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It is on the banks of the Colorado River, which forms the border with Mexico. The area was first settled by Native Americans who used it as a winter campsite and for hunting and gathering. The Yuma Crossing and its adjacent river valley were an important point of travel between Sonora, Mexico, to California's missions in San Diego (San Diego de Alcalá) during Spanish colonial times from 1683 until 1853 when much of this land became part of Arizona Territory after Mexican independence from Spain. In 1846, during the Mexican–American War Captain John C. Frémont led 200 men through Pima County on his way to California; he crossed at Yuma Crossing before continuing south towards Los Angeles where he made camp at El Pueblo de Los Ángeles without opposition or any casualties among his party or military escort other than one man killed by accident while loading his gun near Camp Moore Hill (now known as Bunker Hill).