Condensed History of Colorado
The earliest known civilized people of Colorado were the "cliff dwellers". Called the Anasazi, which is an Indian word for Ancient Ones, they lived in the Montezuma County area of Colorado until about 1300 A.D. when they mysteriously disappeared. The Anasazi appear to be the ancestors of the Pueblo Indians. Many American Indian tribes have called Colorado home. These include the Utes, Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Kiowa and Comanche.
France both laid claims to the Colorado lands in the late 1600s and early 1700s, however the Louisiana Purchase which took place in 1803, ceded the Eastern part of Colorado to the United States.
In 1806, the U.S. sent explorer Zebulon Pike to learn more about this new land acquisition. He discovered the famous Pike's Peak, which is named for him. Following him were many fur trappers and explorers. Forts and trading posts began to spring up in this great new land.
In 1848, when the Mexican War ended, more land was ceded to the U.S. by Mexico. This land became the rest of what is known today as Colorado.
In 1850 the U.S. purchased all Texas claims of Colorado lands and the present day boundaries of the state of Colorado were established. The first
permanent settlement of incoming pioneers sprang up at Conejos in the San Luis Valley. Indian uprisings caused by anger at the encroaching pioneers forged a need for protection for the early settlers. In 1851 Fort Massachusetts was built in the San Luis Valley for protection from the Indians.
GOLD! In 1858, gold was discovered near Denver, Colorado. This event led to the 1859 gold rush, when throngs of people came searching for this precious metal. Some found gold and prospered, while others took up ranching, farming and lumbering. By 1861, the area had grown so quickly, the United States created Colorado Territory. In 1862, the "Homestead Act" was enacted and settlers poured into Colorado Territory with the promise of land. Golden,
Colorado was the declared the capital city of Colorado. In 1867, the capital was moved to Denver.
With the coming of the railroads and end of Indian / Settler battles, the growth of Colorado was booming and on August 1st, 1876, Colorado was admitted to the Union as the 38th state of the United States.
Mining remains a chief industry with gold, silver and coal mines popping up all over the state, creating boom towns and in their wake, leaving ghost towns, many of which remain as reminders of a distant haunting past.
In 1881, the great Ute Indian Tribe was moved onto reservations and the final Indian raid occurred in 1888 when the Utes band from Utah led by Colorow made one more stand and were defeated.
Today, tourism, gambling and the promise of powder on the ski slopes of
the great Rocky Mountains, brings even more prosperity to the grand state of Colorado.
COLORADO HISTORY FACT: Colorado was admitted to the Union on August 1, 1876, becoming the 38th state.
COLORADO HISTORY FACT: The state name comes from the Spanish word "Colorado" which means "color red" which is in reference to color of the muddy Colorado River.
Colorado History Resource Links:
Columbine graphics courtesy of Santa Lady