A portraiture of Arizonas' people, places, wildlife, and things
that make it unique.
by photographer Jason Robert O'Kennedy
The area that is now southern Arizona & northern Mexico was known by the Spanish as the Pimería Alta, or Upper Pima Country, named after the natives of the area whom the Spanish called Pima.
In 1737, a report by the Spanish/Basque Explorer, Captain Juan Bautista de Anza (father of the Anza Trail) mentioned that a slab of silver weighing more than 2,500 pounds was discovered in Pimería Alta,
"…between the Guevavi Mission and the ranchería called Arissona (entre: la Miss.n de Guebabi, y la ranchería del Arissona ¹ )."
Shortly prior to the discovery between 1734 and 1736, Bernardo de Urrea, a native Mexican of Basque heritage, the Governor and Captain General of the Provinces of Sonora and Sinaloa, established the ranchería, south of the present-day international border in México — about forty miles southwest of Tumacácori . He named it Ranchería de Arissona (Baq.Eus. Ranch of “the Good Oak Tree”).
Because of fascination and romance of silver, the ranchería soon quickly became a place of note attracting Europeans to colonize the area. Upon arrival to the region, eager would-be miners would ask the locals, “where are the planchas de plata” (Sp. silver plates) — a common response was to point and reply, “…north of the ranchería, Arissona.”
Quickly, Arizona, a corruption of the Basque word Arissona, became synonymous with the region for it's bountiful silver bolas y planchas (Sp. balls & plates).
Arizona Today is known for its desert climate, with very hot summers and mild winters. But most are unaware to how much more Arizona has to offer; Northern Arizona features forests of Ponderosa Pine — the largest single-stand in the world, Douglas fir, spruce trees, and Aspen brought by German settlers; the Colorado Plateau; mountain ranges (such as the San Francisco Mountains, Arizona’s highest); as well as large, deep canyons, with much more moderate summer temperatures and significant winter snowfalls. There are ski resorts in the areas of Flagstaff, Alpine, and Tucson. In addition to the internationally known Grand Canyon National Park, which is one of the world's seven natural wonders, there are six national forests — Tonto N.F., the country’s largest, three national parks, and twenty-two national monuments — the most in the U.S.
: Garate, Donald T. "Arizona-Never Arizonac"