Early Spanish explorers to this area included Cabeza de Vaca in 1536 and Marcos de Niza in 1539. During the late 17th century, several Spanish missions were founded, and in 1821 the region came under Mexican rule. At the end of the Mexican War (1846-1848), the northern portion of the area became a part of U.S. territory New Mexico. In 1863, Arizona became a separate territory, and settlement accelerated after the 1866 surrender of Geronimo ended 25 years of Apache wars.
Urban expansion that began during World War II started straining limited water resources, and in 1963 Arizona began construction of the huge Central Arizona project, which diverts water from the Colorado River and carries it across Arizona for use on farms and in the Phoenix-Tucson area. Thirty-eight percent of all U.S. Native American tribal lands (Navajo, Hopi and Apache) are in Arizona, and the state has the third largest Native American population in the United States.
Warm weather and plentiful recreation continue to attract retirees. Those over 55 here have significant political and social clout, helping to make this southwestern state a continuing retirement favorite. The state’s largest cities are Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson.
Some Arizona statistics:
Percentage of Population Age 65 or Better: 13%
Percentage with High School Degree: 81%
Percentage with College Degree: 24%
Language Other than English in the Home: 26%
Median Household Income: $51,000
Taxes Social Security? No