Thesis

The Kansas Settlement, Cochise County, Arizona: a study in historical geography

Historical geography defined in its simplest terms is concerned with the past landscapes of a portion of the earth's surface. Therefore, the purpose of this study will be to recreate the past landscapes of the three distinct periods--open range, homestead and present--for the Kansas Settlement in Sulphur Springs Valley. This will be accomplished by examining the successive patterns of human habitation and identifying the events that caused these patterns to change. The evaluation of settlement patterns and land use produced during each of these periods will indicate the relative importance of causal factors (e.g., political, economic and natural) in the generation of landscape change in the Sulphur Springs Valley of southeastern Arizona. The eve of the open range era was selected as a starting point for this study since before that time the landscape of the Sulphur Springs Valley was only slightly affected by man. However, events prior to the beginning of this era were important because they explain why the cattlemen eventually ventured into and prospered within the valley. Furthermore, the physical environment of this semiarid region has an impact upon certain human activities and thus is also important for this inquiry into landscape change. Therefore, the physical geography of the Sulphur Springs Valley and the historical background of the area will be considered before examining each of the three successive and distinct stages which have evolved and thus produced landscape changes in the Kansas Settlement.

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