Prehistoric Presence. Through the presence of fossils, stone tools and pottery, petroglyphs, and ruins, historians believe that Mogollon, Hohokam and Anasazi Indians all populated this area from 800 BC – 1450 BC, but disappeared more than a thousand years ago for unknown reasons. The western Apache Indians took their place around 1500 and were here when the first Europeans began making forays into the region.
Explorers. Spanish exploration of the vicinity began after Cortez conquered Mexico for Spain in 1521. In 1540, Francisco Vazquez de Coronado led an expedition through Arizona in search of the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola. It is believed that Coronado’s expedition traveled the route now memorialized as the Coronado Trail National Scenic Byway (US 191). Other Spanish and Mexican explorers made note of expansive copper deposits in the area in the early 1800’s, but they were more interested in other minerals and the Apaches made the area too dangerous.