Arizona is one of the fifty states that, together with
Washington D.C., make up the United States. Its capital and most
populous city is Phoenix. It is located in the western region of
the country, Rocky Mountains division. It limits to the north
with Utah, to the northeast with Colorado, to the east with New
Mexico, to the south with Sonora (Mexico), and to the west with
the Colorado River that separates it from California and Nevada.
With 295,000 km² it is the sixth largest state, behind Alaska,
Texas, California, Montana and New Mexico. It was the
third-latest to be admitted to the Union, on February 14, 1912,
as the 48th state, ahead of the latest Alaska and Hawaii.
It is located in Aridoamérica and on the Sierra Madre Occidental, and the Colorado River flows through its territory, forming the famous Grand Canyon of Colorado, in the north of the state. Its desert landscape and cacti are also famous.
Much of Arizona has an arid or semi-arid climate. These regions receive less than 40 centimeters of rain per year, being very hot in summer and mild in winter. However, the higher altitude mountainous regions have a cooler and more humid climate. Most of the state is sparsely inhabited as Arizona's population is concentrated in two urban centers: Phoenix, the fastest growing city in the United States, the largest city and state capital, and Tucson.
Arizona's nickname is "the Grand Canyon State", as the north of the state is home to one of the best-known natural tourist attractions in the United States and the world, the Grand Canyon. Another nickname for Arizona is "the Copper State", which is due to the fact that it has large deposits of copper, and was even the largest national producer of this mineral. To this day, copper mining is a major source of income for Arizona.
Thousands of years before the arrival of the first Europeans, indigenous peoples lived in the region where Arizona is located today. Today there is still a significant population: an estimated 280,000 Indians live in Arizona, spread across the state's many Indian reservations.
Arizona was initially colonized by Spain, passing under Mexican control in 1821, when Mexico gained independence from Spain. In 1848, with the end of the American intervention in Mexico, most of Arizona (north of the Gila River) passed into American hands. President Santa Anna of Mexico sold what would become the southern part of the state at the Venta de La Mesilla in 1853. On February 14, 1912, Arizona became the last U.S. territory within the 48 contiguous states (i.e. , not counting Alaska and Hawaii, which do not border any other state) in acquiring statehood.
In recent years, Arizona has been at the center of controversy since it approved Arizona SB1070,5 in May 2010, the broadest and strictest law against illegal immigration in decades. This law has received national and international attention and has sparked considerable controversy. Important representatives of the Government of the United States of America have described it as "a violation of civil rights", "a type of apartheid" and have affirmed that "its application can force differentiation based on ethnic reasons".
The canyon-traversed high plateau in the north, much of which belongs to the Navajo Nation, the largest Indian reservation in the United States.
Flagstaff Show Low Winslow Page Snow Flake Holbrook
The dividing line between the high plateau and the desert, lined by a low mountain range, stretches from Lake Mead to the southeast of the state.
Lake Havasu City Sierra Vista Prescott Bullhead City Prescott Valley Kingman Nogales Douglas Payson Cottonwood Camp Verde Chino Valley Sedona
Around the capital and largest metropolis of the state.
Phoenix Mesa Chandler Glendale Scottsdale Gilbert Tempe Peoria Surprise
The dry and hot southwest of Arizona with its cactus forests.
Tucson Yuma Oro Valley Marana San Luis Sanhuarita Somerton
Antelope Canyon is a narrow natural crevice that is hard to hike, but it offers great chance for a picturesque photo. Broken lines of sandstone and straight lines of sun rays create magnificent appearance.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument is a spectacular combination of natural beauty created by erosion and human activity who lived here in dwellings all along the canyon.
Grand Canyon National Park, located in Northern Arizona is one of the most spectacular natural formations not only in the United States, but all of the World.
Havasu Falls is located on the south border of the Grand Canyon National Park hidden in a picturesque canyon.
Montezuma Castle is an ancient native American settlement that was mistakenly identified as an Aztec outpost by the first explorers in the 19th century.
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park located in Arizona is a World famous mainly thanks to Marlboro commercials.
Navajo National Monument is one of the largest and best preserved cliff dwelling complexes in the American Southwest.
Petrified Forest National Park is an area that contains remains of the ancient prehistoric forest those fossils are spread around the desert.
Saguaro National Park is located in Southern Arizona, USA. This nature reserve covers an area of 91,440 acres.
Vulture Mine Ghost Town is an abandoned ghost town located in Maricopa County in a state of Arizona, USA. The town was originally found in 1863.
As in the rest of the United States, English is spoken in Arizona. The local accent is even relatively easy to understand. Because of its proximity to Mexico, there are many people in Arizona who speak Spanish as their first language. About 170,000 people in the region also speak Navajo, which is the most widespread Native American language in North America.
Arizona is very well connected to the American interstate network and can be reached very easily from all surrounding states. The two Interstates 10 and 40 are of particular importance here. Arizona can be reached from Mexico via border crossings near Nogales, Douglas, Lukeville (south of Gila Bend) and Yuma.
Phoenix International Airport offers numerous connections within the United States, Mexico and Canada and flights to London. Phoenix has by far the largest number of flights in the region, and American Airlines and Southwest have hubs here. Arizona's other major airport is in Tucson. Scheduled connections from 14 cities in the USA lead to Tucson. Other scheduled airports are located in Yuma, Prescott, Flagstaff and Kingman.
Without your own (or rented) car, it's easy to get into trouble in
Arizona. There is usually no public transport (except in Phoenix) and
only a few intercity bus lines. Rail transport is also relatively
underdeveloped. Mobile homes (so-called RVs) are also recommended for
round trips. Usually there is no problem finding a place to park or camp
and you can easily drive anywhere.
