1976 13¢ Arizona
State Flags Issue
Issue Date: February 23, 1976
City: Washington, DC
Quantity: 8,720,100 panes of 50
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Photogravure
Oregon And Arizona Become U.S. States
On February 14, 1859, Oregon was admitted to the Union. And 53 years later, so was Arizona. Let’s begin with Oregon’s road to statehood.
There was a large population of American Indians living in Oregon when the first Europeans arrived. Spanish sailors traveling from the Philippines to Mexico were probably the first white people to spot the coast of Oregon.
In the early 1800s, the Oregon region was defined as stretching from Alaska, which was controlled by Russia, to California, which was ruled by Spain. Oregon’s eastern boundary extended all the way to the Rocky Mountains. Russia, Spain, Great Britain, and the United States all made claims on this area. In 1819, Spain signed a treaty giving up its claim to territory north of latitude 42º, which is modern Oregon’s southern boundary. Russia relinquished its claims south of 54º 40’. However, the U.S. and Britain could not agree on a boundary, and signed an agreement by which citizens of both nations could settle in Oregon.
Methodist missionaries at Willamette Valley created the first permanent American settlement in Oregon in 1834. After this settlement was established, hundreds of Americans began pouring into the area every year, especially after the creation of the Oregon Trail. This put pressure on the U.S. and Britain to settle their boundary dispute. In 1844, James K. Polk ran for the U.S. presidency and based his campaign on the view that land south of 54º 40’ belonged to the U.S. The slogan “Fifty-Four Forty or Fight” became a big part of his campaign. Polk was elected President, and he signed a treaty with Great Britain fixing the 49th parallel as the main dividing line between the territories of the two nations in 1846.
Oregon settlers organized a provisional government in 1843 and became a territory five years later. In 1853, the Washington Territory was created, and Oregon received the boundaries it has today. The territory grew fast after the Donation Land Law of 1850 was passed. This law gave 320 acres of land to any U.S. citizen over 18 years old. With its population booming, Oregon was able to apply for statehood, which it received on February 14, 1859.
Now let’s travel south to Arizona, which was once home to the Anasazi – the ancestors of the Pueblo Indians. Stories of the Seven Cities of Cibola – said to contain great amounts of wealth – sent many Spanish explorers on futile quests into the region. A Franciscan priest, Marcos de Niza, was the first white person known to reach Arizona in 1539.
In 1752, the Spanish established the first white settlement at Tubac. When Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, Arizona became part of Mexico. The area changed hands again after the Mexican-American War, when most of Arizona became part of the U.S. Arizona settlers unsuccessfully attempted to become a distinct U.S. territory in the 1850s. Many settlers were from the South, and were sympathetic to the Confederacy when it was formed in 1861. When the Confederate government created the Confederate Territory of Arizona, it was largely a symbolic gesture.
U.S. Congress created the Arizona Territory in 1863, with roughly the same boundaries as the modern state. Despite the dangers presented by hostile Indians, Arizona grew in the years following the war. The territory’s economic growth was fueled by discoveries of gold and silver. Ingenuity also aided Arizona. Farmers began irrigating their fields as early as 1867. During the 1870s and ’80s, copper mines were developed. On September 30, 1877, the Southern Pacific Railroad connected Arizona to California, further enhancing the territory’s growth.
Around 1890, well-organized groups began to lobby Congress in an effort to achieve statehood. However, Congress refused to act for 20 years. In 1910, Arizona was allowed to create a state constitution and apply for statehood. This was done, but President William Howard Taft vetoed the bill that would have granted statehood. Taft was concerned the state constitution allowed for recall – a process through which voters could remove judges from office. Once this clause was taken out of the constitution, statehood was approved. Arizona finally achieved statehood on February 14, 1912. Soon after, the people amended their constitution to allow recall of judges.
The April 4, 2002 release of the Greetings From America sheet marked the first time a U.S. postage stamp was issued on the same day in every state.
The Greetings from America stamps are reminiscent of the large-letter greetings postcards that vacationing tourists of the 1930s and 1940s sent back home. In addition to the state name, each stamp contains images identified with that state.
The “Grand Canyon State” contains broad deserts, tall mountains, pine forests, and rich, irrigated cropland.
The state bird, flower, tree, capital, and date of statehood appear on the back of the liner release paper.
This is the fifth U.S. pane of 50 different stamps. The first to be issued was the State Flags pane in 1976, in honor of the nation’s bicentennial.
Issued as part of the ongoing Bicentennial celebration, the 13¢ State Flags pane was a first in U.S. history. This was the first time a pane with 50 face-different stamps was issued. Each state is represented by its official flag, with the stamps arranged on the sheet in the same order each state was admitted into the Union.
Arizona State Flag
The Arizona State Flag is based on an original design created for the Arizona National Guard Rifle Team in 1910. Colonel Charles Wilfred Harris worked with Carl Hayden, Arizona’s first representative in Congress, to create a banner that reflected Arizona’s history and values. Arizona achieved statehood on February 14, 1912. Colonel Harris, who was appointed as the Adjutant General of Arizona, used the rifle team flag as the model for the new state’s flag. The top half of the flag symbolizes the original 13 American colonies and the western setting sun. The copper star signifies Arizona’s status as the largest copper-producing state in the U.S. The red and yellow colors found in the rays of the setting sun represent the colors flown by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and the Spanish Conquistadors.
The Bicentennial Series
The U.S. Bicentennial was a series of celebrations during the mid-1970s that commemorated the historic events leading to America’s independence from Great Britain. The official events began on April 1, 1975, when the American Freedom Train departed Delaware to begin a 21-month, 25,338-mile tour of the 48 contiguous states. For more than a year, a wave of patriotism swept the nation as elaborate firework displays lit up skies across the U.S., an international fleet of tall-mast sailing ships gathered in New York City and Boston, and Queen Elizabeth made a state visit. The celebration culminated on July 4, 1976, with the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
The U.S.P.S. issued 113 commemorative stamps over a six-year period in honor of the U.S. bicentennial, beginning with the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission Emblem stamp (U.S. #1432). As a group, the Bicentennial Series chronicles one of our nation’s most important chapters, and remembers the events and patriots who made the U.S. a world model for liberty.