The Pinal Mountains were known to have mineral deposits since the time of the Spanish Conquistadores. Spanish and Mexican prospectors were never able to establish mines in the area due to the remoteness of the region and hostile Apache Indians. In the 1820s and 1830s, the area was explored by mountain men. Again, Apache indians drove off the explorers and no mines were established.
Finally in 1869, after many prospecting expeditions into the Pinals, a rudimentary fort was built at Big Johnny Gulch. In 1870 fifteen claims were staked in what would become the Globe mining district. However, before any mining could be done, the Apaches once again drove out the prospectors. This led to the "Apache Wars", a period of conflict between prospectors, the United States Army, and the Apache Indians. By 1873 the military had succeeded in defeating the Apaches and miners started moving into the Pinals in droves.
The townsite of Globe City was established in 1876. Mining in the area started with silver but had transitioned to copper by the late 1880s. Globes remoteness and proximity to indian territory resulted in many years of stage robberies, murders, and violent conflicts with Indians. Many famous outlaws called Globe home. Not until World War I did Globe start to become more civilized, making this the longest holdout of the "Wild West" era.