Arizona is the 48th state and last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the Union, achieving statehood on February 14, 1912, coinciding with Valentine's Day. Historically part of the territory of Alta California in New Spain, it became part of independent Mexico in 1821. After being defeated in the Mexican–American War, Mexico ceded much of this territory to the United States in 1848. The southernmost portion of the state was acquired in 1853 through the Gadsden Purchase.
The state's name appears to originate from an earlier Spanish name, Arizonac, derived from the O'odham name alĭ ṣonak, meaning "small spring", which initially applied only to an area near the silver mining camp of Planchas de Plata, Sonora. To the European settlers, their pronunciation sounded like Arissona. The area is still known as alĭ ṣonak in the O'odham language. Another possible origin is the Basque phrase haritz ona ('the good oak'), as there were numerous Basque sheepherders in the area. A native Mexican of Basque heritage established the ranchería (village) of Arizona between 1734 and 1736 in the current Mexican state of Sonora, which became notable after a significant discovery of silver there, c. 1737.
There is a misconception that the state's name originated from the Spanish term Árida Zona ("Arid Zone").