Monday, August 1

The 34th parallel north

My, my. I just discovered that parts of Arizona were once considered to be part of the Confederacy.

A brief Arizona history, said in my best schoolmarm voice:

  • The Gadsden Purchase was a 29,670-square-mile region (an area the size of Scotland) of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that was purchased by the United States on Dec. 30, 1853, with final approval by Mexico on June 8, 1854. The purchase included lands south of the Gila River in Arizona and west of the Rio Grande in New Mexico.
  • The Arizona Territory, CSA was claimed between Aug. 1, 1861 and 1865 by the Confederate States of America. It consisted of the portion of the New Mexico Territory south of the 34th parallel north. Its capital was Mesilla until July 1862, when the government moved to El Paso, Texas, where it remained for the rest of the war. The Confederate territory overlapped, but was not identical to, the Arizona Territory created by the United States in 1863.
  • The U.S. Territory of Arizona was a territory of the United States that existed from February 1863 until Feb. 14, 1912, when it was admitted to the Union as the 48th state.
  • The two territories played a significant role in the western campaign of the American Civil War. Several small skirmishes were fought in Arizona Territory, but its "major" battle was at Picacho Peak near Tucson on April 15, 1862. It was fought between a Union cavalry patrol from California and a party of Confederate pickets from Tucson, and marks the westernmost battle of the American Civil War.

Incidentally, parts of Arizona still want to secede to form a new U.S. state, potentially named Gadsden or Baja Arizona. The first significant political push to that effect began in February 2011, led by a group opposing Republican dominance in the north in contrast to the Democrats of the south. The organizers of this movement aim to hold a vote on the matter in 2012 in Pima County and possibly Santa Cruz County.

I'll just make sure I stay north of the
34th parallel north if I go back to Arizona. Today, the 34th parallel north essentially divides Arizona in half from west to east. It's just north of Phoenix at Wickenburg, and just south of Black Canyon City, Pinetop/Lakeside and Springerville/Eagar.

Oh, and I'll have my papers with me at all times, too.

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