoodpeckerNorth American dipper

Cinnamon TealPhoto: "Mike" Michael L. Baird Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

Northern Scops OwlGiant or Caspian ternred-billed tropicbird
Northern House WrenRidgways whippoorwillRed-tailed Hawk
northern crested caracararing-billed duckRoss' Goose or Little Snow Goose
arctic ternRing-billed Gullred whistling duck
arctic water thrushRivoli's Hummingbirdred phalarope
river tyrantred godwitruddy hummingbird
sand martinred cardinalred rough-legged hawk or king hawk
Eastern Forest Viewred spoonbillRed Mockingbird
Orange-headed Warblerred-tailed buntingruddy thorntail
regal singerred tyrantBrent Goose
orpheusvireorust flank warblerrock pigeon
oven birdrust kruingorsmourning singer
palm warblerrustback thrushrough-legged hawk
pearl diverrust wing buntingsavannah bunting
WaxwingRobin CardinalSays phoebe
PhiladelphiavireoEuropean RobinchimneyEurasian swift
phoebeRed-breasted SapwoodScotts troopial
pintailRed-bellied Spotted ThrushSiberian Sandpiper
Pinyongaaired-bellied warblerPeregrine Falcon
ponderosa scowl's owlred-necked grebeshoveler
poorwillred-necked buntingmerlin
prairie buzzardred-necked heronwigeon
prairiegorsred-hooded warblersnow goose
prairie gullRed-throated Diversnow bunting
prairie beeperred-throated bluebirdsoraral
Prairie PloverRed-headed or turkey vulturespruce tyrant
prairie falconRed-headed Woodpeckerspruce piewie
prairie singerRed-crowned Cockspruce warbler
purple buntingRed Face Warblermockingbird
purple swallowred-eyed cowbirdstarling
ravenred-eyed vireograsshopper thorn
long-eared owlred-eared buntinggolden eagle
whimbrelred-shouldered hawk (photo)turnstone

Red-shouldered HawkPhoto: Keith Edkins Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Steller's Jayfork-tailed gulldesert raven
stilt sandpiperfan singerDesert Spot Thrush
beach larkMoorhensaw owl
Kentish ploverwater pipersinging bunting
stripe-headed singersnipeherring gull
Stricklands Woodpeckerwestern forest viewsummer tangare
bush tyrantwestern scream owlSouthern Mexican Jay
Shrub TitwhippoorwillSwallowtail King's Tyrant
Swainson's singerwild duckgooseneck grebe
Tennis singerwillow flycatcherBlack-bellied Whistling Duck
Texas nightjarwilletblack buzzard
Thayer's gullWilson's singerblack dwarf hal
Tiger WarblerWrenblack or raven vulture
tundra bearerstealblack phoebe
topperwhite band ice creamblack tern
Townsends singerWhite-breasted Nuthatchblack troopial
weeping pigeonwhite-breasted swiftBlack Scoter
tropical king tyrantWhite-bellied Heronblack silk flycatcher
garden groupialWhitefish Meadow Starlingblack-hooded mosquito trap
Vaux 'common swiftWhite-throated Sparrowblackcap vireo
multi-colored buntingWhite-crowned Gingersblack-throated bunting
veerywhite-faced ibisblackkingors
field buntingwhite-eyed vireoBlack-throated Hummingbird
Short-eared OwlWhite Sapphire Hummingbirdzwartkintowie
five-barred buntingWhite-tailed HawkBlack-headed Cardinal
violetkapamaziliaWhite-tailed tropicbirdBlack-headed Warbler
Virginiaralwhite ibisblack-crowned thorns
Virginiazangerwhite pelicanBlack-billed Cuckoo
common ternwhite-winged terror pigeonblack-tailed mosquito trap
spot backgroupialWhite-fronted TyrantBlack Wing Tangare
Spark-throated Hummingbirddesert or Harris' buzzard

Black-winged tangarePhoto: leppyone Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

