The city was founded on the site of ancient Native American canals; hence its name, signifying a new town which had risen from the ruins of an old civilization. In 1868, pioneers developed what remained of the Native Americans' irrigation system; water was diverted from the Salt River, and farming began, supplemented by mining and ranching in the surrounding desert and mountains. The completion (1911) of the Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River brought power and abundant water to the community, and opened a new era of farming in the valley.
Phoenix grew as an important trade and distribution center. It boomed during World War II, when three airfields were opened. The phenomenal growth continued after the war; veterans who had been stationed in Phoenix returned to stay, and manufacturing concerns moved there to utilize the large labor supply. The expanding metropolitan area includes the suburbs of Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe, Glendale, Chandler, and Peoria, all of which are among the fastest-growing cities in the United States.
Among the area's many outstanding parks are the Desert Botanical Gardens, Camelback Mountain, and the nearby South Mountain Park, which has an active gold mine. Also in the area are a number of Native American communities and reservations, national monuments, and state parks. Among its museums are the Heard Museum, with Native American art of the Southwest; the Phoenix Art Museum; the Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum, with pioneer relics; the Pueblo Grande Museum, containing excavations of Native American ruins c.800 years old; and the Arizona Capitol Museum. Other attractions are the Phoenix Zoo, the Arizona Science Center, and the Mystery Castle, built of native rock.
Phoenix is the seat of the Univ. of Phoenix, Arizona State Univ. West, Grand Canyon Univ., and Southwestern College. It has a symphony orchestra, as well as opera and ballet companies. The Phoenix Suns play in the National Basketball Association, the Coyotes in the National Hockey League, and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League (baseball). The Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League play in nearby Tempe. Several major-league baseball teams have spring-training camps in the area.
See J. E. Buchanan, Phoenix: A Chronological and Documentary History, 1865-1976 (1978); G. W. Johnson Jr., Phoenix (1982); B. Luckingham, Phoenix: The History of a Southwestern Metropolis (1989).
In ancient Egypt and in classical antiquity, a fabulous bird associated with the worship of the sun. The Egyptian phoenix was said to be as large as an eagle, with brilliant scarlet and gold plumage and a melodious cry. Only one phoenix existed at a time, and it lived no less than 500 years. As its end approached, it built a nest of aromatic boughs and spices, set it on fire, and was consumed in the flames. From the pyre was born a new phoenix, which sealed its predecessor's ashes in an egg of myrrh and flew to Heliopolis to deposit them on the altar of the sun god. The phoenix thus symbolized immortality. Seealso fenghuang.
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(May 6, 1882) Assassination in Dublin of British officials. The newly arrived chief secretary of Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish, and his undersecretary, Thomas Burke, were walking in Dublin's Phoenix Park when they were stabbed to death by members of the Invincibles, a radical Irish nationalist secret society. The murders caused a revulsion against terrorism and enabled Charles Stewart Parnell to subordinate the Irish National League to the more moderate Home Rule Party in Parliament.
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Group of eight small coral atolls, Kiribati. Lying in the west-central Pacific Ocean 1,650 mi (2,650 km) southwest of Hawaii, the low, sandy atolls have a total land area of about 11 sq mi (28 sq km) and were discovered in the 19th century by U.S. whaling ships. Annexed by Britain in 1889, they were joined to the Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1937. They became part of independent Kiribati in 1979. Kanton is the only inhabited atoll.
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City (pop., 2000: 1,321,045), capital of Arizona, U.S. It is located on the Salt River. The river valley was occupied as early as AD 1300 by prehistoric Indians, now known as the Hohokam culture, who disappeared in the early 15th century. A village was founded on the site in 1867 and incorporated as a city in 1881. It became the territorial capital in 1889 and state capital in 1912. There was widespread expansion after World War II, with the population quadrupling between 1950 and 1960. Phoenix occupies a semiarid valley surrounded by mountains and irrigated fields; its economy is based on farming, manufacturing, mining, and tourism.
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