HISTORY OF ARIZONA

There is some disagreement over the proper etymology of the name "Arizona." Possible origins supported by historians are the Basque phrase aritz ona, "good oak,"and the O'odham phrase alĭ ṣonak, "small spring". The Basque etymology is the one preferred by Arizona state historian Marshall Trimble, among other specialists. The name Arizonac was initially applied to the silver mining camp, and later (shortened to Arizona) to the entire territory.

Marcos de Niza, a Spanish Franciscan, explored the area in 1539 and met its original native inhabitants, probably the Sobaipuri. The expedition of Spanish explorer Coronado entered the area in 1540–42 during its search for Cíbola. Society of Jesus Father Kino developed a chain of missions and taught the Indians Christianity in Pimería Alta (now southern Arizona and northern Sonora) in the 1690s and early 1700s. Spain founded presidios (fortified towns) at Tubac in 1752 and Tucson in 1775. When Mexico achieved its independence from Spain in 1821, what is now Arizona became part of the Mexican Territory Nueva California, also known as Alta California.[16] In the Mexican–American War (1847), the U.S. occupied Mexico City and forced the newly founded Mexican Republic to give up its northern territories, including what later became Arizona. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) specified that the sum of $15 million US dollars in compensation (equivalent to about $368 million in present day terms) be paid to the newly formed Republic of Mexico. The purchase of the area formerly ruled by Spain, then briefly Mexico, almost bankrupted the United States. As a result, the land was offered back to the Mexican Republic. In 1853 the land below the Gila River was acquired from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase. Arizona was administered as part of the Territory of New Mexico until southern New Mexico seceded[19] from the Union as the Confederate Territory of Arizona on March 16, 1861. Arizona was recognized as a Confederate Territory by presidential proclamation of Jefferson Davis on February 12, 1862. This is the first official use of the name. A new Arizona Territory, consisting of the western half of New Mexico Territory was declared in Washington, D.C. on February 24, 1863. The new boundaries would later form the basis of the state.

Other names including "Gadsonia", "Pimeria", "Montezuma", "Arizuma", and "Arizonia" had been considered for the territory, however when President Lincoln signed the final bill, it read "Arizona", and the name became permanent. (Montezuma was not the Aztec Emperor, but the sacred name of a divine hero to the Pueblo people of the Gila valley, and was probably considered—and rejected—for its sentimental value before the name "Arizona" was settled upon.)

Brigham Young sent Mormons to Arizona in the mid-to-late 19th century. They founded Mesa, Snowflake, Heber, Safford and other towns. They also settled in the Phoenix Valley (or "Valley of the Sun"), Tempe, Prescott, among other areas. The Mormons settled what became known as Northern Arizona and northern New Mexico, but these areas were located in a part of the former New Mexico Territory. The largest ancestry of these settlers is German.

At the beginning of the Spanish/American war of 1898, Americans from mostly Arizona and New Mexico, as well as some other Southwestern States, became soldiers in Colonel Roosevelt's Rough Riders. Arizonans fought primarily in the Cuban Campaign, the largest and deadliest phase of the war, alongside Teddy Roosevelt, a future American President. Other famous people to enlist in the Arizona Volunteer Cavalry was Tom Horn, a notorious gunslinger who was involved in a number of Arizona wars, the Apache Wars and the Pleasant Valley Range War.

During the Mexican Revolution from 1910 to 1920, a few battles were fought in the Mexican towns just across the border from Arizona border settlements. Throughout the revolution, Arizonans were enlisting in one of the several armies fighting in Mexico. The Battle of Ambos Nogales in 1918, other than Pancho Villa's 1916 Columbus Raid in New Mexico, was the only significant engagement on US soil between United States and Mexican forces. The battle resulted in an American victory. After US soldiers were fired on by Mexican Federal troops, the American garrison then launched an assault into Nogales Mexico. The Mexicans eventually surrendered after both sides sustained heavy casualties. A few months earlier, just west of Nogales, an Indian War battle occurred, thus being the last engagement in the American Indian Wars which lasted from 1775 to 1918. The participants in the fight were US soldiers stationed on the border and Yaqui Indians who were using Arizona as a base to raid the nearby Mexican settlements, as part of their wars against Mexico. As World War I raged in Europe, Frank Luke became America's 2nd best ace. Frank was born in Phoenix Arizona and was killed in combat over France in 1918.

