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State of Colorado
Flag of Colorado State seal of Colorado
Flag of Colorado Seal
Nickname(s): The Centennial State
Motto(s): Nil sine numine (Nothing without providence)
before statehood, known as
the Colorado Territory
Map of the United States with Colorado highlighted
Official language(s) English
Demonym Coloradan[1][2]
Capital Denver
Largest city Denver
Largest metro area Denver-Aurora-Broomfield MSA
Area  Ranked 8th in the US
 - Total 104,185 sq mi
(269,837 km2)
 - Width 380 miles (612 km)
 - Length 280 miles (451 km)
 - % water 0.36%
 - Latitude 37°N to 41°N
 - Longitude 102°03'W to 109°03'W
Population  Ranked 22nd in the US
 - Total 5,024,748 (2009 estimate)[3]
4,301,261 (2000 Census)
 - Density 41.5/sq mi  (16.01/km2)
Ranked 37th in the US
 - Median income  $51,022 (10th)
Elevation  
 - Highest point Mount Elbert[4][5]
14,440 ft  (4401 m)
 - Mean 6,800 ft  (2073 m)
 - Lowest point Arikaree River[4]
3,315 ft  (1010 m)
Admission to Union  August 1, 1876 (38th)
Governor Bill Ritter (D)
Lieutenant Governor Barbara O'Brien (D)
U.S. Senators 2 - Mark Udall (D)
3 - Michael Bennet (D)
U.S. House delegation 5 Democrats, 2 Republicans (list)
Time zone MST=UTC-07, MDT=UTC-06
Abbreviations CO Colo. US-CO
Website http://www.colorado.gov

Colorado (Listeni /kɒləˈræd/ or Listeni /kɒləˈrɑːd/)[6] is a state of the United States of America that is located mostly in the Rocky Mountain Range of North America. Colorado can also be considered to be part of the Western States or the Southwestern States of the United States. In infrequent instances eastern Colorado is considered to be part of the Midwestern United States (since that part of the state is located on the Great Plains.)

Colorado was admitted to the Union in the year 1876, and hence it is nicknamed the "Centennial State", since that year was the centennial of the Declaration of Independence. Colorado is bordered to the north by Wyoming and Nebraska, to the east by Kansas and Nebraska, to the south by New Mexico and Oklahoma, to the west by Utah, and at just one geographical point, at its southwestern corner by Arizona. Colorado is one of two purely rectangular states - ones whose borders are strictly parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude. (The other one is its neighbor, Wyoming.)

Colorado is prominent for its scenery of mountains, plains, rivers, and a western area of desert. The Rocky Mountains of Colorado have 50 or more peaks with elevations of 14,000 feet or higher above sea level - far more than any other state. Colorado is the home of the Rocky Mountains National Park, and of numerous National Monuments and National Forests.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the state population was 5,024,748 on July 1, 2009, an increase of about 16.8% since the 2000 U.S. Census.[3] Denver is the capital city of Colorado, and it is also the most populous city of Colorado. Residents of Colorado are properly known as "Coloradans" although the archaic term "Coloradoan" is still occasionally used.[1][2]

Colorado has the highest average elevation of any of the 50 states. Also, the elevation of the lowest point in Colorado is higher than the lowest points of any other states. This lowest point is found where the Arkansas River flows from Colorado into Kansas, at an elevation of about 4,000 feet above sea level.

Contents

Geography

An enlargeable map of the state of Colorado

The state of Colorado is defined as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian).[7]

Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only states which have boundaries defined solely by lines of latitude and longitude. Some minor errors were made by the government surveyors, when they located and planted the border markers for the Territory of Colorado. That resulted in several kinks, which were nearly imperceptible, most notably along the border with the Territory of Utah. Once agreed upon by the Federal, state, and territorial governments, those surveyors' benchmarks, became the legal boundaries for the Colorado Territory, kinks and all. [8]

The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) in elevation in Lake County is Colorado's highest point and the highest point in the entire Rocky Mountains within the United States.[4][5] Colorado has more than 100 mountain peaks that exceed 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) in elevation above sea level. Colorado is the only state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in the state of Colorado at 3,315 feet (1,010 m) elevation. This crossing point holds the distinction of being the highest of the lowest elevation point of any state.[4][9]

Red Rocks Amphitheatre, west of Denver, where the Plains meet the Rockies.

Nearly one third of the area of Colorado is flat or rolling land - in stark contrast to Colorado's rugged Rocky Mountains. East of the Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Colorado at elevations ranging from roughly 3,350 to 6,500 feet (1,020 to 1,980 m).[10] The plains states of Kansas and Nebraska border Colorado to the east and northeast. The Colorado plains are usually thought of as prairies, but actually they have patches of deciduous forests. Eastern Colorado is presently mainly covered in farmland, along with small farming villages and towns. Precipitation is fair, averaging from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually.[10] The summers in the plains are usually hot and humid,[citation needed] while the winters are often quite cold, snowy, and icy. Corn, wheat, hay, soybeans, and oats are all typical crops, and most of the villages and towns in this region boast both a water tower and a grain elevator. As well as the farming of crops, Eastern Colorado has a good deal of livestock raising, such as at cattle ranches and hog farms. In eastern Colorado, a good deal of irrigation water is available from the South Platte, the Arkansas River, and a few other streams, and also from subterranean sources, including artesian wells. However, haevy use of ground water from wells for irrigation has caused underground water reserves to decline.

Most of Colorado's population resides along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor between Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Pueblo, Colorado. This region is partially protected from prevailing storms that blow in from the Pacific Ocean region by the high Rockies in the middle of Colorado. The only other significant populations centers are at Grand Junction and Durango in far western Colorado.

The Continental Divide dips down to 11,990 feet (3,655 m) at Loveland Pass.

To the west of Great Plains of Colorado rises the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. Notable peaks of the Rocky Mountains such as Longs Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg, Colorado, in southern Colorado. This area drains to the east and the southeast, ultimately either via the Mississippi River or the Rio Grande into the Gulf of Mexico.

Hinsdale County, Colorado, with the village of Lake City (population about 300) as its county seat, has been judged by some as the most remote county in the 48 contiguous States. Hinsdale County has only that one incorporated village within its borders. Hinsdale County is one of few places within the continguous United States where one can venture more than 10 miles (16 km) from any road.[citation needed]

The Continental Divide extends along the crest of the Rocky Mountains. The area of Colorado the west of the Continental Divide is called the Western Slope of Colorado. Drainage water west of the Continental Divide flows to the southwest via the Green River and the Colorado River into the Gulf of California.

Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large so-called "parks" or high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is the North Park of Colorado. The North Park is drained by the North Platte River, which flows north into Wyoming and Nebraska. Just to the south of North Park, but on the western side of the Continental Divide, is the Middle Park of Colorado, which is drained by the Colorado River. The South Park of Colorado is the region of the headwaters of the South Platte River.

In southmost Colorado is the large San Luis Valley, where the headwaters of the are located the Rio Grande, which drains due south into New Mexico, Mexico, and Texas. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San Luis Valley, lie along the Rio Grande Rift, a major geological formation of the Rocky Mountains, and its branches.

The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain about 54 peaks that are 14,000 feet (4,267 m) or higher in elevation above sea level, known as fourteeners.[11] These mountains are largely covered with trees such as conifers and aspens up to the tree line, at an elevation of about 12,140 feet (3,700 m) in southern Colorado to about 10,500 feet (3,200 m) in northern Colorado. Above this only alpine vegetation grows. Only small parts of the Colorado Rockies are snow-covered year round. Much of the alpine snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few snowcapped peaks and a few small glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan Mountains in the southwest to Boulder and Central City on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado.

The Western Slope of Colorado is drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries (primarily the Green River and the San Juan River), or by evaporation in its arid areas. Prominent in the southwestern area of the Western Slope are the high San Juan Mountains, a rugged mountain range, and to the west of the San Juan Mountains, the Colorado Plateau, a high arid region that borders Southern Utah. The city of Grand Junction, Colorado, is the largest city on the Western Slope, Grand Junction and Durango are the only major centers of radio and television broadcasting, newspapers, and higher education on the Western Slope. The Mesa State College in Grand Junction, and Fort Lewis College in Durango are the only four-year colleges in Colorado west of the Continental Divide.

August, 1964. Continental Divide at the top of Loveland Pass

Grand Junction is located along Interstate 70, the only major highway of Western Colorado. Grand Junction is also along the major railroad of the Western Slope, the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, which also provides the tracks for AMTRAK's California Zephyr passenger train, which crosses the Rocky Mountains between Denver and Grand Junction via a route on which there are no continuous highways.

To the southeast of Grand Junction is the Grand Mesa, said to be the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Other towns of the Western Slope include Glenwood Springs with its resort hot springs, and the ski resorts of Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, Steamboat Springs, and Telluride.

The northwestern corner of Colorado is a sparsely-populated region, and it contains part of the noted Dinosaur National Monument, which is not only a paleontological area, but is also a scenic area of high, rocky hills, canyons, and streambeads. Here, the Green River briefly crosses over into Colorado.

From west to east, the land of Colorado consists of semi-desert-like basins, turning into plateaus, then alpine mountains, National Forests, and then the relatively-flat grasslands and scattered forests of the Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peak is located just west of Colorado Springs. Its isolated peak is visible from nearly the Kansas border on clear days, and also far to the north and the south.[12]

Colorado is also one of only four states in the United States to share a common border point, the Four Corners, together with Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. At this intersection, it is hypothetically possible to stand in four states at once.

Climate

The climate of Colorado is quite complex compared to most of the United States. Unlike in other states, southern Colorado is not necessarily warmer than northern Colorado. Mountains and surrounding valleys greatly affect local climate. As a general rule, with an increase in elevation comes a decrease in temperature and an increase in precipitation. A main climatic division in Colorado occurs between the Rocky Mountains on the west and the plains on the east with the foothills forming a transitional zone between the two.[citation needed]

Eastern Plains

The climate of the Eastern Plains is a semi-arid climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) of low humidity and moderate precipitation, usually from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually. The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool clear nights, which give this area the highest average diurnal temperature range in the United States[citation needed]. In summer, this area can have many days above 95 °F (35 °C) and sometimes 100 °F (38 °C),[13] although 105 °F (41 °C) is the maximum in the front range cities above 5,000 ft (1,500 m). In the plains, the winter extremes can be from 0 °F (−18 °C) to −10 °F (−23.3 °C) and −15 °F (−26.1 °C). The all time low in the area was −40 °F (−40.0 °C)[citation needed]. About 75% of the precipitation falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which are often severe, and from major snowstorms that occur most often in the early spring, late autumn, and sometimes winter. Otherwise, winters tend to be mostly dry and cold. In much of the region, March and April are the snowiest months. April and May are normally the rainiest months, while April is the wettest month overall. The Front Range cities closer to the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to chinook winds which warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures of 40 °F (4 °C) or higher in the winter.[13] The average July temperature is 55 °F (13 °C) in the morning and 80 °F (27 °C) in the afternoon. The average January temperature is 10 °F (−12 °C) in the morning and 30 °F (−1 °C) in the afternoon, although variation between consecutive days can be 40°F (22°C).

West of the plains and foothills

View of the Western Slope from Grand Junction.

West of the plains and foothills, the weather of Colorado is much less uniform. Even places a few miles apart can experience entirely different weather depending on the topography of the area. Most valleys have a semi-arid climate, which becomes an alpine climate at higher elevations. Humid microclimates also exist in some areas. Generally, the wettest season in western Colorado is winter while June is the driest month. This is the opposite of precipitation patterns in the east. The mountains have cool summers with many days of high temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C), although frequent thunderstorms can cause sudden drops in temperature. Summer nights are cool or even cold at the highest elevations, which sometimes get snow even in the middle of the summer. The winters bring abundant, powdery snowfall to the mountains with abundant sunshine in between major storms. The western slope has high summer temperatures similar to those found on the plains, while the winters tend to be slightly cooler due to the lack of warming winds common to the plains and Front Range. Other areas in the west have their own unique climate. The San Luis Valley is generally dry with little rain or snow, although the snow that falls tends to stay on the ground all winter.[citation needed]

Extreme weather

Snow highlights the rugged mountains as well as the urban and agricultural landscapes of the Colorado plains.

Extreme weather is a common occurrence in Colorado. Thunderstorms are common east of the Continental divide in the spring and summer, and Colorado is one of the leading states in deaths due to lightning. Hail is a common sight in the mountains east of the divide and in the northwest part of the state. The Eastern Plains have some of the biggest hail storms in North America.[10] Also the Eastern Plains are part of Tornado Alley and produce some of the deadliest U.S. tornadoes. Some damaging tornadoes in the Eastern Plains include the 1990 Limon F3 tornado and the 2008 Windsor EF3 tornado, which devastated the town.[14] The plains are also susceptible to floods, which are caused both by thunderstorms and by the rapid melting of snow in the mountains during warm weather. Denver's record in 1921 for the number of consecutive days above 90 °F (32 °C) was broken during the summer of 2008. The new record of twenty-four consecutive days surpassed the previous record by almost a week.[15] Much of Colorado is a relatively dry state averaging only 17 inches (430 mm) of rain per year statewide and rarely experiences a time when some portion of the state is not in some degree of drought.[16] The lack of precipitation contributes to the severity of wildfires in the state such as the Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildfires in American history.

