Yuma Sun - Visiting In Yuma
A LOOK AT YUMA’S HISTORY
The Yuma area has a long history, thanks in large part to the Yuma Crossing,a constricted,low-lying stretch of the Colorado River.
Prehistoric tribes,looking for a way to cross the river,found the Crossing thousands of years ago,and eventually settled in the area.
The area was unknown to Europeans until 1540, when Capt. Hernando de Alarcon led an expedition of Spanish soldiers up the Colorado River. He reached the Yuma Crossing,making him the first European in the area,but he turned back.
By 1848, however, the Yuma Crossing was known as an easy place for settlers to cross the Colorado on their way to California as part of the Gold Rush.With that came the steamboats, which populated the river until the dams were built.
In 1852,the U.S.Army established Fort Yuma on Indian Hill, overlooking the Yuma Crossing.The Army’s arrival brought about the development of the Colorado City town site, later known as the city of Yuma.
In 1854, nearly 30,000 square miles, including present-day Yuma and Yuma County, were acquired by the United States from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase, which was ratified by the U.S. Senate on April 25, 1854, and signed by President Franklin Pierce.Arizona became a state in 1912.
Disaster struck Colorado City in 1862, when floods washed away the town site.The area was rebuilt,and renamed Arizona City.
Two years later,in 1864,the U.S.Army established the Quartermaster Depot to oversee the distribution of supplies brought up the Colorado from the Sea of Cortez to Army troops in the West.
In 1871,Arizona City was formally incorporated,and in 1873,it was renamed Yuma.
In 1875, the Arizona Territorial Legislature allocated for the Territorial Prison in Yuma,which opened its doors to the first inmates in July of 1876. Over the next 33 years,it housed 3,069 inmates.After the inmates were transferred out in 1909,the facility housed the Yuma High School from 1910 to 1914.