Arizona Timeline


Period Before Written History

Circa 10,000 B.C. Prehistoric Paleo Inhabitants of Arizona.
Circa 2,000 B.C. Cochise Man begins farming primitive corn.
Circa 300 B.C. Hohokam settle in southern Arizona.  See also:  Desert Farmers at the River’s Edge:  The Hohokam and Pueblo Grande and Hohokam Indians of the Tucson Basin
Christian Era Anasazi come to Four Corners area.
500 A.D. Sinagua are farming near San Francisco Peaks.
1064 A.D. Sunset Crater erupts.
1276-1299 A.D. Great drought in Arizona.
Circa 1300 A.D. The mysterious Casa Grande is built near the Gila River.
Circa 1400 A.D. Cultural decline of pre-historic groups.

Spanish Period, 1528-1821

1528-1536 Eight-year odyssey of Cabeza de Vaca and his shipwrecked companions stirs interest in Glory, God, and Gold.   See also:   “Routes of Spanish explorers.”   (Froeschauer-Nelson, Peggy.   Cultural Landscape Report:  Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site Ganado, Arizona)
1539 Fray Marcos de Niza searches for golden cities.  See also:  Seven Cities of Cibola Legend Lures Conquistadors by Willie Drye
1540-1542 Coronado claims for Spain the vast lands that are today the American Southwest.  Members of his party were the first Europeans to view the Grand Canyon.
1582-1583 Antonio de Espejo, a miner, enters New Mexico and Arizona looking for rich minerals.
1598-1607 Juan de Oñate establishes first colonies in New Mexico. Puts Spanish “stamp” on the area.
1619 City of Santa Fe founded.
1629 Franciscans establish missions in Hopiland, the first Europeans to reside in Arizona.
1687-1711 Father Kino establishes missions in Pimería Alta, along the Rio Santa Cruz and Rio San Pedro.  See also:  Mission Churches of the Sonoran Desert
1736 Great silver discovery at Arisonac.
1751 Great Pima Indian Revolt.
1752 Tubac presidio established.  First European community in Arizona.
1767 Jesuits expelled from Spanish realm.
1767 Franciscan Father Garcés enters Arizona.
1774 Juan de Anza and Garcés explore route to California.
1775-1776 De Anza and Garcés take colonists overland to California.   Tucson established.
1781 Yuma Revolt; Garcés murdered.
1785-1821 Spanish troops go on offensive campaigns into Apachería.  Peace treaty with Apaches; mining, ranching and missions prosper in Arizona.
1810-1821 Mexican Revolution.

Mexican Period, 1821-1848

1821 Mexico gains independence.
1822 Santa Fe – St. Louis trade opens.
1823 Americans begin to settle in Texas.
1824 American mountain men enter Arizona to trap beaver.
1835-1836 Texas Revolution. See also:  Texan Independence from Mexico
1837 Mexico offers bounties for Apache scalps.
1846-1848 Mexican War; Army of the West takes New Mexico and California; Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends war; vast Mexican territory ceded to U.S.  See also:  History of Arizona:   Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