Overview mammals Arizona

American dwarf mouseermineriver or North American otter
American gerbilhouse mouseRocky Mountain Sprairie Dog
American black bear or baribalreadyjaguarbobcat or bobcat
antelope ground squirreljaguarundi or weasel catred fox
Arizona SquirrelKaibab squirrelround-tailed ground squirrel
Arizonas shrewcotton ratrocky ground squirrel
Bailey mouse gofferlittle chipmunkrugged goffer
mountain gofferlittle mouse gofferuintachipmunk
Mountain Cottontailcliff chipmunkvalley sacrifice
Canadian or North American Beaverlong-tailed weaselWest American shrew
Coloradochipmunklong-tailed volewestern spotted skunk
coyote or coyotemoon sheep or tedalWestern Hop Mouse
bighorn sheepmantled ground squirrel or gold-mantled ground squirrelwestern harvest mouse
dwarf sacrificeMerriams Kangaroo Sacrificewestern pig-nosed skunk
red deerMerriam's shrewweasel
donkey tenderloinMexican bearwhite-nosed bear, coati or pizote
Florida Rabbit or Eastern CottontailMexican wolfwhite-tailed eekhorrn
forkbuck, forked antelope or pronghornmule deerWhite-tailed Deer or Virginia Deer
collared or long-tailed skunkmuskratdesert bighorn sheep
striped skunk or skunkNorth American flute baitDesert Cottontail
Spotted Ground SquirrelNorth American Cat Ferretsilk-haired mouse goffer
Common or North American RaccoonNorthern Grasshopper Mousesilver badger or American badger
grassland hopping mouseocelot or pardelkatSouthern Grasshopper Mouse
gray foxprimeval sun or North American tree porcupineblack-tailed hare or black-tailed donkey fillet
gray desert shrewOrd's Kangaroo SacrificeBlack-tailed Prairie Dog
big-eared kit foxpinjon mouseblack-footed bunting (photo)
collar peccarybushy-tailed rat
Harris' ground squirrelcougar, mountain lion or silver lion


History of Arizona to the arrival of the Spaniards

230 million year old petrified trees in ArizonaPhoto: Michael Gäbler Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

Some 25,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age, the first humans from Asia entered North America via the Bering Strait. These early Americans were hardened nomadic hunters who attacked mammoths, cave bears, and giant sloths with simple weapons. Due to the warming of the climate the glaciers withdrew and the nomads moved further south. The oldest archaeological finds of these people in the southwest of the later United States date back to about 11,000 years ago. Because the large mammals were extinct, the nomads hunted small mammals such as deer and rabbits, and more and more berries, nuts and fruit were also collected: the hunter-gatherer was created.
From 3000 BC. Contacts with farming communities in Central Mexico led to the emergence of agriculture in Arizona. Maize was about the first product to be cultivated, from about 500 BC. beans and pumpkins were added.

Around 100 AD. Three major cultures emerged in the Southwestern United States, the Hohokam culture in the deserts, the Mogollon culture of the central mountain ranges and valleys, and the Old Pueblo peoples, previously called Anasazi, who lived on the Colorado Plateau and then particularly in the Four Corners area, where the current borders of four US states, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, meet.

Dwellings in the rocks of the Ancient Pueblo Peoples Photo: Lorax Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The intrepid Hohokam Indians survived in the deserts of Arizona between 300 BC. to 1400 AD. by a very advanced irrigation system created by rivers for that time. Other activities indicated a great relationship with cultures in Mexico and Guatemala.
Named after the mountainous regions of the same name in western New Mexico and eastern Arizona, the Mogollon settled from 200 BC. to 1400 AD. near the Mexican border. The Mogollon lived in small communities and were mainly hunter-gatherers. It is believed that the Mogollon were silently absorbed into the Pueblo Indian tribes in the 13th-14th centuries.
The Ancient Pueblo peoples left most of the archaeological finds. They were hunter-gatherers who slowly also undertook agricultural activities. They collected food in artfully constructed and strong baskets, the various periods to be distinguished were called basket-making periods by archaeologists. Towards the end of the 3rd Basketmaker Period (400-700 AD), pottery became increasingly important to the Ancient Pueblos. From 1400, more and more Pueblos left their old pueblo settlements, which at that time often consisted of large buildings with sometimes more than 100 rooms. The current Indians closest to the Ancient Pueblo peoples are the Hopi Indians. The Hopi village of Old Oraibi has been inhabited since the 12th century, making it probably the oldest settlement in North America, along with Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico. Some smaller cultures still lived in the region, including the Sinagua, now the Salado culture.

Overview of the three earliest cultures in ArizonaPhoto: Arkyan Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Many of the Indian tribes in Arizona and nearby states have not been living in this area very long. Nomadic tribes like Navajos and Apaches only arrived between 1300 and 1600 and descend from them. These tribes did not confront the Pueblo and Hopi tribes present, but more or less cooperated and learned things from each other: the Pueblos learned to hunt and the Apaches and the Navajos learned pottery, weaving and farming methods.
In the 16th century, the situation for the Indians would change completely with the arrival of the Spanish explorers, and not for the better!

The Spaniards

In 1536 and 1539 the ee appearedFirst groups of Spaniards in the Arizona area, but in 1540 the first major expedition, from Mexico City, was organized by explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado (photo).

Francisco Vásquez de Coronado (ca.1510-1554) discoverer of Arizona photo: Billy HathornPhoto: Billy Hathorn Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The first Spanish explorers entered the area in February 1540. The expedition, which lasted until about March 1542, consisted of several hundred Europeans and more than a thousand Indians. They had been ordered to search for the riches of the "Seven Mysterious Cities of Cibola," a mysterious and ultimately non-existent kingdom. What was discovered included the Grand Canyon and the Rio Grande. The route De Coronado followed would reach east of present-day Kansas and would later be called the Coronado Trail.