However, there are some of the mountainous regions of Colorado which receive a huge amount of moisture via winter snowfalls. The spring melts of these snows often cause great waterflows in such rivers as the Yampa River, the Grand River, the Colorado River, the Rio Grande, the Arkansas River, Cherry Creek, the North Platte River, and the South Platte River. Water flowing out of the Colorado Rocky Mountains is a very significant source of water for the farms, towns, and cities of Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, southmost Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, southern California, and northmost Mexico.

Records

The highest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was 118 °F (48 °C) on July 11, 1888, at Bennett, whereas the lowest was −61 °F (−51.7 °C) on February 1, 1985, at Maybell.[17][18]

Monthly normal high and low temperatures for various Colorado cities (°F)[19]
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Alamosa 33/−4 40/5 50/16 59/23 68/32 78/40 82/46 79/45 72/36 62/24 46/11 35/−1
Colorado Springs 42/13 45/18 52/24 59/31 68/41 79/50 86/55 82/54 74/45 63/34 50/23 42/16
Denver 43/15 47/19 54/25 61/34 70/44 82/53 88/59 86/57 77/47 66/36 52/24 44/16
Grand Junction 37/16 45/23 56/31 64/38 74/46 87/55 96/61 92/60 83/50 67/39 50/26 39/18
Pueblo 45/14 50/19 57/26 65/34 75/45 86/54 91/59 89/58 81/49 69/35 54/22 45/15

History

The ruins of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde as photographed by Gustaf Nordenskiöld in 1891.

The region that is today the state of Colorado has been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 13 millennia. The Lindenmeier Site in Larimer County contains artifacts dating from approximately 11200 BCE to 3000 BCE. The Ancient Pueblo Peoples lived in the valleys and mesas of the Colorado Plateau. The Ute Nation inhabited the mountain valleys of the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Western Rocky Mountains. The Arapaho Nation and the Cheyenne Nation moved west to hunt across the High Plains.

The United States acquired a territorial claim to the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. This American claim conflicted with Spain's claim that a huge region surrounding its colony of Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico was its sovereign trading zone. Zebulon Pike led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the disputed region in 1806. Colonel Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish cavalrymen in the San Luis Valley during the following February, taken to Chihuahua, Mexico, and then expelled from Mexico the following July.

Bent's Old Fort along the Arkansas River operated from 1833 to 1849.

The United States relinquished its claim to all land south and west of the Arkansas River, west of 100 degrees west longitude, as part of the American purchase of Florida from Spain with the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. Mexico surrendered what is now southern and western Colorado to the United States after the Mexican-American War with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.

In 1849, Mormons in what is now Utah organized the extralegal state of Deseret, which claimed all lands drained by the Green River and the Colorado River. The Federal government of the United States refused to recognize the new Mormon government. The United States divided the area of the future state of Colorado among the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah, both of which were organized in 1850, and the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska both organized in 1854.

Most American settlers traveling west to Oregon, the state of Deseret, or California, avoided the rugged Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and instead followed the North Platte River and Sweetwater River into Wyoming, and westward across Wyoming and the Great Basin into Utah and Idaho. On April 9, 1851, Mexican American from the area of Taos, New Mexico, settled the village of San Luis, Colorado, then in the New Mexico Territory, Colorado's first permanent European-American settlement. Gold was discovered along the South Platte River in (then) western Kansas Territory in July 1858, precipitating the historic Pike's Peak Gold Rush.[20] The placer gold deposits along the rivers and streams of the region rapidly played out, but miners soon discovered far more valuable seams of hard rock gold, silver, and other minerals in the nearby mountains.

A lithograph of the Denver City mining camp in 1859.

The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on August 24, 1859, but this new territory failed to secure approval from the Congress of the United States. The election of Abraham Lincoln for the President of the United States on November 6, 1860, led to the secession of nine southern slave states and the threat of civil war in the United States. Seeking to augment the political power of the Union states, the Republican Party dominated Congress quickly admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of Kansas into the Union as a free state, Kansas, on January 29, 1861, leaving the western portion of the Kansas Territory, and its gold-mining areas, as an unorganized territory.

The Georgetown Loop of the Colorado Central Railroad as photographed by William H. Jackson in 1899.

Thirty days later on February 28, 1861, the outgoing President James Buchanan signed an act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado.[21] The original boundaries of Colorado remain unchanged today. The name Colorado was chosen because it was commonly believed that the Colorado River originated in the territory.[22] Early Spanish explorers of Colorado, Utah, and Arizona named the Colorado River the "Rio Colorado" in response to seeing the reddish-brown silt that this river carries south from the mountains.[23] In fact, the river that is named the "Colorado River" did not flow through the state of Colorado until the House of Representatives Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th United States Congress changed the name of the Grand River in Colorado to the "Colorado River" on July 25, 1921.[24]

Colorado state history plaque

The United States Congress passed an enabling act on March 3, 1875, specifying the requirements for the Territory of Colorado to become a state.[7] On August 2, 1876 (28 days after the Centennial of the United States), U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting the state of Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and earning it the moniker "Centennial State".[25] The discovery of a major silver lode near Leadville in 1878, triggered the Colorado Silver Boom. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 invigorated silver mining, but the repeal of that act in 1893 led to a huge collapse of the mining and agricultural economy of Colorado.

Colorado women were granted the right to vote beginning on November 7, 1893, making Colorado the second state to grant universal suffrage and the first one by a popular vote. By the U.S. Census in 1930, the population of Colorado first exceeded one million residents. Colorado suffered greatly through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but a major wave of immigration following World War II boosted Colorado's fortune. Tourism became a mainstay of the state economy, and high technology became an important economic engine. Colorado's population exceeded 4.3 million in the U.S. Census in 2000.

Three warships of the U.S. Navy have been named the USS Colorado. The first USS Colorado was named for the Colorado River. The later two ships were named in honor of the entire state, including the battleship USS Colorado which served in World War II in the Pacific beginning in 1941. At the time of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, this USS Colorado was located at the naval base in San Diego, Calif. and hence went unscathed.

Colorado is the home of significant U.S. Air Force installations, including Peterson Air Force Base, Buckley Air Force Base, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the headquarters of the North American Aerospace Defense Command near Colorado Springs. Also, some of the Minuteman ICBM launch silos of the Francis E. Warren AFB in Cheyenne are actually located in northeastern Colorado and western Nebraska.

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1860 34,277
1870 39,864 16.3%
1880 194,327 387.5%
1890 413,249 112.7%
1900 539,700 30.6%
1910 799,024 48.0%
1920 939,629 17.6%
1930 1,035,791 10.2%
1940 1,123,296 8.4%
1950 1,325,089 18.0%
1960 1,753,947 32.4%
1970 2,207,259 25.8%
1980 2,889,964 30.9%
1990 3,294,394 14.0%
2000 4,301,261 30.6%
Est. 2009[26] 5,024,748 16.8%
Colorado Population Density Map

Colorado's most populous city, and capital, is Denver. The Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area, the residence of about 2,927,900 people, contains more than two-thirds of the state's population. Residents of Colorado are properly referred to as Coloradans, although the term Coloradoans is still occasionally used.[2][27]

As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus 147,770 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 159,957 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 47,740 people.

The largest increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor, especially in the Denver metropolitan area. The state's fastest-growing counties are Douglas and Weld.[28] Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from California, which led some locals to feel that their state was "Californicated" in the 1990s (esp. Denver resembled more of Los Angeles) when lower cost of living and a healthier economy drew in over 100,000 Californians at the time. The center of population of Colorado is located just north of the village of Critchell in Jefferson County.[29]

Colorado has a high proportion of Hispanic citizens in Metropolitan Denver and in some other areas. Southern Colorado has a large number of Hispanos, the descendants of the early Mexican settlers of colonial Spanish origin. The 2000 U.S. Census estimated that 10.5% of people aged five and over in Colorado speak Spanish at home.[30] Colorado, like New Mexico, is very rich in archaic Spanish idioms.[31]

Colorado also has some African-American communities which are located in northeast Denver in the Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Park Hill and Colfax Park areas. The state has sizable numbers of Asian-Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Southeast Asian and Japanese descent. The Denver metropolitan area is considered more liberal and diverse than much of the state when it comes to political issues and environmental concerns.

According to the 2000 Census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado are German (22%) including of Swiss and Austrian nationalities, Irish (12.2%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are the largest group in the state and are especially strong in the Front Range, the Rockies (west-central counties) and Eastern parts/High Plains.[32] Denver and nearby areas on the Front Range has sizable German, Scandinavian, Italian, Slavic and Jewish American communities, partly a legacy of gold rushes in the late 19th century (1861–1889).

Demographics of Colorado (csv)
By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
2000 (total population) 92.23% 4.55% 1.91% 2.84% 0.25%
2000 (Hispanic only) 16.20% 0.37% 0.64% 0.14% 0.05%
2005 (total population) 91.91% 4.74% 1.83% 3.19% 0.26%
2005 (Hispanic only) 18.46% 0.48% 0.61% 0.18% 0.06%
Growth 2000–05 (total population) 8.09% 13.03% 3.85% 22.08% 15.47%
Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 4.78% 10.67% 3.75% 21.14% 11.70%
Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 23.60% 39.64% 4.05% 40.04% 29.23%
* AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

There were a total of 70,331 births in Colorado in 2006. (Birth Rate of 14.6). In 2007, Non-Hispanic Whites constituted 73.5% of the population and accounted for 59.1% of all the births.[33] The first time in state history with the statistic of non-Hispanic whites have fewer babies. But 14.06% of the births happened to parents of different races (About two-thirds to White-Latino parents).[34] Westernmost counties where the majority of residents are adherents of Mormonism there's a slightly higher percentage of families with children and those of under age 18.

Religion

The Chapel on the Rock at Camp Saint Malo near Allenspark.
The Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs.

Colorado's most popular religion is Christianity, and its most popular denomination is Catholicism. Colorado, and specifically the city of Colorado Springs, serves as the headquarters of several Christian groups, many of them evangelical. The Focus on the Family is a conservative Christian organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.

Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:[35]

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 752,505; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 92,326 (133,727 year-end 2007) ; and Baptist with 85,083.[36]

At 25%, Colorado also has an above average proportion of citizens who claim no religion. The U.S. average is 17%.

Health

Colorado also has a reputation for being a state of active and athletic people. According to several studies, Coloradans have the lowest rates of obesity of any state in the US.[37] As of 2007 the 17.6% of the population was considered medically obese, and while the lowest in the nation, the percentage had increased from 16.9% from 2004. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter commented: “As an avid fisherman and bike rider, I know first-hand that Colorado provides a great environment for active, healthy lifestyles,” although he highlighted the need for continued education and support to slow the growth of obesity in the state.[38]

Culture

Street art in Denver

Fine arts

Cuisine

Economy

The United States quarter dollar coin released 2006-06-14, in honor of the state of Colorado.
Denver World Trade Center.
The Denver financial district along 17th Street is known as the Wall Street of the West.
Corn growing in Larimer County
An oil well in western Colorado

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product in 2007 was $236 billion. Per capita personal income in 2007 was $41,192, ranking Colorado eleventh in the nation.[39] The state's economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.

The federal government is also a major economic force in the state with many important federal facilities including NORAD, United States Air Force Academy and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs; NOAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder; U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood; the Denver Mint, Buckley Air Force Base, and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prison and other federal prisons near Cañon City. In addition to these and other federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four National Parks that contribute to federal ownership of 24,615,788 acres (99,617 km2) of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the state.[40] In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and service sectors have expanded greatly. The state's economy is diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research and high-technology industries. Other industries include food processing, transportation equipment, machinery, chemical products, the extraction of metals such as gold (see Gold mining in Colorado), silver, and molybdenum. Colorado now also has the largest annual production of beer of any state.[41] Denver is an important financial center.

A number of nationally known brand names have originated in Colorado factories and laboratories. From Denver came the forerunner of telecommunications giant Qwest in 1879, Samsonite luggage in 1910, Gates belts and hoses in 1911, and Russell Stover Candies in 1923. Kuner canned vegetables began in Brighton in 1864. From Golden came Coors beer in 1873, CoorsTek industrial ceramics in 1920, and Jolly Rancher candy in 1949. CF&I railroad rails, wire, nails and pipe debuted in Pueblo in 1892. The present-day Swift packed meat of Greeley evolved from Monfort of Colorado, Inc., established in 1930. Estes model rockets were launched in Penrose in 1958. Fort Collins has been the home of Woodward Governor Company's motor controllers (governors) since 1870, and Waterpik dental water jets and showerheads since 1962. Celestial Seasonings herbal teas have been made in Boulder since 1969. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory made its first candy in Durango in 1981.

Colorado has a flat 4.63% income tax, regardless of income level. Unlike most states, which calculate taxes based on federal adjusted gross income, Colorado taxes are based on taxable income - income after federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard) deductions.[42][43] Colorado's state sales tax is 2.9% on retail sales. When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, full-year Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and special district taxes that may apply.

Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The state's senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break is scheduled to return for assessment year 2006, payable in 2007.

Philanthropy

Major philanthropic organizations based in Colorado, including the Daniels Fund, the Anschutz Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation, grant approximately $400 million[44] each year from approximately $7 billion[45] of assets.

Energy

Colorado has significant energy resources. According to the Energy Information Administration, Colorado hosts seven of the Nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields and two of its 100 largest oil fields. Conventional and unconventional natural gas output from several Colorado basins typically account for more than 5 percent of annual U.S. natural gas production. Substantial deposits of bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite coal are also found in the state. Colorado's high Rocky Mountain ridges and eastern plains offer wind power potential, and geologic activity in the mountain areas provides potential for geothermal power development. Much of the state is sunny and could produce solar power. Major rivers flowing from the Rocky Mountains offer hydroelectric power resources. Corn grown in the flat eastern part of the state offers potential resources for ethanol production. Notably, Colorado’s oil shale deposits hold an estimated 1 trillion barrels (160 km3) of oil – nearly as much oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. Oil production from those deposits, however, remains speculative.[46]

Special tax districts

Some of the special tax districts are:

  • The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which affects the counties of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas Counties
  • The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties
    • It is a 0.1% retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10).
    • According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history or cultural history.
    • As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently divided into three "tiers" among which receipts are allocated by percentage.
      • Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives 65.5%.
      • Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives 21%.
      • Tier III has over 280 local organizations such as small theaters, orchestras, art centers, and natural history, cultural history, and community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding to the county cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%.
    • An eleven-member board of directors oversees the distributions in accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council) and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado.
  • The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to pay for and help build the Denver Broncos' stadium INVESCO Field at Mile High
  • Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of southeast Jefferson and Boulder counties
  • Regional Transportation Districts (RTA) taxes at varying rates in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison County
  • Occupational Privilege Taxes (OPT or Head Tax) Denver and Aurora both levy an OPT on Employers and Employees
    • If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the Employee and Employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
    • In Denver, the Employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and the Employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.
    • In Aurora, both Employer and Employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.
    • It is the Employer's responsibility to with hold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an Employer does not comply, they can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.

Transportation

Colorado state welcome sign
Union Station in Denver.
Interstate and Federal Highway Routes in the State of Colorado
Commercial Airports in the State of Colorado
Amtrak Passenger Railroad Routes through the State of Colorado
Communities in the State of Colorado with Regional Bus Service

Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Brush, Colorado Springs, Delta, Denver, Durango, Englewood, Frisco, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Greeley, Lamar, Limon, Longmont, Montrose, Pueblo, Rocky Ford, Springfield, Sterling, Trinidad, Vail, and Walsenburg

Government and politics

State government

Gubernatorial election results
Year Republican Democratic
2006 40.16% 625,886 56.98% 888,096
2002 62.62% 884,584 33.65% 475,373
1998 49.06% 648,202 48.43% 639,905
1994 38.70% 432,042 55.47% 619,205
1990 35.43% 358,403 61.89% 626,032

Just like all the states, Colorado's state constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial branches. The Governor heads the state's executive branch. The Colorado Supreme Court is the highest judicial court in the state. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. Currently, Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly. The 2005 Colorado General Assembly was the first to be controlled by the Democrats in forty years. The incumbent governor is Democrat August William "Bill" Ritter, Jr..

Most Coloradans are originally native to other states (nearly 60% according to the 2000 census),[48] and this is illustrated by the fact that the state did not have a native-born governor from 1975 (when John David Vanderhoof left office) until 2007, when Bill Ritter took office; his election the previous year marked the first electoral victory for a native-born Coloradan in a gubernatorial race since 1958 (Vanderhoof had ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon's administration in 1973).

Federal politics

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2008 44.71% 1,073,584 53.66% 1,288,568
2004 51.69% 1,101,255 47.02% 1,001,732
2000 50.75% 883,745 42.39% 738,227
1996 45.80% 691,848 44.43% 671,152
1992 35.87% 562,850 40.13% 629,681
1988 53.06% 728,177 45.28% 621,453

Colorado is considered a swing state in both state and federal elections. Coloradans have elected 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans to the governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado supported Democrats Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008, and supported Republicans Robert J. Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The presidential outcome in 2008 was the second closest to the national popular vote, after Virginia.[49]

Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and liberal cities such as Boulder. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins and Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a few western ski resort counties. The Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains, Colorado Springs, Greeley, some suburbs of Denver, and the western half of the state, including the city of Grand Junction. The fastest growing parts of Colorado, particularly Douglas, Elbert, and Weld Counties, in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area, are somewhat Republican-tending.

Colorado is represented by the current two United States Senators:

The state of Colorado is represented by seven Representatives to the United States House of Representatives:

Cities and towns

Colorado has 271 incorporated municipalities and 83 active United States Census Designated Places.[51][52]

The skyline of downtown Denver with Speer Boulevard in the foreground

Counties

An enlargeable map of the 64 counties of the state of Colorado

Colorado is divided into 64 counties, including two counties with consolidated city and county governments.[53]

The fifteen most populous Colorado counties as of July 1, 2008, were:[54]

  1. City and County of Denver
  2. El Paso County
  3. Arapahoe County
  4. Jefferson County
  5. Adams County
  6. Boulder County
  7. Larimer County
  8. Douglas County
  9. Weld County
  10. Pueblo County
  11. Mesa County
  12. Garfield County
  13. City and County of Broomfield
  14. Eagle County
  15. La Plata County

Education

Colleges and universities in Colorado:

Metropolitan areas

Map of the 14 Core Based Statistical Areas in the state of Colorado.

The United States Census Bureau has defined seven Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), seven Micropolitan Statistical Areas (μSAs), and one Combined Statistical Area (CSA) in the state of Colorado.[55][56]

Military installations

Protected areas

Spruce Tree House in Mesa Verde National Park

Nationally Protected Areas in Colorado:

Sports

The Colorado Rockies National League baseball club at Coors Field in Denver.

Professional sports teams

Colorado is the least populous state with a franchise in each of the major professional sports leagues. The state is able to support the teams because it contains a large metropolitan area with a higher population than any other city within 550 miles (885 km). Therefore, many of the residents in the surrounding states support the teams in Denver, as shown by the reach of the Broncos' radio network.[60]

Club Sport League
Colorado Rockies Baseball Major League Baseball
Denver Broncos Football National Football League
Colorado Avalanche Ice hockey National Hockey League
Denver Nuggets Basketball National Basketball Association
Colorado Rapids Soccer Major League Soccer
Colorado Mammoth Lacrosse National Lacrosse League
Denver Outlaws Lacrosse Major League Lacrosse
Colorado Springs Sky Sox Baseball Minor League Baseball (AAA)
Colorado Eagles Ice hockey Central Hockey League
Real Colorado Foxes Soccer USL Premier Development League
Colorado Springs Sabers Soccer Women's Premier Soccer League
Denver Diamonds Soccer Women's Premier Soccer League

Former professional sports teams

Club Sport League
Aurora Cavalry Basketball International Basketball League
Colorado 14ers (won championship in their final season of 2008-09, then moved to Frisco, Texas to become the new team starting play in 2010-11) Basketball NBA Development League
Colorado Chill (folded along with the NWBL) Basketball National Women's Basketball League
Colorado Crossover Basketball International Basketball League
Colorado Crush (suspended operations when the league did, and did not return when the [[Arena Football League (2010)|new AFL was formed) Arena football Arena Football League
Colorado Rapids U23's Soccer USL Premier Development League
Colorado Rockies (NHL) (moved to East Rutherford, New Jersey and became the New Jersey Devils) Ice Hockey National Hockey League
Colorado Xplosion (won the Western Conference Championship in inaugural season) Women's Basketball American Basketball League (1996-1998)
Colorado Springs Blizzard Soccer USL Premier Development League
Denver Grizzlies (moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, later moved to Cleveland, Ohio and became the Lake Erie Monsters) Ice Hockey International Hockey League (1945-2001)
Denver Spurs (moved to Ottawa, Ontario and became the Ottawa Civics for the rest of the team's existence) Ice Hockey World Hockey Association/Central Hockey League/Western Hockey League
Denver Dynamite (Inaugural member of the Arena Football League, folded after four seasons) Arena Football Arena Football League
Denver Gold (United States Football League member, 1983–1985) Football United States Football League
Denver Bears/Denver Zephyrs (moved to New Orleans, Louisiana and became the New Orleans Zephyrs) Baseball American Association/Pacific Coast League
Rocky Mountain Rage Ice hockey Central Hockey League

State symbols

Colorado State Symbols
Flag of Colorado.svg
The Flag of Colorado.

Animate insignia
Bird(s) Lark Bunting
Fish Greenback Cutthroat Trout
Flower(s) Rocky Mountain Columbine
Grass Blue Grama Grass
Insect Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly
Mammal(s) Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep
Reptile Western Painted Turtle
Tree Colorado Blue Spruce

Inanimate insignia
Dance Square Dance
Fossil Stegosaurus
Gemstone Aquamarine
Mineral Rhodochrosite
Rock Yule Marble
Soil Seitz
Song(s) Where the Columbines Grow
Rocky Mountain High
Tartan Colorado State Tartan

