Four Corners

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The Four Corners region is the red circle in this map. The Four Corners states are highlighted in orange. Four Corners.svg
The Four Corners region is the red circle in this map. The Four Corners states are highlighted in orange.
False-color satellite image of the Four Corners. Bright red lines are vegetation along the major rivers of the area. Fourcorners Aster 2001.jpg
False-color satellite image of the Four Corners. Bright red lines are vegetation along the major rivers of the area.
A young Navajo boy on horseback in Monument Valley. The Navajo Nation includes much of the Four Corners area, including the valley, used in many western movies. Navajo (young boy) 2007.jpg
A young Navajo boy on horseback in Monument Valley. The Navajo Nation includes much of the Four Corners area, including the valley, used in many western movies.
Flags surrounding the Four Corners Monument. In clockwise order starting from the frontmost flag, the state flag of Arizona, Flag of the Navajo Nation (twice), Utah, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation, Colorado, New Mexico, Navajo Nation (third instance), and the flag of the United States of America Four Corners Monument (1).jpg
Flags surrounding the Four Corners Monument. In clockwise order starting from the frontmost flag, the state flag of Arizona, Flag of the Navajo Nation (twice), Utah, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation, Colorado, New Mexico, Navajo Nation (third instance), and the flag of the United States of America
The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, now a heritage railway, formerly connected the Four Corners area to the national rail network. DurangoSilverton1.jpg
The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, now a heritage railway, formerly connected the Four Corners area to the national rail network.
Bluff, Utah and Comb Ridge from the air. Bluff UT - aerial with San Juan River and Comb Ridge.jpg
Bluff, Utah and Comb Ridge from the air.

The Four Corners is a region of the United States consisting of the southwestern corner of Colorado, southeastern corner of Utah, northeastern corner of Arizona, and northwestern corner of New Mexico. The Four Corners area is named after the quadripoint at the intersection of approximately 37° north latitude with 109° 03' west longitude, where the boundaries of the four states meet, and are marked by the Four Corners Monument. It is the only location in the United States where four states meet. Most of the Four Corners region belongs to semi-autonomous Native American nations, the largest of which is the Navajo Nation, followed by Hopi, Ute, and Zuni tribal reserves and nations. The Four Corners region is part of a larger region known as the Colorado Plateau and is mostly rural, rugged, and arid. In addition to the monument, commonly visited areas within Four Corners include Monument Valley, Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Canyon, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The most populous city in the Four Corners region is Farmington, New Mexico, followed by Durango, Colorado.

Colorado State of the United States of America

Colorado is a state of the Western United States encompassing most of the southern Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains. It is the 8th most extensive and 21st most populous U.S. state. The estimated population of Colorado was 5,695,564 on July 1, 2018, an increase of 13.25% since the 2010 United States Census.

Utah A state of the United States of America

Utah is a state in the western United States. It became the 45th state admitted to the U.S. on January 4, 1896. Utah is the 13th-largest by area, 30th-most-populous, and 11th-least-densely populated of the 50 United States. Utah has a population of more than 3 million according to the Census estimate for July 1, 2016. Urban development is mostly concentrated in two areas: the Wasatch Front in the north-central part of the state, which contains approximately 2.5 million people; and Washington County in Southern Utah, with over 160,000 residents. Utah is bordered by Colorado to the east, Wyoming to the northeast, Idaho to the north, Arizona to the south, and Nevada to the west. It also touches a corner of New Mexico in the southeast.

Arizona state of the United States of America

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

Contents

History

The United States acquired the four corners region from Mexico after the end of the Mexican–American War in 1848. In 1863 Congress created Arizona Territory from the western part of New Mexico Territory. The boundary was defined as a line running due south from the southwest corner of Colorado Territory, which had been created in 1861. This was an unusual act of Congress, which almost always defined the boundaries of new territories as lines of latitude or longitude, or following rivers. By defining one boundary as starting at the corner of another, Congress ensured the eventual creation of four states meeting at a point, regardless of the inevitable errors of boundary surveying. [1] The area was first surveyed by the U.S. Government in 1868 as part of an effort to make Colorado Territory into a state, the first of the Four Corners states formed. The first marker was placed at the spot in 1912. [2] The first Navajo tribal government was established in 1923 to regulate an increasing number of oil exploration activities on Navajo land. [3]

Mexican–American War Armed conflict between the United States of America and Mexico from 1846 to 1848

The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War and in Mexico as the Intervención estadounidense en México, was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848. It followed in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas, not formally recognized by the Mexican government, disputing the Treaties of Velasco signed by Mexican caudillo President/General Antonio López de Santa Anna after the Texas Revolution a decade earlier. In 1845, newly elected U.S. President James K. Polk, who saw the annexation of Texas as the first step towards a further expansion of the United States, sent troops to the disputed area and a diplomatic mission to Mexico. After Mexican forces attacked U.S. forces, Polk cited this in his request that Congress declare war.

