History & Culture

Ancient History

The earliest known occupation of the Grand Canyon began some 11,500 ago. This time, known as the Paleo-Indian period, lasted around 3,000 years to the conclusion of the last ice age.

Due to changes in environment approximately 9,000 years ago, different environmental zones were expended all around the Southwest. These environment changes led the Paleo-Indian to create new survival strategies.

People in the area started experimenting with horticultural about 3,500 years ago. Maize agriculture was also developed during this time.

Around 1 A.D., Grand Canyon’s semi-sedentary residents started to create items like sandals and baskets as well as storage features such as granaries and cists. By A.D. 900 the Puebloan people had started cultivating maize along the river corridor. Non-Puebloan people had also inhabited Grand Canyon’s river corridor by 1300 A.D.

It is not just the indigenous populations that were the historic occupants of the Grand Canyon. These included excursions by Spanish Missionaries as well as entrepreneurs interested in mining and tourism.

Administrative History

Federal protection was afforded to the Grand Canyon in 1893, first as a forest reserve and then as a national monument. It was not until 1919 that it received national park status. This was done three years after the National Park Service was created. Back in 1919, over 44,000 people visited the park. Today the Grand Canyon National Park attracts around 5 million visitors every year.

Archeological Resources

The oldest human man-made artifacts in the area are almost 12,000 years old, belonging to the Paleo-Indian period. More than 4,300 archeological resources have been recorded. The 11 tribes and ethnic groups associated with the area consider the management of these resources as a preservation of their heritage.

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The Grand Canyon features two great sites, namely the Grand Canyon National Park Research Library and Grand Canyon National Park Museum Collection.

Grand Canyon National Park Research Library

A wide-ranging collection of books, reports, government, periodicals and other documents can be found in the library. Checkout privileges are available for certain staff and students related to Grand Canyon’s administration and institutes, while Wi-Fi zone is available for everyone.

Grand Canyon National Park Museum Collection

The collection preserves important artifacts for exhibit and research purposes, playing an important role in the preserving of the area’s unique history and culture. You can find more than 900,000 objects across seven collections.

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