Route marker(s)
Colorado Route Marker

State Quarter
Quarter of Colorado
Released in 2006

Lists of United States state insignia

Prominent Coloradans

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Writers Style Guide, Colorado State University, accessed January 19, 2009
  2. ^ a b c Coloradoan or Coloradan
  3. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009" (CSV). 2009 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 02009-12-23 December 23, 2009. http://www.census.gov/popest/states/tables/NST-EST2009-01.csv. Retrieved 02009-12-23 December 23, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Elevations and Distances in the United States". U.S. Geological Survey. 2005-04-29. http://erg.usgs.gov/isb/pubs/booklets/elvadist/elvadist.html#Highest. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  5. ^ a b "National Geodetic Survey data sheet KL0637 for Mount Elbert". National Geodetic Survey. http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/ds_mark.prl?PidBox=KL0637. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  6. ^ Merriam-Webster.com, Colorado, Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
  7. ^ a b Forty-third United States Congress (1875-03-03). "An Act to Enable the People of Colorado to Form a Constitution and State Government, and for the Admission of the Said State into the Union on an Equal Footing with the Original States" (PDF). http://www.i2i.org/Publications/ColoradoConstitution/cnenable.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  8. ^ Rectangular States and Kinky Borders
  9. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. "Elevations and Distances". http://erg.usgs.gov/isb/pubs/booklets/elvadist/elvadist.html#Highest. Retrieved 2006-09-08. 
  10. ^ a b c Doesken, Nolan J.; Roger A. Pielke, Sr., Odilia A.P. Bliss (January 2003). "Climate of Colorado". Colorado Climate Center - Department of Atmospheric Science - Colorado State University. http://ccc.atmos.colostate.edu/climateofcolorado.php. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  11. ^ U.S. Forest Service. "Rocky Mountain Region 14ers". http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/recreation/14ers/. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  12. ^ "Pikes Peak, Colorado". Peakbagger.com. http://www.peakbagger.com/peak.aspx?pid=5689. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  13. ^ a b DRI.edu Western Regional Climate Center. Last accessed 2006-10-24.
  14. ^ Slater, Jane (2008-05-28). "Thursday's Tornado State's 4th Costliest Disaster". KMGH. http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/16408116/detail.html. 
  15. ^ "Denver's Consecutive 90 Degree Streaks". National Weather Service. http://www.crh.noaa.gov/bou/?n=consec90. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  16. ^ A History of Drought
  17. ^ "Record Highest Temperatures by State" (PDF). National Climatic Data Center. 2004-01-01. http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/pub/data/special/maxtemps.pdf. Retrieved 2007-01-11. 
  18. ^ "Record Lowest Temperatures by State" (PDF). National Climatic Data Center. 2004-01-01. http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/pub/data/special/mintemps.pdf. Retrieved 2007-01-11. 
  19. ^ UStravelweather.com
  20. ^ Gehling, Richard (2006). "The Pike's Peak Gold Rush". Richard Gehling. http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Falls/2000/index.html. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  21. ^ "An Act to provide a temporary Government for the Territory of Colorado" (PDF). Thirty-sixth United States Congress. 1861-02-28. http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/territory.pdf. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  22. ^ Early explorers identified the Gunnison River in Colorado as the headwaters of the Colorado River. The Grand River in Colorado was later tentively identified as the primary headwaters of the river. Finally in 1916, E.C. LaRue, the Chief Hydrologist of the United States Geological Survey, identified the Green River in southwestern Wyoming as the proper headwaters of the actual, overall Colorado River.
  23. ^ State of Colorado - Division of Information Technologies. "State Names and Nicknames". http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/history/symbemb.htm#Name. Retrieved 2006-11-15. 
  24. ^ Colorado River Water Conservation District (2003). "Many years ago, the Colorado River was just Grand". Summit Daily News. http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20031223/OPINION/312230302. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  25. ^ President of the United States of America (1876-08-01). "Proclamation of the Admission of Colorado to the Union" (php). The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=70540. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  26. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009". United States Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/popest/states/tables/NST-EST2009-02.csv. Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  27. ^ Merriam Webster. "Definition of Colorado". http://m-w.com/dictionary/colorado. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  28. ^ Epodunk.com
  29. ^ "Population and Population Centers by State - 2000". United States Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/cenpop/statecenters.txt. Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  30. ^ Language Map Data Center
  31. ^ Elcastellano.org talking about Colorado in "nada"
  32. ^ Map of Latitude: 39.500656 Longitude: -105.203628, by MapQuest
  33. ^ CDC.gov
  34. ^ CDPHE.state.co.us, COHID Birth Data Request
  35. ^ U.S. Religion Map and Religious Populations - U.S. Religious Landscape Study - Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
  36. ^ Thearda.com
  37. ^ Calorielab.com
  38. ^ Calorielab.com
  39. ^ BEA.gov
  40. ^ Tony Frank (January 1997). "Colorado Land Ownership by County (acres)" (Excel). Colorado Department of Agriculture. http://www.ag.state.co.us/resource/documents/TotalCOLandOwnership.xls. Retrieved 2007-07-15.  Colorado Department of Agriculture: Land Ownership
  41. ^ Colorado rides on Fat Tire to beer heights. Rocky Mountain News 11/24/2007 Accessed November 29, 2007
  42. ^ Colorado individual income tax return (2005) Revenue.state.co.us, retrieved September 26, 2006
  43. ^ U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (2005) online copy, retrieved 2006-09-26
  44. ^ Coloradofunders.org
  45. ^ COF.org
  46. ^ "EIA State Energy Profiles: Colorado". 2008-06-12. http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/state/state_energy_profiles.cfm?sid=CO. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  47. ^ Denver International Airport was the ninth busiest airport on Earth in 2006.
  48. ^ "State of Residence in 2000 by State of Birth". US Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/phc-t38/index.html. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  49. ^ Goodman, Josh. "Move Over Missouri, Iowa Is the New Bellwether State". Governing.com. http://ballotbox.governing.com/2008/11/move-over-missouri-iowa-is-the-bellwether-state.html. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  50. ^ Governor Bill Ritter appointed Michael Bennet to serve the remaining two years of United States Senator Ken Salazar term of office which was left vacant on 2009-01-20, when new United States President Barack Obama appointed the Colorado Senator to serve in his Cabinet as United States Secretary of the Interior.
  51. ^ "Active Colorado Municipalities as of September 18, 2006". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. 2006-09-18. http://www.dola.state.co.us/LGS/localgovtinfo/municipalities.htm. Retrieved 2007-01-08. 
  52. ^ "Census 2000 Places" (text file). Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. 2000. http://www.census.gov/tiger/tms/gazetteer/places2k.txt. Retrieved 2007-01-08. 
  53. ^ "Colorado Counties". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. 2007-01-08. http://www.dola.state.co.us/dlg/local_governments/counties.html. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  54. ^ "Annual County Population Estimates and Estimated Components of Change: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008" (CSV). 2008 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. March 19, 2009. http://www.census.gov/popest/counties/files/CO-EST2008-ALLDATA.csv. Retrieved June 10, 2009. 
  55. ^ "CBSA-EST2005-alldata: Population Estimates and Estimated Components of Change for Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas and Their Geographic Components: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2005" (CSV). 2005 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2006-08-18. http://www.census.gov/population/www/estimates/metropop/2005/cbsa-01-fmt.csv. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  56. ^ "CSA-EST2005-alldata: Population Estimates and Estimated Components of Change for Combined Statistical Areas and Their Geographic Components: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2005" (CSV). 2005 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2006-08-18. http://www.census.gov/population/www/estimates/metropop/2005/csa_all_2005.csv. Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  57. ^ Managed by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Forest Service.
  58. ^ Managed by the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management.
  59. ^ Jointly managed by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Forest Service, and the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management.
  60. ^ DenverBroncos.com – Official Website Of The Denver Broncos

Further reading

  • Explore Colorado, A Naturalist's Handbook, The Denver Museum of Natural History and Westcliff Publishers, 1995, ISBN 1-56579-124-X for an excellent guide to the ecological regions of Colorado.
  • The Archeology of Colorado, Revised Edition, E. Steve Cassells, Johnson Books, Boulder, Colorado, 1997, trade paperback, ISBN 1-55566-193-9.
  • Chokecherry Places, Essays from the High Plains, Merrill Gilfillan, Johnson Press, Boulder, Colorado, trade paperback, ISBN 1-55566-227-7.
  • The Tie That Binds, Kent Haruf, 1984, hardcover, ISBN 0-03-071979-8, a fictional account of farming in Colorado.
  • Railroads of Colorado: Your Guide to Colorado's Historic Trains and Railway Sites, Claude Wiatrowski, Voyageur Press, 2002, hardcover, 160 pages, ISBN 0-89658-591-3

External links

State government

Federal government

Other

Coordinates: 39°00′N 105°30′W / 39°N 105.5°W / 39; -105.5

Preceded by
Nebraska
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on August 1, 1876 (38th)
Succeeded by
North Dakota

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Colorado [1] is a western state in the Rocky Mountains region of the United States of America. The highest peaks of the the North American Rockies are here, (Mt. Elbert 4,401 m / 14,440 ft), as well as a number of other natural marvels. The state also boasts the highest overall elevation in the United States and is home to many diverse ecosystems for its size.

Regions

There is no universally agreed-upon breakdown of regions in Colorado. You'll often hear natives speak of a very simple structure comprised of the Eastern Slope (meaning everything east of the crest of the Rockies), or the Western Slope (everything west of the range crest), and anomalous Denver or the "valley". The breakdown below is a bit more complex, partly for reasons of style and partly because the simple east/west/Denver formulation lumps areas together that are really very disparate. It's also roughly what's used by the Colorado Department of Tourism. If you are confused by some of the boundaries, simply consult a map of Colorado counties, as many of the regions follow county lines.

Colorado regions
Colorado regions
Denver Area
most populous part of the state, with the large metro capital-city of Denver and its many suburbs
Eastern Plains
the least populated flat eastern half of the state, western agricultural country
Front Range
follows the northern part of the Rockies, including Boulder and such well-known attractions as Rocky Mountain National Park
Northwestern Colorado
spectacular canyon-and-mesa country reminiscent of neighboring Utah
South Central Colorado
the high country in the southern part of the Rockies, home to many ski resorts, including the towering San Juan Mountains, ("American Alps") with a broad, pleasant valley between them
Southwestern Colorado
more canyon-and-mesa country best known for the archaeological wonders of Mesa Verde National Park

Other destinations

For a quick list of all Colorado's ski resorts, take a look at Skiing in Colorado.

Understand

History

Composer Igor Stravinsky once rode a ski lift in Aspen in the summertime, while Prospector Alferd Packer dined on human flesh near Lake City. Inventor Nikola Tesla created artificial lightening hundreds of feet long in Colorado Springs, and Writer Oscar Wilde attended a fancy dinner party at the bottom of a Leadville silver mine. Outlaw Butch Cassidy robbed the bank in Telluride, while Lawman Doc Holliday and Showman Buffalo Bill were buried in Glenwood Springs and Denver, respectively. All are part of the quirky and sometimes colorful history of Colorado.

Around 15,000 years ago, Native Americans migrated to Colorado, a nomadic group of hunter-gatherers distributed on the plains as well as the western plateaus. The first agricultural communities appeared on the Eastern Plains approximately 5,000 years ago. Circa 600 AD, the Ancient Pueblo Peoples began building elaborate communities in Southwestern Colorado in the Mesa Verde area. Other Native American groups, including the Arapaho, Apache, Cheyenne, Comanche, Kiowa, Shoshone and Utes have called Colorado home.

The Spanish were the first Europeans in the area. In 1541, Coronado led an expedition north through Colorado from Mexico in search of the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola, where the streets were supposed to be paved with gold.

A midsummer Columbine (the state flower) on Arapahoe Pass Trail near Boulder
A midsummer Columbine (the state flower) on Arapahoe Pass Trail near Boulder

In 1803, Emperor Napoleon Buonaparte sold the United States a vast tract of land known as the "Louisiana Purchase," an area which included Colorado. Lieutenant Zebulon Pike explored the recently purchased territory at President Thomas Jefferson's behest. Pike and his men "discovered" the 14,000 ft (4268 m) peak near Colorado Springs, which today bears his name.

From the 1820s through the 1840s, fur trappers and mountain men began harvesting highly-valued beaver and buffalo pelts for the Eastern U.S. and Europe. Trading posts were established for barter with the Native Americans, while trade routes sprang up between the United States and Mexico.

In 1858, gold was discovered at the mouth of Dry Creek in the present-day Denver suburb of Englewood, triggering the "Pike's Peak or Bust" gold rush of 1858-59. Approximately 50,000 people immigrated to Colorado in search of gold, creating the first large scale permanent settlements. Hard rock silver and gold mining towns were established throughout the territory.

A new town named Denver City was founded in honor of James W. Denver, governor of Kansas Territory.

In 1876, Colorado was admitted as the thirty-eighth state in the union. Colorado was called the "Centennial State" in honor of the one-hundredth anniversary of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

In 1912, Hot Sulphur Springs hosted a ski jumping tournament and invited the Denver press. From this humble beginning, Colorado's ski industry was born. A handful of early ski runs were built around the state over the next 20 years, with the Highland-Bavarian Corporation beginning a rudimentary development of Aspen. World War II and the arrival of the 10th Mountain Division to train near Minturn ushered in the mid-20th century explosion of Colorado ski resorts. Trained for high alpine combat in Italy, the alumni of the 10th Mountain Division returned to the U.S. after the war to build Aspen, Vail and Arapahoe Basin.

By the 1960s, Colorado was a popular global destination for alpine skiing, with travelers drawn to the state's sunny days and champagne snow.

View from Telluride ski slopes.
View from Telluride ski slopes.

Colorado is split down the middle north to south by the Rocky Mountains. To the east is a region of high prairie, dry and wide open. To the west are rugged mountains arranged in various groups or ranges. (Interestingly, the largest single range in the state, the San Juan Mountains of the southwestern quarter, aren't technically part of the Rockies.) Meandering through the mountains is an imaginary line called the Continental Divide. This marks the flow of precipitation. Rain falling on the west of the Divide makes its way to the Pacific Ocean. Rain on the east makes its way to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. What may be surprising to visitors, however, is that, despite stereotypes, comparatively little of the state is actually mountainous. Perhaps a third of it is covered by hills or mountains, and even less is actually home to the soaring, jagged peaks for which the state is known.

Colorado has 54 mountain peaks above 14,000 ft (4267 m) of elevation. The highest peak, Mount Elbert, rises to 14,433 ft (4268m) above sea level making it the highest peak in the North American Rockies. Tourism is a major industry, with skiing/snowboarding, hiking/camping, hunting, mountaineering and fishing as large sources of income for the state economy.

Colorado's population was 4,301,261 in the 2000 census, and the state's population is growing, particularly in the large towns along the Front Range where the prairie and mountains meet. These towns include the capital, Denver, and Colorado Springs, Boulder, Longmont, Loveland and Fort Collins. Many of the residents of Colorado migrated from other states so being a "Colorado Native" is a point of pride with many people.

Talk

Like the rest of the United States, English is the main language of Colorado. Spanish is also widely spoken in Colorado, (approximately 20% of the population speaks it), with large Latino populations centered in Denver, Pueblo and historically in the San Luis Valley.

Get in

By plane

All major airlines fly into Denver International Airport (code: DEN) as it is the major hub for the region, and in fact the ninth busiest airport in the world.

Here are some of the airports servicing Colorado:

CITY IATA ICAO AIRPORT
Aspen ASE KASE Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (Sardy Field)
Colorado Springs COS KCOS City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport
Cortez CEZ KCEZ Cortez Municipal Airport
Denver DEN KDEN Denver International Airport
Durango DRO KDRO Durango-La Plata County Airport
Eagle EGE KEGE Eagle County Regional Airport
Fort Collins / Loveland FNL KFNL Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport
Grand Junction GJT KGJT Grand Junction Regional Airport (Walker Field)
Gunnison GUC KGUC Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport
Hayden HDN KHDN Yampa Valley Airport (Yampa Valley Regional)
Montrose MTJ KMTJ Montrose Regional Airport
Telluride TEX KTEX Telluride Regional Airport
The Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
The Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Amtrak [2] runs the California Zephyr [3] from Emeryville to Chicago, stopping in Denver, Winter Park, Grandby, Glenwood Springs, and Grand Junction.

Through the Eastern Plains, Amtrak runs the Southwest Chief [4]: from Chicago to Los Angeles, stopping in Lamar, La Junta, and Trinidad.

For more information, see Wikitravel's article Rail travel in the United States.

Get around

If you want to travel the state, then you will need to rent a vehicle. Prices are the same as across the United States.

