Tuesday, August 13, 2013

History of Colorado

Colorado has an extensive pre-Columbian history.  Many native American groups lived in parts of Colorado.  The Apache lived in Southern Colorado, but moved south before white population came to the area.  This void was filled by Cheyenne and Arapaho, both eventually moved to Indian Territory.  Shoshone lived in Northern Colorado.  The Ute occupied most of the Western mountainous area, from the Colorado divide to the western border. 
The first White encroachment in the area was from the Spaniards as early as 1598 Spanish explored the area, and eventually established settlements to trade with the native populations. 
The U.S. had their first claim to the area with the Louisiana Purchase.  However this claim was disputed.  Zebulon Pike headed an army exploration into the area, but he and his men were arrested by the Spanish and sent away.  However after the area was controlled by the Mexican government, after their independence, their claim was not so heavily pursued.  It was then the presence of the Ute Indians that kept settlers away, until a treaty in 1850. 
Gold is what attracted whites to the area.  First they had only limited success, but in the late 1850s the Pikes Peak Gold Rush brought over 100,000 people to the area. 
A U.S. territory was established in 1861, with boundaries the same as the state.  During the territorial period, the Colorado War was  conducted between the whites and native populations on the southeastern pains.  This included the Sand Creek Massacre, and resulted in the Cheyenne and Comanche being removed to Oklahoma.
Colorado became the thirty-eighth state in 1876. 
The Ute Indians followed a similar fate for the most part as the Cheyenne, there land being slowly whittled away, making room for white miners and farmers.  By 1881 the Uncompahgre Ute were removed to Utah.  Only a small reservation of the White River Ute remains in southwest Colorado.
Colorado's history is very closely associated with the mining industry.  It is almost two states, with the plains where farming is popular, of the East and the mountains of the West.  Western Colorado is now a place of tourism and skiing.  There are four National Parks in Colorado, Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde, Grand Canyon of the Gunnison and Great Sand Dunes.  There are also numerous National Monuments and other tourist attractions.

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