Colorado Timeline

1600s - 1700s
  • (1682) Explorer La Salle appropriated the area east of the Rocky Mountains, now known as Colorado, for France
  • (1765) Juan Maria Rivera led a Spanish expedition into the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo Mountains in search of gold and silver
  • (1803) The U. S. acquired eastern Colorado from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase
  • (1806) Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike and small party of U.S. soldiers discovered peak that bears his name
  • (1848) Mexico ceded western Colorado to United States by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
  • (1851) First permanent settlement founded at San Luis
  • (1854) Ute indians killed fifteen inhabitants of Fort Pueblo on Christmas Day
  • (1858) Gold discovered in Denver
  • (1859) The first stagecoach with mail for Cherry Creek settlements left Leavenworth, Kansas; the first newspaper in the region, the Rocky Mountain News, was published; more gold was discovered at North Clear Creek and the Blue River; oil was discovered
  • (1861) Congress established the Colorado territory
  • (1862) First oil well drilled
  • (1863) Denver linked to the east coast by telegraph
  • (1864) Sand Creek Massacre kills 163 Indians, mostly women and children; Denver hit by a devastating flood
  • (1867) Denver is permanent seat of the government
  • (1870) Railroad connections established with the East
  • (1876) Colorado became the 38th state
  • (1878) Telephones were installed in Denver
  • (1881) Ute tribes moved onto reservations
  • (1883) Electric lights installed in Denver
  • (1886) The last public hanging in Denver occurred
  • (1894) State Capitol completed at a cost of $2,500,000; Colorado was the second state to extend suffrage to women
  • (1905) Colorado had three governors in one day due to a political squabble
  • (1906) United States Mint in Denver issued its first coins.
  • (1908) Denver Municipal Auditorium completed in time for the Democratic National Convention
  • (1913) The "Big Snow of 1913" covered Colorado with 3 - 5 feet; licensing of automobiles began; Helen Robinson was first elected woman to serve in state Senate
  • (1916) Colorado adopted prohibition
  • (1922) First commerical radio license in state issued
  • (1925) Federal Reserve Bank established in Denver
  • (1942) Federal government established Amache, a camp for Japanese-Americans who were relocated from their homes on the West Coast
  • (1958) Air Force Academy built near Colorado Springs; state suffered from grasshopper plague
  • (1960) Denver Broncos professional football team established
  • (1967) Denver Rockets became Colorado's professional American Basketball Association team
  • (1974) Desegregation of schools in Denver began; Denver Rockets were renamed the Denver Nuggets
  • (1976) A cloudburst on the Big Thompson River resulted in a massive flood in Larimer County, killing more than 145 people
  • (1993) Colorado Rockies became first regional major league baseball team
  • (1995) Quebec Nordiques National Hockey League team moved to Colorado and became the Colorado Avalanche; Denver International Airport opened; Denver landed a National Hockey League franchise; the Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup; careless campers ignited the Buffalo Creek fire, which scorched 12,000 acres and destroyed nine homes; lightning struck in Mesa Verde National Park that resulted in fires that burned 4600 acres
  • (1997) Oklahoma City bombing trials held in Denver
  • (1998) Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl
  • (1999) Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl again; Bill Owens elected governor (the first Republican governor of the state in 24 years); 12 students and one teacher murdered and 23 other students wounded at Columbine High School in Denver
  • (2000) Hi Meadow fire ravaged 10,800 acres and destroyed 51 homes; Bobcat fire burned 10,600 acres and destroyed 22 structures; Bircher fire raged across 23,000 acres in Mesa Verde National Park
  • (2001) Colorado Avalanche won NHL Stanley Cup
  • (2002) Wildfire in Pike Natinal Forest burned at a rate of 500 acres per hour
  • (2005) Referendum C, a five year tax package which modified the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, passed by voters
  • (2007) Largest recorded avalanche struck at Berthoud Pass covered road, buried cars
  • (2011) Tainted cantaloupes from Colorado farm caused listeria outbreak, killed 16, over 70 sickened
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