European exploration of the western state now known as Arizona, dating from the Marcos de Niza expedition in 1539 (he was a Franciscan friar), included a period of Spanish colonial ownership before the land passed to Mexico when that country gained its independence. In 1848 the United States took charge of most of Arizona, dating its takeover to the Mexican War settled by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. Final ownership of Arizona by the United States was achieved via the 1853 Gadsden purchase. Arizona became a territory in 1863 and then a state in 1912.
Today almost six million people call the State of Arizona home. In terms of demographic breakdown in Arizona, single dominance goes to Caucasians with sixty-four percent, followed by Hispanics with twenty-five percent, Native Americans at five percent, and African Americans at three percent.
Arizona female residents accounts for 50.1 percent of the population to the male 49.9 percent. In the year 2000 it was estimated that almost seventy-five percent of residents five and older speak English at home with almost twenty percent speaking Spanish. Interestingly, Navajo is the third most spoken language in the state at approximately two percent. (It is estimated that by 2035, Hispanics will come to dominate the state in demographics.)
The ten most affluent cities in the state of Arizona, and the ones where Arizona female citizens can expect to make better wages are Paradise Valley, Carefree, Rio Verde, Tubac, Catalina, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Litchfield Park, Tanque Verde, and Gold Camp. The range of per capita incomes in these communities goes from $81,290 in Paradise Valley to $35,000 in Gold Camp.
In Arizona, single dominance by religion falls to Christians at eighty percent. More than sixty-five percent of those congregations are Protestants followed by Catholics with thirty-one percent. Because Mormon Leader Brigham Young sent followers to the state in the 1800s, approximately six percent of the population list themselves as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
When speaking of the climate of Arizona, single emphasis is placed on the heat. From May through August the mercury climbs into the high nineties and above one hundred degrees on a daily basis. In the deserts of Arizona, single day records have been set with the temperature at one hundred and twenty five degrees.
The official Arizona single day record for heat was set on June 29, 1994 when Lake Havasu City recorded a temperature of one hundred and twenty eight-degrees. Conversely, the lowest temperature every recorded in the state was on January 7, 1971 when Hawley Lake recorded minus forty degrees Fahrenheit.
Although arguably a land of extremes, Arizona is known for the stunning and stark beauty of its deserts and for its pine-covered high country in the state's north, central region. In part due to the sweltering summers, the Arizona lifestyle is relaxed and laidback with an emphasis on keeping cool and making the most of the more temperate winters and the cooler summer nights.