Arizona, once thought to be an almost worthless desert, has become a prosperous state of the United States. It is rich in farm and mineral products, and it is growing rapidly in manufacturing and population. Vast irrigation systems transform the desert soil into rich farmland. Dams built by the government or with federal funds provide water to irrigate large areas of land. These dams also generate electric power for the state's cities and industries.

Although the desert summers are very hot, most Arizonans stay comfortable. They live in air-cooled homes, work in air-conditioned factories, and travel in air-conditioned automobiles.

The desert winters are warm and pleasant. Arizonans, along with thousands of vacationers, enjoy the desert sun while winter chills other parts of the United States.

Arizona's climate attracts so many people that the state has become one of the nation's fastest-growing areas. Between 1950 and 2000, Arizona's population grew by almost seven times.

Most of Arizona's people live in desert areas, but more than half the state is mountain and plateau country. These higher, cooler areas have the largest ponderosa pine forest in the United States. Large herds of cattle graze in these regions.

The northwestern part of the state has one of the greatest scenic attractions in the United States—the mighty Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. Arizona's other scenic wonders include the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, and numerous national parklands. These areas attract millions of tourists to the state each year.

Arizona has the third-largest Indian population in the United States. Only Oklahoma and California have more Indians. Indian reservations cover more than a fourth of Arizona's land. About 256,000 Indians live in Arizona. About three-fifths of them live on 21 reservations in the state.

Indians have contributed much to Arizona's history. Some Indians still live in communities built more than 800 years ago. Hundreds of years before Europeans arrived on the continent, Hohokam Indians in what is now central Arizona built the largest irrigation system in North America. After Europeans arrived in Arizona, the Indians fought to keep their rugged, beautiful land. Cochise and Geronimo, leaders of the Chiricahua Apache Indians, led war parties in Arizona long after most other Indians had surrendered.

Arizona's history also includes many years of rule by Spanish conquerors, and by Mexicans who freed the region from Spanish control. Today, a large number of Americans of Mexican ancestry live in Arizona. Their influence is apparent in the customs, foods, and place names found in the state.

Arizona derives its nickname, the Grand Canyon State, from its most famous physical feature. Phoenix is the state's capital and largest city.

Come experience Arizona!

©2008-2009 Dee