American Period, 1848-

1848 Gold discovered in California.  Gila Trail becomes one of the main routes to the gold fields.
1850 Compromise of 1850 made establishment of the Territory of New Mexico possible.   (Arizona was part of New Mexico Territory)
1852 Americans begin navigating the Colorado River by steamer.  Army Corps of Topographical Engineers begins surveying Arizona.   See also:   “Early exploration routes into the Arizona area.”   (Froeschauer-Nelson, Peggy.   Cultural Landscape Report:  Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site Ganado, Arizona)
1853 Gadsden Purchase gives Arizona the land from the Gila River to present boundary.  See also:  Gadsden Purchase of 1853 and History of Arizona:   Gadsden Purchase.
1854 First American mining (commercial) ventures.
1856 American Dragoons (cavalry) occupy Tucson; Arizonans begin petitioning for separate territorial status.
1857 Beale’s camels and “Jackass Mail” stagecoach lines cross Arizona; Fort Buchanan established on Sonoita Creek.
1858 Butterfield Overland Stage Line crosses Arizona.   See also:   “Early stage routes through the Arizona area.”   (Froeschauer-Nelson, Peggy.   Cultural Landscape Report:  Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site Ganado, Arizona)
1860’s Period of gold discoveries, Gila River, Colorado River, and Bradshaw Mountains.
1861 Bascom Affair pits Army against Chiricahua Apaches; Civil War begins and U.S. military posts are abandoned in Arizona portion of New Mexico Territory.
1861-1886 Apache Wars. See also: Cochise: Native American leader (1812-1874) and Biography of Geronimo
1862 Arizona becomes a Confederate territory; Battle at Glorieta Pass, New Mexico, ends Confederate westward thrust; Battle at Picacho Pass, near Casa Grande, is called westernmost battle of Civil War; California Column occupies Arizona for Union; Battle of Apache Pass between Column and Apaches is largest in Arizona history; Fort Bowie is established in the Pass.
1863 Territory of Arizona is established; President Abraham Lincoln appoints Arizona Territorial officials; John A. Gurley is named governor; dies August 18.  John N. Goodwin replaces him; Territorial officials take the oath of office at Navajo Springs, Arizona on December 29; Walker Party discovers gold in Bradshaw Mountains; Weaver-Peeples party discovers placer gold at Rich Hill; Wickenburg finds rich lode at Vulture Mine. See also: A History of Mining in AZ.
1864 Territorial capitol moves from its provisional site at Camp Whipple to Prescott; four counties (Yuma, Yavapai, Pima and Mohave) are created; Navajo take “long walk” to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico.
1867 Territorial capitol moves from Prescott to Tucson.
1869 John Wesley Powell explores Grand Canyon.
1870’s-1880’s Age of Silver; open range cattle industry flourishes.  See also:  Preliminary report concerning explorations and surveys, principally in Nevada and Arizona.
1871 Camp Grant Massacre.
1872-1873 General Crook subdues central Arizona Apaches and Yavapais.
1876 Territorial prison opens at Yuma.   See also:   Arizona Dept. of Corrections History
1877 Territorial capitol moves from Tucson back to Prescott; silver discovered at Tombstone; copper deposits found at Bisbee.
1881 City of Phoenix incorporates; Southern Pacific Railroad crosses southern Arizona.  See also:  The Promise of Gold Mountain.
1883 Atlantic & Pacific (Santa Fe) railroad crosses northern Arizona.
1888 Copper replaces gold and silver in economic importance in Arizona.
1889 Territorial capitol moves from Prescott to Phoenix; Legislators meet temporarily in the chambers of the Phoenix City Hall.
1891 Moses H. Sherman and Marcellus E. Collins of Phoenix donate ten acres of land for a territorial capitol site.
1895 Phoenix linked by rail to northern and southern railroad lines.
1898 Rough Riders fight in Cuba.  See also:  William Owen O’Neill and Buckey O’Neill.
1899-1900 Construction begins on a new capitol building in Phoenix; completed in 1900 at a cost of approximately $136,000.
1901 Capitol building dedicated on February 25.
1902 Frank Murphy builds “Impossible Bradshaw Mountain Railroad.”
1903 Salt River Water Users’ Association formed, first of its kind in the nation.
1906 Referendum on joint Arizona-New Mexico Statehood is rejected in Arizona by a vote of 16,265 to 3,141.
1910 Arizona Enabling Act passed by Congress; Constitutional Convention meets; population of Arizona exceeds 204,000 on the eve of statehood.
1911 Theodore Roosevelt Dam completed; President Taft vetoes admission of Arizona over recall of judges; Arizona agrees to make the necessary changes in its constitution.
1912 Arizona joins the Union on February 14; George W. P. Hunt, President of the Constitutional Convention, becomes first state Governor; first U.S. Senators, Henry F. Ashurst and Marcus A. Smith; U.S. Representative, Carl Hayden.
1912 Women gain right to vote in Arizona.  See also:  History of Women’s Suffrage.
1917 WWI brings economic boom to Arizona.  Labor unrest in Bisbee brings deportation of suspected radical I.W.W. Union members by locals.
1929 Great Depression lasts into late 1930’s.
1936 Hoover Dam on the Colorado River is dedicated. See also: PBS film The American Experience: Hoover Dam
1941-1945 World War II brings economic boom to Arizona; cotton, copper, cattle, farming and industry flourish.
1946 Arizona right-to-work becomes effective; industrial development and manufacturing take on new importance.  Post-WWII brings surge of population to Arizona.
1948 Motorola builds first plant in Phoenix marking the beginning of high tech industry in Arizona.
1948 Arizona Indians gain right to vote. See: Mary Beth Faller. “Arizona Indians’ path to voting.” Arizona Republic, June 23, 2009.
1950 Election of Governor Howard Pyle gives rise to Republican Party.
1960 Arizona population exceeds 1 million.
1961 Stewart Udall becomes first Arizonan to serve on Cabinet (Secretary of Interior).
1963 Arizona wins Supreme Court decision in contest with California over share of Colorado River water; hopes are revived for a Central Arizona Project to bring water from the Colorado to central Arizona.
1964 Arizona’s U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater is the Republican Party candidate for President.
1966 Legislative reapportionment (one man, one vote). Legislative districts reapportioned to represent an equal number of people. The Republican Party gains control of the legislature for the first time.
1968 Authorization is given for construction of the Central Arizona Project; Senator Carl Hayden retires after serving Arizona in Congress since 1912.
1981 Sandra Day O’Connor becomes first woman on U.S. Supreme Court. See also: Library of Congress: Resourceful Women
1984 Population of Arizona exceeds 3 million.
1985 Central Arizona Project brings water to state’s interior.
1988 Impeachment of Governor Evan Mecham.
1988 Rose Mofford becomes Arizona’s first female governor.
1992 Arizona becomes first state to have voter approval of a paid Martin Luther King Jr./Civil Rights Day state holiday.

Reference:   Marshall Trimble, Director, Southwest Studies, Scottsdale Community College.