With nearly 10,000 years of human habitation by a diversity of cultural groups, the Verde Valley has a long and rich history to share. Archaeologists identify the Valley's first human habitants as belonging to the nomadic Clovis culture, followed by the more sedentary Hohokam from the south. The Sinagua entered the region from the north and constructed the Tuzigoot Pueblo and the cliff dwelling at Montezuma Castle around 1000 A.D., but abandoned the area in the early 1400s. While there is continuing dispute about the chronology, archaeologists generally place the arrival of the Yavapai around 1300, though their oral tradition suggests a much earlier time. The entrance of the Apache people is considered to have occurred between 1250 and 1450.
A band of Spanish soldiers traveled through the Camp Verde area in 1582-1583, twenty-five years before the founding of Jamestown. Other than the mention of the Verde Valley in several travel logs, there are few remaining artifacts from this period of brief Spanish contact.
White settlers arrived in 1865 and began farming along the Verde River and its tributaries, beginning with a 200-acre settlement at the confluence of the Verde River and West Clear Creek. Although many of the settlers came to the Valley to farm and ranch, a rich mineral strike in the Black Hills in the late 1870s attracted a wave of newcomers and resulted in the establishment of the towns of Jerome and Clarkdale.
Today Fort Verde State Historic Park, the Yavapai-Apache Cultural Department, the Camp Verde Historical Society Museum, and the Verde Valley Archaeology Center have all made it their mission to preserve and protect the legacies of these various cultures. Visitors are encouraged to visit these sites and discover what historically made Camp Verde and the Verde Valley such attractive places to live.