Thursday, February 12, 2015

Grand Canyon in modern history

Archaeological studies show humans have periodically settled the Grand Canyon, but no one resided in the canyon except during favorable climate periods. The first immigrants to the Grand Canyon area were ancestors of today’s Indian people. However, because of continual movements, the India groups near the Grand Canyon now are not thought to be direct descendants of earlier residents.

The first record of humans in the Southwest dates to about 9500 to 9000 BC. These people, known as Paleo-Indian, hunted wooly mammoths, camels, and other large grazing animals that flourish in the region at the close of the last ice age.

Europeans saw the canyon for the first time in September of 1540. Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado believed that seven cities of gold lay in the northern interior of New Spain and although several effort had proved fruitless.

John Wesley Powell’s journey inaugurated a wave of expeditions to map and explore Grand Canyon.  Between river trips Powell conducted scientific expeditions along the rim, but these excursions were only temporary.

Most of the South Rim’s early settlers were miners searching for riches in the depths of Grand Canyon.

Northern Mohave county was first settled by Mormon pioneers sent from Salt Lake City by Brigham Young in the 1860s. The early settlers overcame attacks by Paiute and other local Indian tribes and became firmly established on the lands.

Starting in the mid-1890s, people began arriving at Grand Canyon for no other reason than a visit, relax and take in the views.  The tourist era began with the completion of a railroad across northern Arizona. By 1882, railroad lines had spawned the communities of Flagstaff, Williams, and Peach Springs.

Before 1963, when Glen Canyon Dam closed, fewer than 100 people had boated through Grand Canyon. By 1967 some 2000 tourists were on the river, and by 1972, 16,400, the National Park Service found it necessary to regulate access with permits.
Grand Canyon in modern history

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