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Colorado History 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

Colorado Photographs

Airforce Acedemy Cavelier De La Salle Colorado Rockies Baseball Denver Airport Rocky Mountain News Zebulon Pike

Colorado Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
Denver Adams 303
Alamosa Alamosa 719
Englewood Arapahoe 303
Aurora Arapahoe 303
Pagosa Springs Archuleta 970
Springfield Baca 719
Las Animas Bent 719
Longmont Boulder 303
Boulder Boulder 303
Broomfield Broomfield 303
Salida Chaffee 719
Cheyenne Wells Cheyenne 719
Idaho Springs Clear Creek 303
La Jara Conejos 719
San Luis Costilla 719
Ordway Crowley 719
Westcliffe Custer 719
Delta Delta 970
Denver Denver 303
Dove Creek Dolores 970
Littleton Douglas 303
Avon Eagle 970
Colorado Springs El Paso 719
Elizabeth Elbert 303
Canon City Fremont 719
Glenwood Springs Garfield 970
Black Hawk Gilpin 303
Granby Grand 970
Gunnison Gunnison 970
Lake City Hinsdale 970
Walsenburg Huerfano 719
Walden Jackson 970
Denver Jefferson 303
Arvada Jefferson 303
Littleton Jefferson 303
Eads Kiowa 719
Burlington Kit Carson 719
Durango La Plata 970
Leadville Lake 719
Fort Collins Larimer 970
Trinidad Las Animas 719
Limon Lincoln 719
Sterling Logan 970
Grand Junction Mesa 970
Creede Mineral 719
Craig Moffat 970
Cortez Montezuma 970
Montrose Montrose 970
Fort Morgan Morgan 970
La Junta Otero 719
Ridgway Ouray 970
Bailey Park 303
Holyoke Phillips 970
Aspen Pitkin 970
Lamar Prowers 719
Pueblo Pueblo 719
Meeker Rio Blanco 970
Monte Vista Rio Grande 719
Steamboat Springs Routt 970
Center Saguache 719
Silverton San Juan 970
Telluride San Miguel 970
Julesburg Sedgwick 970
Breckenridge Summit 970
Woodland Park Teller 719
Akron Washington 970
Greeley Weld 970
Yuma Yuma 970

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.