The Coronado Expedition was partially through ArizonaPhoto: Public domain

The Coronado expedition therefore yielded nothing and had only cost a lot of money, so it was not surprising that the Spanish quests for riches in the Southwestern United States for a period of approximately 50 years.
It was not until 1598 that some Spanish activities resumed in the Southwestern United States. Juan de Oñate (ca.1550-1626), a Mexican-born Spaniard, moved north from Mexico with a few hundred soldiers, ca.400 settlers and a number of Franciscan monks. He claimed the area north of El Paso, including present-day Arizona, named it New Mexico and became the area's first governor. Things were not gentle at the time, the Spanish attempts to settle in the hostile Indian territory and convert the Indians to the Catholic faith was often accompanied by violence and bloodshed. Many Indians moved out of the area and Indian revolts also occurred regularly, including in 1680 the northern Pueblo tribes once again took on the Spanish. The Pueblos, with the help of the Hopis, managed to drive more than 2,000 Spaniards off the Rio Grande to El Paso.

Statue of Juan de Oñate, New Mexico's first governor Photo: Advanced Source Productions Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

In 1692 the Spaniards fought back and many Pueblos fled to Hopi settlements. Less violent was the case with the Jesuit Eusebio Kino, who eventually gained an almost mythical status as a bearer of the message of God, mainly in southern Arizona. He began his conversions in Mexico in 1687 and stayed in the Arizona-Sonora area for more than 20 years. Among other things, he founded the Tumacácori and San Xavier del Bac missions south of Tucson, Arizona. In addition to the violence and massacres, the Europeans also brought new diseases to America, which led to the death of about 80% of the Indians in the 16th century.

Francisco Eusebio Kino (1645-1711)

Photo: copyright expired

Arizona part of the United States

The so-called 'Louisiana Purchase' of 1803 made the United States a large piece of land, from Louisianan to the Rocky Mountains, took over from the French. The territory of the United States doubled with this purchase. The United States' southern border now bordered the Spanish colonies, including Arizona, to the southwest. In 1821 Mexico managed to break away from Spain and became independent. Immediately a trade route was opened between the United States and Mexico, the famous 1500 km long Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and Santa Fe, the capital of the current state of New Mexico. This trade route was used extensively for decades, until a railroad was built in 1879.
In 1846, the United States declared war on Mexico, and after two years of struggle, all the land north ofthe Gila River, which cuts across Arizona, claimed by the United States and incorporated into the New Mexico Territory. Because the most favorable route from the Mississippi to California in the western United States was south of the Gila River, on December 30, 1853, the United States purchased an area of 76,800 km2 south of the Gila River and the current border of Mexico., the so-called Gadsden Purchase. This area was largely through Arizona (image) and the purchase was made between US envoy James Gadsden and Mexican dictator Antonio López de Santa Ana.

The area you purchased through the US Gadsden purchase was bought from Mexico Photo: Public Domain

Many of the settlers who moved to this area were from the southern states of the United States and then the American Civil War in 1861, it was therefore not surprising that Arizona joined the Southern States that together formed the Confederacy. In Arizona, the westernmost battle of the entire Civil War was fought at Picacho Peak in 1862. A small group of Confederative soldiers were defeated by a much larger group of soldiers from the Northern States, the Union.
In 1863, Arizona was given status. allocated as a territory, an area with a limited form of self-government and in association with the other 'United States'. Territories were not allowed to elect their own senators and delegates to the US Congress in Washington, D.C. The Arizona Territory was headed by an elected governor, who, however, had little say in Washington. Although Tucson was the largest city, Prescott was chosen as the territory's capital because Tucson was considered a loyal bastion to the Confederatives. From 1867 to 1877, Tucson became the capital of the territory again, then it became Prescott again, and in 1889 another city, Phoenix was definitively chosen.
Also in Arizona, the Indians had it from the early 18th century. century very difficult with American troops, led by Kit Carson, advancing further west, all the while exterminating or chasing down entire tribes that stood in their way. In Arizona, the most far-reaching action was to forcibly relocate most of the Navajos in 1864 to remote Canyon de Chelly in northeastern Arizona. Great famine forced about 9,000 Navajos to migrate east, the Navajos called it 'The Long Walk', towards a camp at Bosque Redondo, near Fort Summer in New Mexico.

Route of the 'Long walk' in Arizona Image: Günter Strube CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Hundreds of Navajos died of starvation, disease or were shot along the way. But the stay in Bosque Redondo was also a disaster, more than 2000 Navajos were killed. Four years later, the Navajos were allowed to return to their land in northeastern Arizona and were assigned a 13,000 km2 reservation. In 1868, the treaty was amended to extend the area to 27,000 km2 in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, making it the largest Indian reservation in the United States. The Apaches continued to resist the American forces to the last, under the leadership of well-known Indian leaders such as Mangas Colorados, Cochise, Victorio and lastly Geronimo.

