The Hopi appear to be the oldest of all any Native American tribes in the United States. There is evidence that they lived in New Mexico and Arizona in about 500 A.D. They irrigated desert lands and grew corn, vegetables, fruit and cotton.

The Spanish made contact with the Hopi in 1540. However, it was another 60 years before the Spanish made attempts to convert them to Christianity. In 1629 a Catholic Mission, San Bernadino at Awatobi. During this period the Hopi acquired horses, sheep and cattle. Contact with the Europeans also resulted in highly infectious diseases such as smallpox reducing the size of the population.

In 1848 the United States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe de Hidalgo. Hopi territory now became part of the United States.

The tribe did not resist the European settlers and in 1870 the first Hopi Indian Agent was appointed. In 1882 President Chester Arthur established a 2.5 million acre Hopi Reservation.