Mesa ( /mɛsə/ mes-ə) is a city in Maricopa County, in the U.S. state of Arizona and is a suburb located about 20 miles (32 km) east of Phoenix. Mesa is in the East Valley section of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. It is bordered by Tempe on the west, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community on the north, Chandler and Gilbert on the south, and Apache Junction on the east. As of the 2010 Census Mesa became Arizona's center of population.
Mesa is the third-largest city in Arizona, after Phoenix and Tucson, the 38th-largest city and largest suburb in the US. Despite being home to 439,041 as of 2010, reported by the Census Bureau, making its population larger than more recognizable cities such as Atlanta, Miami, Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Cleveland, Mesa is decidedly a bedroom community. Mesa is home to the Polytechnic campus of Arizona State University.
The history of Mesa dates back at least 2,000 years to the arrival of the Hohokam people. The Hohokam, whose name means "All Used Up" or "The Departed Ones", built the original canal system. The canals were the largest and most sophisticated in the prehistoric New World. Some were up to 90 feet (27 m) wide and ten feet deep at their head gates, extending for as far as 16 miles (26 km) across the desert. By A.D.1100 water could be delivered to an area over 110,000 acres (450 km2), transforming the Sonoran Desert into an agricultural oasis. By A.D.1450, the Hohokam had constructed hundreds of miles of canals many of which are still in use today.