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Arizona, state in the southwest United States; bordered by Utah in the north, New Mexico in the east, Mexico in the south, and, across the Colorado River, Nevada and California in the west.

Land and climate

The Colorado Plateau to the north contains the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, and Monument Valley. A mountain chain extends northwest to southeast through the Basin and Range Region, while desert occupies the southwestern region. The most important river in Arizona is the Colorado. Although the desert climate is hot and dry, the mountain areas often have winter temperatures below 0°F (−18°C). Thirty-eight percent of all native American tribal lands are in Arizona. Principal cities are Phoenix, Tucson, and Tempe.


Manufacturing is the leading contributor to the state's wealth. The major manufactures are machinery, electronic and aeronautical products, and transportation equipment. With the aid of irrigation, Arizona's deserts become rich farmland. About 45% of farm income is from livestock products. Cotton is the principal cash crop.

Arizona is also rich in minerals, supplying half the nation's copper. The state's scenic attractions, native American reservations, and climate bring in millions of tourists each year.


The state constitution, adopted in 1911, provides for an executive branch headed by a governor, who is elected for a 4-year term.

The state legislature is composed of 30 senators and 60 representatives, who serve 2-year terms. Arizona sends 2 senators and 5 representatives to the U.S. Congress.


Evidence of the cultures of the ancient Hohokam and Anasazi peoples is found in deserted cliff dwellings and irrigation works throughout the state.

The first European known to have visited Arizona was Marcos de Niza, a Franciscan friar, in 1539. In the late 17th century Spanish missionaries began to penetrate Arizona. Mexico gained control of the region in 1821. At the end of the Mexican War (1846–48), the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo awarded Arizona north of the Gila River to the United States. The Gadsen Purchase in 1853 added the territory south of the Gila to form the present boundary between the United States and Mexico. In 1863 Arizona Territory was created. The early period of U.S. rule in Arizona was troubled by a succession of Native American wars, ending with the surrender of the Apache chief, Geronimo, in 1886. During the first third of the 20th century, a series of federal dams and irrigation systems were developed, including the Hoover Dam in 1936, but the boom following World War II (1939–45) strained Arizona's water resources. In 1974 construction began on the Central Arizona Project, which is expected to bring water to Tucson in the early 1990s.




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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Arcturus to Augur