The state is roughly quarted by two major Interstates, the north-south running I-25 and the east-west running I-70. (I-76 also enters the state in the Northeast from Nebraska). Outside of the Front Range, the rest of the state is traversed by small highways and county roads.

The major cities (Denver, Boulder, Loveland, Longmont, Broomfield) are linked by bus transportation using RTD. The cost is very reasonable and the buses run regular schedules.

Taxis and shuttle services are also available throughout the state.

See

Some of Colorado's most iconic natural beauty lies outside its national parks, and in its many national monuments, national forests and state parks. Other areas of federally protected scenic beauty in Colorado include: National Recreation Trails, National Recreation Areas, National Grasslands, National Wildlife Refuges and National Wilderness Areas. The Bureau of Land Management also has extensive public land holdings.

National monuments

Archeological and geological points of interest abound throughout Colorado's national monument system.

  • Canyons of the Ancients National Monument [5] - In Southwestern Colorado. Contains more than 6,000 archaeological sites, representing Ancestral Puebloan and other Native American cultures.
  • Colorado National Monument [6] - Near Grand Junction. Rim Rock Drive and trail system through red sandstone pillars, arches and other strange rock formations that rise hundreds of feet above the Grand Valley.
  • Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument [7] - Near Florissant, west of Pike's Peak. Yes, there really are petrified redwood trees in Colorado, preserved in a rain of volcanic ash during the Pleistocene Era. Up to 1,700 different species have been found, making this one of the most diverse fossil beds in the world.
  • Hovenweep National Monument [8] - Near Cortez. Protects six Ancestral Puebloan villages spread over a twenty-mile expanse of mesa tops and canyons along the Utah-Colorado border. Iconic to the monument are the multi-storied ruins.
  • Yucca House National Monument [9] - Near Cortez. An entire unexcavated city of Ancestral Puebloan houses, built between 1150 and 1300 A.D.
Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site near La Junta
Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site near La Junta

Connecting countries, colonies and cultures, these trails were a key part of European settlement of the Western U.S.

  • Old Spanish National Historic Trail [10] - Winding through southwestern Colorado, this 1820s trade route leads from Abiquiu, New Mexico, to Los Angeles, California.
  • Pony Express National Historic Trail [11] Through the Eastern Plains. Even though it was in operation for only 18 months in the early 1860s, and was shut down with the advent of the transcontinental telegraph, the Pony Express has become an indelible part of Wild West lore.
  • Santa Fe National Historic Trail [12] Through the Eastern Plains. Commercial route between Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The U.S. Army marched along this trail to invade Mexico during the Mexican-American War, the U.S. conquering and annexing California, Nevada, and Utah, as well as parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming in the process.

National historic sites

Colorado's two national historic sites tell the story, for both good and ill, of European/U.S. relations with Native Americans.

  • Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site [13] - Near La Junta. A restored adobe fur trading post from the 1840s. Learn about the authentic Old West history of traders, trappers and Native Americans, all of whom came to the fort to barter.
  • Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site [14] - Near Chivington. Another dark chapter in U.S. relations with Native Americans. In 1864, soldiers from the U.S. military attacked a peaceful encampment of Cheyenne and Arapaho along Sand Creek, on the Eastern Plains. Out of a group of largely women, children and the elderly, 150 were killed.

National scenic trails

Solitude and amazing natural scenery await visitors to Colorado's version of the Appalachian Trail.

  • Continental Divide National Scenic Trail [15] - Follows the backbone of the Rocky Mountains for 3,100 mi (4828 km) , from Canada to Mexico. Largely high alpine hiking in pristine wilderness areas. Trail never deviates more than 8 mi (13 km) from the Continental Divide.

National forests

There are 11 national forests in Colorado. Here a few of note with famous landmarks.

  • Pike National Forest [16] - Near Colorado Springs. Home of Pikes Peak [17], the most visited mountain in North America and the second most visited mountain in the world behind Japan's Mount Fuji. Be sure to drive to the top or ride the Pikes Peak Cog Railway [18].
  • San Isabel National Forest - The true high country in Colorado, with 19 of the state's "14ers," including Mount Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado. Contains many famous mountain ranges: the Sawatch, Collegiate Peaks, Sangre de Cristos and Spanish Peaks.
  • White River National Forest [19] - Home of the famous Maroon Bells Range, near Aspen. Also home to the pilgrimage site of Mount Holy Cross [20], a 14,005 ft (4267 m) peak with deep snow-filled crevasses on its face that form a massive crucifix. Near Vail.

America the Beautiful

It's a popular patriotic song played at sporting events and sung by hundreds of different artists. The opening lyrics were inspired by Colorado scenery: O' beautiful, for spacious skies/ For amber waves of grain/ For purple mountain majesties/ Above the fruited plain!

In 1893, Katharine Lee Bates, a former English professor at Wellesley College, ascended Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs and looked out at the view. The panorama of the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains inspired Bates to write her poem, which became a popular favorite. By 1895, the poem was set to music, and has never left the public consciousness since.

Recreation and rugged natural beauty are the common denominators for Colorado's 44 state parks.

  • Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area [21] - Near Buena Vista. Recognized as one of the nation's most popular locations for whitewater rafting and kayaking on the Arkansas River - the most commercially rafted river in the world.

City parks

Wilderness areas are hard to define in Colorado, with many of the state's most visited attractions administered by towns and cities. There are many places of cultural and historical significance, as well.

  • Chautauqua Park [22] - Home of one of the few remaining Chautauqua lecture halls (a National Historic Landmark), this recreation area abuts the jutting red sandstone crags of the Flatirons, a symbol of Boulder.
  • Denver City Park - Designed in 1882, this graceful urban playground houses both the Denver Zoo [23] and the Museum of Nature & Science [24].
  • Garden of the Gods [25] - Administered by Colorado Springs, the red rock pillars, arches and bluffs frame snow covered Pikes Peak in the distance. An easy hike, bike ride, or way to exhaust the memory on your digital camera.
  • John Denver Sanctuary - In Aspen. Fan pilgrimage site and monument to the folk artist who gave so many a "Rocky Mountain High."
  • Red Rocks Amphitheater[26]. - Located in Morrison on the western edge of Denver, an outdoor concert venue with amazing natural beauty that provides a great view of Denver below. Visit the Rock and Roll Museum at the top of Red Rocks, eat in the restaurant, hike the red sandstone and scrub oak trails for their scenic beauty and wildlife.
  • Royal Gorge [27] - Cañon City runs a theme park on the rim of this 1,250 ft (380 m) deep canyon, including the Royal Gorge Bridge, highest suspension bridge in the world. (Not for acrophobes).
  • Air Force Academy Chapel [28] - In Colorado Springs. Built in 1962, this white spired building is considered a premiere example of Modernist architecture. Designated a National Historic Landmark.
  • Buffalo Bill Museum And Grave [29] - In Golden. Just a stone's throw away from the bristling microwave and communications towers of Denver's TV and radio stations, Buffalo Bill's final resting place is a strange blend of the Old and New West.
  • Celestial Seasonings Tour [30] - In Boulder. Popular free tour of the herbal tea factory, including the overpowering vapors of the spearmint room. Lots of hot tea and free samples.
  • Crow Canyon Archaeological Center [31] - Go on a real archeological dig of Pueblo peoples who lived near Mesa Verde National Park.
  • Denver Mint [32] - Located in downtown Denver. The single largest producer of coins in the world. Free tour, but be sure to go to their web site and book your reservations in advance.
  • Denver Art Museum [33] - Architect Daniel Libeskind designed the new wing of the museum, a thrusting ship-like prow of titanium and glass. Collections include work by Man Ray, Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Philip Guston, as well as an important collection of Western art.
  • Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad [34] - Built by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway in 1879, this steam locomotive carries tourists between Durango and Silverton.
  • Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Pool & Spa [35] - One of the largest hot springs pool in the world. For more Colorado geothermal pools, see the Wikitravel article, hot springs.
  • Kit Carson County Carousel [36] - In Burlington near the Kansas border. After being buried for decades inside its terminal in feed corn, this 100 year old carousel is still in working order and with its original paint.
  • South Park [37] - Near Fairplay. Sadly, no Stan, Kyle, Kenny or Cartman from the eponymous TV cartoon series. But there are some seriously pretty mountains and scenery in this 10,000 ft (3,000 m) plateau.
  • Pike's Peak - Beautiful drive to the summit of Pike's Peak.
Fall Foliage on the Grand Mesa, Colorado
Fall Foliage on the Grand Mesa, Colorado

Fishing

With 6,000 miles of streams and more than 2,000 lakes and reservoirs to choose from, you can fish for over 35 species of both warm- and cold-water fish. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy angling, high mountain stream fishing and ice fishing in Colorado. Don't forget to watch the seasons set by the state [38] and obtain your fishing license. Otherwise, you may be facing a stiff fine.

  • There are a number of historic towns in Colorado that offer casino gambling. The three most famous are Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. Local officials are in the process of raising maximum bets from $5 to $100, allowing for more Las Vegas-style gaming. The Ute Reservation in the Southwestern corner of the state also runs casinos.
  • Colorado has a seemingly endless amount of hiking trails. Colorado hiking trails can lead you through various terrain, including deserts, mountains, canyons, and more.
  • Of the 54 so-called "Fourteeners" (those mountains with an elevation above 14,000 ft., or 4267 m), many can be climbed without ropes or technical experience. The rewards are breathtaking. The current standard among introductory guidebooks to routes on Fourteeners is Borneman and Lampert, "A Climbing Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners." This book is updated frequently to reflect changes in access restrictions (several are on private land or have private holdings high on the mountain that interfere with some routes), and the latest edition as of 2005 is ISBN 0871088509. Many people also find Gerry Roach's (the second person in the world to summit all of the "Seven Summits") book, "Colorado's Fourteeners: From Hikes to Climbs" ISBN: 1555914128 to be a comprehensive guidebook for hiking and climbing these Colorado giants. Colorado has more "14ers" than any other state in the USA. Be prepared for crowds on some of the more popular summits during the summer on weekends. Also be prepared for an outing, as conditions can and do change rapidly on Colorado's high mountains.
  • There are also many "high Thirteeners" that are nearly as rewarding to climb as the Fourteeners, while typically far less crowded with would-be mountaineers. Some of the high Thirteeners are more technically difficult than any Fourteener and require rope and technical expertise.
  • Home to 26 ski areas and resorts, Colorado offers the perfect location to take a family or solo or couples vacation to. From beginners to expert mountains, these resorts are open to anyone. Even for the non skiers, the resorts and ski towns offer shopping, spas, tubing and any multiple other fun attractions to enjoy. Many of these resorts are only 1-2 hours outside of Denver.
  • Skiing isn't the only reason thousands of people travel to Colorado each year. During the summer months, Colorado offers, perhaps, some of the best white water rafting in the country. The Arkansas River is one of the most rafted river in the country with over 50,000 rafters experiencing the pounding white water of "The Ark", as the locals call it. Many of the outfitters are less than 2 hours outside of Denver and offer a variety of trips for all ages and experience levels.
  • Golden has a world-class kayak course that is free and open to mostly year round use. There are several kayak shops in Golden, and they also have demos and clinics on various dates.
  • Many of the mountain towns along the Colorado and Arkansas Rivers offer whitewater rafting excursions. You can choose a half-day, full-day or overnight trip.

Wildlife Viewing

It's not hard to spot wildlife in Colorado. There is a diversity of wild animals maintained by the Colorado Division of Wildlife [39]. Elk, mule deer, moose, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, antelope, brown bears, mountain lions and a smattering of bobcats range the national parks, forests and state parks. Migratory birds such as hummingbirds and the sandhill cranes return each year to their summer habitat. Look for "Wildlife Viewing Area" signs along the highways and interstates. Or simply venture into any wilderness area. You will need binoculars, a camera, as well as good luck and patience.

  • I-70 at Genesse Park - This western suburb of Denver in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains is home to the City of Denver's Buffalo herd. Pull off the Interstate and snap a few photos with the bison in the foreground and the snow capped Continental Divide in the distance.
  • Mount Evans - Also off I-70 Near Idaho Springs. Drive the Mount Evans Scenic Byway & Wilderness [40], the highest paved road in the U.S. More often than not, you will see a herd of shaggy white mountain goats on the drive.
  • I-70 through Georgetown - Just west of Denver. Around the Downieville Starbucks, start scanning the north side of the Interstate. A herd of bighorn sheep routinely grazes on the steep slopes, often venturing as close as the shoulder of the highway.
  • Alamosa/Monte Vista/Baca National Wildlife Refuge Complex [41] - Near Alamosa. Threatened bird is the largest crane in North America. Each October and March, 3,000 -5,000 cranes make a migratory stopover. In the spring the San Luis Valley celebrates the Monte Vista Crane Festival [42] to honor this impressive bird.

Rocky Mountain Nation Park is a wonderful place to look for elk. Fall days are the best time of the year to enjoy watching elk. Herds can be spotted all through the park and the elk's buggling is an almost constant noise during some times of the year.

