Tuesday 12 July 2011

The America project - Arizona

Arizona (AZ) size 113,998 sq.m population 6.4 million

Bordering states California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico (5)
State capital & most populous city Phoenix
Other notable places Tuscon, Flagstaff, Prescott, Tempe
Notable landmarks and natural features The Grand Canyon; Meteor Crater (the Barringer Meteorite Crater); The Colorado River, The Hoover Dam

Statehood 14th February 1912 (48th)

Ten famous Arizonans
Linda Carter (actress and model; born Phoenix, 1951 -)
Ted Danson (actor; born San Diego, California (raised in Flagstaff), 1947 -)
Geronimo (Native American Chief; born Gila River, 1929-1909)
Barry Goldwater (politician; born Phoenix, 1909-1998)
Joe Jonas (singer; born Casa Grande, 1989 -)
Stephenie Meyer (author; born Hartford, Connecticut (raised in Phoenix), 1974 -)
Charles Mingus (musician; born Nogales, 1922-1979)
Stevie Nicks (musician; born Phoenix, 1948 -)
Greg Proops (comedian; born Phoenix, 1959 -)
Garry Shandling (comedian and actor; born Chicago, Illinois (raised in Tuscon), 1949 -)

Three important events

1. Arizona joins the Union (1912)
Arizona was the last of the 48 contiguous US States to join the Union. It almost did so as part of neighbouring New Mexico as part of a plan for the Republican Party to keep control of the Senate. This was rejected by Arizonans and they were signed into the Union by President Taft on 14th February 1912. As part of their agreement, Arizona gave women the vote, eight years before universal suffrage reached the rest of the country.

2. Senator Barry Goldwater runs for President (1964)
Five-term Senator Barry Goldwater won the Republican Party's nomination for the 1964 US Presidential election. He was up against Lyndon Johnson, who had only just assumed the role in the previous year following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Goldwater won the electoral vote of just 5 States, including his own, in one of the biggest electoral defeats of the 20th Century.

3. Arizona celebrates Martin Luther King Day (1989)
From 1972, State employees were given a paid holiday on the third Monday of January in honour of the birth of Martin Luther King Jr. However, State Senator Evan Mecham and his Attorney General were of the opinion that the holiday had been created illegally and cancelled it. Part of the penalty that Arizona paid for this was that they lost their opportunity to host the Super Bowl, as well as money from tourism revenues. In 1989, new Senator Rose Mofford passed legislation reversing Mecham's decision, but the controversy rumbled on. Eventually, with their long-promised Super Bowl hanging in the balance, the issue was put to a referendum in 1992. Arizona became the 49th State to approve MLK Day and the first to do so by public ballot. Arizonans eventually got their Super Bowl - which appears to be the guiding principle of all actions - in 1996.

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