Geronimo (1829-1909 ) Indian leader of the Chiricahua Apaches Photo: US National Archives and Records Administration CCAttribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

Geronimo finally surrendered in 1886, after being assured that the Apaches could return to their former homelands after two years of imprisonment. But this promise was also broken, the Apaches would ultimately only be released from their captivity after 27 years. Geronimo's surrender did end the American Indian wars.

In the 1960s, the increasing number of livestock shipments brought to Arizona the cowboy and ranch culture that still characterizes this US state. At first the meat was still sold to the Indians, but soon a large 'own' market was added. Around 1890 werd Arizona was banned from the rest of the country by railroads, and the discovery of gold, silver and copper, among other things, led to the arrival of many fortune-seekers and the creation of countless mining towns. century, Arizona petitioned the federal government to be officially recognized as a state. However, the federal government did not take the request very seriously. Arizona was considered a desolate and lawless desert area where, in the event of becoming an official state of the United States, a bottomless financial pit would arise. That view began to change after a visit by Theodore Roosevelt to Arizona in 1903, who especially admired the impressive landscape. He also promised to begin taming the rivers that often wreak havoc in the spring when they burst their banks. He kept his promise and in 1911 the Salt River Dam No 1 (later the Theodore Roosevelt Dam) was put into use, which ensured that the rivers were regulated and irrigated all year round and clean drinking water was available. A year later, on February 14, 1912, Arizona became the 48th state in the United States.

Modern Arizona owes much to the dams built there during the 20th century;notably the Hoover Dam (1936) in the Colorado River, the Parker Dam (1938) and the Glen Canyon Dam (1966). Glen Canyon Dam and Hoover Dam provide electricity and irrigation water from the gigantic Lake Powell and Lake Mead reservoirs. The Roosevelt Dam is the largest masonry dam in the world, built brick by brick between 1904 and 1911.

The Hoover Dam in Arizona was Inaugurated in 1936 Photo: Ansalm Adams in public domain

In 1908, the Grand Canyon was designated a National Monument and in 1919 it became an official National Park. During the Great Depression, Arizona was badly hit, but the recovery was soon set in, especially by the developing tourism industry that continues to be of importance to the state to this day. Tourism began in the 1920's and 1930's with resorts for the wealthy in the Phoenix area. Tourism growth was slow but stable. From the start of World War II, tourism was boosted by the influx of military personnel trained in the warm climate of Arizona to fight in climatically difficult conditions in Africa and other warm regions.
After the war, many veterans arrived. returned to Arizona and continued to live there in what a state with many opportunities to have a bright future. Population growth has been spectacular, and cities like Phoenix and Tucson grew rapidly and became nationally important, although disadvantages such as air pollution, crime, and expanding poor neighborhoods did not pass through Arizona's major cities.
In 1959, Arizona became hit by a fairly rare powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 on the Richter Scale. The epicenter was near Fredonia, Northern Arizona.

 Two illegal men attempting to enter the United States near Douglas, Arizona

Photo: Public domain

But in general, Arizona is more associated with spas and golf courses, except perhaps on the border with Mexico, where problems with illegal immigrants are almost common. day. In 2009, some 250,000 people crossed the border illegally from Mexico. While this number was much lower than a number of years earlier, very strict anti-immigration laws were passed in 2010, much stricter than in the rest of the United States. For example, the police may arrest anyone they even suspect is illegal in Arizona. was extinguished on July 7. At the time, it was the largest fire that had ever raged in Arizona. Originally there were two fires that over time 'grew' together and eventually 190,000 ha of mainly wooded area would be (partly) destroyed, including about 300 homes. The creation of the Chediski Fire was an accident, the Rodeo Fire was lit.

In 2008, Arizona Senator John McCain became the Republican candidate for President of the United States. He lost the votehowever, from Barack Obama.

 John McCain, Republican presidential candidate for Arizona in 2008

Photo: Public domain

May 29, 2011 broke in Eastern Arizona and a small area of Western New Mexico set out a fire that would surpass the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire. The fire would go down in history as the Wallow Fire, named after the area where the fire broke out, the Bear Wallow Wilderness. The fire, caused by an abandoned campfire, broke out in the White Mountains near Alpine town. Nearly 218,000 ha of nature reserve, roughly the size of the province of Limburg, in the counties of Apache, Greenlee, Graham and Navajo was destroyed, as well as 72 buildings. Sixteen people were also injured and 6,000 were evacuated in the largest fire ever to break out in Arizona.

Satellite images Nasa of the Wallow Fire on June 8, 2011 Photo: Public Domain

On January 15, 2015, the new Arizona governor, John Ducey, signed an education law requiring high school students to pass a citizenship test with good follow before graduating or obtaining a diploma. Arizona was the first state to make it mandatory.

