Arizona was a hotbed of Old West outlaws: In the late 1800s, Arizona was a hotbed of Old West outlaws, including the likes of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the Clanton Gang. The infamous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, which involved Wyatt Earp and his brothers, took place in Tombstone, Arizona in 1881.
Santa Cruz County, located in southern Arizona, is rich in history and has a diverse cultural heritage. The area was inhabited by indigenous peoples, including the Hohokam, Mogollon, and Apache, for thousands of years before European settlement. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers and missionaries arrived in the region, bringing with them a new wave of colonization. They established mission churches and began to influence the native populations.

During the 19th century, Santa Cruz County became a significant part of the Arizona Territory. In the 1840s, the area saw an influx of American settlers during the Mexican-American War and the subsequent Gadsden Purchase in 1854. The arrival of miners, ranchers, and farmers contributed to the growth of towns like Tubac, founded in 1752 and one of the oldest settlements in Arizona.

By the late 1800s, the region was seeing rapid development, particularly driven by mining activities. The discovery of valuable minerals, such as gold, silver, and copper, attracted prospectors from across the country. Bisbee, a famous mining town, boomed during this time and became one of the largest cities in Arizona with a population of over 20,000 people.

In the modern era, Santa Cruz County continues to thrive. Its location along the US-Mexico border shapes its unique character. The county is home to several border crossing points, including Nogales, which has historically been a hub of trade and commerce. Today, Santa Cruz County is known for its beautiful landscapes, cultural festivals, and vibrant communities that celebrate its rich history and blend of cultures.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Santa Cruz County, Arizona.

  • 1848 - Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends the Mexican-American War, transferring the region including what would become Santa Cruz County from Mexico to the United States
  • 1853 - Santa Cruz County is established as one of the original four counties of the New Mexico Territory
  • 1863 - Arizona becomes a separate territory and Santa Cruz County becomes part of the new territory
  • 1899 - Nogales is incorporated as a town in Santa Cruz County
  • 1901 - The International Border Fence is built in Nogales to separate the US and Mexico
  • 1912 - Arizona becomes a state and Santa Cruz County remains part of the new state
  • 1933 - Tubac Presidio State Historic Park is established to preserve the historic Spanish presidio and promote cultural tourism in the region
  • 1951 - Southern Arizona's first livestock auction takes place in Santa Cruz County
  • 1990 - The Arizona wine industry takes hold with the establishment of vineyards and wineries in Santa Cruz County
  • 2011 - The Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve is expanded to protect and restore critical habitat for endangered birds and other wildlife