  • Colorado State Fair[43] - In Pueblo. Rodeo, concerts, tigers, sea lions, fair rides and fair food.
  • Cherry Creek Arts Festival Held every Independence Day weekend in the Cherry Creek section of town, this is an outdoor festival full of shopping and food.
  • Mesa Verde Country Indian Arts & Culture Festival. May is archaeology month in Colorado and there is no better place to celebrate than Mesa Verde Country, the archaeological center of America. Archaeology ties all of us to the heritage we proudly share with the Ancestral Pueblo people from the past and the Native Americans living here today.
  • Mesa Verde Country Wine & Art Festival [44].
  • Old South Gaylord Street Festival Held every Memorial Day weekend, this festival started when several local stores held sidewalk sales at the same time. They decided to coordinate their efforts next year, and now decades later vendors from all over the state set up tents. Many of the goods on sale are handmade, and there is plenty of food, live music and fair-style attractions as well.
  • Taste of Colorado Every year in downtown over 40 restaurants set up booths near the state capitol in Civic Center Park to celebrate the weekend. Admission is free but tickets are needed for the carnival rides and other attractions.
Rocky Mountain Oysters
Rocky Mountain Oysters

Colorado is filled with a large variety of restaurants with different cuisines. You can find almost everything you would ever want to eat or drink. But what, exactly, is Colorado cuisine? There are several indigenous foods worth trying, sought out for their associations with this Rocky Mountain state.

First, there is the cliché Denver Omelette -- an egg dish prepared with cheddar cheese, diced ham, onions, and green bell peppers. It probably originated on Western cattle drives, cooked up by cowboys, and most likely was not invented by a French gastronome as a "dénuer omelette," or a tasteless American omelette deprived of all class. Contrary to popular belief, you can get a Denver Omelette in Denver -- but it will simply be one egg item out of many on the menu. This omelette doesn't inspire the hometown pride of, say, a Philly cheesesteak in Philadelphia.

Along with Pasadena, California, and Louisville, Kentucky, Denver is one of three cities that claim to have invented that quintessential American food, the cheeseburger. Made with American cheese layered on top of a patty of ground beef, cooked on a griddle or grill, and placed on a bun with the usual sides of pickles, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and condiments, the cheeseburger is a fast food classic. In 1935, Louis Ballast of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver received a trademark on the term, "cheeseburger." So Denver was arguably not the first place of origin for the cheeseburger, but it's the official one.

Sometime during your stay, a giggling friend will attempt to get you to eat a plate of Rocky Mountain Oysters. When asked, even your waiter or waitress will be coy about giving a straight answer. Don't be fooled, however. There are no fresh water molluscs thriving at high altitude. These oysters are bull or sheep testicles, flour battered and pan fried.

Many chefs reference Colorado's pioneering past and work with fresh game. Quail, rabbit, elk, venison, moose and even rattlesnake are served, ranging from the kitchen tables of families that still hunt all the way to four star restaurants.

Three meats, however, have deep associations with Colorado: Buffalo, Colorado Rack of Lamb, and Fresh Water Trout.

More aptly described as "bison," buffalos once roamed the Great Plains of the U.S. in the millions. Nearly hunted to extinction for their hides, buffalo have been making a quiet comeback on ranches as a heart-healthy alternative to other meats. It is lower in cholesterol than either chicken or beef. Buffalo is a red meat best served medium rare -- cooked too long and it will toughen. A plethora of restaurants serve bison as steaks, hamburgers and jerky, and in pot roast, meat loaf, even tacos and spaghetti. If you have access to a grill during your stay, buy some ground bison at the supermarket and make your own buffalo burgers. (Just be sure to mix the meat with oatmeal and egg as a binding agent, since bison is so lean, it tends to fall apart).

One hundred years ago, Greek immigrants settled in Western Colorado, bringing with them a millennia-old sheep raising tradition. Many of these high mountain ranches have morphed into the state's ski resorts, but a handful remain. In summer time, young lambs are still grilled in open charcoal pits in the Greek fashion, while Colorado lamb is a much sought-after gourmet ingredient. Be sure to ask for all-natural lamb raised in Colorado with no growth stimulants or added hormones.

Hiding in pools in mountain streams are wild brown, speckled and rainbow trout. The rainbow is a fresh water cousin of the salmon. Catching these skittish fish in the outback of the Rockies is half the challenge, since they are extremely sensitive to vibrations and hide when something approaches the stream. But once caught, trout meat is very flavorful and clean, if prone to tiny, throat-sticking bones.

During the late summer months, be sure to try some of Colorado's best produce. Melons from Rocky Ford, sweet corn from Olathe, peaches from Palisade, cherries from Paonia and chili peppers from Anaheim will enhance any Colorado vacation.

Semillon grapes await pressing, Palisade
Semillon grapes await pressing, Palisade

Colorado and drinking are often linked. It dates back to the grizzled fur trapping, mountain man days of the 1840s, when some of the state's pioneers would hole up in Bent's Fort and drink themselves blind with earthen jugs of "trade whiskey' - a dubious combination of "red eye" whiskey, hot chili peppers, plug tobacco and gunpowder. (A gourmet recreation of the drink can still be sampled at The Fort Restaurant [45], in Morrison, Colorado).

Colorado is considered to be the microbrew capital of the United States. (Denver is sometimes referred to as the, "Napa Valley of Microbreweries"). The magazine "Modern Drunkard" is headquartered in Denver. Brewpubs are open in almost every town.

One of the most popular adult tourist activities in Colorado is the Brewery Tour circuit. From the megabrewer Coors in Golden, to the refined tastes of New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, the Front Range of Colorado offers many opportunities to see beer being made.

Denver also hosts the Great American Beer Festival [46] every Fall. This three day bacchanal celebrates micro, medium and mega brews from across the country with awards handed out to the judges picks for best brews.

There are also less celebrated, but equally worthy, meaderies and vineyards throughout the state. Colorado's nascent wine industry has exploded in the last 20 years. While there are now over 70 wineries in Colorado, ranging from the mountains to the plains, the communities of Grand Junction and Palisade on the Western Slope rightly label themselves as, Colorado's Wine Country. [47] The high desert farming town of Palisade witnessed the birth of the state's modern vineyards in the '70s and early '80s. Even today, a majority of the state's wine grapes are grown in this tiny Victorian town in the federally-designated Grand Valley American Viticultural Area. (AVA). Palisade also hosts the Colorado Mountain Winefest [48] every September at harvest time.

The earliest history of wine in Colorado, however, dates back to the nineteenth century. The first recorded wine production in Colorado was 1899. It was Colorado Governor George A. Crawford, the founder of Grand Junction in 1881, who first saw the Grand Valley’s potential for grape production. Crawford planted 60 acres of wine grapes and other fruit on Rapid Creek above Palisade.

Unfortunately, these early forays into viticulture ended with Prohibition in 1916. The General Assembly of Colorado enacted a statute and Colorado went "dry" four years before the passage of the 18th Amendment, which created national prohibition. Commercial winemaking ceased in Colorado and Palisade's grape vines were ripped out of the ground by authorities. It took over 70 years for the state's wine industry to reestablish itself.

Newer to the scene are Colorado's hard liquor and spirits distillers. A handful of artisan distillers such as Stranahan's in Denver and Peach Street Distillers in Palisade are creating bourbon, whiskey, gin and other flavored hard grained alcoholic beverages in limited batches.

One note of caution - some people find that their alcohol tolerance is lower at higher altitudes. Drink slowly until you acclimate.

Pikes Peak viewed through an arch at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs
Pikes Peak viewed through an arch at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Outdoors

Dehydration is a serious concern. The aridity of the air is deceptive -- you will perspire and exhale moisture from your mouth and nose without even realizing it. If you're going to hike anywhere in Colorado, take plenty of water (at least one gallon per person, per day), decent nonslip boots or sneakers, as well as layers of clothing. Always hike with a waterproof jacket -- more people die of hypothermia in Colorado in the summer simply by being caught unawares. Let people know where you are going and when you expect to get back.

Be careful and watch for lightning while hiking, especially in the high country. It's often best to hike in the early morning to avoid the possibility of hitting an afternoon thunderstorm.

Altitude sickness

Because of Colorado's high elevation, those not accustomed can be subject to mild altitude sickness, especially when skiing, snowboarding or hiking. It usually can strike anywhere above 6,000 ft (1829 m). Until you are acclimated, always pace yourself during the early parts of your trip.

Sunburn

The high elevation also makes the exposure to UV rays far more intense than other places. Too much exposure can lead to sunburn, as well as skin conditions down the road, including melanoma.

Pollution

Certain parts of Colorado are valley regions. In the winter time they are subject to days of pollution inversions, especially along the Front Range. Those with respiratory and heart conditions should advise the air quality index to see the primary pollutant. You usually can find the indexes in the daily paper as well as watching local news and The Weather Channel [49].

Mountain goat on Mount Huron near Leadville
Mountain goat on Mount Huron near Leadville

Eastern Colorado is in "Tornado Alley." Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms with high winds and hail are not uncommon during the spring and summer months. Make sure you keep a radio on in the car. Should you hear the tornado sirens sounding, locate a suitable tornado shelter at once - do not stay outdoors to get a picture! Also, do not try to outrun the tornado in your car! You may wind up driving directly into the tornado's path.

Should the skies be cloudy, and the light take on a greenish-yellow cast, this is an indication of an imminent hail storm - again, seek shelter at once.

Keep in mind, these storms are spread over a wide area and many residents have never seen a tornado; however, Colorado residents do not hesitate to run to the basement/cellar if a tornado warning is announced. Refer to the Tornado safety article for analysis of the issues here.

Rattlesnakes

Of the 25 species of snakes in Colorado, only two are venemous: the western rattlesnake, which lives almost everywhere, and the massasauga, which is limited to the grassy lands of the Eastern Plains. If you are afraid of snakes, head for the cool, highest elevations of the Rockies. Western rattlers can't live above 7,500 to 9,500 ft ( 2134 to 2743 m).

Rattlesnakes are more afraid of you than you are of them. If you hear a rattle, it's a warning. Freeze and look around for the snake. Move cautiously away from the snake once you locate it, even if it means cutting your hike short.

Do not try to kill or further antagonize the snake, as this may lead to additional bites.

If you are bitten, the good news is that you almost certainly will live through the painful experience. Remain as calm as possible. Rattlesnake venom is essentially digestive enzymes, and will break down tissue around the bite. Try not to move much (which spreads the venom) unless you must do so. Painful swelling of lymph nodes in the groin or armpit usually occurs within one hour if the bite is on the leg or arm. Call emergency medical services (911) and/or a poison control center. There is antivenin available for use against all native pit vipers in the U.S.

Get out

Colorado is bordered by seven other states, and is a great launching pad for any tour of the "Old West." Many domestic and international tourists use Denver as a gateway city for for their Western visits.

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1911 encyclopedia

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Map of US highlighting Colorado

Etymology

After the Colorado River, and this from Spanish "colorado", coloured, red, reddish, because of the color of its water, some reddish-brown.

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
Colorado

Plural
-

Colorado

  1. A state of the United States of America. Capital: Denver.

Derived terms

  • Coloradan
  • Coloradoan

Translations

See also

External links


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

State of Colorado
Flag of Colorado State seal of Colorado
Flag of Colorado SealImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Nickname(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: The Centennial State
Motto(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: Nil sine numine
Map of the United States with Colorado highlighted
Official language(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif English
CapitalImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Denver
Largest cityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Denver
Largest metro areaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Denver-Aurora Metro Area
AreaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 8thImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total 104,185 sq miImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
(269,837 km²Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Width 280 miles (451 kmImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Length 380 miles (612 km)
 - % water 0.36%
 - Latitude 37°N to 41°N
 - Longitude 102°03'W to 109°03'W
PopulationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 22ndImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total (2000Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif) 4,301,261
 - DensityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif 41.5/sq mi 
16.01/km² (37th)
 - Median incomeImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  $51,022 (10th)
ElevationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  
 - Highest point Mount Elbert[1]
14,440 ft  (4401 m)
 - Mean 6,800 ft  (2073 m)
 - Lowest point Arikaree River[1]
3,315 ft  (1010 m)
Admission to UnionImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  August 1, 1876 (38th)
GovernorImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Bill Ritter (D)
U.S. SenatorsImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Wayne Allard (R)
Ken Salazar (D)
Congressional DelegationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif ListImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Time zoneImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Mountain: UTC-7/DST-6
Abbreviations COImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Colo.Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif US-COImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Web site www.colorado.gov


The State of Colorado is a state located in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States of America. Colorado may also be considered to be a part of the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 4,753,377 in 2006, a 10.49% increase since U.S. Census 2000.[2] Denver is the capital as well as the most populous city of Colorado. Citizens of Colorado are known as Coloradans.

Contents

Geography

Main article: Geography of Colorado

The State of Colorado is defined as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian).[3] Colorado is one of only three U.S. states (with Wyoming and Utah) that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries.

