What Was the Last Contiguous State Admitted to the Union?

What Was the Last Contiguous State Admitted to the Union?

The United States of America, a country made up of 50 states, has seen several additions to its union over the years. The process of admitting new states to the union is a significant part of American history, reflecting geographic expansion, political negotiations, and cultural diversity. The last contiguous state to be admitted to the union was Arizona on February 14, 1912.

Arizona’s journey to statehood was not without its challenges and obstacles. It began as a part of New Mexico territory, which was acquired by the United States as a result of the Mexican-American War in 1848. The region was initially sparsely populated, with Native American tribes such as the Navajo, Apache, and Hopi residing there for centuries.

During the mid-19th century, the discovery of valuable mineral resources, including copper and silver, attracted settlers to the area. This led to an increase in population and economic development. However, conflicts between settlers and Native American tribes, as well as the lack of governmental organization in the region, created a need for a separate and organized territory.

As a result, the Arizona Territory was established on February 24, 1863. This territory encompassed the present-day state of Arizona, as well as parts of Nevada and New Mexico. The establishment of the territory was seen as a step towards statehood, as it provided a formal administrative structure and allowed for the implementation of territorial laws.

Despite this progress, Arizona faced various challenges on its path to statehood. One of the major obstacles was the ongoing issue of water rights, given that the region is mostly arid and relies on water sources from neighboring states. Additionally, political rivalries and disagreements between different factions within Arizona’s population further complicated the statehood process.

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It wasn’t until the early 20th century that Arizona made significant strides towards statehood. In 1910, an enabling act was passed by Congress, which allowed Arizona to draft a state constitution and submit it for approval. However, the proposed constitution faced opposition from the federal government due to concerns over provisions related to recall of judges and the initiative process.

After some revisions, a second constitution was drafted and approved by Arizona voters in 1911. It was then submitted to Congress, which finally passed the Arizona Statehood Act on June 20, 1910. This act granted statehood to Arizona, and it was officially admitted as the 48th state of the United States on February 14, 1912.

The admission of Arizona as a state brought numerous benefits and opportunities for its residents. It provided them with representation in Congress, allowing them to participate in the democratic processes of the nation. Statehood also brought federal funding and resources, enabling Arizona to invest in infrastructure, education, and public services.

Since its admission to the union, Arizona has experienced significant growth and development. Its diverse geography, ranging from deserts to forests, has made it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and tourists. The state is also known for its rich Native American culture, with multiple tribes still residing within its borders.


Q: Were there any other territories that became states after Arizona?
A: Yes, after Arizona, the next contiguous state to be admitted to the union was Alaska on January 3, 1959. Alaska is located in the northwest corner of North America and is separated from the contiguous United States by Canada.

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Q: How many states are there in total in the United States?
A: There are currently 50 states in the United States. Each state has its own constitution, government, and representation in Congress.

Q: What is the process for admitting a new state to the union?
A: The process for admitting a new state to the union is outlined in the United States Constitution. It involves several steps, including the approval of an enabling act by Congress, the drafting and approval of a state constitution by the prospective state, and the passage of an admission act by Congress.

Q: Why is Arizona known as the “Grand Canyon State”?
A: Arizona is known as the “Grand Canyon State” because it is home to the world-famous Grand Canyon, a natural wonder carved by the Colorado River over millions of years. The Grand Canyon attracts millions of visitors each year and is a symbol of Arizona’s natural beauty.

Q: Are there any other territories or regions that aspire to become states?
A: Yes, there are several territories and regions that aspire to become states, such as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. However, the process of becoming a state is complex and requires approval from Congress.