State of Colorado
ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: From the Spanish word colorado, meaning red or reddish brown. The Colorado River often runs red during flood stages.
NICKNAME: The Centennial State.
ENTERED UNION: 1 August 1876 (38th).
SONG: "Where the Columbines Grow."
MOTTO: Nil sine numine (Nothing without providence).
COAT OF ARMS: The upper portion of a heraldic shield shows three snow-capped mountains surrounded by clouds; the lower portion has a miner's pick and shovel crossed. Above the shield are an eye of God and a Roman fasces, symbolizing the republican form of government; the state motto is below.
FLAG: Superimposed on three equal horizontal bands of blue, white, and blue is a large red "C" encircling a golden disk.
OFFICIAL SEAL: The coat of arms surrounded by the words "State of Colorado 1876."
BIRD: Lark bunting.
FISH: Greenback cutthroat trout.
TREE: Blue spruce.
LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Lincoln's Birthday, 12 February; Washington's Birthday, 3rd Monday in February; Cesar Chavez Day, 31 March; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Colorado Day, 1st Monday in August; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October; Election Day, 1st Tuesday after 1st Monday in November in even-numbered years; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; Christmas Day, 25 December.
TIME: 5 AM MST = noon GMT.
LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
Located in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States, Colorado ranks eighth in size among the 50 states.
The state's total area is 104,091 sq mi (269,596 sq km), of which 103,595 sq mi (268,311 sq km) consists of land and 496 sq mi (1,285 sq km) comprises inland water. Shaped in an almost perfect rectangle, Colorado extends 387 mi (623 km) e-w and 276 mi (444 km) n-s.
Colorado is bordered on the n by Wyoming and Nebraska; on the e by Nebraska and Kansas; on the s by Oklahoma and New Mexico; and on the w by Utah (with the New Mexico and Utah borders meeting at Four Corners). The total length of Colorado's boundaries is 1,307 mi (2,103 km). The state's geographic center lies in Park County, 30 mi (48 km) nw of Pikes Peak.
With a mean average elevation of 6,800 ft (2,074 m), Colorado is the nation's highest state. Dominating the state are the Rocky Mountains. Colorado has 54 peaks 14,000 ft (4,300 m) or higher, including Elbert, the highest in the Rockies at 14,433 ft (4,402 m), and Pikes Peak, at 14,110 ft (4,301 m), one of the state's leading tourist attractions.
The entire eastern third of the state is part of the western Great Plains, a high plateau that rises gradually to the foothills of the Rockies. Colorado's lowest point, 3,350 ft (1,022 m), on the Arkansas River, is located in this plateau region. Running in a ragged north-south line, slightly west of the state's geographic center, is the Continental Divide, which separates the Rockies into the Eastern and Western slopes. The Eastern Slope Front (Rampart) Range runs south from the Wyoming border and just west of Colorado Springs. Also on the Eastern Slope are the Park, Mosquito, Medicine Bow, and Laramie mountains. Western Slope ranges include the Sawatch, Gore, Elk, Elkhead, and William Fork mountains. South of the Front Range, crossing into New Mexico, is the Sangre de Cristo Range, separated from the San Juan Mountains to its west by the broad San Luis Valley. Several glaciers, including Arapahoe, St. Mary's, Andrews, and Taylor, are located on peaks at or near the Continental Divide. Colorado's western region is mostly mesa country: broad, flat plateaus accented by deep ravines and gorges, with many subterranean caves. Running northwest from the San Juans are the Uncompahgre Plateau, Grand Mesa, Roan Plateau, Flat Tops, and Danforth Hills. The Yampa and Green gorges are located in the northwestern corner of the state.
Blue Mesa Reservoir in Gunnison County is Colorado's largest lake. Six major river systems originate in Colorado: the Colorado River, which runs southwest from the Rockies to Utah; the South Platte, northeast to Nebraska; the North Platte, north to Wyoming; the Rio Grande, south to New Mexico; and the Arkansas and Republican, east to Kansas. Dams on these rivers provide irrigation for the state's farmland and water supplies for cities and towns. Eighteen hot springs are still active in Colorado; the largest is at Pagosa Springs.
Abundant sunshine and low humidity typify Colorado's highland continental climate. Winters are generally cold and snowy, especially in the higher elevations of the Rocky Mountains. Summers are characterized by warm, dry days and cool nights.