The summit of Mount Elbert at 4,401.2 meters (14,440 ft) elevation in Lake County is the state's highest point and the highest point in the entire Rocky Mountains.[1][4] Colorado has more than 500 mountain peaks that exceed 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) elevation. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) elevation. The state's lowest elevation is 1,010 meters (3,314 ft) at the point on the eastern boundary of Yuma County where the Arikaree River flows into the State of Kansas.[1]

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 3314 to 6562 feet (1010 to 2000 m). The states of Kansas and Nebraska border Colorado to the east. The plains are sparsely settled with most population along the South Platte and the Arkansas rivers. Precipitation is meager, averaging from 12 to 18 inches (300 to 450 mm) annually. There is some irrigated farming, but much of the land is used for dryland 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.

The bulk of Colorado's population lives along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor. This region is partially protected from prevailing storms by the high mountains to the west.

To the west lies the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains with notable peaks such as Longs Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg in the south. This area drains to the east, is forested, and partially urbanized. During the drought of 2002 devastating forest fires swept this area.

File:National-atlas-colorado.png
Map of Colorado - PDF

The Continental Divide stretches across the crest of the Rocky Mountains. To the west of the Continental Divide is the Western Slope. Water west of the Continental Divide drains west into the Sea of Cortez via the Colorado River.

Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks or high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is North Park. North Park is drained by the North Platte River, which flows north into Wyoming. Just south but on the west side of the Continental Divide is Middle Park, drained by the Colorado River. South Park is the headwaters of the South Platte River. To the south lies the San Luis Valley, the headwaters of the Rio Grande, which drains into New Mexico. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San Luis Valley, lie along the Rio Grande Rift, a major geological formation, and its branches.

The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 51 peaks that are 14,000 feet (4,267 m) or higher elevation, known as fourteeners. The mountains are timbered with conifers and aspen to the tree line, at an elevation of about 12,140 feet (3,700 m) in southern Colorado to about 10,500 feet (3,200 m) in northern Colorado; above this only alpine vegetation grows. The Colorado Rockies are snow-covered only in the winter; most snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few small glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan Mountains in the southwest to Boulder and Central City on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado.

Digital elevation model relief map of Colorado — nearly half of the state is flat, despite stereotypes
The Western Slope is generally drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Notable to the south are the San Juan Mountains, an extremely rugged mountain range, and to the west of the San Juans, the Colorado Plateau, a high desert bordering Southern Utah. Grand Junction is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction is served by Interstate Highway I-70. To the southeast of Grand Junction is Grand Mesa, the worlds largest flat-topped mountain. Further east are the ski resorts of Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs. The northwestern corner of Colorado bordering Northern Utah and Western Wyoming is mostly sparsely populated rangeland.

From west to east, the state consists of desert-like basins, turning into plateaus, then alpine mountains, and then the grasslands of the Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peak is just west of Colorado Springs. Its lone peak is visible from near the Kansas border on clear days.

Colorado is also one of only four states in the United States to share a common border (Four Corners), along with Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. At this intersection, it is possible to stand in four states at once.

See also: Colorado cities and towns, Colorado counties, Colorado municipalities, Colorado rivers, Territorial evolution of Colorado, and Four Corners Monument

Climate

Snowpack accumulation at 14,255 feet (4345 m) on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.

The climate of Colorado is best described as being cool and dry compared to the rest of the United States. While that is generally true throughout most of the state, the climate of Colorado is very complex. The typical south-north/cooler-warmer variation in other states is generally not applicable at all in Colorado. The location of mountain ranges and surrounding valleys affect local climate greatly. As a general rule, with an increase in elevation come a decrease in temperature and an increase in precipitation. A main climatic division in Colorado occurs where the Rocky Mountains begin with the Front Range cities and the plains to the east, the mountains and valleys to the west, and the foothills as a transitional zone in between the two.

Eastern Plains

The climate of the Eastern Plains is a semi-arid continental climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) of low humidity and moderately low precipitation, usually from 10 to 15 inches (250 to 380 mm) annually. The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool clear nights, which give this area the highest average diurnal temperature range in the United States. In the summer, this area can have many days above 95 °F (35 °C) and sometimes 100 °F (38 °C) or more. Temperatures in excess of 115 °F (46 °C) in the northeast corner of the state are not uncommon, although 105 °F (41 °C) is the maximum in the front range cities above 5000 ft (1500 m). About 75% of the precipitation falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes in the form of thunderstorms which are often severe. Winters are cold and dry: in much of this region, March and April are the snowiest months. The Front Range cities closer to the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to chinook winds which warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures up to 60 °F (16 °C) or higher in the winter.[5] The average July temperature is 57 degrees in the morning and 87 degrees in the afternoon.The average January temperature is 15 degrees in the morning and 43 degrees in the afternoon,although temperatures can be 60 one day and 0 the next.

West of the plains and foothills

West of the plains and foothills, the weather of Colorado is much less uniform. Even places a few miles (kilometers) apart can experience entirely different weather, depending on the topography of the area. Most valleys also have a semi-arid climate, which becomes an alpine climate at higher elevations. Generally, the wettest season is in the winter in Western Colorado while June is the driest month, which is the opposite of the precipitation patterns in the east. The mountains have cool summers with many days of high temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) and 70 °F (21 °C), although frequent thunderstorms can cause a sudden drop in temperatures. Summer nights are cool, and cold at the highest altitudes which can sometimes bring snow even in the middle of the summer. The winters bring abundant, powdery snowfall to the mountains which the skiers love, although even in the winter, there can be many days with abundant sunshine in between major storms. The Western Slope has high summer temperatures similar to those found on the plains while the winters tend to be slightly cooler due to the lack of any warming winds which are common in the plains and Front Range. Other areas in the west have their own unique weather. The San Luis Valley is generally dry with little rain or snow, although the snow that falls tends to stay on the ground all winter.

Animas River near Durango.
Colorado River near Grand Junction
.

Extreme weather

Extreme weather is a common occurrence in Colorado. Thunderstorms are common east of the Continental divide in the spring and summer, and Colorado is one of leading states in deaths due to lightning. Hail is a common sight in the mountains east of the divide and in the northwest part of the state. While not as common as some of the states to the east, much of the Eastern Plains are prone to tornadoes, and there have been some damaging tornadoes there. An example is the 1990 Limon F3 tornado which devastated the city. Floods are also a factor in the plains, not just from the thunderstorms, but also due to heavy snow in the mountains followed by a warm, dry period which swells rivers with melted snow.

Records

The highest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was 118 °F (48 °C) on July 11, 1888, at Bennett, while the lowest was -61 °F (-52 °C) on February 1, 1985, at Maybell.[6]

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Colorado Cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Alamosa 33/-4 40/5 50/16 59/23 68/32 78/40 82/46 79/45 72/36 62/24 46/11 35/-1
Colorado Springs 42/14 45/18 52/24 59/31 68/41 79/50 84/55 82/54 74/45 63/34 50/23 42/16
Denver 43/15 47/19 54/25 61/34 70/44 82/53 88/59 86/57 77/47 66/36 52/24 44/16
Grand Junction 37/16 45/23 56/31 64/38 74/46 87/55 92/61 90/60 80/50 67/39 50/26 39/18
Pueblo 45/14 50/19 57/26 65/34 75/45 86/54 91/59 89/58 81/49 69/35 54/22 45/15
[2]

History

Colorado state insignia
Motto Nil sine numine (Latin, "Nothing without Providence")
Slogan none
Bird Lark Bunting
Animal Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep
Fish Greenback cutthroat trout
Insect Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly
Flower Rocky Mountain Columbine
Tree Colorado Spruce or Blue Spruce
Song "Where the Columbines Grow" and "Rocky Mountain High"[7]
Quarter Colorado quarter
Released in 2006
Grass Blue grama
Fossil Stegosaurus
Gemstone Aquamarine
Mineral Rhodochrosite
Rock Yule Marble
Tartan Colorado State Tartan
Main article: History of Colorado
See also: Territorial evolution of Colorado

The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by native peoples for more than 13 millennia.[8] The region was acquired by the United States with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803 and the Mexican Cession in 1848. The region was divided among the Territory of New Mexico organized in 1850, the Territory of Utah organized in 1850, the Territory of Kansas organized in 1854, and the Territory of Nebraska organized in 1854.

On 1851-04-09, Hispanic settlers from Taos, settled San Luis, then in the Territory of New Mexico, but now 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.[9] The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on 1859-10-24, but the new territory failed to secure federal sanction. The election of Abraham Lincoln on 1860-11-06, led to the secession of six 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 1861-01-29, leaving the western portion of the territory, and its gold fields, unorganized.

Thirty days later on 1861-02-28, outgoing U.S. President James Buchanan signed an act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado.[3]

On 1876-08-01 (28 days after Centennial of the United States), U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting the State of Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and earning it the moniker the "Centennial State". Colorado women were granted the right to vote beginning on 1893-11-07. By the 1930 U.S. Census, the population of Colorado exceeded one million residents, and by the 2000 Census, the population exceeded 4.3 million.

Three different ships have been named USS Colorado in honor of the state.

Demographics

The state's largest city, and capital, is Denver. The Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area, home to 2,927,911 people, contains more than two-thirds of the state's population. Residents of Colorado are properly referred to as Coloradans, although the archaic term Coloradoans is also sometimes used.[10] Coloradan refers to a Colorado resident, while Coloradoan is a newspaper in Fort Collins.[11]

As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus 147,770 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 159,957 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 47,740 people.

According to estimates made in 2004, Colorado's population will increase to 7,150,000 by 2030 [3]. The largest increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor, especially in the Denver metropolitan area.

As of 2004, 441,000 foreign-born persons (9.7% of the population) live in the state, including an estimated 144,000 illegal immigrants (3.1% of the state population).

The center of population of Colorado is located just north of the town of Critchell in Jefferson County [4] [5]. {{US DemogTable|Colorado|03-08.csv|= | 92.23| 4.55| 1.91| 2.84| 0.25|= | 16.20| 0.37| 0.64| 0.14| 0.05|= | 91.91| 4.74| 1.83| 3.19| 0.26|= | 18.46| 0.48| 0.61| 0.18| 0.06|= | 8.09| 13.03| 3.85| 22.08| 15.47|= | 4.78| 10.67| 3.75| 21.14| 11.70|= | 23.60| 39.64| 4.05| 40.04| 29.23}}

Colorado Population Density Map

Colorado has one of the highest proportions of Hispanic residents of any U.S. state; only five states have a higher percentage. Denver and some other areas have significant Mexican populations, while southern Colorado has a large number of Hispanos, the descendants of early New Mexican settlers of colonial Spanish origin. The 2000 U.S. Census reports that 10.52% of people aged 5 and over in Colorado speak Spanish at home [6].

According to the 2000 Census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado are German (22%), Irish (12.2%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are the largest group in the state and are especially strong in the Front Range and eastern Plains. People of British extraction are the largest group in the western Rocky Mountains.

Religion

Colorado, specifically the city of Colorado Springs, serves as the headquarters of numerous Christian groups, most of them Protestant. Focus on the Family is a major conservative Christian organization headquartered in the state. Catholicism is popular among many Coloradans, and is becoming more so with the influx of Latino immigrants. Colorado is similar to other Western states, as it has a high percentage of religiously unaffiliated residents.

According to the American Religious Identification Survey, conducted in 2001 by The Graduate Center at the City University of New York, Colorado's population is distributed among the following religious groups:[12]

Economy

Main article: Economy of Colorado
Corn production in Colorado.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product in 2003 was $187 billion. Per capita personal income in 2003 was $34,561, putting Colorado eighth in the nation. To see a 2004 per capita personal income comparison table on a state basis [7]. The state's economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.

The federal government is also a major economic force in the state with many important federal facilities including NORAD and the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs; NOAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder; U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood; the Denver Mint and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prison and other federal prisons near Cañon City. In addition to these and other federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four National Parks that contribute to federal ownership of 24,615,788 acres (99,617 km2) of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the state.[13]

Booming state capital Denver is home to "Wall Street of the West".

In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and service sectors have expanded greatly. The state's economy is diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research and high-technology industries. Other industries include food processing, transportation equipment, machinery, chemical products, minerals such as gold and molybdenum, and tourism. Denver is an important financial center.

Colorado has a flat 4.63% income tax, regardless of income level. Unlike most states, which calculate taxes based on federal adjusted gross income, Colorado taxes are based on taxable income - income after federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard) deductions.[14][15] Colorado's state sales tax is 2.9% on retail sales. When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, full-year Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and special district taxes that may apply.

Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The state's senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break is scheduled to return for assessment year 2006, payable in 2007.

Oil well in northwestern Colorado.

Special district taxes

The special district taxes are:

  • The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which affects the counties of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas Counties
  • The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties
    • It is a 0.1% retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10).
    • According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history or cultural history.
    • As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently divided into three "tiers" among which receipts are allocated by percentage.
      • Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives 65.5%.
      • Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives 21%.
      • Tier III has over 280 local organizations such as small theaters, orchestras, art centers, and natural history, cultural history, and community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding to the county cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%.
    • An eleven-member board of directors oversees the distributions in accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council) and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado.
  • The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to pay for and help build the Denver Broncos' stadium INVESCO Field at Mile High
  • Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of southeast Jefferson and Boulder counties
  • Regional Transportation Districts (RTA) taxes at varying rates in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison County
  • Occupational Privilege Taxes (OPT or Head Tax) Denver and Aurora both levy an OPT on Employers and Employees
    • If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the Employee and Employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
    • In Denver, the Employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and the Employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.
    • In Aurora, both Employer and Employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.
    • It is the Employer's responsibility to with hold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an Employer does not comply, they can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.