In October 2015, Arizona was also startled by a deadly shooting on a college campus, now of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. One person was killed and three injured in a dorm.

See also the history of the United States.


On July 1, 2014, Arizona had 6,731,484 inhabitants (approx. 23 per km²), of which 5% (approx. 300,000) are Indians, the third largest Indian population of all American states. In terms of population, Arizona is in 15th place, in terms of population density in 33rd place. about one-third of Southern Arizona's population has Spanish roots. In 2014, more than 24% of the population was under 18, almost 16% was over 65. The roots of the white population of Arizona are, in order of importance, in Mexico, Germany, Ireland, England, and Italy.
The number of residents varies considerably from county to county, Greenlee County has barely 8,000 residents, Maricopa County has the most residents, nearly 4 million, and is the fourth most populous county in the United States. Despite the climate, about 90% of Arizona's population lives in the south of the state, especially in the cities of Phoenix and Tucson. Approx. 80% of Arizona residents live in Maricopa County or Pima County.

Arizona Population Density (2010)Photo: Public Domain

With the exception of Wyoming, all states in the western United States are exploding, including cities like Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona. Phoenix, in particular, currently the fifth largest city in the United States in terms of population and the largest state capital, is an exponent of this development, with a population growth rate of over 60% since 1990, and the main driver of the tremendous population growth of the past. decades. Phoenix grew from 107,000 inhabitants to 439,000 inhabitants in the period 1950-1960, in 1990 there were already more than one million.
Arizona saw its population since the 1950s, important in this was the invention of the air conditioning, become ten times larger and since 2000 the population has grown by more than 25%, only the state of Nevada has grown even faster. From 2010 to 2014, Arizona's population grew by 5.3%.

Census BureauPopulationGrowth
188040,440318.7 %
20005.130 .63240.0%

In 2018, Arizona has 7,123,898 inhabitants.

More than a quarter of Arizona is occupied by approximately 50 Indian reservations. Major Arizona tribes include the Navajo, Pueblo, and Apache. Most Navajos live in the largest reservation in the United States, Navajo Nation (67,340 km2). The area of this reserve exceeds ten of the fifty American states and is, for example, about the same size as the Benelux. The reserve is largely located in northeastern Arizona, southern Utah and northwestern New Mexico. About 350,000 Navajos live there, two of them thirde is not older than 21 years and between 25 and 50% calls themselves Christian. The capital of Navajo Nation is Window Rock.
The Pueblo, some 60,000, live all over Arizona, especially along the Colorado River. However, most Pueblo live in New Mexico. From about 1300, many Pueblos left their cities and moved to other areas.
The approx. 57,000 Apache live in Arizona and southern New Mexico.

Pueblo Homes, ArizonaPhoto: Public domain

Smaller Indian tribes still living in Arizona are the Tohono O'odham (called Papago by the conquistadors), mainly living in the Sonoran Desert of eastern Arizona and northwestern Mexico. The Tohono O'odham Reserve, the third largest Indian Reservation in the United States at 11,534 km, is located in the counties of Pima, Pinal and Maricopa.

The Akimel O'odham (aka Akimel O'otham or Pima), the 'river people', live in Central and Southern Arizona in the Keli Akimel O'otham and On'k Akimel O'odham Reserves.

The Quechan live in the Lower Ford Yuma Reservation from the Colorado River in Arizona and further into California just north of the Mexican border.

The Hopi live in the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona. Just over 18,000 Hopi, descended from the Ancient Pueblo peoples, were counted in 2010. The tribe now consists of about 650 people and works primarily in the tourism industry around the Grand Canyon.

The Paiute can be divided into the Northern Paiute, the Owens Valley Paiute and the Southern Paiute, which live in Arizona, Southeastern. California, Nevada and Utah.

Other Native American tribes are: Hualpai or 'People of the Great Pine Trees', Mohave and Chemehuevi.


English Language MapPhoto: Kobolen Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

The vast majority of the American population is native to English, but large numbers of other European and non-European languages are also spoken, particularly Spanish in states like Arizona. Especially in the big cities, groups live who have often retained the language of origin for many generations.

American as a language does not exist: there is really only an American English. The main difference with British English lies in the different pronunciation. A distinction is made between the dialects of the north, east and south, but despite the great distances, the dialects still differ less widely than in smaller countries. New life circumstances and a different mentality did create new words, sayings and expressions. Some words have been given a different meaning, and a few things have also changed in spelling and grammar. Still, the language differences between English and English-American are not very great.
Americans like it short and anything that goes fast and saves time is highly appreciated.

This is also true in the language. strive to recover. Some examples of this are:
Television = tv
Science fiction = sf
Advertisement = ad
Bycicle = bike
Hello = hi
Reverend = rev
See you = CU

Another way to save time is to contract words, both in the spoken and written language. Some examples of this are:
Radio operator = radiorator
Motor cavalcade = motorcade
Laundry automatic = laundromat
I am going to = I'm gonna
I want to = I wanna
I don't know = dunno
Merry christmas = merry x-mas
Through = thru

Almost all Native Americans speak American. In addition, dozens of widely differing Native American languages have survived the US government's assimilation technique.

