History of The Grand Canyon

About 3,000 to 4,000 years ago archaeologists believe that the Desert Archaic people lived in the Grand Canyon. Evidence of this are small willow-twig effigies called “split - twig figurines.” These are animal figurines made from a single twig.

Many pictographs were made in the Grand Canyon. Made from a crude paint made of minerals mixed with plant juice and animal oils. Most of these pictures are to faded to tell what they were. Archaeologists believe they were used to communicate.

The Anasazi who had been occupying the lands east of the Canyon drifted in to the rim of the Canyon around 500A. D. At about 800A. D. the Anasazi entered the phase known as the Pueblo. Adobe house ruins in the Canyon show that Pueblo Indians lived in this area. Spaniards from Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s expedition were the first white men to discover the canyon in 1540. In the early 1800’s the only humans that went by the canyon were trappers and Indians. Settlement along the Canyon didn’t happen until about the mid-1800’s. A Mormon missionary group led by Jacob Hamblin. this group was looking for arable land to settle. In 1864 Hamblin and men used a raft to cross the Colorado River. in the south end. Despite this the Canyon was still very much unexplored.

Major John Wesley(1834-1902) a Civil War veteran along with ten other men set forth to explore the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. They came back a year later to explore the North Plateau. They made a second expedition through the Canyon 1872.

In the 1880’s there was a lot of live stock companies developing around the Canyon. In the 1890’s. There was an estimate of 100’000 head of cattle more than 250,000 sheep grazing the land.

Kaibab Nation Forest was established on the Kaibab Plateau in 1883. By 1906 when Grand Canyon National Preserve was founded most of the ranches were out of business. The grass the cattle and sheep ate was all gone.

James T. Owen was appointed the warden of the Grand Canyon National Preserve. He started a mountain lion hunting business. After about 12 years and around 600 mountain lions later began to buffalo ranch. By this time he was known as Uncle Jimmy. The buffalos preferred the lower regions of House rock Valley. In 1926 the buffalo were sold to the state of Arizona.

The first tourist facility was constructed in 1917. It was constructed on the North Rim. This facility was built W. W. Wylie. It provided minimal accommodations and was located near Bight Angle Point. At the time tourist camps were being built at Bryce Canyon and Zion. Stephen T. Mather was the first director of the National Parks first director. He encouraged the development so that people would visit these areas as well as the Grand Canyon. In 1919 congress made the preserve a national park. It established for future generations as a recreational resource. As well as recognizing to the regions scientific and geographical value.

Humans have been living in the Grand Canyon for around 4’000 years. Split twig figurines as mentioned before are the oldest evidence of humans presence. These figurines are found around the rim at the bottom of the canyon in caves. These figurines were made by the Indians of the desert culture.

The ancestral Puebloan people of the southwest United States made their homes in these four corners of the region. These ’four corners are where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona meet up. Their record in this region is a rich period of time from about 200 B. C. to around 1300 A. D.

The Havasupai people inhabited the inner canyon. This inner canyon was in a region west of Grand Canyon Village. In this remote, beautiful canyon corner sits the village of the Supai. The descendents of the people who have lived in the canyon for seven hundred years. This village is only accessible only by foot, pack animal, or from the river. This village is still heavily visited by tourists.

The Navajo people make one of the largest tribes in the United States. The Navajo live throughout the region and on the Navajo Reservation. The reservation borders the park to the east. The newcomers in this region are the descendents of the Athabascan peoples who had migrated into the southwest from the north in the 15th century.




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