The first documented European exploration of Arizona was in 1539: Spanish explorer Marcos de Niza became the first European to explore what is now Arizona in 1539. He claimed the area for Spain and named it "Arizona" after a Native American word meaning "silver-bearing."
La Paz County, located in the western part of Arizona, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The region was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Mohave and Quechan. These tribes thrived in the arid desert landscape, utilizing the Colorado River for irrigation and transportation.

The first European explorers to venture into the area were Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that La Paz County witnessed significant settlement. The discovery of gold along the Colorado River in 1862 led to a small mining boom, with prospectors flocking to the region in search of riches. The town of La Paz, which became the county seat, was founded during this time and served as a central hub for mining activities.

La Paz County played a significant role in the American Civil War. The region was contested between Confederate and Union forces, as control of the Colorado River was seen as crucial for transportation and military logistics. In 1862, the Confederate Arizona Territory was established, with its capital in La Paz. However, Union forces soon regained control, and the Confederate presence was eliminated by 1865.

With the decline of mining in the late 19th century, La Paz County faced economic challenges. Many of the once-thriving towns were eventually abandoned, and the population dwindled. However, the construction of Parker Dam and other water management projects in the 20th century brought renewed vitality to the region. Today, La Paz County is known for its recreational opportunities, including boating, fishing, and off-roading, as well as its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of La Paz County, Arizona.

  • 1862: La Paz County established as one of the four original Arizona counties.
  • 1870: Colorado River Indian Reservation established, covering a large portion of La Paz County.
  • 1871: Mining booms in La Paz County, particularly in the areas of La Paz and Quartzsite.
  • 1883: Completion of the Southern Pacific Railroad through the county, boosting transportation and trade.
  • 1912: Arizona becomes a state, and La Paz County remains one of the 14 original counties.
  • 1941: Construction of Parker Dam begins on the Colorado River, contributing to the county's economy.
  • 1965: Parker Dam completed, creating Lake Havasu and providing recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.
  • 1983: The town of Quartzsite becomes a popular destination for snowbirds during the winter months.
  • 2009: Historic floods hit La Paz County, causing significant damage to infrastructure and property.