Arizona Territory US 19th century-early 20th century territory

The Territory of Arizona was a territory of the United States that existed from February 24, 1863 until February 14, 1912, when the remaining extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Arizona. It was created from the western half of the New Mexico Territory during the American Civil War.

New Mexico Territory territory of the United States of America, 1850-1912

The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912, when the remaining extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of New Mexico, making it the longest-lived organized incorporated territory of the United States, lasting approximately 62 years.

Geography

The Four Corners Monument is located at 36°59′56.3″N109°02′42.6″W / 36.998972°N 109.045167°W / 36.998972; -109.045167 Coordinates: 36°59′56.3″N109°02′42.6″W / 36.998972°N 109.045167°W / 36.998972; -109.045167 . [4]

Four Corners Monument marks the quadripoint in the Southwestern United States

The Four Corners Monument marks the quadripoint in the Southwestern United States where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. It is the only point in the United States shared by four states, leading to the area being named the Four Corners region. The monument also marks the boundary between two semi-autonomous Native American governments, the Navajo Nation, which maintains the monument as a tourist attraction, and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation.

Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.

The Four Corners is part of the high Colorado Plateau. This makes it a center for weather systems, which stabilize on the plateau then proceed eastward through Colorado and into the central states. This weather system creates snow and rain fall over the central United States. [5]

Colorado Plateau plateau in the southwestern United States

The Colorado Plateau, also known as the Colorado Plateau Province, is a physiographic and desert region of the Intermontane Plateaus, roughly centered on the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States. This province covers an area of 336, 700 km2 (130,000 mi2) within western Colorado, northwestern New Mexico, southern and eastern Utah, and northern Arizona. About 90% of the area is drained by the Colorado River and its main tributaries: the Green, San Juan, and Little Colorado. Most of the remainder of the plateau is drained by the Rio Grande and its tributaries.

Federally protected areas in the Four Corners area include Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, Mesa Verde National Park, and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. Mountain Ranges in the Four Corners include Sleeping Ute Mountains, Abajo Mountains, and the Chuska Mountains. [6]

Canyon de Chelly National Monument national monument in Apache County, Arizona

Canyon de Chelly National Monument was established on April 1, 1931, as a unit of the National Park Service. Located in northeastern Arizona, it is within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation and lies in the Four Corners region. Reflecting one of the longest continuously inhabited landscapes of North America, it preserves ruins of the indigenous tribes that lived in the area, from the Ancestral Puebloans to the Navajo. The monument covers 83,840 acres and encompasses the floors and rims of the three major canyons: de Chelly, del Muerto, and Monument. These canyons were cut by streams with headwaters in the Chuska Mountains just to the east of the monument. None of the land is federally owned. Canyon de Chelly is one of the most visited national monuments in the United States.

Hovenweep National Monument

Hovenweep National Monument is located on land in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, between Cortez, Colorado and Blanding, Utah on the Cajon Mesa of the Great Sage Plain. Shallow tributaries run through the wide and deep canyons into the San Juan River.

Mesa Verde National Park U.S. national park in Colorado

Mesa Verde National Park is an American national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Montezuma County, Colorado. The park protects some of the best-preserved Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites in the United States.

Politics

Six governments have jurisdictional boundaries at the Four Corners Monument: the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, as well as the tribal governments of the Navajo Nation and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. [7] The Four Corners Monument itself is administered by the Navajo Nation Department of Parks and Recreation. [2] Other tribal nations within the Four Corners region include the Hopi and other Ute. [8] The Four Corners is home to the capital of the Navajo tribal government at Window Rock, Arizona. [3] The Ute Mountain Ute Tribal headquarters are located at Towaoc, Colorado. [9]

Navajo Nation Reservation

The Navajo Nation is a Native American territory covering about 17,544,500 acres, occupying portions of northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, and northwestern New Mexico in the United States. This is the largest land area retained by a Native American tribe, with a population of roughly 350,000 as of 2016.

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation

The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is one of three federally recognized tribes of the Ute Nation, and are mostly descendants of the historic Weeminuche Band who moved to the Southern Ute reservation in 1897. Their reservation is headquartered at Towaoc, Colorado on the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation in southwestern Colorado, northwestern New Mexico and small sections of Utah.

Hopi ethnic group

The Hopi are a Native American tribe, often recognized for populating the North American continent and in particular, Arizona. As of the 2010 census, there are 19,338 Hopi in the United States. The Hopi language is one of 30 in the Uto-Aztecan language family. The majority of Hopi people are enrolled in the Hopi Tribe of Arizona but some are enrolled in the Colorado River Indian Tribes. The Hopi Reservation covers a land area of 2,531.773 sq mi (6,557.26 km2).

