When the Spanish Empire crumbled in the early 1800s, a new people took control of this beautiful land. Mexico and the Mexican people now called this Arizona land their home. They enriched the Spanish culture with their own unique Mexican culture and brought new foods, art, and music. Mexican vaqueros would soon teach a people known as Americans how to work the wild cattle, thus starting the legend of the American cowboy. Arizona and Mexico have always been connected by the movement of people, goods, and ideas. We know that the Hohokam people had contact and traded with the Native peoples of the Valley of Mexico. We know that the Tohono O’odham people’s traditional homeland is found on both sides of the international border. The strong bond that has forever joined the two lands and their people continues at the beginning of the 21st century. Who were the later settlers? By the mid-1820s the Americans were arriving in this special land. First it was the mountain men, then the soldiers. Then in the 1850s it became the miners and finally the settlers. They came in wagons over the Gila Trail and on rafts floating down the Gila River. They came by the Butterfield stagecoach and by the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railroads. The Gila Trail was a common route that many American pioneers followed into Arizona and on to California. Chapter 16 • Arizona in the 21st Century  161