Phoenix is not only Arizona’s capital, but it is also the most crowded city in the state. With an area of 517.9 square miles, Phoenix is the biggest city in Arizona. As of 2018, there are more than 1,660,000 people living in the city. Because of this, Phoenix became the only state capital in the country that has over a million residents.
Phoenix is an integral part of the Phoenix metropolitan area, or more popularly known as Metro Phoenix. Being the 11th biggest metropolitan area in terms of population, the Metro Phoenix consists of roughly 4.73 million residents in 2017.
Back in 1867, Phoenix started out as an agricultural settlement. Even though Phoenix experiences a hot desert climate, farming has been a sustainable source of income. Producing crops like hay, citrus, and cotton has powered Phoenix’s economy for years. Phoenix was most known for its “Five C’s” namely: cotton, citrus, cattle, copper, and climate.
On May 4, 1868, the Yavapai County acknowledged Phoenix as a town, and it had its very first post office a month after. The Maricopa County was formed on February 12, 1871, and thus, separating the Yavapai County territories.
It was Ulysses Grant who processed the patent for the new town. By 1875, the town had its own post office, 4 dance ballrooms, and 16 taverns. Five years after, its population grew to having 2,453 residents. In 1881, the Phoenix Charter Bill was passed, making Phoenix officially a city.
Phoenix was incorporated on February 25, 1881. Soon after, it became the capital of the Arizona Territory in 1889. Under the presidency of William Taft, Phoenix was recognized as a state capital of Arizona.
In 1913, Phoenix shifted to having a council-manager system. After Arizona became a state, Phoenix’s population skyrocketed. It only had 2,500 residents when it first started. Eight years later, there were already 29,053 people living in the city.
The first skyscraper in Phoenix was the Heard Building. Scenic Airways opened Sky Harbor in 1929. This multiplied the city’s population, and there were nearly 50,000 residents. In the 1930s, the Phoenix metropolitan area had another nickname as part of a marketing campaign to lure tourists in.
It was called “The Valley of the Sun.” However, the Phoenix started to become an industrial city. It was known as a distribution center during WWII. Eventually, it became the bases for the air force, and there was a pilot training camp in the nearby Scottsdale.
After World War II, tech companies started to move to the city. Companies like Motorola move their base for military electronics in Phoenix, and soon after, other high-tech companies such also moved to the Metro Phoenix area. This triggered an average of 4% population growth rate every year since the 1960s.
Phoenix was beginning to gain popularity as a cultural center of Arizona. What started out as a small town transformed into the country’s 6th largest city. In 2010, Phoenix’s population was roughly 1.5 million residents. In recent years, progress in the downtown Phoenix ignited and the public expressed their interest, which prompted the development of numerous businesses, stores, and restaurants flourishing in the City of Phoenix.