It is important to check the coolant regularly. Especially in summer, some cars have a tendency to use them up relatively quickly. The same applies to oil. If the car makes a buzzing or humming noise when steering, you should check the "steering fluid". Oil, distilled water and all other things that you need in the event of an emergency can be found at every gas station and in most supermarkets without any problems. But even more important than petrol and oil is a sufficient water supply of several liters per person.
Arizona is an aviation enthusiast's paradise. Due to the arid desert climate, old planes are parked for scrapping or storage throughout Arizona. Among them are rarities and unique items that you won't find anywhere else. In Tucson is the Pima Air and Space Museum which has a number of interesting exhibits and tours to Davis Monthan Air Force Base (AMARC area). There is an incredibly large number of old, scrapped fighter jets, transporters and other aircraft. North of Tucson is Pinal Airport, home to the Evergreen Air Center. Here is a large part of ex-Northwest aircraft and many other beauties. Unfortunately, there are no more tours and guided tours here, but if you have your own plane or rent one, you can of course fly over the airport or do aerodrome circuits. Double Eagle Aviation in Tucson has previously organized such "spotter flights". The phone number is 520-294-8214 and the cost is approximately US$90/hour, which can be shared by up to three people. Many airports have a number of different aircraft, for example Goodyear, Mesa with the Confederate Air Force Museum and Kingman. As a major airport, Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix naturally offers another alternative for all airplane fans.
Skydiving - Arizona is a skydiver's paradise. Due to the good weather
all year round, you can almost always jump and it is much cheaper than
in Europe. The region south of Phoenix around the towns of Eloy,
Coolidge and Casa Grande is particularly popular.
Gliding - Because of the excellent thermals, gliding in Arizona is great fun almost all year round. Especially in summer there are extreme updrafts. Especially around Phoenix there are some glider airfields. In contrast to skydiving, gliding is more expensive than in Europe.
Hiking - Not only around the Grand Canyon, but also in the rest of Arizona there is great hiking. The many mountain ranges and national parks offer something for every taste. Hiking trails are particularly plentiful near the cities of Flagstaff, Globe, and Phoenix.
The Arizona Hiking Trails website (English) provides very detailed information on how to get there and the type of individual hiking trails in Arizona.
Also good is the English-language site HikeArizona.com, which offers lots of photos as well as information.
The Arizona Trail is an 800-mile hiking trail from Mexico across Arizona to Utah.
Mountain biking - Many hiking trails are also used for mountain biking at the same time. Especially in the north in the region around Flagstaff and Sedona there are scenically beautiful and challenging routes.
Spring Break - Every year around the time of American spring break, Lake Havasu City transforms into one of the party capitals of the USA and thousands of boisterous youngsters party merrily on Lake Havasu and on the beaches.
The state of Arizona is, from the geomorphological point of view, a
section of the Great Basin and the Great Mountains of the southwestern
United States. Its great natural regions are the Mexican Highlands, the
Sonoran desert, and the Colorado plateau. Some authors add a
transitional section to these regions, the so-called transitional zone
of Arizona, which is located to the north of Sonora and in the Mexican
Highlands, as well as to the south of the Colorado plateau. Its
territory occupies an area of 295,253 km², the extent of which can be
compared to that of Italy.
The Mexican High Land is a mountain range that runs diagonally across the state from southeast to northwest; next to this chain, in the southwest, is the desert of Sonora. This area is characterized by a succession of mountains (the Pinaleño, Santa Catalina and Huachuca Mountains, among others) and steep valleys. Most of the peaks do not exceed 2400 m, however, some of them are higher such as Mount Graham, Lemmon or Miller Peak. The extent of the width of the valleys between these mountain ranges varies between 241 km and 97 km.
The Colorado Plateau covers a large section of the northeast of the state. This plateau extends through the states of Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. In reality, this region is not a uniform plateau but a succession of plains (with heights ranging between 1,524 and 2,743 m) and valleys. In this area there are canyons (such as the spectacular and famous Grand Canyon of Colorado, and Canyon de Chelly) and mountains of volcanic origin (among which Humphreys Peak stands out, at 3862 m, the highest point in Arizona). On the southern edge of the plateau is an area of cliffs.
The most important rivers that run through Arizona are the Colorado and its tributaries. The Colorado enters the state from Utah. This runs for approximately 350 km through the Canyon area and forms the natural border between Nevada and Arizona, and Arizona and California. Its major tributaries in Arizona are the Gila River, the Little Colorado River, and the Bill Williams. Arizona hardly has any natural lakes, but some dams have created artificial lakes, including Lake Powell, Lake Mead, Mojave, Havasu, San Carlos, Theodore Roosevelt, and Apache.
Arizona is divided into three physiographic regions:
The Great Basin is located along south-central Arizona. This region is characterized by its desert climate, its low altitude and the presence of some mountain ranges separated by very fertile valleys. When artificially irrigated, they can support crops such as lettuce, cotton, melon, and citrus. Here is located the lowest point of the state, with only 21 meters of altitude.
The Transition Zone is a long, narrow strip of land made up of several ridges and narrow parallel valleys, extending through central Arizona in a northwest-southeast direction. It has the highest average annual precipitation rates in the state.
The Colorado Plateau, located in northern Arizona, occupies two-fifths of the state's land area and has the highest altitudes in the state. It is a mostly flat land, punctuated by towering mountains and deep canyons. The Colorado River runs through this plateau, carving out the Grand Canyon of the Colorado. The highest point in Arizona is located in this region, with 3851 meters of altitude. This region has reasonable average annual precipitation rates, which added to its lower average annual temperature, allows subtropical forests to develop, although the desert landscape predominates.
Arizona boasts a wide diversity of vegetation as a result of its
varied terrain. Numerous species of cacti grow in the desert, such as
the saguaro, whose flower is the state flower, prickly pears, and yucca.
Jojoba, a species of shrub that grows in desert areas, is highly valued
for its numerous properties. At higher altitudes, in the mountains,
spruce, fir, juniper, ponderosa pine, and oak grow.
