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Arizona History

Arizona History Events

Arizona, the Grand Canyon state, achieved statehood on February 14, 1912, the last of the 48 coterminous United States to be admitted to the union. Originally part of New Mexico, the land was ceded to the United States in 1848, and became a separate territory in 1863. Copper was discovered in 1854, and copper mining was Arizona’s premier industry until the 1950s. After World War II, the widespread availability of refrigeration and air conditioning caused Arizona’s population to boom and Phoenix to become one of the fastest growing cities in America. Arizona is the sixth largest state in the country in terms of area. Its population has always been predominantly urban, particularly since the mid-20th century, when urban and suburban areas began growing rapidly at the expense of the countryside. Some scholars believe that the state’s name comes from a Basque phrase meaning “place of oaks” while others attribute it to a Tohono O’odham (Papago) Indian phrase meaning “place of the young (or little) spring.”

Date of Statehood: February 14, 1912

Capital: Phoenix

Population: 6,392,017 (2010)

Size: 113,990 square miles

Nickname(s):Grand Canyon State

Motto: Ditat Deus (“God enriches”)

Color: Blue and Old Gold

Song:  Arizona

Tree: Palo Verde

Flower: Saguaro Cactus Blossom

Bird: Cactus Wren

Interesting Facts

  • Formed by the Colorado River over a period of 3 to 6 million years, Arizona’s Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and one mile deep. Nearly 5 million people visit Grand Canyon National Park each year.
  • Arizona has the greatest percentage of its acreage designated as Indian tribal land in the United States.
  • Oraibi, a Hopi Indian village dating back to at least 1150 AD, is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the United States.
  • The official state flower is the Saguaro Cactus Blossom. The flower blooms in May and June in the middle of the night and closes the next day—surviving only 18 hours for pollination by nocturnal animals like bats and moths. The blossom grows on the Saguaro Cactus, which can reach more than 50 feet tall and live for over 200 years.
  • Navajo Indians from Arizona were enlisted to transmit secret communications for the U.S. Marines after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. Known as Navajo Code Talkers, these young men created an oral code the enemy was unable to decipher, fulfilling a crucial role during World War II and saving countless lives.
  • Arizona is one of only two U.S. states that do not observe Daylight Saving Time. The one exception is the area occupied by the Navajo Nation in the northeast region of the state.
  • Arizona’s diverse climate and geography can yield both the highest and lowest temperatures in the country within the same day.
  • Arizona’s flag features a copper-colored star, acknowledging the state's role as the leading copper producer in the United States.


1909: Cozy Cole
1933: Floyd Cramer
1941: Jim Seals (Seals and Crofts)
1941: Alan Howard (Brian Poole and the Tremeloes)
1942: Gary Puckett
1947: David St. Hubbins (Spinal Tap)
1949: Bill Hudson (The Hudson Brothers)


1972: Billy Williams
1981: Alberta Hunter
1991: Tennessee Ernie Ford
1999: Thomas Durden
2001: Jay Livingston
2002: Bashful Brother Oswald
2007: Teresa Brewer


1919: The Radio Corporation of America, soon to be simply known as RCA, is founded by General Electric as a publicly-held monopoly, in much the same way "the phone company" was originally envisioned.
1945: Ava Gardner marries her second husband, bandleader Artie Shaw.
1957: Elvis' third film, Jailhouse Rock, has its world premiere at the Loews State Theatre in Memphis, TN -- the same moviehouse where Elvis had his first job as an usher just five years earlier.
1960: Dion and the Belmonts' breakup becomes official when it is reported in Billboard magazine.

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Top 5 Grossing Movies of All Time

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Lead singer Dion DiMucci claims the group's not bluesy enough; the band claims Dion just wants a taste of solo fame.
1962: The Beatles make their very first television appearance anywhere when part of their afternoon show at the Cavern in Liverpool is broadcast live on Granada television's People And Places. The band performs two songs: "Some Other Guy" and "Love Me Do."
1963: The Beatles record the first of their "Christmas Records," spoken word greetings sent out on vinyl to members of their fan club.
1967:Hair, the world's first hippie rock musical, makes its public debut at the New York Shakespeare Festival.
1967: The Beatles attend a small, quiet memorial service for their manager Brian Epstein, held at the New London Synagogue in St. John's Wood (near the Abbey Road Studios).
1967: Phil Spector, Tommy Boyce, and Bobby Hart all guest star on tonight's "Jeannie, The Hip Hippie" episode of NBC-TV's I Dream of Jeannie.
1969: Having been refused union admission to American stages for four years due to both the Davies' brothers incessant fighting and a procedural violation during their last appearance on the NBC-TV show Hullabaloo!, the Kinks make their triumphant return, opening for Spirit at the Fillmore East in New York.
1970: While attending the Gospel Quartet Convention in Memphis, Elvis Presley indulges himself in a lifelong passion by singing backstage with members of the legendary Blackwood Brothers and the equally notable Statesmen Quartet, both major early influences on the singer.
1975: Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees marries his second wife, Yvonne Spencely.
1981: One man is killed and another injured in an attempted burglary of Rolling Stones ticket offices in Maryland.
1987: With their #1 comeback hit "You Win Again," the Bee Gees become the first group to score a UK Number One hit in three separate decades -- the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
1991: Sixties British singer Sandie Shaw is arrested and fined 100 pounds for refusing to take a breathalyzer test outside her home in London.
1995: The largest video release of all time is made by Rhino Home Video: 21 cassette tapes featuring 58 episodes of NBC-TV's The Monkees.
1999: Having been diagnosed with a severe case of pneumonia, Johnny Cash is admitted to Baptist Hospital in Nashville.
2000: At a charity auction organized by Mick Fleetwood in London, singer George Michael pays one and a half million pounds for the upright piano on which John Lennon wrote the 1971 hit "Imagine."
2005: Fats Domino returns to his Ninth Ward home for the first time since Hurricane Katrina to find it utterly destroyed, with his piano and several of his gold records among the ruined items.
2007: The section of West Grand Blvd. in Detroit, MI, that once housed the Motown studios is officially renamed "Berry Gordy Jr. Boulevard."
2007: California claims singer and resident Dionne Warwick owes $2.67 million in unpaid taxes.


1966: The Zombies, "She's Not There"
1968: Jose Feliciano, "The Star-Spangled Banner"
1979: Fleetwood Mac, Tusk


1940: Will Bradley, "Five O'Clock Whistle"
1956: Mickey and Sylvia, "Love Is Strange"
1963: The Beatles, "I Want To Hold Your Hand"
1963: Bobby Goldsboro, "See The Funny Little Clown"
1967: Bob Dylan: "Drifter's Escape," "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine," "The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest"
1978: Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers"


1960: The Drifters' "Save The Last Dance For Me" hits #1
1964: Manfred Mann's "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" hits #1
1970: The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" hits #1



Arizona's Classic Hits


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