Phoenix is the capital of Arizona, the 48th state to join the United States. For almost 1000 years, the Hohokam people lived in the area. They disappeared suddenly, and no one really knows why. The name Hohokam means “the people who have gone.”
Before they left, they dug about 135 canals from the Salt River to their villages so they could have water nearby. In 1867, American Civil War veteran Jack Swilling moved to the area and dug canals where the Hohokam had theirs. As water returned to the area, more people moved in, and a town was born.
The phoenix is a creature of myth. It’s a bird that dies in a burst of flame and then is born again from the ashes. Because the town sprang up where the Hohokam once lived, it was named Phoenix.
As more white settlers made the area their home, Native Americans were pushed from their lands. Eventually, many of the tribes were moved to reservations. Arizona has more tribal land than anywhere else in the United States. As the 48th state in the Union, it took a while for Phoenix to be recognized as the capital. On February 14, 1912, President William Howard Taft made it official.