The fauna of Arizona is also varied. It ranges from the lizards and snakes of the desert to the deer, elk and antelope of the northern mountains. There are also pumas, jaguars,30 coyotes, and brown and black bears, as well as badgers, black-tailed jackrabbits, and gray foxes. Small mammals include various species of rabbits, mice, and squirrels. Prairie dogs dot the northern regions. Snakes abound in the desert, as well as other reptiles such as collared lizards and chacahualas. Among the native birds, the western mountain parrot and the desert rattle (which is the state bird) stand out.
Arizona has many national parks, including the Grand Canyon National Park, Lake Powell (the largest man-made lake in the United States), the Petrified Forest National Park, and the Sonoran Desert.
Due to its great extension and to the variations of altitude, the
state presents a wide variety of localized climatic conditions. At the
lower altitudes (in the south of the State), the climate is mostly
desert, with mild winters and hot summers. Normally, from late autumn to
early spring, the weather is mild, with a minimum temperature of 15 °C.
Between November and February are the coldest months (temperatures
between 4 and 24 °C), although frosts are not uncommon.
Around mid-February, temperatures start to rise again, with warm days and cool, windy nights. The Arizona summer, from May to August, is characterized by a dry heat that oscillates between 32 and 48 °C. In desert areas, temperatures that exceed 52 °C can be occasionally recorded. Largely due to the arid climate, large swings in temperatures often occur between day and night (some as high as 28°C in the summer months). The highest temperature recorded in Arizona was 53 °C, measured on June 29, 1994.
For its part, the northern third of Arizona is a plateau with an altitude significantly higher than the desert, lower, and has a cooler climate, with cold winters and mild summers. Very low temperatures are not uncommon, as cold air systems from the northern states and Canada often affect the state, causing temperatures to drop below 18 °C in the highest parts of Arizona. The lowest temperature recorded in Arizona was -40 °C, on January 7, 1971, at Hawley Lake.
Arizona has an average annual rainfall of 322 mm. This distribution is not uniform, since the highest average annual precipitation rates are located throughout the central region, and the lowest, to the southwest. In the central regions, the average annual precipitation is more than 50 centimeters, while in the Southwest, it is less than 15. The higher altitude regions of Arizona can receive more than 70 centimeters of snow each year. Rainfall is concentrated in two wet seasons. During the winter cold fronts come from the Pacific Ocean, and in summer the monsoon occurs.
The monsoon season runs from mid-July to August and brings winds, lightning, storms, and torrential rains. Tornadoes and hurricanes are rare in Arizona, but there are records that they have occurred before.
The problems of the fragile natural environment, compounded by issues
of water scarcity and distribution, gave rise to numerous debates. The
debate crossed traditional lines, so the main conservative, Senator
Barry Goldwater, was also very interested. For example, Goldwater
supported the controversial Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP). He
I firmly believe that the [Nixon] administration is absolutely right to crack down on the businesses, corporations, and municipalities that continue to pollute the nation's air and water. While I am a firm believer in the competitive free enterprise system and all that it entails, I believe even more in the right of our people to live in a clean environment free from contamination. To this end, I believe that when contamination is detected, it must be stopped at its source, even if this requires strict government action against important segments of our national economy.
The question of water was fundamental. Agriculture consumed 89% of the state's strictly limited water supply, while only generating 3% of the state's revenue. The Groundwater Management Act of 1980, sponsored by Governor Bruce Babbitt, increased the price of water to farmers while cities had to achieve "safe yield" so groundwater use would not exceed replenishment natural. New developments had to prove that they had enough water for the next hundred years. Desert foliage, suitable for a dry region, soon replaced grass.
The acreage dedicated to cotton was drastically reduced, freeing up land for suburban sprawl, freeing up vast amounts of water, and ending the need for expensive specialized machinery. Cotton acreage shrank from 120,000 acres in 1997 to just 40,000 acres in 2005, despite the federal Treasury providing state farmers with more than $678 million in cotton subsidies. Many farmers collect the subsidies but no longer grow cotton. About 80% of the state's cotton is exported to textile mills in China and (since the passage of NAFTA) to Mexico.
Apparently, the name of the state derives from the word in the
language "o'odham alĭ ṣonak", which means "small spring", a place name
that originally applied only to an area near the "Planchas de Plata"
mining camp in the current state of Sonora. European settlers perceived
the place name as "Arissona". The area is still known as alĭ ṣonak in
the O'odham language. Another possible origin is the Basque phrase aritz
ona ("the good oak"), given the presence of Basque shepherds in the
There is a misconception that the name of the state comes from "Árida Zona" in Spanish, but most historians rule out this possibility.
It is known, through the Mexican newspaper "La voz de México", that the name of Arizona was approved in Washington on April 22, 1904.
In Arizona there are archaeological sites of human remains dating back 12,000 years. A millennium ago, the main groups that inhabited this territory were the Anasazi Indians (ancestors of the Pueblo Indians), the Hohokam (ancestors of the Tohono O'odham and Pima Indians), the Mogollon, and the Pataya. The Apaches and Navajos, with whom the Spanish fought since the 16th century, had arrived in these lands shortly before the arrival of the Europeans.
The first European to enter the territory, which today is administered by the state of Arizona, was the Spanish Franciscan friar Marcos de Niza in 1539. This friar was looking for The Seven Cities of Cíbola, a place of immense wealth according to a legend that is had spread through New Spain. Francisco Vázquez de Coronado explored Arizona in search, like Marcos de Niza and with the same success, for legendary cities. A century and a half later, in 1692, Father Eusebio Kino founded twenty-four missions in Arizona. The missionary fervor was followed by mining, since in 1736 the discovery of silver near the city of Nogales attracted a new population. As a consequence of these discoveries, the Spanish established forts in Tubac and Tucson to defend themselves against hostile Indians, who were threatened by the arrival of new settlers. The importance that this territory was acquiring and the new political orientation of the Spanish Crown towards the peripheral territories of its empire, caused them to be reorganized: administratively it was part of the province of Sonora, and in 1776 it was integrated into the Internal Provinces of the West, which in turn formally depended on the Viceroyalty of New Spain, an administrative entity with its capital in Mexico City.
