one of the original four counties designated by the
First Territorial Legislature. Until 1983, when voters decided to split
it into La Paz County in the north and a new Yuma County in the south,
it maintained its original boundaries.
48 years after Columbus discovered the New World, 18
years after the conquest of Mexico by Cortez and 67 years before the
settlement of Jamestown, Hemando de Alarcon visited the site of what is
now the city of Yuma. He was the first European to set foot in the area
and to recognize the best natural crossing of the Colorado River.
through the 1870s, steamboats on the Colorado River
transported passengers and goods to mines, ranches and military
outposts in the area, serving the ports of Yuma, Laguna, Castle Dome,
Norton’s Landing, Ehrenberg, Aubry, Ft. Mohave and Hardyville.
Yuma served as the gateway to the new western territory
of California. In 1870, the Southern Pacific Railroad bridged the
river, and Yuma became a hub for the railroad and was selected as the
County’s 5,519 square miles is desert land accented by
rugged mountains. The valley regions, however, contain an abundance of
arable land, which is irrigated with Colorado River water. Agriculture,
tourism, military and government are the county’s principal industries.
During the winter months, the population grows considerably with
pad-time residents. All of Yuma County is an Enterprise Zone.
of Land Management accounts for 42 percent of land
ownership; Indian reservations, less than 0.5 percent; the state of
Arizona, 5 percent; individual or corporate, 13 percent; and other
public lands, 40 percent.