How It All Began
Spanish explorers were the first to see Colorado way back before the land had a name in the 1500s. These Spanish explorers named the state after a mighty river which is bordered by reddish stone cliffs. They named the state Colorado because the name means "reddish."
It wasn't until 1706 that the state was actually claimed for Spain by a man named Juan de Ulibarri. It was also partly claimed by France, and later in 1803 the United States bought the eastern portion of the state as part of the Louisiana Purchase from France. Later, in 1845, the central portion was bought from Spain. Finally, in 1848, as a result of the Mexican War, the U.S. acquired the western portion of the state, completing the acquisition of the state of Colorado.
Pioneers didn't show much interest in this state until the 1850s, when gold was found there. This began the great "Race for the Rockies" and the Pikes Peak gold rush.
By 1860, Denver, the city that would become the state's capital was already a small city. It grew even more after a railroad reached the city from the east in 1870.
Almost three decades later in 1876, Colorado finally became a full-fledged state. As the state grew in leaps and bounds, it became a rich state in silver, gold, lead, coal, molybdenum, and other minerals.
Over the years Colorado has gone from mostly being a mining state to farming and ranching, which is still prevalent. You can find a rare old wooden coal mine tucked away on a cliff if you are lucky. Colorado's farming includes mostly corn, hay, and wheat. The state is also well known for its cowboys and cowgirls, cattle ranches, and dairy farms.
In modern times, Colorado has become more service industry and manufacturing based. The cowboys and girls still live and work high in the mountains, rodeos and hearts of the people, despite the modern changes in their industry.
The people there are proud of their rugged history, and it shows in the way they dress. It is common to see men and women sporting cowboy boots and hats any day of the week.
Their rugged lifestyle also comes out in the winter, as it snows often. Many citizens of the state "grew up on skis and ice skates," as they say. Outdoor sports of all types are very popular. If you go camping in the Rocky Mountains, be prepared to share the landscape with mountain lions, grizzly bears, rattle snakes, and other native wildlife.