Tucson, Arizona

Tucson is the county seat of Pima County, in southern Arizona. Also known as Optics Valley because of the considerable number of optic-related businesses in the city, Tucson is the second-largest city in Arizona, and its population exceeds 1,000,000, as reported by the 2010 United States Census.

Like Alice Springs in Australia, Tucson has a desert climate despite receiving more than 11 inches of rain during the monsoon season each year. Tucson boasts of more than 300 days of sunshine, making the region a popular destination for outdoor activities throughout the year.

Given its rich and diverse history, it is not surprising that there are various ethnic races that reside peacefully in the city. In addition to English, Spanish is widely spoken in the region. This multi-cultural harmony is reflected in the interesting art and culture of Tucson.

Tucson also has a long history of being the preferred location for shooting classic western movies. A visitor to Tucson will never be at a loss for things to do. From all kinds of outdoor sports and adventures, visits to Coronado National Park or Catalina State Park, and extended stays at guest ranches, to original Southwest dining experience and attending the "Festival of Books", the city has a lot to offer.

Tucson is an attractive city for both local residents as well as tourists. The city also has a bustling nightlife, various places to eat, places to see and can also offer you a great shopping experience. It is also an area of history and culture.

Tucson History

Archaeological excavations have established that the region now called Tucson was an agricultural settlement more than 4000 years ago. Apparently, Paelo-Indians were the first settlers to migrate to this land, and they were farmers and hunters. Archaeologists call the seventh century settlers, known for their superior irrigation knowledge and for their pottery, the Hohokam. The Pima and Tohono O'odham are the direct descendants of these people.

The Mission San Xavier del Bac was founded in 1700, by a Jesuit missionary named Eusebio Francisco Kino. He named the region 'Tucson', after the O'odham village, 'Stjukshon'. A short distance away, the Spanish built a walled fortress, named Presidio San Augustin del Tucson, in 1775. This town was later named Tucson. Between 1867 and 1877, Tucson was the capital of the original Arizona Territory. And it was at Tucson Railway Station that Deputy US Marshall Wyatt Earp killed Frank Stilwell in 1882. Tucson gained the dubious reputation of being a dangerous and violent city, and almost every man and woman carried a gun. This, however, did not hamper the steady development of the region into a populous city.

It was during this violent period that the Black Regiments were brought in to fight against the Native Americans and the outlaws. These African American soldiers possessed superior battle skills, and soon earned the respect of the Native Americans, who gave them the nickname, ' Buffalo Soldiers'. Soon, more African Americans trickled into Tucson, in search of a better life, and also to get away from racial discrimination. By the end of the 18th century, many of them were ranch owners and barbers.

Once a part of Mexico, Tucson was officially declared an American property in 1854. Soon, there was conflict between the Apache Indians and prospectors and new settlers, and this period was also the Wild West Era. The clashes continued till about 1880, when the Southern Pacific Railroad laid its tracks in the region. With access to other cultures and means of quick travel, Tucson became a melting pot of cultures and finally gave birth to its own culture, adapted from the customs of the Mexicans and Tohono O'odham Indians living there.

The railroad also brought by the Chinese and White women into Tucson. The former were employed as laborers to lay down tracks. Cultural differences between the Chinese and the White and Mexican settlers forced the former to return to their own country. Some Chinese laborers stayed behind to open restaurants, laundry businesses and farms, and were successful in monopolizing the supply of fresh food and dairy products, at least for a while. The arrival of the White woman brought an end to the mixed marriages between Mexican women and White men. With time, the White community distanced itself from the Hispanic people, and a social divide came into being.

At the turn of the 20th century, the population at Tucson was less than 8000. However, after the First World War, a number of war veterans chose to shift to the city. Apparently, the dry and fresh air of the region was a natural antidote to the gas-filled lungs of the soldiers. Slowly but surely, Tucson became a popular place to settle in. Arizona became a state in 1912, and the population has increased steadily since.

