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Phoenix History, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona is by far the hottest city in the USA: in has five months of terrible heat, when the average temperatures go higher than 38ºC. The city logo, "out of the ashes", can seem quite ironic during these hot summers. But as peculiar as it may seem, Phoenix history goes back almost two thousand years ago – way much longer than expected for a town situated in the middle of a dessert.

Phoenix History - Early History

The Hohokam people lived on the territory of today's Phoenix between the 7th and 15th century, building a complex irrigation system in order to make the Valley of the Sun (Salt River Valley) fertile. When the Roving Indians came, they found the ruins of Pueblo Grande and called the previous inhabitants ‘ho-ho-kam’ (the people that have gone). During the next centuries, the area was scarcely inhabited. A Jesuit priest named Eusebio Kino travelled in this part of Arizona along with the first wave of immigrants and named the Salt River 'Rio Salado'. Back then, Arizona was a part of Mexico, and it remained this way until the end of the Mexican American War in 1848. In the 19th century, the area was explored by trappers, who were looking for beaver, river otters and Mexican wolves. The first man to foresee the farming potential of the valley was Jack Swilling, who started the Swilling Irrigation Canal Company in 1868. Soon, a little town was formed around Swilling's enterprise and people began to raise crops. During its first years of existence, the city had several names: Swilling Mill, Helling Mill, Mill City. The name "Phoenix" was suggested by Lord Darrell Duppa, as he saw a resemblance between the mythical bird that rose from its own ashes and the city that was built the ruins of the Hohokam settlement. By the end of the 19th century, Phoenix had a population of approximately 2,500, had been incorporated in 1881 and was served by an electric car system.

Phoenix History - Modern Phoenix

1912 marks the date when Phoenix officially became the capital of Arizona. The city continued to grow rapidly, as the Roosevelt Dam was built, allowing the extension of the irrigation system. World War II represented an important stage in Phoenix' history: the city's economy rapidly shifted from agriculture to heavy industry. Many workers came to Phoenix and settled here after the war ended. They were soon followed by investors, who were attracted by the substantial labor force. By 1950, Phoenix population had passed 100, 000.

Phoenix is one of the most fast-growing cities in the US and an important air travel hub: numerous flights connect Phoenix with the west coast and central US (see cheap flights to Phoenix and Phoenix airfare deals for more details).

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Read our members' reviews about Phoenix

  • mohds2Deserts, climbing and museums in Phoenix
    review by mohds2 posted more then 30 days ago
    Nearly ideal year round weather & some perfectly designed contest have made Phoenix the top golf country in the world. However, there is more to this easygoing metropolis than perfect greens & tee times. Greater Phoenix area, as well, offers visitors the array of imposing cultural...
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Read our members' travel tips about Phoenix

  • athenaloveHeard Museum in Phoenix
    travel tip by athenalove posted more then 30 days ago
    A museum dedicated to Native Americans, their culture, life, future and art. It has some interactive exhibitions, where kids can take home useful and interesting objects, either made by themselves or the staff. The whole place is full of...
  • marius_fThe Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting in Phoenix
    travel tip by marius_f posted more then 30 days ago
    This museum is really unique. There aren't very many facilities that feature firefighting cars and materials for display to visitors. So this museum is quite on its on in its league. :) The museum has about 5 galleries each presenting...
  • BelleThe Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix
    travel tip by Belle posted more then 30 days ago
    This museum is incredible on so many levels. It has a wide range of instruments that are organized on a geographical scale, presenting the country (shown also on a map), its culture and the instrument itself. It so interesting to see...
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the best travel deals provided by TravelZoo...
  •$44Multiple Airlines flightMultiple Airlines
    Las Vegas, NV (LAS)  Phoenix, AZ (PHX)
    08/07/2024 07:25 am
    Phoenix, AZ (PHX)  Las Vegas, NV (LAS)
    08/18/2024 08:41 pm
  •$48Frontier Airlines flightFrontier Airlines
    Salt Lake City, UT (SLC)  Phoenix, AZ (PHX)
    09/07/2024 11:02 pm
    Phoenix, AZ (PHX)  Salt Lake City, UT (SLC)
    09/17/2024 07:00 am
  •$53Frontier Airlines flightFrontier Airlines
    Ontario, CA (ONT)  Phoenix, AZ (PHX)
    08/06/2024 06:46 pm
    Phoenix, AZ (PHX)  Ontario, CA (ONT)
    08/19/2024 01:56 pm

Phoenix City Ratings

  • Rating48%
    City Rank356
  • History & Culture: rated for 20%
  • Night Life & Entertainment: rated for 80%
  • Family & Fun: rated for 40%
  • Outdoors Activities: rated for 30%
  • Food: rated for 70%
  • Sightseeing: rated for 40%
  • Shopping: rated for 90%
  • Public Transportation: rated for 20%
  • Must visit this place: rated for 50%
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