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Colorado, US (Population: 4,753,377)
State Capitol: Denver

Major Cities: Colorado Springs, Aurora, Lakewood, Fort Collins, Arvada, Pueblo, Westminster, Boulder, Thornton

State Nickname/Motto: Centennial State / Colorful Colorado. Nil sine Numine: Nothing without Providence

Statehood Granted: August 1, 1876

History: The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by American Indian peoples for more than 13 millennia. The region was acquired by the United States with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803 and the Mexican Cession in 1848. The new territory was first divided into what is now New Mexico, Utah, Kansas, and Nebraska organized in 1854. Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexico, settled San Luis in 1851, then in the Territory of New Mexico, but now known as Colorado's first European settlement.

Gold was discovered along the South Platte River in western Kansas Territory in July of 1858, precipitating the Pike's Peak Gold Rush. The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on 1859, but failed to secure federal sanction. The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, led to the secession of seven slave states and the approach of civil war. The Republican led U.S. Congress admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of Kansas to the Union as the free State of Kansas on 1861, leaving the western portion of the territory (and its gold fields) unorganized.

Geography: Highest point: Mt. Elbert; 14,433 feet. Colorado has approximately 550 mountain peaks that exceed 13,123 feet elevation. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 3281 feet elevation. The state's lowest elevation is 3315 feet at the point on the eastern boundary of Yuma County where the Arikaree River flows into the State of Kansas. East of the Southern Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Colorado at elevations ranging from 3315 to 6562 feet. The plains are sparsely settled with most population along the South Platte and the Arkansas rivers. Rainfall is meager, averaging from 12 to 18 inches annually. There is some irrigated farming, but much of the land is used for dry-land farming or ranching. Winter wheat is a typical crop and most small towns in the region boast both a water tower and a grain elevator.

Ethnic Diversity: One Race (97.4%), White (83.5%), Black or African American 3.6%), American Indian and Alaska Native (0.9%), Asian (2.6%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.1%), Some other race (6.7%), Two or more races (2.6%), Hispanic or Latino (19.5%)*

Famous State People:
  • Scott Carpenter (1925 - ) One of the original seven U.S. astronauts and second American to orbit the earth; born in Boulder.
  • Ben Nighthorse Campbell (1933 - ) First Native American to serve in the U.S. Senate (1992).
  • Lon Chaney (1883 - 1930) Actor made famous for his “thousand faces,” starred in The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera; born in Colorado Springs.
  • Tim Allen (1953 - ) Actor, His films include The Santa Clause (1994) and the voice of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story (1995); born in Denver.
  • Eugene Fodor (1950 - ) World-renowned violin soloist.
  • Adolph Coors (1847-1919) Founder of the Adolph Coors Company in Golden.
  • Douglas Fairbanks (1883 - 1939) Actor and founder of United Artists with Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin; born in Denver.
  • Willard Libby (1908 - 1980) Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, discovered radio-carbon dating; born in Grand Valley.
  • Florence R. Sabin (1871 - 1953) First woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences; born in Central City.
  • Jack Dempsey (1895 - 1983) Boxer, world heavyweight champion from 1919-26; born in Manassa.
  • Paul Whiteman (1890 - 1967) Famous Jazz conductor.
  • Ouray (1833 - 1880) Ute chief.
  • John Elway (1960 - ) Famous Denver Broncos quarterback.

  • Major Colleges/Universities: Denver University, Everest College (Aurora, Denver, Colorado Springs, Thornton), University of Phoenix (Aurora, Colorado Springs, Denver, Ft. Collins, Greenwood Village, Lone Tree, Northglenn, Southern Colorado, Westminster), University of Colorado – Boulder, University of Denver, Western State College of Colorado

    National Parks: Rocky Mountain National Park, Sand Creek Massacre National Historical Site, Arapaho National Forest and Recreation Area, Colorado National Monument, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Dinosaur National Monument, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Comanche National Grassland, Grand Mesa National Forest, Gunnison National Forest, Pawnee National Grassland, Pike National Forest, Rio Grande National Forest, Roosevelt National Forest, Routt National Forest, San Isabel National Forest, San Juan National Forest, Uncompahgre National Forest, White River National Forest, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Hovenweep National Monument

    Misc: Colorado is the least populous U.S. state with a franchise in each of the major professional sports leagues. As of the 2000 census, Colorado was also the least populous state to have more than one major league team. The state is able to support the teams because it contains a large metropolitan area with a much higher population than any other city within 550 miles. Therefore, many of the residents in the surrounding states support the teams in Denver, as shown by the reach of the Broncos' radio network.

    *U.S. Census - 2005