Cochise County was named for the renowned Apache chief in 1881, when it was established during the 11thTerritorial Assembly. Archeological finds date civilization along the San Pedro River to 9000-6000 B.C., when members of the Clovis civilization inhabited the area. Tombstone, one of the largest cities in the western United States in 1881, was designated the first county seat. Tombstone’s silver mines flooded in 1887, devastating the community, but the county seat stayed in Tombstone, the "town too tough to die," until 1929, when Bisbee became the county seat. Like Tombstone, Bisbee was a mining town– site of the Copper Queen famous Lavender Pit, discovered in 1877 and mine. Mining continued there through much of the 20th century. Today Bisbee is a popular artist community and tourist destination.


Benson, founded in 1880, is on I-10 at the gateway to Kartchner Caverns. Some 30 miles south are the thriving communities of Sierra Vista, by far the largest city in the county, and Huachuca City. Both are economic neighbors of Fort Huachuca, one of the largest civilian employers in southern Arizona. Fort Bowie, Coronado National Memorial and the Chiricahua National Monument are national park facilities. Cochise County also is an important agricultural area. With 6,215 square miles, Cochise is as big as Rhode Island and Connecticut combined. Once known as the Cattle Capital of the nation, Wilcox is the home of the largest weekly cattle auction in Arizona. Specialty crops and livestock, including exotic animals, play an important role in the local economy. Douglas, once dependent upon mining and agriculture, has developed a manufacturing base because of its location on the U.S.-Mexico border. Cochise County has Enterprise Zones in Benson, Douglas, and Huachuca City. Cochise is one of only three counties in Arizona without an Indian reservation. Individual and corporate ownership account for 40 percent of the land; the state of Arizona, 34.6 percent; the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, 22.2 percent; and other public lands comprise the remaining 3.2 percent.