The average annual temperature statewide ranges from 54°f (12°c) at Lamar and at John Martin Dam to about 32°f (0°c) at the top of the Continental Divide; differences in elevation account for significant local variations on any given day. Denver's annual average is 51°f (10°c); normal temperatures range from 16° to 43°f (−9° to 6°c) in January and from 59° to 88°f (15° to 31°c) in July. Bennett recorded the highest temperature in Colorado, 118°f (48°c), on 11 July 1888; the record low was −61°f (−52°c), in Moffat County, on 1 February 1985.
Annual precipitation ranges from a low of 7 in (18 cm) in Alamosa to a high of 25 in (64 cm) in Crested Butte, with Denver receiving about 15.8 in (40 cm) during 1971–2000. Denver's snowfall averages 60.3 in (153.2 cm) yearly. The average snowfall at Cubres in the southern mountains is nearly 300 in (762 cm); less than 30 mi (48 km) away at Manassa, snowfall is less than 25 in (64 cm). On 14-15 April 1921, Silver Lake had 76 in (193 cm) of snowfall, the highest amount ever recorded in North America during a 24-hour period.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Colorado's great range in elevation and temperature contributes to a variety of vegetation, distributed among five zones: plains, foothills, montane, subalpine, and alpine. The plains teem with grasses and as many as 500 types of wildflowers. Arid regions contain two dozen varieties of cacti. Foothills are matted with berry shrubs, lichens, lilies, and orchids, while fragile wild flowers, shrubs, and conifers thrive in the montane zone. Aspen and Engelmann spruce are found up to the timberline. As of 2003, 13 plant species were listed as threatened or endangered, including three species of cacti, two species of milk-vetch, Penland beardtongue, and Colorado butterfly plant.
Colorado has counted as many as 747 nongame wildlife species and 113 sport-game species. Principal big-game species are the elk, mountain lion, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (the state animal), antelope, black bear, and white-tailed and mule deer; the mountain goat and the moose—introduced in 1948 and 1975, respectively—are the only nonnative big-game quarry. The lark bunting is the state bird; blue grouse and mourning doves are numerous, and 28 duck species have been sighted. Colorado has about 100 sport-fish species. Scores of lakes and rivers contain bullhead, kokanee salmon, and a diversity of trout. Rare Colorado fauna include the golden trout, white pelican, and wood frog. In April 2006, a total of 30 species occurring within the state were on the threatened and endangered species list of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. These included 17 animal (vertebrates and invertebrates) and 13 plant species. The Mexican spotted owl and bald eagle are among threatened species. The razorback sucker, gray wolf, whooping crane, black-footed ferret, southwestern willow flycatcher, and bonytail chub are among endangered species.
The Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Health share responsibility for state environmental programs. The first efforts to protect Colorado's natural resources were the result of federal initiatives. On 16 October 1891, US president Benjamin Harrison set aside the White River Plateau as the first forest reserve in the state. Eleven years later, President Theodore Roosevelt incorporated six areas in the Rockies as national forests. By 1906, 11 national forests covering about one-fourth of the state had been created. Mesa Verde National Park, founded in 1906, and Rocky Mountain National Park (1915) were placed under the direct control of the National Park Service. In 1978, Colorado became the first state in the United States to encourage taxpayers to allocate part of their state income tax refunds to wildlife conservation. In addition, a state lottery was approved in the late 1980s, with proceeds approved for Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to be used for parks improvement and wildlife and resource management.
Air pollution, water supply problems, and hazardous wastes head the list of Colorado's current environmental concerns. The Air Quality Control Commission, within the Department of Health, has primary responsibility for air pollution control. Because of high levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulates in metropolitan Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and other cities, a motor vehicle emissions inspection system was inaugurated in January 1982 for gasoline-powered vehicles and in January 1985 for diesel-powered vehicles. The high altitudes of Colorado almost double auto emissions compared to auto emissions at sea level. The high level of particulates in the air is a result of frequent temperature inversions along Colorado's Front Range. The state has launched an aggressive campaign to improve air quality. Cars must use oxygenated fuels and pass tough vehicle emissions controls, and driving is discouraged on high-pollution days. In 2003, 22.5 million lb of toxic chemicals were released by the state.
