The written history of Arizona began when the Spaniards sent exploration parties north, from Mexico, into the territory that is now Arizona in 1539.
In 1821 Mexico declared its independence from Spain and then went to war with the United States. This war ended in 1848, and the land north of the Gila River became United States territory. In 1853 the rest of the area was acquired by the Gadsen Purchase encompassing what is today the state of Arizona.
Arizona, like California and Nevada, is known for “Wild West” days when many of it’s towns were lawless and wild. Men came from the East to seek their fortunes in Arizona too – adventurers, prospectors, farmers, businessmen, builders. To protect them against the Indians who fought fiercely to keep back this change in their land, the army also came and built its forts.
Until 1886, when the last of the Indian uprisings were put down, it seemed only the most brave, hardy, or fool-hardy pioneers came to the territory. These early pioneers ventured into different manners of making their wealth including mining, cattle and sheep ranching, farming while learning to irrigate from the vast rivers, and some for unlawful pursuits. United States Marshals finally made a peaceful territory of Arizona, so that towns could prosper and flourish.
In 1912, Arizona became the 48th state to join the Union of the United States of America.