The first Native Americans arrive in Arizona, making it one of the first inhabited areas in what is now the U.S. The earliest settlements are those of the Hohokam, Anasazi, and Mogollon.
Native Americans introduce agriculture to Arizona.
1200– 1500 CE
The Pueblo flourish in Arizona, building large cliff dwellings, many of which still stand in present-day times. By 1300, the Apache and Navajo have migrated to the area from Canada.
When the Spanish first arrive, they encounter the Uto-Aztecan, Athapascan, and Yuman tribes.
Francisco de Coronado's expedition enters the region in search of the mythical Seven Cities of Gold.
Father Eusebio Kino founds three missions in Arizona. During the time, he teaches Native Americans different agricultural methods, and many grain and stock farms begin under his guidance.
Colonel Diego de Vargas, the Spanish governor of New Spain, makes a peaceful visit to a Hopi tribe. Although the tribe members swear allegiance to the king of Spain, they do not permit the Spanish to occupy their land.
Father Kino founds the San Xavier del Bac mission near present-day Tucson. It is destroyed by Apaches in 1770 and then rebuilt from 1783-1797.
A Yaqui native discovers silver in the area, creating Arizona's first mining boom. Controversy as to whether the Spanish king owns the silver deposits erupts. Under government direction, Juan Bautista de Anza senior, father of the famous explorer and soldier, seizes the silver until it's decided that miners should be allowed to keep their claims. Arizona's silver deposits play a large part in the decision of the U.S. to purchase the land in the 1850s.
1750–1849 EUROPEAN SETTLEMENT AND WESTWARD EXPANSION
The O'odham rebel against the area's strict Jesuit missionaries, killing two priests and more than 200 Spanish before surrendering.
After much resistance from the local Pima and Papago tribes, the first permanent European settlement in Arizona is established in Tubac. Colonists begin steadily entering the region, attracted by the recent discovery of deposits of silver around the Arizonac mining camp.
King Charles II of Spain expels all Jesuits from the Spanish Empire. The Jesuits from the Arizona missions are taken into custody and sent to Mexico City where they are put on ships to Europe. Franciscans seize control of the local missions.
A Spanish presidio is built at Tucson. The viceroy of New Spain issues instructions that natives requesting peace be placed in villages close to the presidio and given presents of inferior firearms and alcoholic beverages.
The Spanish devise a plan of setting up Apache "peace camps" and providing the Apache with rations so that they will not attack, allowing the Spanish to expand northward. During the last few years of Spanish rule, the total non-Indian population of Arizona hovered around 1,000, with 300 to 500 people at Tucson, 300 to 400 at Tubac, and less than 100 at Tumacacor.
(July 17) Wary of Spanish encroachment, Quechans attack Spanish settlers, surprising and slaughtering them during mass.
(September 16) The Mexican War of Independence from Spanish rule begins.
(August 24) Mexico wins its independence from Spain, and all of present-day Arizona becomes part of the Mexican State of Vieja California. Trappers and traders flock to the area when it is subsequently opened to U.S. settlement.
Yaqui leader Juan Banderas stages as series of revolts in Sonora in an attempt to realize his vision for a new pan-Native nation in the region.
The Apache rationing system is dismantled. As a result, Apaches abandon their camps near presidios and reinstate raids on settlers.
Texas declares independence from Mexico and claims much of the territory in the country's northern lands, including the eastern half of Arizona. The western portion stays in Mexican control.
A mining party reportedly discovers gold in the Superstition Mountains, but Apache Native Americans massacre the miners before they can stake their claim.
The Mexican-American War rages. U.S. Army General Stephen W. Kearny commands a squadron that travels across the Arizona region, which is largely considered superfluous by the U.S. government, to engage with the Mexican Army in California. Led by Kit Carson, Kearny and his men descend the Gila River and spend the next two months following its passage to the Colorado. This marks the first time U.S. troops encounter the Arizona desert.
(October) The troops of the Mormon Battalion become the first U.S. government representatives to meet with Mexicans in Arizona. They spar with soldiers at the Tucson presidio when they refuse to bypass the settlement. When Mexican commanders eventually concede, and the battalion is welcomed into Tucson by December 17, where it barters peacefully with residents.
The U.S. wins the Mexican-American War, gaining all of Arizona north of the Gila River. In exchange, the U.S. pays Mexico about $18 million—less than half the amount it had offered Mexico for the territory before the start of the war—and assumes $3.25 million of Mexico's debt.
The California Gold Rush leads as many as 50,000 miners through the region, causing a major boom in Arizona's population.
1850–1900 TERRITORY OF ARIZONA
Together with most of present-day New Mexico, 70 percent of Arizona is organized into the New Mexico Territory.
(June 24) The United States buys 45,000 square miles of land from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase, including the region of present-day Arizona south of the Gila River.
Copper is discovered in region. Today, copper mining is a major industry in Arizona and accounts for two-thirds of the nation's total output.
The last of the Mexican Army leaves Tucson.
(March 16) The southern New Mexico Territory around Mesilla (now in New Mexico) and Tucson declares itself independent from the United States and joins the Confederacy.
(August 1) The Confederate Territory of Arizona, which consists of the portion of New Mexico Territory south of the 34th parallel north (encompassing southern Arizona), is declared following the Battle of Mesilla. The region is regarded as a valuable route for possible access to the Pacific Ocean, with the specific intention of joining southern California to the Confederacy.
After a U.S. Army officer hangs his brother and two nephews, Chief Cochise leads Apaches in an attack on soldiers at Apache Pass, beginning a 10-year war with settlers. In 1871 General George Crook uses other Apaches as scouts and informants to force Cochise's men to surrender and take Cochise into custody.
