About Arizona

Arizona is in the southwestern United States. It is bordered by Utah, New Mexico, Mexico, and, across the Colorado R., Nevada and California.

Bisbee AZ Sunset
Bisbee AZ Sunset

Pop. (2000) 5,130,632, a 40% increase since the 1990 census.
Capital and largest city, Phoenix.
Nickname, Grand Canyon State, Copper State.
Motto, Ditat Deus [God Enriches].
State bird, cactus wren.
State flower, blossom of the saguaro cactus. State tree, paloverde.

The state’s principal crops are cotton, lettuce, cauliflowers, broccoli, and sorghum. Cattle, calves, and dairy goods are, however, the most valuable Arizona farm products. Manufacturing is the leading economic activity, with electronics, printing and publishing, processed foods, and aerospace and transportation leading sectors. High-technology research and development, communications, and service industries are also important, as are construction (the state is rapidly growing) and tourism. Military facilities contributing to Arizona’s economy include Fort Huachuca, Luke and Davis-Monthan air force bases, and the Yuma Proving Grounds. Testing and training with military aircraft and desert storage of commercial and military planes are both major undertakings.

Arizona abounds in minerals. Copper is the state’s most valuable mineral; Arizona leads the nation in production. Other leading resources are molybdenum, sand, gravel, and cement. Between 1940 and 1960, Arizona’s population increased more than 100%, and since then growth has continued. By the 2000 census the cumulative increase since 1940 amounted to more than 1000%, and Arizona was ranked among the fastest growing states in the nation. The mountainous north, however, has not shared the population growth of the southern sections of the state. Over 80% of the people are Caucasian and nearly 20% are Hispanic.

Arizona Name Origin:  Arizona derived its name from “Aleh-zon”, two Indian words meaning “Little Spring.” The land southern Arizona was acquired in 1848 when Mexico relinquished it after the war with the United States. The balance of the state was acquired in 1853 through the Gadsen Purchase. On February 1912, when President William Howard Taft signed an act passed in 1911, Arizona became the Nation’s 48th state. Thus Arizona is sometimes referred to as the “Nation’s Valentine” or the “Valentine State.”

State Bird:  The cactus wren, one of the largest members of wren family, builds its nest in the thorny cactus throughout the desert lands. The cactus wren is woody-brown in color with a speckled breast.

State Flower:  The blossom of the saguaro, the largest cactus in the United States, is the state flower. This cactus may grow to a height of 50 feet and as old as 200 years.

State Gem:  Turquoise is a blue green waxy-surfaced stone used for centuries in Indian jewelry.

State Tree:  The Pale Verde which means “green stick” is of the most beautiful trees of the desert with springtime yellow blossoms.

State Seal:  The state’s original major enterprises are symbolized on Arizona’s official seal – reclamation, farming, cattle raising and mining. The center depicts mountains with a rising sun, a reservoir with a dam, grazing cattle, orchards, fields, a quartz mill and a miner with a pick and shovel.

State Song:  Clifford and music by Maurice Blumenthal. Arizona March Song, words by Margaret Rowe

State Flag:  Blue and gold are the state’s colors. Thirteen rays of red and yellow make up the setting sun on the upper half of the flag. The lower half is blue, with a copper color star at the center symbolizing the state’s copper industry.

Official Neckwear:  The bola tie originated in Arizona. The official style is the silver bola with turquoise.

Motto:  Ditat Deus — “God enriches.”

State Nicknames:  Grand Canyon State / Copper State / The Nation’s Valentine.

Capitol:  Phoenix.

Population:  4,647,900 and growing

Total Area:  113,909 square miles

Highest Point:  Humphreys Peak at 12,633 feet near Flagstaff

Lowest Point:  Colorado River at 100 feet, SW of state

Average Daytime Temperature:  87 degrees

Average Nighttime Temperature:  64 degrees

Average Number of Days of Sunshine:  306 days