United States native languages overviewPhoto: Public domain

Although English is of course the official language of Arizona, approximately 26% of the population speaks another language in the home atmosphere, usually Spanish or an Indian language (in 2010, 1.48% Navajo, 0.18% Apache and 0.27% other Indian languages). In addition to English (approx. 73%) and Spanish (approx. 21%), German, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, French, Arabic and Korean are also spoken in the home situation (although all less than 1%).
English and Spanish are also regularly used interchangeably, sometimes even in one sentence, which is called Spanglish. In English, 'Vamos a mi house' (come to my house) is 'come to my house'.

Overview Spanish Speakers in ArizonaPhoto: Mortadelo2005 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Arizona is home to the most Indian speakers of any American state, and Apache County has the highest concentration of Native American speakers in the entire United States of any American county.

There are several theories about its origin. of the name Arizona. Three of them are:

- Derived from arizonac, a word that in the language of the Papago Indians means "(place with) small sources"
- Contraction of the Spanish árida zona (" dry area ")
- Derived from the Aztec word arizuma


Religion and Remarkable Religious Buildings

Of the traditional faiths, Catholics still predominate, followed closely by Evangelical Christians and non-religious. The most common religious groups in Arizona are:

Roman Catholic- 25%
Evangelical Christian- 23%
Non-religious- 22%
Protestants- 15%
Mormons- 4%
Jews- 1%
Others (including Native American religions)- 11%
L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, lived in Phoenix.

L (afayette) Ron (ald) Hubbard (1911-1986), born in Phoenix, ArizonaPhoto: Public domain

Jesuit Eusebio Kino founded in January 1691 a missionary post, the first in present-day Arizona territory. The mission, called San Cayetano de Tumacácori, was located east of the Santa Cruz River, but moved to the west side of the river in 1751 and was renamed San José de Tumacácori today. The first church building was also built here, from 1800 it was built by Franciscan monks. Due to lack of money, under the direction of Franciscans Juan Bautista Estelric and later Ramón Liberós, the church was built for several decades, but never really completed.

San José de Tumacácori Church Building, Tubac, Arizona Photo: SonoranDesertNPS Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

The Snowflake Arizona Temple was the 108th temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better known by the name of Mormons. Mormon pioneers, including Erastus Snow and William J. Flake, founded the city in 1878. The temple was dedicated on March 3, 2002, making it the second Mormon temple in Arizona after Mesa, which was inaugurated as early as 1927. became. Serving some 35,000 Mormons in the region, the temple is made of granite from China and covers an area of 1,730 square meters.

Snowflake Arizona TemplePhoto: Mikejames Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Special is the best-preserved missionary church in the United States, San Xavier del Bac (pictured), a former missionary post and, in 1692, the oldest Catholic church in the United States. The then church was located on the territory of the Tohono O'odham Indian tribe, and was founded by the famous Jesuit father Eusebio Kino. In 1751 the church was largely destroyed in the Pima revolt. The current church, built of adobe stone and also known as the 'white dove of the desert', was built by Franciscan monks in the period 1783-1797 and is a typical example of Spanish mission architecture with Spanish, Baroque and Moorish elements. It is striking that one of the towers was never finished. In the 1990s, the mission church, with an un-American beautifully frescoed interior, was restored with the help of Vatican experts.

San Xavier del Bac, church southwest of Tucson, Arizona Photo: Frank Kovalchek Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

The construction of St. Augustine Cathedral in Tucson, Arizona's second city, began in 1896. The church is built in the Spanish colonial style of the cathedral of Querétaro in Central Mexico. In front of the church, in addition to the statue of Saint Augustine, the three symbols of the Sonoran Desert are depicted: the saguaro cactus, the yucca and the toad lizard.

St. Augustine Cathedral in Tucson, ArizonaPhoto: Ken Lund Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

Uniquely shaped and located in Sedona in a picturesque setting is the Chapel of the Holy Cross. The chapel was designed by Marguerite Brunwige Staude, a student of the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The chapel was inBuilt in 1956 and the facade includes a large cross (see photo).

Chapel of the holy cross, Sedonia ArizonaPhoto: Marine 69-71 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International no changes made

Since 2004, the Amitabha Stupa, a Buddhist shrine of about 10 meters high, the slightly smaller Tara Stupa and a large Buddha statue have also been located just outside Sedona.

