The Grand Canyon is a large canyon with steep-sides located in the state of Arizona in the United States. The 446km (277 mi) long Grand Canyon is up to 29 km (18 mi) wide and has a maximum depth of about 1,800 m (6,000 ft). The impressive natural structure was carved by the Colorado River, which runs through the canyon. The Grand Canyon was made a National Monument in 1908 and eventually a National Park in 1919. It has long been a popular destination for local and international tourists and it remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country to this day. If you have ever wondered who discovered this popular landmark, keep reading to find out.
Who discovered the Grand Canyon?
Firstly, it must be said that Native Americans lived in the canyon and surrounding areas for thousands of years. It was even considered a holy site by one tribe. The first European to view the Grand Canyon is believed to be Spanish explorer García López de Cárdenas. He was sent by Francisco Vázquez de Coronado to search for the rumored “Seven Cities of Gold” (called “Cíbola”) and a large river reported to the north of this region with Native American guides and a group of soldiers. After about 20 days Cárdenas, who reached the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, had discovered the river. He sent men to try and reach the water, but they only made it a third of the way down and returned due to thirst. After a number of attempts he eventually abandoned attempts to reach the canyon floor. Amazingly, the Grand Canyon was not visited again by Europeans for more than 200 years!
Did you know?
The first expedition down the canyon came in 1869 and was led by Major John Wesley Powell. His group passed down the Colorado River into the Grand Canyon. Powell was the first to use the term Grand Canyon and before this time it was known as the Big Canyon.