Arizona became a U.S. state on February 14, 1912. The major result being the end to the territorial colonization of Continental America. Arizona was the 48th state admitted into the U.S. and the last of the contiguous states to be admitted. The admission, originally scheduled to coincide with that of New Mexico, was delayed by Democrats in the territorial legislature to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Arizona becoming a Confederate territory in 1862. A sunset in the Arizona desert near Scottsdale. The climate and imagery are two factors behind Arizona's tourism industry.

Cotton farming and copper mining, two of Arizona's most important statewide industries, suffered heavily during the Great Depression, but it was during the 1920s and 1930s that tourism began to be the important Arizona industry it is today. Dude ranches such as the K L Bar and Remuda in Wickenburg, along with the Flying V and Tanque Verde in Tucson, gave tourists the chance to experience the flavor and life of the "old West." Several upscale hotels and resorts opened during this period, some of which are still top tourist draws to this day; they include the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in central Phoenix (opened 1929) and the Wigwam Resort on the west side of the Phoenix area (opened 1936).

Arizona was the site of German and Italian POW camps during World War II and Japanese US-resident internment camps. The camps were abolished after World War II. The Phoenix area site was purchased after the war by the Maytag family (of major home appliance fame), and is currently utilized as the Phoenix Zoo. A Japanese American internment camp was located on Mount Lemmon, just outside of the state's southeastern city of Tucson. Another POW camp was located near the Gila River in eastern Yuma County. Because of California's proximity to Japan, a line was drawn somewhat parallel to the California border, and all Japanese residents west of that line were required to reside in the war camps. Grand Avenue, a major thoroughfare in the Phoenix area and part of U.S. 60, (perhaps because it mirrored the California border) was chosen as part of that boundary. This resulted in many extended Japanese families becoming separated; some were interned, some free—and some free families, in an odd bid for family unity, requested to be interned in order to be with their families at a camp built by the original Del Webb Co., a modern manufacturer of large housing developments.

Arizona was also home to the Phoenix Indian School, one of several federal institutions designed to assimilate native children into mainstream culture. Children were often enrolled into these schools against the wishes of their parents and families. Attempts to suppress native identities included forcing the children to cut their hair and take on western names.

Arizona's population grew tremendously after World War II, in part because of the development of air conditioning, which made the intense summers more comfortable. According to the Arizona Blue Book (published by the Secretary of State's office each year), the state population in 1910 was 294,353. By 1970, it was 1,752,122. The percentage growth each decade averaged about 20% in the earlier decades and about 60% each decade thereafter.

The 1960s saw the establishment of retirement communities, special age-restricted subdivisions catering exclusively to the needs of senior citizens who wanted to escape the harsh winters of the Midwest and the Northeast. Sun City, established by developer Del Webb and opened in 1960, was one of the first such communities. Green Valley, south of Tucson, was another such community and was designed to be a retirement subdivision for Arizona's teachers. (Many senior citizens arrive in Arizona each winter and stay only during the winter months; they are referred to as snowbirds.)

In March 2000, Arizona was the site of the first legally binding election to nominate a candidate for public office ever held over the internet. In the 2000 Arizona Democratic Primary, under worldwide attention, Al Gore defeated Bill Bradley, and voter turnout increased more than 500% over the 1996 primary.

Three ships named USS Arizona have been christened in honor of the state, although only USS Arizona (BB-39) was so named after statehood was achieved.

Luciano Mende

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