Recorded by Europeans, the history of Arizona began in 1539 with the first documented explorations of the area by Marcos de Niza and Francisco Vásquez de Coronado. Arizona was part of Mexico until 1848, yet the United States took possession of most of it after the Mexican-American War. The Gadsden Purchase secured the southern part of the state in 1853 and Arizona became a U.S. state on February 14, 1912.
The flag of Arizona consists of 13 rays of red and weld-yellow on the top half, the colors of the flag of Spain, representing the 13 original states. The red and yellow also symbolize Arizona's picturesque sunsets. The copper star represents the copper mining industry in Arizona. The rest of the flag is colored blue, representing liberty.