The history of Mesa dates back two thousand years to the Hohokam Indians. The Hohokam, whose name means the Departed Ones, built the original canal system that spread over 125 miles and is still used today.
With the exception of the decade of the 1920’s, when the cotton prices plummeted, Mesa increased by at least 79% every decennial census through 1990. In 1990 the census showed Mesa to have the highest growth rate of any city over 100,000 in the United States; the population grew 89% from 152,404 in 1980 to 288,091 in 1990. In 2000 Mesa’s population is approximately 404,000, over 100,000 people more than in 1990. The mild winter climate, beautiful environment, and strong economic conditions attract more residents every year. From humble beginnings, Mesa has developed into the third largest city in Arizona and the 46th largest city in the United States. The Census Bureau now designates the Valley as the Phoenix-Mesa Metropolitan Statistical Area. Mesa’s pioneers might not recognize the present-day city, but surely would be proud of what they began.