Transportation

Federal Highway Routes through the State of Colorado
   

   

   

   

   


   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

Commercial Airports in the State of Colorado
Union Station, Denver.
Amtrak Passenger Railroad Routes through the State of Colorado
Communities in the State of Colorado with Regional Bus Service

Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Brush, Colorado Springs, Delta, Denver, Durango, Englewood, Frisco, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Greeley, Lamar, Limon, Longmont, Montrose, Pueblo, Rocky Ford, Springfield, Sterling, Trinidad, Vail, and Walsenburg

See also: List of Colorado state highways, List of airports in Colorado, and Amtrak

Government and Politics

Main article: Law and Government of Colorado
Colorado State Capitol in Denver
Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2004 51.69% 1,101,255 47.02% 1,001,732
2000 50.75% 883,745 42.39% 738,227
1996 45.80% 691,848 44.43% 671,152
1992 35.87% 562,850 40.13% 629,681
1988 53.06% 728,177 45.28% 621,453
1984 63.44% 821,818 35.12% 454,974
1980 55.07% 652,264 31.07% 367,973
1976 54.05% 584,367 42.58% 460,353
1972 62.61% 597,198 34.59% 329,980
1968 50.46% 409,345 41.32% 335,174
1964 38.19% 296,767 61.27% 476,024
1960 54.63% 402,242 44.91% 330,629

State government

Like the majority of states, Colorado's current constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The governor heads the state's executive branch. The Colorado Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the state. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. Currently, Democrats are in control of both chambers of the General Assembly. The 2005 Colorado General Assembly is the first to be controlled by the Democrats in forty years.

The incumbent Governor of the State of Colorado is August William "Bill" Ritter, Jr. (D).

Many Coloradans are transplanted citizens, and this is illustrated by the fact that the state has not had a native-born governor since 1975 (when John David Vanderhoof left office) and -- until Bill Ritter's election in November 2006 -- had not elected one since 1958, in the person of Stephen L.R. McNichols. Vanderhoof ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon's administration in 1973.) Bill Ritter (D), a humanitarian missionary worker in Africa and former Denver District Attorney, defeated former congressman and banker Bob Beauprez (R) in the 2006 gubernatorial election.

Federal representation

The two U.S. Senators from Colorado are Wayne Allard (R), and Ken Salazar (D). The state has seven U.S. Congressional districts, based on the 2000 Census.

Election politics

Colorado is considered a very independent state politically in both state and federal elections. Coloradans elected 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans to the governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado supported Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992, and the Republican presidential nominee Robert J. Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000. George W. Bush won the state's 9 electoral votes in 2004 by a margin of 5 percentage points with 51.7% of the vote, considerably less than the 9% margin Bush won by in 2000. However this can be largely attributed to the 5% of the vote Ralph Nader won in 2000. [8]. Democrats also gained in every open seat race in the state, picking up a seat in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and liberal cities such as Boulder. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins, and Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a few western ski resort counties. Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains, Colorado Springs, the Western Slope (including Grand Junction), and some of the Denver suburbs, especially south and west of Denver City-County. The fastest growing parts of the state, particularly Douglas, Elbert, and Weld counties in the Denver metropolitan area, are strongly Republican.

See also: United States presidential election
See also: Colorado's congressional elections
See also: Colorado gubernatorial election

Counties

The State of Colorado is divided into 64 counties, including two counties with consolidated city and county governments.[17]

Cities and Towns

Main article: Colorado municipalities
See also: List of cities and towns in Colorado

The State of Colorado has 271 incorporated municipalities and 83 active United States Census Designated Places.[18]

Metropolitan Areas

Main article: Colorado metropolitan areas
See also: Colorado census statistical areas

The United States Census Bureau has defined seven Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), seven Micropolitan Statistical Areas (μSAs), and one Combined Statistical Area (CSA) in the State of Colorado.[19]

Protected areas

National Parks in Colorado:

See also: Colorado national parks, Colorado state parks, Colorado trails, and Colorado scenic and historic byways

Education

File:Norlin Library - Colorado.jpg

Colleges and universities in Colorado:

Professional sports teams

Colorado is the least populous 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 (885 kilometers). Therefore, many of the residents in the surrounding states support the teams in Denver, as shown by the reach of the Broncos' radio network.[9]

Club Sport League
Denver Broncos Football National Football League
Colorado Avalanche Ice hockey National Hockey League
Denver Nuggets Basketball National Basketball Association
Colorado Rockies Baseball Major League Baseball
Colorado Rapids Soccer Major League Soccer
Colorado Mammoth Lacrosse National Lacrosse League
Denver Outlaws Lacrosse Major League Lacrosse
Colorado Chill Basketball National Women's Basketball League
Colorado Crush Arena football Arena Football League
Aurora Cavalry Basketball International Basketball League
Colorado 14ers Basketball NBA D-League
Colorado Crossover Basketball International Basketball League
Colorado Springs Sky Sox Baseball Minor League Baseball (AAA)
Colorado Eagles Ice hockey Central Hockey League
Rocky Mountain Rage Ice hockey Central Hockey League
Colorado Rapids U23's Soccer USL Premier Development League
Colorado Springs Blizzard Soccer USL Premier Development League
Colorado Springs Sabers Soccer Women's Premier Soccer League
Denver Diamonds Soccer Women's Premier Soccer League

Former professional sports teams

Club Sport League
Colorado Rockies (moved to Newark and are now the New Jersey Devils) Ice Hockey National Hockey League
Denver Spurs (moved to Ottawa and became the Ottawa Civics for the rest of the team's existence) Ice Hockey World Hockey Association/Central Hockey League/Western Hockey League
Denver Dynamite (Inaugural member of the Arena Football League, folded after four seasons) Arena Football Arena Football League
Denver Gold (United States Football League member, 1983-1985) Football United States Football League

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d {{cite web| date = [[National Geodetic Survey|]]
  2. ^ {{cite web | url = http://www.census.gov/popest/states/tables/NST-EST2006-01.csv | title = Table 1: Annual Estimates of the Population for the United States and States, and for Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2006 | format = [[2006-12-22|]]
  3. ^ a b {{cite web | url = http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/territory.pdf | title = An Act to provide a temporary Government for the Territory of Colorado | format = [[1861-02-28|]]
  4. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Mount_Elbert
  5. ^ [1] Western Regional Climate Center. Last accessed [[2006-10-24|]].
  6. ^ {{cite web | url = http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/pub/data/special/maxtemps.pdf | title = Record Highest Temperatures by State | format = [[2004-01-01|]]
  7. ^ Lawmakers OK 'Rocky Mountain High'. The Denver Post (March 12, 2007). Retrieved on 2007-03-12.
  8. ^ The oldest known [[artifact|]]s dating from approximately 11200 BCE.
  9. ^ {{cite web | url = http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Falls/2000/index.html | title = The Pike's Peak Gold Rush | format = [[HTML|]]
  10. ^ Merriam Webster. Definition of Colorado. Retrieved on 2006-09-26.
  11. ^ {{cite web | date = [[Colorado State University|]]
  12. ^ {{cite web |title=American Religious Identification Survey |year=2001 |publisher=The Graduate Center, CUNY
  13. ^ Tony Frank (January 1997). Colorado Land Ownership by County (acres) (Excel). Colorado Department of Agriculture. Retrieved on 2007-07-15. Colorado Department of Agriculture: Land Ownership
  14. ^ Colorado individual income tax return (2005) http://www.revenue.state.co.us/PDF/05104f.pdf, retrieved September 26, 2006
  15. ^ U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (2005) online copy, retrieved [[2006-09-26|]]
  16. ^ Denver International Airport was the ninth busiest airport on Earth in 2006.
  17. ^ {{cite web | date = [[HTML|]]
  18. ^ {{cite web | date = [[text file|]]
  19. ^ {{cite web | url = http://www.census.gov/population/www/estimates/metropop/2005/cbsa-01-fmt.csv | title = CBSA-EST2005-alldata: Population Estimates and Estimated Components of Change for Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas and Their Geographic Components: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2005 | format = [[2006-08-18|]]

Further reading

  • Explore Colorado, A Naturalist's Handbook, The Denver Museum of Natural History and Westcliff Publishers, 1995, ISBN 1-56579-124-X for an excellent guide to the ecological regions of Colorado.
  • The Archeology of Colorado, Revised Edition, E. Steve Cassells, Johnson Books, Boulder, Colorado, 1997, trade paperback, ISBN 1-55566-193-9.
  • Chokecherry Places, Essays from the High Plains, Merrill Gilfillan, Johnson Press, Boulder, Colorado, trade paperback, ISBN 1-55566-227-7.
  • The Tie That Binds, Kent Haruf, 1984, hardcover, ISBN 0-03-071979-8, a fictional account of farming in Colorado.
  • Railroads of Colorado: Your Guide to Colorado's Historic Trains and Railway Sites, Claude Wiatrowski, Voyageur Press, 2002, hardcover, 160 pages, ISBN 0-89658-591-3

External links

All wikimedia projects
Articles on this topic in other Wikimedia projects can be found at: Colorado

State government

Federal government

Other


CoordinatesImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: 39° N 105.5° W

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Colorado. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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Subdivision of country United States  +

This article uses material from the "Colorado" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

State of Colorado
File:Flag of File:Seal of
Flag of Colorado Seal of Colorado
Also called: The Centennial State
Saying(s): Nil sine numine
[[File:|center|Map of the United States with Colorado highlighted]]
Official language(s) English
Capital Denver
Largest city Denver
Area  Ranked 8th
 - Total 104,185 sq mi
(269,837 km²)
 - Width 280 miles (451 km)
 - Length 380 miles (612 km)
 - % water 0.36
 - Latitude 37°N to 41°N
 - Longitude 102°W to 109°W
Number of people  Ranked 22nd
 - Total (2010) 5,029,196[1]
 - Density 48.5/sq mi 
18.7/km² (39th)
 - Average income  $51,022 (10th)
Height above sea level  
 - Highest point Mount Elbert[2]
14,433 ft  (4,402 m)
 - Average 6,800 ft  (2,100 m)
 - Lowest point Arikaree River[2]
3,315 ft  (1,011 m)
Became part of the U.S.  August 1, 1876 (38th)
Governor Bill Ritter (D)
U.S. Senators Mark Udall (D)
Michael Bennet (D)
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/DST-6
Abbreviations CO US-CO
Web site www.colorado.gov

Colorado is a state of the United States. Its capital and largest city is Denver. Other big cities are Colorado Springs and Aurora. It became a state in 1876.

Contents

Geography

[[File:|180px|left|thumb|A map of Colorado]] The State of Colorado is thought as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that reaches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian). Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only three U.S. states that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries and that have no natural borders. When 'government surveyors" make the border markers for the "Territory of Colorado", minor surveying mistakes made many small kinks along the borders, most seen along the border with the "Territory of Utah."

The tip of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation in Lake County is the state's highest point and the highest point in the entire Rocky Mountains. Colorado has more than 100 mountain peaks that reach over 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) in height. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) in height.

Climate

The weather and temperatures in Colorado are quite different compared to most of the United States. In most other states, the part in the south is warmer than the part in the north, southern Colorado is not really warmer than northern Colorado. Mountains and surrounding valleys greatly affect local climate. As a normal rule, with an increase in height comes a decrease in temperature and an increase in rain. There is a change in climate in Colorado between the Rocky Mountains on the west and the plains on the east with the foothills.

Population

File:Colorado population
A population density map of Colorado

The state's most liked city, and capital, is Denver. The "Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area", is home to 2,927,911 people, it has more than two-thirds of the state's population.

As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the past year and an increase of 363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This has a natural increase since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus 147,770 deaths) and an increase because of net migration of 159,957 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States makes a net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country made a net increase of 47,740 people.

Religion

File:Colorado Rocky Mtn
The Chapel on the Rock at Camp Saint Malo near Allenspark.
File:USAFA Chapel from
The Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs.

Colorado's most common religion is Christianity, and its most common denomination is Catholicism. Colorado, and mostly the city of Colorado Springs, serves as the headquarters of many Christian groups, many of them Evangelical. "Focus on the Family" is a big conservative Christian organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.

Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:

  • Christian — 65%
  • Protestant — 44%
  • Unaffiliated — 25%
  • Evangelical — 23%
  • Mainline — 19%
  • Roman Catholic — 19%
  • Other Religions — 5%
  • Jewish — 2%
  • Latter Day Saint / Mormon — 2%
  • Other Protestant — 2%
  • Muslim — 1%
  • Orthodox — 1%

Economy

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product in 2007 was $236 billion. Per capita personal income in 2007 was $41,192, ranking Colorado eleventh in the United States. Early companies were based on the extraction and getting minerals and agricultural things. Today's agricultural things are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.

References

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