This day in history: Grand Canyon national monument is created
On this day in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon a national monument. Today, nearly five million people visit the Grand Canyon National Park each year.
The 5,000-foot-deep canyon was home to Native Americans for centuries, and remained a mystery to non-natives throughout the European colonization of the Americas. Explorer Don Garcia Lopez de Cardenas was the first European to see the canyon as he traveled through the southwest in 1540 with the Spanish explorer Coronado.
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While other explorers also traveled to the rim of the canyon, few descended into vast depth of the valley until the 19th century. The creation of the Santa Fe railroad in 1901 provided a more convenient way to reach the canyon, spurring it's popularity as a destination for American tourists. According to History.com, by 1915, 100,000 visitors were arriving every year.
View majestic photos of the Grand Canyon below:
In order to preserved the canyon forever, President Theodore Roosevelt designated a part of the canyon a national monument in 1908. In 1932, congress made the canyon a national park, increasing its protection by blocking private development.
See the top ten National Parks in the United States:
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