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Arizona History
by Robert M. Wilbanks IV













    In 1848 the Southwest was acquired by the United States in the War with Mexico.  Arizona was part of the region that became known as the New Mexico Territory consisting of what is today known as the States of Arizona and New Mexico.

     In 1849 "The Gadsden Purchase" acquired the region south of the Gila River extending from the  California border to the Rio Grande River.  With Gold discovered in California, migration through Arizona was extensive and eventually those who were unsuccessful in California came to Arizona to settle.

     The southern region of the New Mexico Territory, especially Tucson and Mesilla, would become settled primarily by pioneers from the south, including many Virginians.  There would also be heavy settlement by the Mormons throughout most of the Arizona part of the Territory.

     On March 16, 1861, an "Ordinance of Secession" was passed by a Convention of the People of Arizona at Mesilla, Arizona Territory.  On August 1st, the Territory of Arizona was created and seceeded from the Union.  The Arizona Territory consisted of the portions of the region of the New Mexico Territory which was south of the Gila River from El Paso to Yuma.

     On February 14th, 1862, the Territory of Arizona was recognized by the Confederate States of America. Granville H. Oury of Tucson, a Virginian, was elected as the first delegate to the Confederate Congress.

     On February 14th, 1863, the Territory of Arizona was recognized by the United States Government, but to spite the Confederacy the borders were established as we know it today.

     From 1865 to 1900, there was a great influx of settlers mostly from the southern states, most of whom were ex-Confederates or refugees from the Reconstruction South, including a great many from the war devastated regions of Virginia.  As the mining boom hit, many more settlers came to Arizona from the mid-west, and from countries around the world, including Germany, Ireland, Wales and China.

     On February 14th, 1912 Arizona became the 48th State.