The name Arizona comes from the Native American word “arizonac” which translates to “place of the small spring.” With desert origins of Phoenix, it is the 48th contiguous state of the United States. This was declared on February 14th 1912 thus earning the nickname of “The Nation’s Valentine.”
Arizona history dates back to 1539 when Friar Marcos de Niza explored the state on his quest to find the mythical seven cities of gold. In the 1690’s Missions were established and introduced Christianity. Arizona was once part New Mexico before The Arizona Organic Act was signed in 1863.
In the 1700’s prospectors flocked to Arizona to stake their claims on the state’s precious metals. Copper lead zinc silver and gold have all been mined here. Mining continues to be a substantial player in Arizona’s economy. As a result of the California Gold Rush in 1849 , Arizona’s Gila Trail became a main route to the west coast. This trail brought an influx of gold seekers unable to cope with the desert environment. The Tohono O’odham Tribe assisted the prospectors in surviving the unfamiliar climate.
Arizona’s bid to make history continued. In 1930 former planet Pluto was discovered by an astronomer at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. Sandra Day O’Connor who is the first woman appointed to the US Supreme Court was born in the small town of Duncan. Other major political players such as John McCain Janet Napolitano Barry Goldwater and G. Gordon Liddy hail from the nation’s Valentine State