Founded in 1871, Phoenix is the capital of Arizona, situated in the biologically unique Sonoran Desert at an elevation of 1100 feet.
Why would anybody want to start a city in the middle of the desert? The answer is, surprisingly, agriculture. The Salt and Verde Rivers of central Arizona were exploited for large-scale agriculture by Native Americans as early as the 11th century. The area that now encompasses Phoenix was a center of the Hohokam culture, which built large canal systems and a network of towns and villages, whose remains may be viewed in the city to this day. The city's name reflects its status as a city "reborn from the ashes" of the previous settlement.
Due to the warm climate in winter, Phoenix benefits greatly from seasonal tourism and recreation, and has a particularly vibrant golf industry. Other activities include hiking at Camelback Mountain, South Mountain Park and many other parks around town, viewing amazing art and architecture in the Scottsdale and Paradise Valley area (including Frank Lloyd Wright works) and checking out one of the area's many professional and semi-professional sports teams.