After the independence of Mexico in 1821, Arizona was part of the territory of Alta California. In 1846, shortly after the start of the Mexican-United States War, American troops invaded the territory. Arizona was, after the Mexican defeat, part of the immense territory that the United States ceded by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo signed in 1848. The part south of the Gila River was purchased from Mexico in 1853.
The United States created the Territory of New Mexico as an
administrative unit to reorganize its enormous territorial expansion.
Despite the attempt by American colonists to declare themselves an
independent state, Arizona and the rest of New Mexico remained for years
administered by the United States Congress. Partly because of this
discontent, during the Civil War (1861-1865) the settlers established in
Arizona declared themselves supporters of the Confederacy. Confederate
troops tried to occupy Arizona and New Mexico but failed to control the
area of this zone. During the War, Congress finally agreed to satisfy
the colonists and created the Arizona Territory in 1863 as an
independent unit, a first step toward its future admission as a state of
In 1871, a detachment from Tucson attacked 300 Native Americans, mostly women and children, who were working in the fields at Camp Grant; 118 women and 8 men were killed, while 30 captured children were sold into slavery in Mexico. President Grant ordered the arrest of the culprits, but the all-white jury found that killing the Indians, who could be dangerous, was not murder. As a result, the authors were released. This sentiment was widely shared, especially in the press; the Denver paper writes: "We congratulate you on having signed a final peace treaty with so many Indians and are only sorry that their number has not doubled. Camp Grant is part of the glorious list of Sand Creek and Washita honoring history from West".
Settlers kept coming, thanks in part to the arrival of the railroad in 1877 from Arizona to the California coast, to establish farms and mine gold, silver, and copper. The colonists' invasion provoked a fight between them and the Navajo and Apache Indians, a confrontation that marked the final third of the 19th century. Indeed, in 1864 Kit Carson organized a campaign against the Navajo Indians whom he defeated, but the campaigns against the Apaches, led by Cochise and Gerónimo, continued until 1886, when the latter's surrender was achieved.
The admission of Arizona as a state of the United States was finally approved in 1912. The first governor was George W. P. Hunt who was elected seven times and who stood out for the development of dams and irrigation systems, built with the resources of the Salado, Gila, Verde and Colorado rivers. These works and the benign climate of the Phoenix area allowed rapid colonization of certain areas of the state. The mineral wealth (copper above all) and the development of the se
For a long time after World War II, Arizona was a stronghold of the
non-Evangelical wing of the Republican Party, which produced prominent
politicians in Barry Goldwater and later John McCain. Arizona
Republicans have consistently won presidential elections from 1952 to
2016, with the exception of the 1996 election. In the 2020 presidential
election, Democrat Joe Biden won the state by a margin of less than
11,000 votes. The constant immigration from Mexico, however, makes the
republican supremacy in Arizona insecure, since the immigrants
overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party. Compared to the more active
Hispanic communities in California or Nevada, the majority of those in
Arizona arrived much later (see Operation Gatekeeper) and are much more
abstinent politically, so that the structural majority capability of the
Democrats, which had been expected since the 1990s, did not materialize
by 2018. While Latinos had grown from 700,000 in 1990 to 2.2 million in
2015, and accounted for about 30 percent of the population in 2018 (and
of whom 90 percent were of Mexican descent), they made up only about 18
percent of the electorate. The last time a Hispanic was elected to
statewide office was Raul Hector Castro for governor in 1974.
In 2003, Democrat Janet Napolitano was elected governor of Arizona (see List of Arizona Governors). When she was appointed Secretary of Homeland Security by US President Barack Obama in 2009, she was succeeded by Jan Brewer, a Republican; there is no lieutenant governor in Arizona. Under Brewer's leadership, an immigration law was passed that sparked nationwide protests and was heeded worldwide. A call by the city of Los Angeles to boycott Arizona's economy was threatened with retaliation. In Arizona itself, the law has created a sharp polarization between supporters and opponents. The Justice Department sued the law for curtailing federal powers. The Supreme Court declared the law partially unconstitutional, but got the controversial rule that police officers can ask for identification documents at traffic stops. The state of Arizona also has generous gun laws by US standards. Carrying weapons openly in public is also permitted without a gun license. Guns are allowed in bars and pubs.
As of 2020, Democrats Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Edward Kelly will represent the state in the United States Senate (see the list of US Senators from Arizona). Sinema won the 2018 vacancy Senate seat election over Republican Martha McSally. McSally was appointed by Governor Doug Ducey shortly afterwards to replace Republican John McCain in the US Senate, who died in August 2018. McCain represented the state in the Senate from 1987 and was considered within his party to be an independent figure and a harsh critic of US President Donald Trump, as was Sinemas' Republican predecessor, Jeff Flake. In the by-election for the late McCain's Senate seat, incumbent McSally lost to her Democratic opponent Mark Kelly, who brought in notable prominence as a former astronaut.
The admission of Arizona as a state of the United States was finally approved in 1912. The first governor was George W. P. Hunt who was elected seven times and who stood out for the development of dams and irrigation systems, built with the resources of the Salado, Gila, Verde and Colorado rivers. These works and the benign climate of the Phoenix area allowed rapid colonization of certain areas of the state. The mineral wealth (copper above all) and the development of the agricultural sector ensured that even during the Great Depression that followed Black Thursday in 1929, Arizona continued to grow demographically and economically. The Second World War allowed a new acceleration of its economy, thanks to the fact that this state became a supplier of raw materials from mining and the countryside.
