Study Guide on the History of the State of Colorado
written by: Atlanta Page
• edited by: Noreen Gunnell
• updated: 1/16/2013
Every student should know and understand how the state of Colorado came to be. Enrich your learning experience with these fun and historical facts about Colorado.
slide 1 of 5
What You Can Expect From This Study Guide
I hope to direct your mind to the rich history of the great state of Colorado. By bringing together facts about the state in a way that is easy to understand, you will be able to easily complete a report or project on the state. Let's see what we can discover about the state of Colorado.
slide 2 of 5
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.
slide 3 of 5
Fun Facts About Colorado
Only seven states are larger than Colorado.
There are only 12 states newer than Colorado.
The state saddles the great Rocky Mountains.
The very high ranges that run north to south contain over 1,000 peaks over 10,000 feet in height.
Skiing in the high country is not just for special occasions. These people live where it snows much of the year. They joke about having only three months of summer, no fall and nine months of winter.
They deal with snow by putting plows on the fronts of school buses, and blowing the snow high on each side of the roads with their massive blowing plows.
Each year thousands of tourists come to Colorado. They visit places like Rocky Mountain National Park, and ski resort towns. Mesa Verde National Park houses the prehistoric homes of ancient cliff dwellers. This is an awesome sight for even the most avid traveler to see.
Although mostly dry, except for the snows, Colorado has a very diverse landscape. In the far southeast corner of the state is totally flat. The southwest portions of the state, borders Utah. Years ago this portion of the state was lush and green, but over the years, the desert from Utah has taken over much of the landscape there. It is normal to see temperatures over 100 there often. Big sand-dune mountains are common in this region of the state.
If your approach is from the east, your breath will be taken away by these huge grand mountains that can be seen for miles. These are the Rocky Mountains. If you aren't careful you will get a "crick" in your neck as they say there, for looking up so sharply!
The skies seem to go on and on forever, in much of the state.
Their clear blue skies lend an intense blue to all of the lakes and ponds in the state.
Many rivers and "cricks" or creeks crisscross the state. It is famous for the Colorado River on which many fishermen and women fly-fish to their hearts' content. Others enjoy rafting. This river flows from the Rocky Mountain National Park of Colorado into the Gulf of California. On the way it carves its way through the Grand Canyon. Over the years it has been used to irrigate the dry landscapes around it as well as become home to 20 major dams. No longer does it consistently reach the Gulf of California as it once did.
Pikes Peak, which rises out of the city of Colorado Springs, is one of Colorado's 54 peaks boasting more than 14,000 feet high. It can be 80 degrees in Colorado Springs, and after a day's drive to the top of Pikes Peak, it may be 30 degrees and snowing so hard you can barely see. This mountain is just one of the many attractions in CO that really gets people's attention. You will notice this mountain has a white peak nearly year round.
Denver is the state capital and is referred to as Colorado's "mile high" capital.
Colorado's rich history includes many Native American cultures. Some lived in Colorado while others only warred and hunted in the state. These include: Apache, Arapaho, Bannock, Cheyenne, Comanche, Jicarilla, Kiowa, Kiowa Apache, Navaho, Pueblos, Shoshoni, and Ute.
slide 4 of 5
The information in this article should help you produce a great report or history project. Most of all I hope it helps you understand more about this great state. If you live in Colorado, I hope this helps you enjoy your state more. Feel free to bookmark this page to refer to again and again, and remember to reference this page in your project.