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For over 200 centuries, Tucson was home solely to Native Americans. The community then became the Frontera del Norte of New Spain for about 40 years and then part of the Republic of Mexico for about 30 years. In 1854, Tucson became part of the United States with the Gadsden Purchase (Treaty of Mesilla).

In 2000, the racial/ethnic breakdown of Metro Tucson (Pima County) was:
  • 61.48% White, Non-Hispanic, alone
  • 29.34% Hispanic (can be any race)
  • 2.85% Black/African American, alone
  • 2.59% Native American, alone
  • 1.97% Asian, alone
  • 0.11% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, alone
  • 0.12% Other, alone (self-identified)
  • 1.55% Two or more races

In 2000, Tucson was the 8th largest city in number of Native Americans. In 1990, the metro area was 23rd largest in number of Hispanics.

Tucson is a very diverse community and home to several hundred ancestry groups. Leading ancestry groups according to Census 2000 include: Mexican (24.4%); German (16.2%); Irish (10.6%); English (10.3%); other Latino groups (4.5); Italian (4.4%); American (4.1%); and French (3.1%). 

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Tucson has become Hawaii with no one racial/ethnic group having 50 percent or more of the population.

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