Cities

The Four Corners region is mostly rural. The economic hub, largest city, and only metropolitan area in the region is Farmington, New Mexico. [10] The populated settlement closest to the center of Four Corners is Teec Nos Pos, Arizona. [11] Other cities in the region include Cortez and Durango in Colorado; Monticello and Blanding in Utah; Kayenta and Chinle in Arizona; and Shiprock, Aztec, and Bloomfield in New Mexico. [10]

Transportation

Air service is available via the Durango-La Plata County Airport in Durango, Colorado, Four Corners Regional Airport in Farmington, New Mexico, and Cortez Municipal Airport in Cortez, Colorado. Interstate 40 passes along the southern edge of the Four Corners region. The primary U.S. Highways that directly serve the Four Corners include U.S. Route 64, U.S. Route 160 (which serves the Four Corners Monument itself), U.S. Route 163, U.S. Route 191, U.S. Route 491 (previously U.S. Route 666 [12] ), and U.S. Route 550.

The main line of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, now operated by the BNSF Railway, passes along the southern edge of Four Corners. The area is home to remnants of through railroads that are now heritage railways. These include the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. The Black Mesa and Lake Powell Railroad, which connects a power plant with a coal mine near Kayenta, comes near the Four Corners. [6]

See also

Notes

  1. Hubbard, Bill, Jr. (2009). American Boundaries: the Nation, the States, the Rectangular Survey. University of Chicago Press. p. 164. ISBN   978-0-226-35591-7.
  2. 1 2 "Four corners Monument". Navajo Nation. Retrieved 2016-12-06.
  3. 1 2 "Welcome to the Navajo Nation". Navajo Nation. Retrieved 2016-12-06.
  4. "Four Corners PID AD9256" (text file). NGS Survey Monument Data Sheet. United States National Geodetic Survey. 2003-05-07. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
  5. Ward, Kathleen. "Rainmaker, Go North – Nebraska Needs Help, Too". Kansas State University Research and Extension. Archived from the original on September 12, 2006. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  6. 1 2 Arizona Road and Recreation Atlas (Map) (2004 ed.). 1:400,000. Benchmark Maps. 2004. § D3. ISBN   0-929591-84-4.
  7. "Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservation" (PDF). U.S. Department of Energy. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-06-26. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
  8. "Four Corners Indian Tribes". Farmington, New Mexico Convention and Visitors Bureau. Retrieved 2016-12-06.
  9. "Ute Mountain Ute Tribe – Overview and Statistics". Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
  10. 1 2 "Four Corners Area Map". Farmington, New Mexico Convention and Visitors Bureau. Archived from the original on September 24, 2007. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  11. "Google Maps". Google using data from Navteq . Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  12. Richard F. Weingroff. "U.S. 666: Beast of a Highway?". (USDOT  FHWA). Retrieved 2007-11-17.

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U.S. Route 160 highway in the United States

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U.S. Route 491 (US 491) is a north–south U.S. Highway serving the Four Corners region of the United States. One of the newest designations in the U.S. Highway System, it was created in 2003 as a renumbering of U.S. Route 666 (US 666). With the 666 designation, this road was nicknamed the "Devil's Highway" because of the significance of number 666 to many Christian denominations, which is believed by some that 666 is the Number of the Beast. This Satanic connotation, combined with a high fatality rate along the New Mexico portion, convinced some people the highway was cursed. The problem was compounded by persistent sign theft. These factors led to two efforts to renumber the highway, first by officials in Arizona, later in New Mexico. There have been safety improvement projects in recent years, and fatality rates have subsequently decreased.

San Juan River (Colorado River tributary) significant tributary of the Colorado River in the southwestern United States

The San Juan River is a major tributary of the Colorado River in the southwestern United States, providing the chief drainage for the Four Corners region of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. Originating as snowmelt in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, it flows 383 miles (616 km) through the deserts of northern New Mexico and southeastern Utah to join the Colorado River at Glen Canyon. The river drains a high, arid region of the Colorado Plateau and along its length it is often the only significant source of fresh water for many miles. The San Juan is also one of the muddiest rivers in North America, carrying an average of 25 million US tons of silt and sediment each year.

Hawkins Preserve is a 122-acre (0.49 km2) property within the city limits of Cortez, Colorado. It is protected by a conservation easement held by the Montezuma Land Conservancy.

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

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Navajo Mountain mountain

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Dinétah

Dinétah is the traditional homeland of the Navajo tribe of Native Americans. In the Navajo language, the word "Dinétah" means "among the people" or "among the Navajo". In the geographical sense, Dinétah encompasses a large area of northwestern New Mexico, southwestern Colorado, southeastern Utah, and northeastern Arizona. The boundaries are inexact, and are generally marked by mountain peaks which correspond to the four cardinal directions.

Navajo section

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Trail of the Ancients

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Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway (New Mexico)

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Bears Ears National Monument Protected area in Utah

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