Donald T. Garate, an interpreter and historian for the National Park Service, found evidence that the name Arizona may be of Basque origin. According to his research, Arizona was originally a rancheria or village established by Bernardo de Urrea sometime between 1734 and 1736. When silver was discovered nearby, the name Arizona became much more noteworthy.
- Arizona, as a Basque word, would mean “good oak.”
- The theory that Arizona was of Basque origin was originally proposed in 1979 by William Douglass, founder of what is now the Center for Basque Studies.
- The alternate theory is that Arizona comes from a Native American language, O’odham, phrase al? ?onak, meaning “small spring.”