On February 14, 1912, after nearly 49 years as a U.S. territory and thousands of years as a sacred home to indigenous peoples, Arizona became the 48th and last of the contiguous states to enter the Union of the United States of America.
At the time of its statehood, Arizona epitomized the economic promise of the American West. Rich in natural resources, the state was earning its reputation as the home of the Five C’s – copper, cattle, cotton, citrus, and climate. Its people reflected the rich history and heritage of the Southwest, from the influences of its Native American and Hispanic cultures to the adventurous spirit of its early prospectors, ranchers, and farmers. All embraced Arizona’s rugged and rich environment to create a unique and prosperous lifestyle.
Arizona continues to be recognized for its natural beauty, a high quality of life, and its ongoing innovation in all fields, from agriculture to technology.
Arizona was founded on rugged individualism matched with hard work and vision. It was this indomitable spirit that shaped and molded our state into the place we now call home. From our school children to centenarians, from urban centers to rural communities—we all have the opportunity to come together and commemorate this indomitable spirit and the 100 years of growth, challenge and success it engendered.
Of course, our centennial planning comes in the midst of extraordinary times. Not unlike 100 years ago, Arizona faces both enormous challenges and opportunities. Our state and nation are charting a vital course through serious economic times. And, although we may not have abundant funds to plan and celebrate our Centennial, we do have abundant pride, energy and resourcefulness to pay tribute to our Grand Canyon State.
The Centennial is not only about events and history; it is most importantly about people. The people we are and the people we want to be. Some of us are multi-generational Arizona natives and some of us may have only arrived a week ago, but together we are Arizona!