Hopi religion

Kachina dolls Photo: Public Domain

In the Hopi religion, striving to maintain balance and harmony between the spirit world and the" fourth world "is crucial. The so-called kachinas (also: katsinas), spiritual messengers, play a central role in this endeavor. These supernatural beings include divine spirits, animals, and deceased tribesmen, and they can cause rain, affect the weather, assist in day-to-day work, and punish tribal law violators. There are hundreds of Kachina spirits, some friendly, others frightening and dangerous.
They are said to be on the mountains of the San Francisco Peaks, just like the Greek gods on Mount Olympus. After the winter solstice, the kachinas descend to the Hopi villages, where they stay until the summer solstice. Kachina dolls (photo) are colorful wooden figures traditionally given to Hopi girls at some festivals.



Arizona joined the United States as the forty-eighth state on February 14, 1912.

The states of the United States are divided into 3,077 counties, an average of 62 per state. Arizona has far fewer counties, only fifteen.
The counties of Mohave, Pima, Yavapai and Yuma were created in 1864, after the creation of the Arizona Territory in 1862. Pah-Ute split off in 1865. Mohave, but rejoined in 1871. All other counties, except La Paz, were established in 1912 when Arizona became an official state.
Most counties trace their names back to Arizona's Native American history. Nine of the fifteen counties are named after tribes living in what is now Arizona territory. The names of three counties can be traced back to the Spanish explorers who mapped Arizona: La Paz, Santa Cruz and Pinal. Graham is named after Mount Graham and Greenlee is named after one of the first pioneers to explore Arizona land.

Arizona counties overview

Photo: Public domain

County nameCapital citySince
ApacheSt. Johns1879
La PazParker1983
Santa CruzNogales1899

The administrative layer below the counties consists of municipalities and cities of all degrees. Interestingly, some cities cross county boundaries. A county seat is called a "county seat," and some states have two or more capital cities.

Arizona Senate Building with the Arizona State Museum on the right Capitol Photo: Adavyd Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Executive power in each state of the United States is in the hands of a governor, who is elected through direct elections by the eligible residents of his or her state. The Arizona legislature is made up of the 60-member Arizona House of Representatives and the 30-member Arizona Senate. Each of Arizona's 30 counties is represented by one senator and two deputies. Senators and Deputies are elected for a term of two years, with a maximum of four consecutive terms. It is possible to serve more than four installments at intervals. Arizona is represented in the national Senate by two senators and in the House of Representatives by nine people.
The governor dates back to the days when the United States was a British colony. All royal governors were deposed after the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), but the name 'governor' was retained. Born on April 9, 1964 and a member of the Republican Party, Douglas Anthony 'Doug' Ducey was sworn in as the new and 23rd Governor of Arizona on January 5, 2015. On November 4, 2014, he won the governor elections of Democrat Fred DuVal and Libertine Barry Hess, and succeeded Jan Brewer. Ducey was Arizona's first male governor since Fife Symington, who served as governor from 1991-1997. A governor may be re-elected as many times as he wishes, but never more than two consecutive terms of four years. Arizona has had four female governors to date, more than any other state in the United States.

23rd Governor of Arizona Doug DuceyPhoto: Gage Skidmore Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported no changes made

Each of Arizona's 21 Indian reservations is governed by a tribal council, whose members are elected by the tribe. For the current political situation of the United States see chapter history.


Copper Mines Arizona (NASA)Photo: Public Domain

Over the past hundred years, Arizona has seen impressive economic growth. From a region scattered with small-scale livestock, agricultural (mostly cotton), and mining (copper) activities, Arizona has grown into a state with a modern, more diverse economy.

Arizona's manufacturing industry is very diverse, from food to microchips. Most of the factories are located in areas around the cities of Phoenix and Tucson.

Mining continues to occupy an important place in the state's economic economy. The nickname 'copper-state' is not without reason: Arizona has been the largest producer of copper since 1907. In 2009, almost $ 10 billion of copper was produced, more than half of all copper mined in the United States . The Morenci Mine, in Greenlee County, is a very large copper mine, one of the largest in the world, with a huge stock of copper, some 3 billion tons.

Morenci Mine in Greenlee County, ArizonaPhoto: TJBlackwell Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported no changes made

Gold and silver are mined on a modest scale in the mountains of southern Arizona. Other important minerals are lead, zinc and uranium. But historically, Arizona is the state of the four C's: copper, cattle, cotton, and citrus.

The agricultural sector (agriculture and livestock) is still becoming an important means of livelihood and mainly found in central and southern Arizona. Cotton cultivation occupies a very important place in agricultural activities, but vegetables, tomatoes, citrus fruits and melons are also grown on a large scale.

Cotton field near Satton, ArizonaPhoto: Brian Dunnette Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

Arizona is not yet known as a wine region, but the soil and climate of the Santa Cruz Valley in the far south of Arizona are ideal for growing grapes. Grape cultivation dates back to more than 400 years ago, at that time the grapes were mainly used for making sacramental wine. It was not until the 1970s that the first commercial 'vinifera' grapes were planted, followed by the stronger varieties of syrah, grenache and malvasia, which could withstand the summer heat. More vineyards can be found around Wilcoox, Sedona and Oak Creek.

