Monday, January 11, 2016

6 things you ought to know about Arizona

1. I knew the state's nickname was Grand Canyon State. I'd no idea it was also called the Copper State until my uncle mentioned it earlier this week. The state motto is Ditat Deus, "God Enriches," but I don't know why.

2. English is by far the primary language spoken in Arizona, but (as of 2010) about 19.5% of the population speaks Spanish as their first language. Rather surprisingly, only 1.9% of the population speaks Navajo. About 25% of the state is Indian reservation land.

3. Arizona was the last of the contiguous states to achieve statehood (in 1912). Earlier, in 1862, Confederate president Jefferson Davis had declared Arizona Territory (in the first official use of the name) to be part of the Confederacy. Throughout the Civil War, a group called Arizona Scout Companies fought the Confederate Army.

4. During World War II, there were two German POW camps and a Japanese internment camp in the state.

5. The population of the state exploded after World War II in part because of the increasing availability of air conditioning. In the 1960s, retirement communities for snowbirds as well as year-round residents were developed, which further increased the state's population.

6. The state tree is the Paloverde, the state flower is the saguaro blossom (not yet in bloom when we visited, although the cactus is everywhere), the gemstone is turquoise, and there are a number of national forests, monuments and parks in the state in addition to Grand Canyon National Park.