A State occupying a mountainous and high plateau region, between Kansas
on the east, Utah
on the west, Wyoming
on the north, and New Mexico
on the south, organized as a Territory Feb. 28, 1861, from parts of its several contiguous neighbors, and admitted to the Union
July 4, 1876, hence known as the “Centennial State.”
The portion north of the Arkansas River
, and east of the Rocky Mountains
, was included in the Louisiana
purchase of 1803 and the remainder in the Mexican
cession of 1848.
Francis Vasquez de Coronado
is believed to have been the first European
explorer of this region in 1540.
In 1806 President Jefferson
sent an expedition, under Lieut. Z. M. Pike
, to explore this region, and it nearly crossed the territory from north to south in the mountain region, and discovered
the mountain known as Pike
In 1820 another expedition, under Col. S. H. Long
, visited this region; and in 1842-44 Col. John C. Fremont
crossed it in his famous passage over the Rocky Mountains
Before the beginning of the nineteenth century, it is believed that no white inhabitants lived in Colorado
, excepting a few Mexicans and Spaniards in the southern portion.
Gold was discovered there, near the mouth of Clear Creek
, in 1852, by a Cherokee cattle-dealer.
This and other discoveries of the precious metal brought about 400 persons to Colorado
in 1858-59; and the first discovery of a gold-bearing lode was by John H. Gregory
, May 6, 1859, in what is now known as the “Gregory
mining District,” in Gilpin county
An attempt to organize government among the miners was made by the erection of Arapahoe county
, and the election of a representative to the Kansas legislature, Nov. 6, 1858.
He was instructed to urge the separation of the district from Kansas
and the organization of a new Territory.
The first movement for a territorial government was by a convention of 128 delegates held at Denver
in the autumn of 1859, who decided to memorialize Congress on the subject.
was organized in 1861, and but for the veto of President Johnson
statehood would have been granted in 1867.
A further attempt was made in 1873, but Congress refused to pass an enabling act.
was long noted as a silver-producing State, but after the repeal of the silver-purchase clause of the Bland silver bill
(q. v.) by the Sherman Act
of 1890, the serious apprehensions of local mineoperators were proved groundless by the results of a general exploitation for gold, and within a few years Colorado
passed from the status of a silver to that of a gold State.
In the calendar year 1900 the State
produced bullion of various kinds to the value of $50,303,964, and of this total $29,226,198 was in gold and $12,433,785 in silver, the State
then breaking all its previous records as a gold-producer.
Coal, both bituminous and anthracite, and iron, are found in great quantities; lead, zinc, copper, quicksilver, tellurium, salt, gypsum, and pottery clays are plentiful.
Mining and smelting are the most important industries after that of agriculture.
Cattle and sheep herding are declining in consequence of the multiplication of small farms.
In 1899 the total assessed valuation of taxable property was $212,202,886, and the net debt $2,728,667. The population in 1890 was 412,198; in 1900, 539,700.