Some factors have allowed it to continue, especially between 1950 and
1980, the great population growth that has characterized Arizona (it
multiplied its population by four in those years). Indeed, in the first
place, the generalization of air conditioning in the 50's allowed a
greater population growth (many retirees came in search of a mild and
dry climate). Second, in the 1960s, Arizona began to develop its
industry and pay attention to other sectors, such as tourism, to
diversify an economy that until then had been excessively focused on
agriculture and mining. Finally, in 1974 the Central Arizona project
began, which made it possible to use the resources of the Colorado River
to drain water in Arizona.
In May 2010, he passed a law, Arizona SB1070, which is the broadest and strictest measure against illegal immigration in decades. This law has received national and international attention and has sparked considerable controversy.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of
Arizona was 6,553,255 as of July 1, 2012, an increase of 2.5% since the
2010 census. The population increase since the 2000 census is It is due
to a natural growth of 897,928 people (564,062 births minus 466,134
deaths) and a net migration of 745,944 people in the state. External
migrations have given rise to a net increase of 204,661 people, while
internal migrations have produced a net increase of 941,283 people.
Based on population figures as of July 1, 2006, Arizona is the fastest growing state in the United States, with a population growth rate of 7.6% since 2005, which exceeds the growth rate of the previous leader, Nevada. These high natural growth rates are due in part to the large (sometimes illegal) immigration of Mexicans. In 2005, 15% of the state's inhabitants (943,296 people) were not born in Arizona. Of these, 31% were United States citizens and 69% were not.
Arizona's center of population is located in Maricopa County, in the city of Gilbert.
The first schools in Arizona were opened in the 17th century by
Spanish missionaries, and for this reason, they mostly taught religion.
After Mexican independence in 1821, the Mexicans expelled all
Spanish-born missionaries. These schools, whose main mission was to
convert Native Americans to Catholicism, were later abandoned by the
Mexican government. The first public schools were founded in Tucson in
1871. In the 1880s, the Arizona government created an education fund
system and made education compulsory for all children in the state.
Until 1951, Arizona's schools were segregated.
Currently, all educational institutions in Arizona must follow certain rules and standards set forth by the Arizona State Board of Education. This council directly controls the state's public school system, which is divided into several school districts. Each main city (city), several secondary cities (towns) and each county, consist of at least one school district. In cities, the responsibility for running schools rests with the municipal school district, while in less densely populated regions, this responsibility rests with the school districts operating in the county. Arizona allows the existence of so-called "charter schools", which are independent public schools, which are not administered by school districts, but which depend on public budgets for their support. Schooling is compulsory for all children and adolescents over six years of age, until the conclusion of secondary education or until fifteen years of age.
In 1999, Arizona public schools served about 852,000 students, employing approximately 44,800 teachers. According to data from 2005, 83.8% of the inhabitants of the state with more than 25 years of age have to their credit a graduate diploma in secondary education or higher.
Arizona public schools are grouped into 220 independently operating local school districts. However, in most cases they are governed by superintendents elected by the population of the county. These are in turn overseen by the Arizona State Board of Education (a section of the Arizona Department of Education) and by the state Superintendent of Public Instruction. In 2005, the School District Redistricting Commission was established with the goal of combining and consolidating many of these districts.
In Arizona there are 19 public and 13 private universities, where nearly 135,000 students study annually. The most important higher education centers are the University of Arizona, in Tucson; Arizona State University, in Tempe, and Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, all of which were founded in the late 19th century. Also, in 1969, the Navajo Community College, the first American institution of higher learning on an Indian reservation, opened in Tsaile.
The most important economic activities in Arizona are industry,
mining, agriculture, and those related to tourist activities. The
sectors that employ the most people are, in this order, services (given
the importance of their tourism sector), commerce, industry and
construction. Mining has experienced during 1999 an appreciable decline
as a demand for labor. In terms of gross domestic product (GDP), this
state experiences growth of 5.1% per year (1995-96). The largest
increase in GDP has occurred in the services sector (9.7%), while the
least dynamic sector has been construction (3.5%).
It is estimated that the land dedicated to agricultural activities is 50% of the surface of the state. The parcels are the largest in the United States, since they have an average of 2038 ha and 47% are dedicated to cultivation and the rest to livestock. The state maintains and controls the irrigation system. The main crops are cotton (Arizona is the fourth state with the highest production), vegetables (mainly lettuce) and hay. Livestock is based on cattle, which is the basis of a powerful dairy industry.
Arizona has a large forest area, equivalent to 25% of its territory. Two thirds of these forests are protected by the government (which classifies them as National Parks) so their timber industry is scarce (one fifth of the forested area).
Mineral resources, although they have experienced a setback in recent years, continue to be essential in the economy not only of Arizona, but of the United States. Indeed, Arizona is the fourth state in the country with the highest mining extraction: 69% of the copper in the United States and 31% of the molybdenum are obtained in its mines. It is also rich in gold, silver, and coal, as well as building materials such as gravel, cement, and hewn stone.
Arizona's industry has benefited from the advantageous price of land, abundant and therefore cheap electricity, low wages compared to other states, and government fiscal policy that has tried to provide incentives for new industries. . For example, the government has facilitated the creation of industrial development poles in Tucson and Phoenix with excellent results. As a consequence of this policy and the advantageous conditions outlined above, Arizona is home to numerous new industries in the electrical and electronics sector, and heavy equipment.
The second most prosperous industry in Arizona is related to tourism, and although most of its visitors are Americans and some Mexicans, it is increasingly attracting more visitors from other places, especially from European countries.
With a labor force of 4.43 million people, its level of unemployment is low since Arizona has an unemployment rate of 4.1% (1999). Average annual per capita income is $20,461 (1998), and $37,090 per family unit ($1,800 below the national average). The population index, which lives below the poverty index, is 16.6%, which makes it the sixth least favored state in this regard; in this sense it has worsened since in 1990 it occupied the nineteenth position with an index similar to the national average.
