When people think of Arizona, they generally think of the Grand Canyon and there is no doubt that this is one of the wonders of the natural world, due to its immense size and grandeur.

Millions of people from all over the world travel here to gaze at and admire the canyon and it is certainly a "must see" on most tourist and traveller agendas.

Here on these pages, we will also tell you about some of the other amazing places you should see in Arizona.

Arizona's history goes back 1000's of years to the time of the Anasazi and Zuni people, and later the Pima, Navajo, Apache, Apache-Chiricahua and other Indian tribal groups.

The first Europeans to explore Arizona came here on the basis of a story that there were cities of gold and great wealth in the north – "Las Siete Ciudades de Cibola" (The Seven cities of Cibola). In 1539 and 1540 two Spanish Conquistadors, Friar Marcos de Niza (c.1495-1558) and Francisco Vasquez de Coronado set off from Mexico City in search of the fabled cities. They never found the fabled cities, but they did find the desert and canyons and explore parts of Arizona as they headed north.

In 1598 the Royal Road (El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro) was established from Mexico City to Near Santa Fe in New Mexico, with a section of this road passing through southern parts of Arizona. Missions were established around 1690 in Guevavi, Tumacacori and San Xavier del Bac (near Tucson) by the Jesuit Missionary and explorer, Euseblo Francisco Kino (1645-1711). He also brought with him cattle and crops, founded silver mines and is credited as discovering that Baja California was not an island, but a peninsula. The small town of Tubac on the Royal Road is said to be the first Spanish settlement in Arizona and it dates back to 1752, while Tucson was first established in 1775.

Arizona was part of the Spanish state of Sonora, then after Mexico achieved its independence from Spain in 1812 it became part of Alta California, then following the Mexican-American war (1846-1848) it became part of New Mexico under American control, becoming in 1866 known as the Arizona Territory, then ultimately becoming the 48th State of the United States in 1912.

The discovery of gold in California in 1848 led to prospectors heading west across Arizona to the gold fields, but there also followed discoveries of gold in Arizona, but it was silver and copper that lead to numbers of mines being developed across Arizona in the second half of the 1800's.

It was a tough life for miners, but also ranchers who tried to raise cattle, the cowboys, Missionaries, Mormon settlers, teachers, townsfolk, shop keepers, blacksmiths, Military forces, men, women and children that came to the Territory. It was even harder for the Apache and Navajo people whose land was being invaded and conflict was inevitable.

Much of the legendary names of heroes from those times have been immortalised in film and television – the great Apache warrior chiefs Cochise and Geronimo as well as Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and others, and towns like Nogales, Tombstone, Flagstaff and Buckeye have all made it into film and stories. They were tough times and the stories of outlaw gangs, rustlers, posses, train and bank robbers, sheriffs, gambling and saloons, whiskey and women all added to the legends and stories of the 'Wild West'.

When the Spanish came in the 1500's they brought with them their horses as well as cattle and crops to grow. Over the years that followed many horses were also caught by Indians, and over time a new breed of horse developed – what became known as the Painted Ponies and Appaloosa. Miners also brought with them their 'burros' (Donkeys) and mules (a cross between a donkey and a horse).

Transport and communications have always played a key role in the development of civilisations. The Spanish and later Dutch, English and French colonists had developed their empires using ships to transport them to new territories, and then the horse, donkeys, bullocks wagons enabled them to head inland away from their ships and the coast and rivers to find new lands.

Trains and railroads then followed and in Arizona this brought more settlers as well as created the means to transport silver and copper to refineries, as well as bring farming equipment to the settlers.

Copper then became even more important with the development of the telegraph and then phone lines and electricity lines, and copper mining became an important industry, and it still remains so today as one of the most important industries in Arizona.

Cattle Ranches and citrus orchards also developed, and then in the First World War cotton also became an important crop too – a boom time for the industry with the need for fabric for uniforms and later cattle feed and oils.

Arizona has a large amount of dry desert country, and the hot summers made it difficult for people to live through the hot summers. The advent of air conditioning largely changed that perception, and after World War II, and since then Arizona has attracted large numbers of people from the colder north east states to come to Arizona to set up businesses and live.

Happy Travelling!

I hope you have a great time in Dallas and Fort Worth.

Geoff Stuart

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