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The first Native American inhabitants of Arizona arrived between 16,000 BC and 10,000 BC. By 1,000 BC, these people were living a settle agricultural life, farming, particularly of maize. During the 1st millennium CE, at least three major cultures, all well-known for their architecture and pottery, the Anasazi, the Hohokam, and the Mogollon, were living in the area.
The first European to reach Arizona was Marcos de Niza, a Franciscan monk, in 1539. Additionally, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado's expedition of 1540-1542, crossed the area during their search for the mythical city of Cibola.
Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino developed a chain of missions, and taught the native Christianity, in the 1690s and early 1700s. Spanish colonization continued in the 18th century, with the establishment of fortified towns at Tubac and Tucson in 1752 and 1775 respectively.
When Mexico declared its independence from Spain in 1821, the area become part of Mexico. The United States took possession of most of Arizona (as well as other areas) following the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. The U.S. acquired some additional land, South of the Gila River, in the Gadsden Purchase of 1853. Initially, Arizona was part of the Territory of New Mexico, but it became a separate territory on February 24th 1863.
During the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), southern parts of the territory were aligned with Confederate States of America. The Confederates had the goal of reaching the Pacific Ocean and expanding their control into southern California, however this goal was effectively thwarted at the Battle of Picacho Pass, which was the western-most battle fought in the Civil War.
In the 1900s, Arizona almost entered the Union as part of New Mexico in a Republican plan to maintain control of the Senate, however the white population of Arizona was against being part of New Mexico whose population was mostly Hispanic. Arizona was finally admitted to the Union on February 14th 1912.
With the exception of a period during the Great Depression, Arizona has generally prospered since achieving statehood, and has experienced several boom periods. In recent years, the state has become an increasingly popular tourist and retirement destination, in large part due to its warm climate.
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