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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Grand Canyon

Though Native Americans lived in the area as early as the thirteenth century, the first European sighting of the Grand Canyon in Arizona wasn't until 1540 by the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado.

Because the Grand Canyon was remote and difficult to navigate, centuries passed before it was fully explored by American settlers. In 1869, geologist John Wesley Powell led a group of ten men in the first difficult journey down the rapids of the Colorado River and along the length of the 277-mile gorge in four rowboats.

By the end of the 19th century, the Grand Canyon was attracting thousands of tourists each year. One visitor was President Theodore Roosevelt, a New Yorker with a particular affection for the American West. On January 11, 1908, Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon a national monument, protecting its 800,000 acres from private development.

Congress did not officially outlaw private development in the Grand Canyon until February 26, 1919, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Grand Canyon National Park Act., establishing most of the Grand Canyon as a United States National Park.

Kenton "Factor" Grua (1950 – 2002) was a Grand Canyon river guide. He was the first person in recorded history to hike through the Grand Canyon's entire length. Grua reached the end of the canyon, Grand Wash Cliffs, on April 4, 1977, exactly five weeks after he had begun.

In 1983, Grua set the speed record for rowing through the canyon in 37 hours, which has yet to be broken.

American daredevil Nik Wallenda became the first man to successfully walk across the Grand Canyon on a tight rope on June 23, 2013. He crossed the Little Colorado River outside Grand Canyon National Park.

The Grand Canyon National Park is home to several Indian tribes, and the Zuni (a Puebloan tribe) still consider the Grand Canyon to be a sacred site.

Thanks to the range of elevations found in the Grand Canyon, it's fertile ground for a wide variety of wildlife, and boasts more than 1,500 types of plant and over 500 types of animal.

The Grand Canyon is about 1800 meters deep. That's more than twice the height of the world's largest skyscraper (the Burj Khalifa in Dubai),

The Grand Canyon can hold around 900 trillion footballs.

If every human alive today was piled into the Grand Canyon, we wouldn't fill it up — not even close.

There have been more than 600 deaths in the Grand Canyon since the 1870s.

The floor of the Grand Canyon can reach 40 degrees Celsius.

Hollywood movies as diverse as Bride and Prejudice, Thelma and Louise, Transformers and National Lampoon's Vacation have all been set at the Grand Canyon.

Today, the Grand Canyon is visited by more than five million people each year.


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