Arizona has many very interesting historical events which helped make what that state is today. One important part of Arizona's history is when it became a state: in the 1500's, many Spaniards came to Arizona to convert Native Americans to Christianity, such as Marcos De Niza, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, Garcia Lopez de Cardenas and more. Not many stayed in Arizona though. For those who did, in 1810 Mexico had a war for independence against Spain. Mexico won in 1812, and Arizona was part of a deal with Spain, so it became part of Mexico. Now most Spaniards went away, as Mexico now had control of Arizona. In 1848, Arizona changed their flags once again. The United States had a war against Mexico and the U.S. won. Mexico gave the United States land that included part of Arizona and six years later the U.S. bought the rest of Arizona from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase. Arizona was a territory of the United States before it became the 48th state on February 14, 1912.
President William Taft signs for Arizona's statehood on Feb. 14, 1912
As whites came to Arizona, many Native Americans such as the Navajo and Apache tribes did not want to give up their land. They started raids, or fights, against the settlers to try to get them to leave. The settlers were mad and wanted to get rid of the Native Americans. Therefore, in 1863 colonel Kit Carson marched the American troops into where the Navajo lived, and destroyed all their beautiful homes and farms. In 1864, the Navajo surrendered. Kit Carson next made the Navajo go on a "Long Walk", which was a 300 mile forced march to a reservation in New Mexico. During this time, out of 8,000 Navajo to start out with, thousands died. This was a tragic event of history for the Navajo tribe.
Soldiers guarding the Navajos during the Long Walk
In 1869, John Wesley Powell organized the first expedition, 1,000 miles through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. He took a big risk to do this, as these were uncharted lands and no one knew what could be down there. Powell, a geology professor and a former Civil War general, went with ten men on his journey down through the Grand Canyon. Making it even more difficult, his right arm had been amputated during the Civil War, due to getting hit by a bullet. They lost four people during this expedition, who thought they would never reach the end and they gave up. These people disappeared and never were seen again, and probably were killed by Native Americans. As a result of this expedition, the country learned about the Grand Canyon, and tourists began to come to see it, and today the Grand Canyon is the busiest landmark of Arizona.
Left: John Wesley Powell; Right: Powell's expedition going through the Colorado River