About Tucson, Arizona

Located approximately 60 miles or 100 kilometers north of the US-Mexico border, Tucson in Southern Arizona is one of the oldest developing settlements in the continent of North America. Before the Spanish arrived to claim this land as their own, the Native Americans tilled the land, hunted for food, and lived freely for about 4000 years. On August 20, 1776, the Spanish soldiers and missionaries declared the existence of Tucson, making this date an annual event celebrated as La Fiesta de San Augustin, also known as Tucson's birthday.

Today, Tucson is the second largest city in Arizona, after the state capital Phoenix. According to the 2010 United States Census, the population of the city is 520,116, and of the entire metropolitan area, 1,020,200. In Spanish, the name Tucson roughly translates to "water at the foot of a black mountain". The city is a valley with mountains on all sides. Mount Wrightson in the north and Mount Lemmon in the south are popular destinations, being the highest points in the area. Tucson lies at 2643 feet above sea level, and is located on the banks of the once-perennial river, Santa Cruz. The area is also known as "Optics Valley", because of the considerable number of optic-related businesses in the city.

Like Alice Springs in Australia, Tucson has a desert climate despite receiving more than 11 inches of rain during the monsoon season each year. Tucson boasts of more than 300 days of sunshine, making the region a popular destination for outdoor activities throughout the year. Summers are humid, but the monsoons in July provide some relief. Winters are suitably cold, but not unbearable when compared to the rest of the country.

The University of Arizona came in to existence in 1885 and is today a Public Ivy. It has been the tradition for freshmen to paint the letter 'A' on A Mountain annually, thus making the mountain a famous Tucson landmark.

Tucson is rich in history, the Downtown and Central regions of the city are home to some of the oldest neighborhoods. Midtown is home to the University of Arizona, established in 1885. And to travel through the city, one should try the heritage streetcar, the Old Pueblo Trolley, operative only over the weekends.

A popular tourist destination is the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Zoo that was built in 1952. The botanical garden is an added attraction. Visitors can choose to walk the pathways, more than three kilometers long, to absorb the beauty of the place. The museum and zoo authorities hold sessions and demonstrations throughout the day, to educate people about the region around the city of Tucson.

About Pima County, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona, is the county seat of Pima County. Located in the south central region of Arizona, Pima County gets its name from an American Indian tribe by the same name. The Pimas are the direct descendants of the Hohokam, the seventh century settlers known for their advanced civilization.

Pima County was one of the four primary counties of Arizona, and was established in 1853. The territories of Cochise, Graham, and Santa Cruz were a part of Pima County initially, and these became independent counties later. At present, it comprises the San Xavier Indian Reservation and the Saguaro National Park, as well as some portions of the Tohono O'odham Nation, and the Pasqua Yaqui Reservation. The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument lies in the county's western region.

The land was already inhabited by Native Americans when the Spanish arrived in the latter part of the 17th century. The population of settlers increased considerably when prospectors learned of the abundance of gold and silver ores in the region. Mining and ranching became the main occupations of these settlers, as they struggled to defend their properties in the wake of constant hostile attacks by the Native Americans.

A large percentage of the population of Pima County is concentrated around the metropolitan area of Tucson, especially in the suburbs of Oro Valley, Marana, Sahuarita and South Tucson. While the rest of the county has a relatively sparse population, the satellite town of Green Valley, the Tohono O'odham Nation capital Sells, and the western town of Ajo, boasts of a large number of citizens.

More than three-quarters of the population is Caucasian or White. Amongst the other races, African-Americans and Native Americans constitute less than ten per cent of the population, and the rest are from various other races. Almost a quarter of the population speak Spanish, and their roots can be traced to Hispanic ancestors. The ratio of male to female members is approximately 19:20.

One of the biggest attractions of Pima County is its annual fun fete, the Pima County Fair. It is usually held for a week in April, outside Tucson. Then there are the protected natural and wildlife parks, including the two cactus parks, the Saguaro National Park and the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, that attract visitors and local residents alike. Pima County is also known for its birds. There are more than 400 types of birds in this diversified land, and some of them are unique to the region.