city, seat (1871) of Yuma county, southwestern Arizona, U.S. It is situated on the Colorado River at the mouth of the Gila River, just north of the Mexican frontier. Founded in 1854 as Colorado City, it was renamed Arizona City (1862) and Yuma (1873), probably from the Spanish word humo, meaning "smoke," because of the local Quechan (Yuma) practice of creating smoke clouds to induce rain. A strategic river crossing, the site was probably visited in 1540 by Hernando de Alarcon (working with the Coronado expedition).
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