The impact of tourism on the Arizona economy is great. In 2000, 29.49
million people visited the state, generating $1.376 billion in direct
sales. That same year, more than 380,000 people were directly or
indirectly employed in jobs related to the tourism sector.
Arizona has an alluring set of colors as well as fascinating geology. The state is filled with mighty rivers, ponderosa pine forests, snow-capped mountains, and lakes. It is a destination that offers the opportunity to feel on another planet. Visit the historic Route 66, while enjoying an indescribable panorama. In Arizona you can find the following tourist attractions.
Taxes are collected by the Arizona Department of Revenue.
Arizona collects personal income tax in five brackets: 2.59%, 2.88%, 3.36%, 4.24%, and 4.54%. The state tax on privileges in transactions is 5.6%; however, county and municipal sales taxes typically add an additional 2%.
In 2020, Arizona voters approved Proposition 208 to create an additional 8% income tax bracket for income over $250,000 (single filers) and $500,000 (joint filers). The Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit challenging it, but it was rejected by Judge John Hannah Jr. of the Maricopa County Superior Court of Arizona.
The state rate on temporary accommodation (hotel/motel) is 7.27%. The state of Arizona does not collect a state tax on food for household consumption or on drugs prescribed by a licensed physician or dentist. However, some cities in Arizona apply a tax on food for household consumption.
All fifteen Arizona counties apply a tax. Incorporated municipalities also collect transaction privilege taxes which, with the exception of their hotel/motel tax, are generally in the 1-3% range. These added levies could raise the combined sales tax rate to 10.7%.
Multiple crops are grown in Arizona, including lettuce, spinach,
cantaloupe, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and watermelon.
Federal crop insurance is available here for grapes (Vitis vinifera and other Vitis spp.). Along with the California crop, it is governed by the special provisions of the relevant crop insurance statutes. Insect pests and diseases are covered, excluding phylloxera (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae) or failure to apply correct insect control or disease control application.
The whitefly Bemisia tabaci B was introduced through the poinsettia trade in the 1980s, displacing the earlier A biotype. In 2004, the Q biotype (from the Mediterranean) was found here for the first time, also on poinsettia.
The Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) is indigenous or an early introduction, and its population typically feeds on Solanum elaeagnifolium, which is often a less attractive host for this beetle.
Arizona's executive branch is headed by a governor, elected to a
four-year term. The governor can serve any number of terms, although not
more than two in a row. Arizona is one of the few states that does not
have a Governor's Mansion. During their terms, the governors reside in
their private residence, and the executive offices are located in the
executive tower of the state capitol. The Governor of Arizona is Katie
Governor Jan Brewer took office in 2009, after the Senate confirmed the appointment of Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security, proposed by Barack Obama. Arizona has had four female governors, more than any other state.
Other elected positions of the executive are the Secretary of State, the State Treasurer, the State Attorney General, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Mines Inspector and a Commission of Corporations formed by five members. All elected positions serve a four-year term, and are limited to two consecutive terms (except the position of State Mines Inspector, which is limited to four terms).
Arizona is one of five states without a lieutenant governor. The elected Secretary of State is the Governor's first successor in the event of death, incapacity, resignation or removal. If appointed, the secretary of state is ineligible and the next governor is chosen from the next eligible official in the line of succession, including the attorney general, state treasurer, and superintendent of public instruction. Since 1977, four secretaries of state and one attorney general have succeeded the governor of Arizona.
The Arizona Legislature is bicameral, consisting of a thirty-member
Senate and a sixty-member House of Representatives. Each of the thirty
legislative districts has one senator and two representatives.
Legislators are elected for two-year terms.
Each Legislature covers a period of two years. The first session that follows the general election is known as the first regular session, and the session that is convened in the second year is known as the second regular session. Each regular period of sessions begins on the second Monday of January and ends sine die (the year ends) no later than the Saturday of the week in which 100 days have passed since the start of the regular period of sessions. The President of the Senate and the President of the Chamber, as a rule, can extend the period of sessions up to seven more days. Thereafter, the session can only be extended by a majority vote of the present members of each chamber.
The majority party is traditionally the Republican Party, which has held power in both chambers since 1993. The Democratic Party won several legislative seats in the last election, bringing both chambers within one seat of splitting evenly starting in 2021.
Arizona state senators and state representatives are elected to two-year terms and are limited to four consecutive terms in a chamber, although there is no limit on the total number of terms. When a legislator sees her mandate limited, it is common for him to run for election in the other chamber.
The Supreme Court of Arizona is the highest court in Arizona,
composed of a president, a vice president, and five associate justices.
Judges are appointed by the governor from a list recommended by a
bipartisan commission and must be retained in office through elections
after the first two years after their appointment. Subsequent elections
are held every six years. The Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction
in death penalty cases, but almost all other appellate cases go through
the Arizona Court of Appeals first. The court has original jurisdiction
in certain other circumstances, as indicated in the state constitution.
The court meets in the Arizona Supreme Court Building in the capitol
complex (at the south end of Wesley Bolin Plaza).
The Arizona Court of Appeals, organized into two divisions, is the state's intermediate court. The First Division is based in Phoenix, consists of nineteen judges, and has jurisdiction in the western and northern regions of the state, along with the Phoenix metropolitan area. Division Two is based in Tucson, has nine judges, and has jurisdiction over the southern regions of the state, including the Tucson area. Judges are selected following a method similar to that used for State Supreme Court magistrates.
Each Arizona county has a superior court, the size and organization of which varies and generally depends on the size of the particular county.
The capital of Arizona is Phoenix. The original Capitol building,
with its distinctive copper dome, opened in 1901 (construction was
completed for $136,000 in 1900) when the area was territory. Phoenix
became the official state capital with Arizona's admission to the United
States in 1912.
