In the Colorado area, centuries before the white man appeared on the scene, nomadic Indians foraged the plains for edible vegetation and small animals.
In approximately 100 A.D., in the Four Corners' area of southwestern Colorado, the very-advanced Anasazi Indians built functional, multi-story cliff dwellings in canyon walls; later their entire culture simply vanished.
In 1540, the Spanish explorer Coronado and a large expedition of men moved north out of Mexico in search of gold. Eventually reaching southeastern Colorado in 1541. Over the next two centuries, French and Spanish exploration of this mountainous area continued.
In 1800, when Napoleon Bonaparte's armies moved across Europe, pressing Spain into a corner, the Territory of Louisiana (New Orleans) and a huge slice of land in the now central United States (including much of Colorado) was ceded to France by Spain via a treaty.
In 1803, with war pressures mounting, Napoleon approved the sale of the entire area to the United States in a transaction named the Louisiana Purchase and the United States doubled in size almost overnight.
Three years later, U.S. President Thomas Jefferson dispatched Lieutenant Zebulon Pike to explore this recently purchased territory; directly west of Colorado Springs stands one of the Lieutenant's most famous (namesake) discoveries - Pikes Peak.
Beginning in the 1820's adventurers, fur trappers and traders of all description flooded the area, trading posts (forts) were established to effectively and safely barter with the Indians. Beaver pelts and buffalo skins were shipped to the eastern markets in huge quantities.
And speaking of Indians, Colorado at that time was the hunting grounds of the Apache, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, Utes and others. As Indian lands (territories) were stolen, hostilities with the invading white men were inevitable, but the firepower of the U.S. Military forces eventually proved overpowering to the Native Americans.
When gold was discovered in California in 1849, the subsequent get-rich-quick "fever" spread across the west, reaching the Colorado Territory when it was also found (near Denver) in 1858. In the next few years, tens of thousands of people arrived here to search for the golden treasure. As a result dozens of small settlements were built across the territory, and the small town of Denver was itself dedicated in 1860.
In 1861, the U.S. Congress officially created the Colorado Territory just a few weeks before the firing on Fort Sumter that signaled the beginning of America's Civil War. Colorado (for the most part) was a Union territory, and over 4,000 men volunteered to support the Union cause, fighting the confederates and the Indians.
It took fifteen more years for Colorado to achieve statehood in 1876, and it proudly became the 38th State. It was subsequently called the "Centennial State" to honor the one-hundredth year anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
Much of America was devastated by the Civil War, and like other states, the economy in Colorado finally sprang to life some during World War I, but only after the high employment rates and manufacturing demands of World War II did real economic growth take place in the state.
Colorado today is famed for its brisk, mountain air, magnificent scenery, and active lifestyle. This western state is home to incomparable ski resorts and winter sport venues set in the Rockies in cities like Aspen, Colorado Springs, and Vail. The city of Boulder is a center for aviation and military complexes with the U.S. Air Force Academy, NORAD, and several Airforce bases in the area.
The southwestern Colorado town of Durango sits amid some of the most breathtaking natural beauty in North America, with the red sandstone monuments and cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde to the west, twisting canyons to the south, San Juan Mountains to the north, and national forests rounding out the picture.
The 'Mile High City' of Denver is full of cultural attractions and professional sports teams, museums and art galleries, and high-octane theme parks. Pike's Peak near Colorado Springs is the most visited mountain in the continental United States and inspired the song "America the Beautiful." Throughout this vast state are small, clean mountain towns, and even several ghost towns! Colorado visitors will experience a broad slice of America's most beautiful landscape - in plain view - for all to see and admire.
Colorado today is famed for its refreshing air and scenic lifestyles; the incomparable ski resorts and winter sport venues in the Rockies; Denver's many cultural attractions and professional sports teams; small, clean mountain towns, and a broad slice of America's most beautiful landscape - in plain view - for all to see.