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Yuma, Arizona

HistoryEdit Fort Yuma, California, circa 1875 Steamboats on the Colorado River at Yuma, circa 1880 Yuma Crossing in 1886. The railway bridge over the Colorado River was built in 1877. The area's first settlers were Native American tribes whose descendants now occupy theCocopah and Quechan reservations. In 1540, expeditions under Hernando de Alarcon andMelchior Diaz visited the area and immediately saw the natural crossing of the Colorado River as an ideal spot for a city, as the Colorado River narrows to slightly under 1,000 feet wide in one small point. Later military expeditions that crossed the Colorado River at theYuma Crossing include Juan Bautista de Anza (1774), the Mormon Battalion (1848) and the California Column (1862). During and after the California Gold Rush to the late 1870s, the Yuma Crossing was known for its ferry crossings for the Southern Emigrant Trail, the gateway to California, as it was one of the few natural spots where travelers could cross the otherwise very wide Colorado River. First settlementsEdit Following the establishment of Fort Yuma, two towns sprang up 1 mile down river. The one on the California side was called Jaeger City, named after the owner of Jaeger's Ferry that crossed the river there. It was for a time the larger of the two, with the Butterfield Overland Mail office and station, two blacksmiths, a hotel, two stores, and other dwellings.[7] The other called Colorado City, a land speculation by Charles Poston and site of the custom house, sprang up on the south side of the Colorado River in what is now Arizona, but at that time was just north of the border between Sonora, Mexico and California. After theGadsden Purchase it bordered on the Territory of New Mexico, that became the Territory of Arizona in 1863. The Colorado City site at the time was duly registered in San Diego, demonstrating that both banks of the Colorado River just below its confluence with the Gilawere recognized as being within the jurisdiction of California. The county of San Diegocollected taxes from there for many years.[7][8] From 1853 a smaller settlement, Arizona City, grew up on the high ground across from the fort and was organized under the name of its post office in 1858. It had adobe dwellings, two stores and two saloons. Colorado City and Jaeger City were almost completely destroyed by the Great Flood of 1862 and had to be rebuilt on higher ground and Colorado City became part of Arizona City.[7][9] It took the name Yuma in 1873. Early developmentEdit From 1854, Colorado City was the major steamboat stop on the way up and down the Colorado River. After the 1862 flood, it became Arizona City. The steamboats transported passengers and equipment for the various mines and military outposts along the Colorado; Colorado City was the terminus of wagon traffic up the Gila River into New Mexico Territory. They offloaded the cargo from ships at the mouth of the Colorado River atRobinson's Landing and from 1864 at Port Isabel. From 1864, the Yuma Quartermaster Depot, today a state historic park, supplied all forts in present-day Arizona, as well as large parts of Colorado and New Mexico. After Arizona became a separate territory, Yuma became the county seat for Yuma County in 1871, replacing La Paz its first county seat. The Southern Pacific Railroad bridged the river in 1877, and acquired George Alonzo Johnson's Colorado Steam Navigation Company, the only steamboat company on the river. Yuma became the new base of navigation on the river, ending the need for Port Isabel, which was abandoned in 1879. The warehouses and shipyard there were moved to Yuma.

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