The region to which present-day Colorado belongs has been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 13,000 years. Excavations in Larimer County have found artifacts dating to 11,200 BC. to 3000 BC. The Anasazi lived in the valleys and mesas region of the Colorado Plateau. The Ute inhabited the mountain valleys of the southern and western Rocky Mountains. The Arapaho and Cheyenne moved west to hunt on the High Plains.
According to watchtutorials, the United States acquired a territorial claim to the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains through the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. This led to a conflict with Spain ‘s claim that a large region around the colony of Santa Fe de Nuevo México was a sovereign trading zone. Zebulon Pike led a US Army reconnaissance expedition to the disputed area in 1806. Pike and his men were arrested in the San Luis Valley in February of the following year by Spanish cavalry. They were first sent toBrought Chihuahua and then deported Mexico in July.
The United States renounced its claim to all land south and west of the Arkansas River in the purchase of Florida from Spain with the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. Mexico eventually gained independence in 1821, but ceded its northern territories to the United States after the Mexican-American War with the Peace of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In 1849, the Deseret Mormons established the extrajudicial Provisional State of Deseret, occupying the entire Green River outflow and theColorado claimed. The federal government refused to recognize this state, after which the Mormons renounced colonization of the area east of the Green River for more than 20 years. The United States divided the territory of future Colorado into New Mexico Territory and Utah Territory, both created in 1850, and Kansas and Nebraska Territory, both created in 1854.
Most American settlers who moved west, to Oregon, Deseret, or California, avoided the inhospitable Rocky Mountains. Instead, they followed the North Platte and Sweetwater River through what is now Wyoming. On April 9, 1851, Spanish settlers from Taos, New Mexico founded the village of San Luis, then in New Mexico Territory but what would later become Colorado’s first permanent European settlement. In July 1858 gold becamefound along the South Platte River, leading to the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush. The amount of gold found along the rivers and streams in this region rapidly declined, but miners discovered gold, silver and other minerals in the nearby mountains, which were much more valuable. This led to a large population increase. Many of the settlements built then turned into ghost towns when gold ran out or the market collapsed, but some survived as gambling or ski resorts. An example of the latter is chic Aspen.
The Jefferson Territory Provisional Government was established on August 24, 1859, but the new territory received no federal support. The election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States on November 6, 1860, led to the secession of the six slave states and the threat of civil war. To increase the political power of the free states, the eastern portion of the Kansas Territory was accelerated into the Union by the Republican-led United States Congress as the Free State of Kansason January 29, 1861. This left the western part of the territory, including the goldfields, disorganized.
Thirty days later, on February 28, 1861, outgoing President James Buchanan signed a Congressional decree establishing the Free Territory of Colorado. Colorado’s original boundaries have remained unchanged to this day. The name Colorado was chosen because it was widely believed that the Colorado River originated in this area. Early Spanish explorers called the Rio Colorado River, because of the reddish-brown silt the river carried from the mountains.
In 1864, an armed conflict between the Indians and the United States, the Colorado War, resulted in all Indians from Colorado being deported to Oklahoma.
The United States Congress passed an Enabling Act on March 3, 1875, setting out the terms for Colorado territory to become a state. On August 1, 1876, 28 days after the United States’ centenary, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting the state of Colorado to the Union as the 38th state. Colorado was nicknamed the “Centennial State” because of this. The discovery of a large silver ore deposit near Leadville in 1878 led to the Colorado Silver Boom. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 strengthened silver mining, but the repeal of the decree in 1893 led to the collapse of the state’s mining and agricultural economy.
Women in Colorado were given the right to vote on November 7, 1893. As a result, Colorado became the first US state to introduce universal suffrage. At the 1930 census, Colorado had more than one million inhabitants. The state suffered from the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, but a large wave of immigration after World War II stimulated the economy. Tourism and the high- tech industry became important pillars of the economy. At the 2000 census, Colorado had more than 4.3 million inhabitants.
Three US Navy warships have been named the USS Colorado. The first USS Colorado was named after the river, the other two after the state.