In 2014, the construction of the then largest solar park in the world, Agua Caliente, was completed. The park, which cost $ 1.8 billion, has an area of approximately 1000 ha (5.2 million solar panels) and with a capacity of 290 megawatts, it supplies enough power for approximately 100,000 households.

Tourism also makes an increasingly significant contribution to the Arizona economy every year. The Grand Canyon in particular is of course a huge crowd puller and around the canyon a lot of money is also made on timber construction. In 2008, more than 37 million tourists visited Arizona, providing more than 170,000 jobs.

Raytheon's Tomahawk Cruise Missile Photo: Public domain Photo: Public domain

The government is the primary employer in Arizona where much of the land is owned by the federal and state governments. Furthermore, technology and high-tech industries are especially important for the economy. Products such as computers, electronics, and aerospace are manufactured in the state, the largest private employer in Arizona is Tucson-based rocket weapons manufacturer Raytheon Missile Systems with approximately 10,000 employees.

Holidays and Sightseeing

Welcome sign Arizona visitorsPhoto: Wing-Chi Poon no changes made

The Grand Canyon is Arizona's largest tourist attraction with more than 4 million visitors a year; numbers of more than 5 million as in the 1990s are no longer achieved. It is a deep valley carved by the Colorado River. The gorge is extremely steep in places and there are some beautiful viewpoints on both the northern and southern rims. Daredevils can also take a canoe or kayak through the Grand Canyon. We also recommend a helicopter flight, where you can admire the most incredible panoramas.

Grand canyon, ArizonaPhoto: John Fowler Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made

Northern Arizona has snow-capped mountains, wind-formed table landscapes, dense pine forests, including the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world, and gigantic canyons. This region contains some of the best hiking and biking in the state of Arizona, as well as a wide variety of flora and fauna.

North-Central Arizona has cooling pine forests, numerous mountains, shady hiking trails and many lakes and rivers that make North Central Arizona a perfect area for hiking, biking, camping and fishing. North Central Arizona is also known for its winter sports and is home to many rodeos and festivals throughout the year.

From high to low and wet to dry, Central Arizona has it all, mountain walks are possible, but also a tour through the desert or recreation on a lake. These changing conditions allow for a diverse fauna and flora, such as coyotes, hawks, rattlesnakes, scorpions, palm trees and cacti.

Saguaro National Park ArizonaPhoto: Murray Foubister Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

Rock climbing, desert and mountain biking, skiing, bird watching and golf top the list of activities in Southern Arizona. The region is home to Kartchner Caverns, a 550-acre park with spectacular caves and hiking trails, and Saguaro National Park, home to forests of huge saguaro cacti.

In Western Arizona, Lake Mead and Lake Havasu provide excellent conditions for water sports activities, but this area also has a wide variety of flora and fauna. Yuma, in the southernmost part of the region, is a paradise for avid bird watchers and is also home to a number of protected natural areas.

Very special is Antelope Canyon, consisting of Lower Antelope Canyon (length 407 meters) and Upper Antelope Canyon (200 meters long), near the town of Page, a heavily domed canyon of eroding petrified dunes.

Antelope Canyon, near Page, Arizona Photo: Meckimac Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported no changes made

One of the most impressive views is Horseshoe Bend, a 300-foot rocky outcrop around which the Colorado River winds. Monument Valley, located in Northern Arizona on the border with Utah is a desert area with beautiful sandstone cliffs and table mountains, up to 360 meters high, with beautiful names such as Three Sisters, Eagle Rock, Bear and Rabbit, Elephant Butte, Totem Pole, Mittens (East and West Mitten Buttes) and John Ford's Point.

Mittens in Monument Valley in winter, Arizona Photo: Sirrobcool in the public domain

The London Bridge in Lake Havasu City is very special. The bridge originally stood in real London from 1831 to 1967, but was in danger of collapsing. There was no money for repair and restoration and the American Robert McCulloch conceived the plan to buy the bridge for approximately $ 2.46 million en to be shipped to Laka Havasu City in approximately 10,000 parts. This happened and the bridge is the second most visited Arizona landmark after the Grand Canyon.

London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, ArizonaPhoto: Ken Lund Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic no changes made

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Balfour, Amy C. / Arizona
Lonely Planet

Balfour, Amy C. / Southwest USA's best trips : 32 amazing road trips
Lonely Planet

BBC - Country Profiles

CIA - World Factbook

Elmar Landeninformatie

Fodor's Arizona & The Grand Canyon 2015
Fodor's Travel

Heetvelt, Angela / Zuidwestelijke staten van Amerika

Southwest USA
Lonely Planet

USA-Zuidwest & Las Vegas
Van Reemst

Ward, Greg / The rough guide to Southwest USA
Rough Guides




Last updated October 2021
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