The House and Senate buildings were inaugurated in 1960, and the Executive Office Building was inaugurated in 1974 (the Governor's Office is located on the ninth floor of this building). The original Capitol building was converted into a museum.
The Capitol complex is presided over and enhanced by the richly landscaped Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, named after Wesley Bolin, a governor who died in office in the 1970s. The grounds also include numerous monuments and memorials, like the anchor and signal mast of the USS Arizona (one of the US Navy ships sunk at Pearl Harbor) and a granite version of the Ten Commandments.
From the state's creation until the late 1940s, Arizona was dominated
primarily by the Democratic Party. During this period, the Democratic
presidential candidate won every election in the state, with the only
exceptions being the 1920, 1924, and 1928 elections, in which the
Republicans swept the nation.
In 1924, Congress passed a law granting citizenship and suffrage to all Native Americans, some of whom had previously been excluded as members of tribes on reservations. Legal interpretations of the Arizona Constitution prohibited Native Americans living on reservations from voting, classifying them as "guardians."
This interpretation was struck down as incorrect and unconstitutional in 1948 by the Arizona Supreme Court, following a lawsuit by World War II Indian veterans Frank Harrison and Harry Austin, both of the Yavapai Nation of Fort McDowell. The case is known as Harrison and Austin v. Laveen. After being denied the opportunity to register with Maricopa County, they filed a lawsuit against the registrar. The National Congress of American Indians, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, and the American Civil Liberties Union filed amicus curiae (friends of the court) in the case. The State Supreme Court established the voting rights of American Indians in the state; at the time, they made up about 11% of the population.78 That same year, a similar provision was struck down in New Mexico when another Indian veteran challenged it in court. These were the only two states that continued to ban Indians from voting.
Arizona voted Republican in every presidential election from 1952 to 1992, with Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan winning the state by especially large margins. During this forty-year period, it was the only state in which a Democrat did not win at least once.
In 1964, Democrat Lyndon Johnson lost the state by less than 5,000 votes to Senator and Arizona native Barry Goldwater. (This was the closest state in what was otherwise a landslide victory for Johnson that year.) Democrat Bill Clinton ended this streak in 1996, when he carried Arizona by just over two percentage points (Clinton had previously come within less than two percent of winning Arizona's electoral votes in 1992). From 2000 to 2016, a majority of the state continued to support Republican presidential candidates by solid margins. In the 2020 United States presidential election, Joe Biden broke the streak again by becoming the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Arizona since 1996.
Since the mid-20th century, the Republican Party has also dominated Arizona politics in general. The rapidly growing suburbs of Phoenix and Tucson became Republican areas beginning in the 1950s. During this time, many "Pinto Democrats," or conservative rural Democrats, became increasingly willing to support Republicans at the state and national level. Although the state normally supports Republicans at the federal level, Democrats are often competitive in state elections. Two of the last six governors have been Democrats.
On March 4, 2008, Senator John McCain clinched the 2008 Republican nomination, becoming the first major party presidential nominee from this state since Barry Goldwater in 1964.
Arizona politics is dominated by a longstanding rivalry between its two largest counties, Maricopa and Pima, where Phoenix and Tucson are located, respectively. These two counties concentrate almost 75% of the population of the state and cast almost 80% of the votes. They also elect a substantial majority of the state legislature.
Maricopa County is home to nearly 60 percent of the state's population and most of the state's elected officials. Before Joe Biden won Maricopa County in 2020, he had voted Republican in every presidential election since 1948. This includes native son Barry Goldwater's 1964 race; he wouldn't have carried his home state without his 20,000-vote margin in Maricopa County. Similarly, while McCain carried Arizona by eight percentage points in 2008, helped by his 130,000-vote margin in Maricopa County
By contrast, Pima County, where Tucson is located, and most of southern Arizona have historically voted more Democratic. Although the Tucson suburbs lean Republican, they maintain a somewhat more moderate Republicanism than the Phoenix area.
Arizona voted down the ban on same-sex marriage in a referendum in the 2006 election. Arizona was the first state in the country to do so. Same-sex marriage was not recognized in Arizona, but this amendment would have denied any legal or economic benefits to unmarried gay or heterosexual couples. In 2008, Arizona voters approved Proposition 102, an amendment to the Constitution of the state to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. It was approved by a tighter majority than in similar votes held in other states.
In 2010, Arizona passed SB 1070, called the "toughest immigration law" in the United States. An intense debate ensued between supporters and opponents of SB 1070. The United States Supreme Court struck down parts of Arizona law, which required all immigrants to carry immigration documents at all times, in Arizona v. United States. United.
The West Virginia teachers' strike in 2018 inspired teachers in other states, including Arizona, to take similar action.
Arizona retains the death penalty. There is currently a government withholding on executions. Authorized methods of execution include the gas chamber.
Among the state's galleries and museums are the Phoenix Art Museum;
the Amerind Foundation Museum, in Dragoon; the Arizona Historical
Society Museum in Tucson; the Arizona State Museum, at the University of
Tucson; the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden; the Historical Museum of
Fort Huachuca; the Heard Museum of Anthropology and Primitive Art,
Phoenix; the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff and the University
of Arizona Museum of Art in Tucson. The pre-Hispanic ruins are also
interesting, such as the National Monuments of Cañón de Chelly, Wupatki,
Montezuma Castle, Navajo and Casa Grande.
In this territory there are architectural works of great interest such as the house of Taliesin West, that of Frank Lloyd Wright or the city of Arcosanti, designed by Paolo Soleri. Logically, examples of Spanish-style architecture also abound, such as the San Xavier del Bac Mission, a Franciscan monastery from the late 18th century; the building that houses the Heard Museum and the Nogales Public Library.
