The Southwest is America's untamed playground, luring adventurous travelers with thrilling red-rock landscapes, the legends of shoot-’em-up cowboys and the kicky delights of green chile stew. Reminders of the region’s Native American heritage and hardscrabble Wild West heyday dot the landscape, from enigmatic pictographs and abandoned cliff dwellings to crumbling Hispanic missions and rusty mining towns.
Today, history making continues, with astronomers and rocket builders peering into star-filled skies while artists and entrepreneurs flock to urban centers and quirky mountain towns.
Traditionally, the Southwest comprises of 8 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. There are some differences in climate and terrain. The mountain areas are cool and experience precipitation for example, while the low-lying desert areas are very hot and dry, but there is a common history that binds the American Southwest.
One of the earliest groups of migrants to the Americas, the Clovis people, settled in the Southwest about 13,000 years ago then mysteriously disappeared 3,000 years later. Future groups proved more lasting, establishing societies based on agriculture. Some of the larger and more popular tribes of Native Americans in the Southwest are the Navajo, Apache, Hopi, and the Ute. The Utes lived in what is now Utah, which gets its name from this group of people. Corn, a grain first domesticated in Central America, became vital to the Native American diet and allowed these populations to grow. The Navajo are still the largest group of indigenous people with a population of over 300,000.