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Phoenix is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. State of Arizona. With 1,615,017 people (as of 2016), Phoenix is the fifth most populous city nationwide, the most populous state capital in the United States, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.
Settled in 1867 as an agricultural community near the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers, Phoenix incorporated as a city in 1881. Located in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has a subtropicaldesert climate. Despite this, it’s canal system led to a thriving farming community, many of the original crops remaining important part of the Phoenix economy for decades, such as alfalfa, cotton, citrus, and hay (which was important for the cattle industry). Cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper were known locally as the “Five C’s” of Phoenix’s economy. These industries remained the driving forces of the city until after World War II, when high-tech companies began to move into the valley and air conditioning made Phoenix’s hot summers more bearable.
The city averaged a four percent annual population growth rate over a 40-year period from the mid-1960s to the mid-2000s. This growth rate slowed during the Great Recession of 2007–09, and has rebounded slowly. Phoenix is the cultural center of the Valley of the Sun, as well as the entire state.