(March) Union troops re-capture the Confederate Territory of Arizona and return it to the New Mexico Territory.
(April 15) The Battle of Picacho Pass is the only major Civil War battle fought in Arizona. Three Union soldiers are killed during sparring between 12 Union cavalry patrol from California and 10 Confederate pickets from Tucson.
(February 24) Congress creates the U.S. Territory of Arizona with the passage of the Arizona Organic Act. Prescott is named the capital. Differing in location and size from the Confederate Territory of Arizona, it encompasses all of the present-day state of Arizona plus the southern tip of Nevada. The act abolishes slavery in the territory.
Kit Carson captures approximately 7,000 Navajo Native Americans in the Canyon de Chelly and forces them to leave Arizona. About half the natives who make the journey out of the region perish in what comes to be known as the Long Walk.
Phoenix is established as a hay camp to supply the United States Cavalry at Camp McDowell.
John Wesley Powell explores the Grand Canyon by boat during a three-month expedition. It is the first American passage through the canyon.
Chiricahua Apache medicine man Geronimo, often referred to as a chief, begins ten years of raids against white settlements when the U.S. government attempts to move his tribe from their traditional home in Arizona to a reservation in New Mexico.
(March 3) Congress passes the Desert Land Act to encourage and promote the economic development of the West. The act offers 540 acres of land to an adult married couple willing to pay $1.25 per acre and promising to irrigate the land within 3 years.
(October 26) Together with Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp and three of his brothers stage the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, killing three suspected cattle rustlers. Perhaps the most famous gunfight in the history of the Old West, it comes to symbolize the struggle between law and order and open crime in the frontier towns of the time.
The U.S. Army asks White Mountain Apache scouts to campaign against their own people, resulting in a mutiny against the army soldiers. Three of the scouts are court-martialed and executed.
The U.S. government confines the Havasupai Native Americans to a 518-acre reservation in Havasu Canyon.
(September 4) Apache medicine man, often referred to as chief, Geronimo surrenders to army soldiers, and U.S.Native American fighting ends.
The Hopi Native Americans of Arizona begin to produce silver jewelry. Present-day Hopi are well known for the design and production of fine jewelry, especially that made of sterling silver.
1900–1960 THE STATE OF ARIZONA
President Franklin Roosevelt proclaims the Grand Canyon a National Monument. It eventually becomes a national park in 1919.
(February 14) Arizona becomes the 48th state admitted to the Union.
When Arizona becomes a state, women are granted the right to vote eight years before the passage of the 19th Amendment.
Sent from Germany to Mexico, the Zimmerman Telegram states that if Mexico allies with Germany, it will regain Arizona upon Germany's victory. The telegram is a major impetus for the U.S. entering World War I. The war creates a boom in Arizona's economy. Industries such as cotton, farming, and mining flourish.
(February 12) Arizona becomes the 31st state to ratify the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote.
The Southern Pacific Railroad connects Arizona with the eastern states, ending the state's period of isolation from civilization and trade. Many towns and mining camps spring up adjacent to the railroad.
American astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.
(June 6) Construction begins on the Hoover Dam, located in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River on the border between Nevada and Arizona. Thousands of workers from across the country come to participate in the building, creating a boom for Nevada and Arizona.
Construction on the Hoover Dam, the largest concrete structure in the world at the time, is completed.
The Hoover Dam begins generating electricity, becoming the world's largest electric-power generating station. It is the first and most important link in a chain of dams, canals, and aqueducts built to harness the power of the Colorado River.
Arizona enforces right-to-work laws, which allow workers to decide whether or not to join or financially support unions.
Native Americans obtain the right to vote.
1960–PRESENT MODERN ARIZONA
The U.S. Supreme Court maintains Arizona's right to large amounts of the Colorado River.
The London Bridge is moved to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, after being sold to U.S. oil company McCulloch Oil for $2,460,000. It now spans the Bridgewater Channel canal that leads from Lake Havasu to Thomson Bay, and has become Arizona's second-biggest tourist attraction after the Grand Canyon.
U.S. Congress divides the Hopi Reservation between the Hopi and Navajo Native Americans.
Newly elected governor Evan Mecham rescinds Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, charging the holiday had been illegally created by his predecessor, Bruce Babbit. Babbit had declared the holiday by executive order in 1986 after a bill to create it failed in the legislature.
Governor Even Mecham is impeached after allegations of money laundering and the appropriation of state funds to prop up his own struggling auto dealership. Rose Mofford succeeds him as governor, becoming the first woman to hold the office in Arizona.
Arizona voters reject a ballot initiative to make Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a state holiday. As a result, the NFL Players' Association moves Super Bowl XXVII out of the state. Voters finally approve the measure in 1992, and Tempe is awarded Super Bowl XXX in 1996.
(August 17) The governors of Arizona and New Mexico declare an emergency in the Mexico-bordering counties of their states. The governors cite violence, illegal immigration, and drug smuggling as reasons for the state of emergency.
Arizona passes SB1070, a controversial anti-illegal immigration law that allows police to detain people they suspect of being in the United States illegally.
Click to enlarge an image
12,000 BCE: Montezuma Castle ruins
1691: Eusebio Kino Bronze sculpture
1693: Ruins of Hopi Village of Walpi
1700: Mission San Xavier (photo taken 1887)
1736: Juan Bautista de Anza
1765: Jesuits Logo
1846: Battle of Veracruz, during the Mexican-American War
1846: General Stephen W. Kearny
1846: Kit Carson
1846: Map of Mexico, pre-Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
1853: The Gadsden Purchase, shown in yellow with present-day state boundaries and cities