The Apache Trail was built by prison labor: The Apache Trail is a scenic drive through the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix. The road was built in the early 1900s using prison labor from the nearby Yuma Territorial Prison.
Yuma County, located in the southwestern corner of Arizona, has a rich and diverse history that spans thousands of years. The area was first inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Quechan, Cocopah, and Hualapai, who made their homes along the Colorado River. They relied on the river for sustenance and developed a thriving agriculture-based economy.

In the mid-16th century, Spanish explorers arrived in the region, establishing their presence through the construction of Fort Yuma in 1850. This fort played a pivotal role in the California Gold Rush, as it served as a safe haven for travelers passing through the treacherous Colorado River. Its strategic location also made it a hub for trade and commerce.

During the late 19th century, Yuma County experienced a population boom as prospectors flocked to the area in search of gold and other precious minerals. The town of Yuma quickly developed into a bustling frontier outpost, with saloons, brothels, and other establishments catering to the rough and tumble nature of the time. The construction of the Southern Pacific Railroad in the 1870s further fueled growth and connected Yuma County to larger markets.

In the 20th century, Yuma County underwent significant changes with the expansion of agriculture and military presence. The fertile soil and abundant water resources along the Colorado River allowed for the cultivation of crops such as cotton, alfalfa, and fruits and vegetables. Today, Yuma County is known as the "Winter Vegetable Capital of the World," supplying a large portion of the nation's fresh produce during the winter months. The area also became a major military training ground with the establishment of the Yuma Proving Ground during World War II, which remains an important testing site to this day.

Overall, Yuma County's history reflects the resilience and adaptability of its inhabitants, from the Native American tribes who first settled the area to the pioneers and soldiers who shaped it into what it is today.

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

  • 1849: Yuma County is established as one of the original four counties of the Arizona Territory.
  • 1850: Fort Yuma is established by the United States Army near the present-day town of Yuma.
  • 1862: The Yuma Massacre occurs, resulting in the death of approximately 60 inhabitants of Yuma County.
  • 1864: Yuma County becomes part of the newly formed Arizona Territory.
  • 1870: The construction of the Yuma Territorial Prison begins, which would later become a famous historical site.
  • 1871: The city of Yuma is incorporated.
  • 1877: The first railroad bridge across the Colorado River is completed, connecting Yuma County to California and sparking economic growth.
  • 1909: The construction of the Laguna Dam is completed, bringing irrigation and agricultural development to Yuma County.
  • 1921: The Yuma Test Branch is established, later known as the Yuma Proving Ground and becoming a major military testing facility.
  • 1943: The Yuma Army Airfield is established, later becoming Yuma International Airport and serving as a major aviation hub.
  • 1984: The Quechan Casino Resort opens, becoming one of the area's notable attractions.
  • 2019: Yuma County celebrates its 170th anniversary as a county.