History Of The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is a natural wonder of the world and is located in the plateaus of Colorado, Arizona. This site is one of the rare places which stand proof of approximately 3 to 4 eras of the past geological time. This land is semi-arid consisting of many raised plateaus and basins. The Colorado River winds through the basin.
When observed intently, one can see proof of the fact that the river flowed through different layers during different times thus carving the gorge. Along with the wind, the river eroded the rocks to form the canyon. It is hard to believe that the river once flowed on the top layer of the canyon looking at the depth at which it flows now. Different layers are distinct and display the conditions that prevailed in different time periods. The sediments speak of the type of earth that was available during those times like rocky, sandy, muddy or volcanic.
The earliest civilization that resided here were the Paleolithic hunters, approximately 10,000 years ago. The archeological findings and fossil remains prove that the hunters lived till around 1000 BC. The pottery found dates back to almost 4,000 years.
The Puebloans settled here around 500 AD. Unlike paleo-hunters, they cultivated land and grew corn. They continued hunting animals like deer, big-horned sheep, and rabbits and also made baskets. This skill led to them being called’ Basket Makers’. Archeologists have unearthed almost 2,000 Puebloanic sites in the canyon.
By 1200 AD, Native Americans abandoned this site and moved en-mass due to prolonged drought. By 1300 AD, Cerbat, who are ancestors of the Hualapai and Havasupai tribes, moved in. By 1400 AD, the Navajo and the Dines settled here. Reserved location for the Navajo tribes still exists in the eastern part of the canyon.
The first explorers of this area were led by Lt. Joseph Ives in mid 1800 AD. In 1869, John Wesley Powell was the first to raft through the waters of the canyon. Another expedition by him in 1871gave a whole lot of valuable information about the unexplored canyon. The name Grand Canyon was coined by Powell.
By 1870 to 1880, discovery of minerals like zinc, copper, lead and asbestos led to mining in this area. The difficulty in mining versus more profitable options like lodging, tourism, construction of rail and road -ways forced many to abandon mining. This site was declared as a National Park by 1919. The rims of this canyon have attracted hordes of tourists ever since.
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