Brief Colorado History Abridged
Brief review of the history of Colorado summarized.
The first people in Colorado arrived about 12,000 years ago. At first they lived mainly by hunting mammoths. But the mammoths became extinct and the bison became the main food source. The Spanish introduced horses to North America, and in the late 17th century horses came to Colorado and transformed hunting.
In the early 19th century, France claimed part of what is now Colorado as part of its Louisiana Territory, but in 1803 the French sold the land to the United States. In 1848 Mexico relinquished any claim to any part of Colorado.
Colorado’s borders were finally set in 1850. In the mid-19th century, many settlers passed through the region on their way to California or Oregon. However, there were no permanent European settlements in Colorado until 1851, when Hispanics moved there.
Late 19th century Colorado
Things changed in the late 1850s and early 1860s when there was a gold rush in Colorado. In the 1870s and 1880s, silver was mined in Colorado. However, in 1870 Colorado’s population was less than 40,000.
Its heyday occurred at the end of the 19th century with the arrival of the railways. By 1900 it had increased to 539,000. Denver, Colorado was founded in 1858. It grew rapidly and by 1900 it was a thriving city with a population of 133,000.
Meanwhile, Colorado was organized as a territory on February 28, 1861. On August 1, 1876, it was admitted to the union as the 38th state. Denver became its capital. The University of Colorado opened its doors in 1877.
The 1870s and 1880s were years of prosperity for Colorado, but the price of silver plummeted in 1893. Fortunately, in 1891 more gold was found in Cripple Creek.
Meanwhile, the influx of settlers into Colorado caused conflict with the Native Americans. On November 29, 1864, the Sand Creek Massacre took place. A force of 700 Colorado militiamen attacked a Cheyenne and Arapaho encampment killing more than 100 people, most of them women and children. Eventually the Native Americans were forced to make reservations.
In 1893, Colorado men voted in a referendum to give women the right to vote.
The modern Colorado
In the early 20th century, mining continued to be important in Colorado, but agriculture developed rapidly. However, in 1914 the Ludlow Massacre took place. Colorado miners went on strike and were evicted from company-owned homes.
The strikers and their families moved into tent colonies. On April 20, 1914, the National Guard attacked a tent colony in Ludlow, killing 18 people. The fighting lasted 10 days and only ended when federal troops were sent in. In total 66 people died during the strike.
By 1930, Colorado’s population had grown to over a million. Denver was a city of 287,000 people. However, during the Depression of the 1930s, Colorado suffered due to its dependence on minerals.
However, manufacturing in Colorado received a boost during World War II and in the late 20th century tourism became a major industry. Meanwhile, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Colorado’s population skyrocketed. In 1970 it was more than 2.2 million and in 1990 almost 3.3 million. In 2018 the population of Colorado was 5.6 million.
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