temples,and other eroded rock forms catch the contrast of sun and shadow and glow with changing hues of great beauty. Plant life on the canyon walls varies from subtropical at the base to subarctic near the rims. Hundreds of ancient pueblos dot the lower canyon walls and the rim. The Havasupai people still occupy a part of the canyon, and the Hualapai reservation encompasses much of the south rim. (The Hualapai now operate a visitors center, including a skywalk projecting over the canyon rim.) The first European to see the canyon was the Spanish explorer García López de Cárdenas in 1540. In 1869 the U.S. explorer John Wesley Powell became the first person to lead a party through the canyon bottom in a boat.
The Grand Canyon was set aside by the U.S. government in 1908 as a national monument. In 1919 an expanded area was designated
See S. Whitney, A Field Guide to the Grand Canyon (1987); J. W. Krutch, Grand Canyon (1989); S. J. Pyne, How the Canyon Became Grand (1998).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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