In this state there are several orchestras and theater and opera companies such as the Arizona Opera Company, the Arizona Theater Company and the Phoenix and Tucson Symphony Orchestras.
Native Arizona writers include Marguerite Noble and Eva Antonia Wilbur-Cruce. Likewise, writers such as Zane Grey, Mary Austin, Charles King, and Haniel Long have set some of their novels in Arizona.
Local art is greatly influenced by indigenous traditions, especially by the artistic manifestations of the Navajo and Hopi, both in ceramic work and in silverware, basketry and weaving.
The most popular shows are the rodeos and, as the most supported sports, basketball, where the Phoenix Suns team stands out, and American football, with the professional team of the Arizona Cardinals.
Several major Hollywood movies including Billy Jack, U Turn, Waiting
to Exhale, Just One of the Guys, Can't Buy Me Love, Bill & Ted's
Excellent Adventure, The Scorpion King, The Banger Sisters, Used Cars,
and Raising Arizona were have shot there (as have many westerns). The
1993 science fiction film Fire in the Sky, based on an alleged alien
abduction in the city of Snowflake, was filmed in Snowflake. It was shot
in the cities of Oakland, Roseburg and Sutherlin, in Oregon.
The 1974 film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (Alicia no longer lives here), for which Ellen Burstyn won the Oscar for best actress, and also starring Kris Kristofferson, was set in Tucson. The climax of the Clint Eastwood film The Gauntlet (1977) takes place in downtown Phoenix. The final segments of the film Starman (1984) take place in the meteor crater, just outside of Winslow. Jeff Foxworthy's documentary film Blue Collar Comedy Tour was shot almost entirely at the Dodge Theatre. Part of Alfred Hitchcock's classic film Psycho was shot in Phoenix, the ostensible hometown of the protagonist.
Some of the television shows shot or set in Arizona are The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Medium, Alice, The First 48, Insomniac with Dave Attell, Cops, and America's Most Wanted. The television sitcom Alice, based on the film, was filmed in Phoenix. Twilight had passages set in Phoenix at the beginning and end of the film.
Arizona features prominently in the lyrics of many Country and
Western songs, such as Jamie O'Neal's hit ballad "There Is No Arizona."
George Strait's Oceanfront Property uses the phrase "oceanfront property
in Arizona" as a metaphor for a silly proposition. The phrase "see you
in the Arizona Bay" is used in a Tool song in reference to possibility
(phrased as hope by comedian Bill Hicks) that Southern California would
one day fall into the ocean. Glen Campbell, a notable resident,
popularized the song "By The Time I Get To Phoenix."
"Arizona" was the title of a popular song recorded by Mark Lindsay. Arizona is mentioned in the hit song "Take It Easy", written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey and performed by the Eagles. Arizona is also mentioned in the Beatles' song "Get Back", credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney; McCartney sings, "JoJo left his house in Tucson, Arizona for some California weed." "Carefree Highway", published in 1974 by Gordon Lightfoot, takes its name from Arizona State Route 74, north of Phoenix.
Arizona's fledgling music scene is aided by up-and-coming groups as well as some well-known artists. The Gin Blossoms, Chronic Future, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Jimmy Eat World, Caroline's Spine and others began their careers in Arizona. Likewise, several punk and rock bands got their start in Arizona, including JFA, The Feederz, Sun City Girls, The Meat Puppets, The Maine, The Summer Set, and most recently Authority Zero and Digital Summer.
Arizona also has many singers and other musicians. Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Michelle Branch is from Sedona. Chester Bennington, former lead singer of Linkin Park, and mash-up artist DJ Z-Trip are both from Phoenix. One of Arizona's best-known musicians is rocker Alice Cooper, who helped define the genre. Maynard James Keenan, lead singer of the groups Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer, lives in Cornville.
Other notable singers include Country's Dierks Bentley and Marty Robbins, Folk's Katie Lee, Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks, CeCe Peniston, Rex Allen, 2007 American Idol winner Jordin Sparks and Linda Ronstadt.
Arizona is also known for its heavy metal scene, centered in and around Phoenix. In the early and mid 1990s, it featured groups like Job for a Cowboy, Knights of the Abyss, Greeley Estates, Eyes Set To Kill, blessthefall, The Word Alive, The Dead Rabbitts, and Abigail Williams. The band Soulfly call Phoenix their home and Megadeth lived in Phoenix for about a decade. Starting in and around 2009, Phoenix began to host a burgeoning desert rock and sludge metal underground (in the style of Kyuss in 1990s California) led by bands like Wolves of Winter, Asimov, and Dead Canyon.
American composer Elliott Carter composed his first string quartet (1950-51) during a sabbatical in Arizona. The quartet won the Pulitzer Prize and other awards, and is today a classic in the string quartet repertoire.
In Arizona there are five professional teams that play in national
leagues, all of them in Phoenix: the Phoenix Suns of the NBA since 1968,
the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League since 1988, the
Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League since 1996, the Phoenix
Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association since 1997, and
the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball since 1998. In
addition to those already mentioned, there is a small minor league
hockey team, also in Phoenix. Many Major League Baseball teams conduct
spring training in Arizona, and there is a minor league team in Tucson.
Horse racing is held at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, and greyhound racing is held in Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma. The first "quarter horse" races were at Tucson Rillito Downs in the 1930s.
Opened in 1964 was Phoenix International Raceway, an oval that has hosted NASCAR Cup and IndyCar Series auto races. Phoenix and Tucson have hosted the Phoenix Open, Tucson Open, and WGC Match Play golf tournaments. PGA Tour.
The first organized rodeo that awarded prizes and charged admission was held in Prescott on July 4, 1888. Today, this tradition continues throughout Arizona.
Among the annual sporting events held in Arizona we can highlight the Thunderbird Balloon Classic, a hot air balloon festival that takes place at the end of October in Glendale.