Formal efforts to ensure the state's water supply date from the Newlands Reclamation Act of 1902, a federal program designed to promote irrigation projects in the semiarid plains areas; its first effort, the Uncompahgre Valley Project, reclaimed 146,000 acres (59,000 hectares) in Montrose and Delta counties. One of the largest undertakings, the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, started in the 1930s, diverts a huge amount of water from the Western to the Eastern Slope. Colorado's efforts to obtain water rights to the Vermejo River in the Rockies were halted in 1984 by the US Supreme Court, which ruled that New Mexico would retain these rights. Some 98% of Colorado's drinking water complies with federal and state standards. The Colorado Department of Health works with local officials to ensure federal standards for drinking water are met. Isolated aquifers are generally in good condition in Colorado, though a few are contaminated. Colorado's groundwater quality is generally high.
Colorado's rapid population growth during the 1970s and early 1980s taxed an already low water table, especially in the Denver metropolitan area. The Department of Natural Resource's Water Conservation Board and Division of Water Resources are responsible for addressing this and other water-related problems.
The Department of Health has primary responsibility for hazardous waste management. From 1984 until the mid-1990s, the department, along with federal agencies, undertook the cleanup of nearly 7,000 contaminated sites in Grand Junction and other parts of Mesa County; these sites, homes and properties, were contaminated during the 1950s and 1960s by radioactive mill tailings that had been used as building material and that were not considered hazardous at the time. (It is now known that the low-level radiation emitted by the mill tailings can cause cancer and genetic damage.) In the fall of 1984, Aspen was placed on the federal US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) list of dangerous waste sites because potentially hazardous levels of cadmium, lead, and zinc were found in Aspen's streets, buildings, and water. Cadmium, lead, and zinc mill tailings had been used as filling material during the construction of the popular resort. Also in the mid-1980s, Rocky Flats, a former plutonium production site near Golden, was closed and a major cleanup was begun; by 2003, all plutonium and uranium had been removed. During 2004 and 2005 the buildings at Rocky Flats were scheduled to be demolished. Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge was planned for the site when the demolition was complete. (The site had been the focus of many protests during the 1970s, and has been a major newsmaker since the start of the cleanup. In 2003, the EPA database listed 202 hazardous waste sites in Colorado, 17 of which were on the National Priorities List as of 2006, including the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (US Army), Denver Radium Site, and Uravan Uranium Project site of Union Carbide Corp. In 2005, the EPA spent over $22.9 million through the Superfund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. Also in 2005, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $13.7 million for a cleanwater revolving loan fund.
Some 1.5% of the state's land is covered with wetlands, a 50% decrease over the last two centuries.
Colorado ranked 22nd in population in the United States, with an estimated total of 4,656,177 in 2005, an increase of 8.4% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, Colorado's population grew from 3,294,394 to 4,301,261, an increase of 30.6%. This was the third-largest percentage increase in the country for this period (exceeded only by Nevada and Arizona) and the eighth-largest gain in population size. The population was projected to reach 5 million by 2015 and 5.5 million by 2025.
Colorado rose from 30th in population in 1970 to 28th in 1980 and 26th in 1990, with a 14% increase during the 1980s. The population density in 2004 was 44.4 people per sq mi. The estimated median age in 2004 was 34.5 years; 9.8% of the population was over 65 and persons under 18 years old accounted for 25.6% of the population.
Denver is the state's largest city and was, in 2004, the 25th largest US city. Its estimated 2004 population was 556,835, but its metropolitan area (including Aurora) exceeded 2,330,146, or about half the state's population, in 2004. Other major cities, with their estimated 2004 population figures, are Colorado Springs, 369,363; Aurora, 291,843; Lakewood, 141,301; Fort Collins, 126,967; Westminster, 104,759; and Pueblo, 103,621.
Once the sole inhabitants of the state, American Indians in 2000 numbered 44,241, up from 28,000 in 1990. In 2004, American Indians accounted for 1.1% of the total population. The black population is also small, 165,063, or 3.8% in 2000; the percentage for Denver, however, was considerably higher (11.1% in 2000). In 2004, the black population was 4.1% of the total population. Of far greater importance to the state's history, culture, and economy are its Hispanic and Latino residents, of whom there were 735,601 in 2000 (17.1%), up from 424,000 (under 13%) in 1990. Among residents of Denver, 31.7% were Hispanic or Latino in 2000. In 2004, 19.1% of the state's residents was of Hispanic or Latino origin. Of over 95,213 Asians (2.2%), up from 60,000 in 1990, 11,571 were Japanese (down from 15,198 in 1990); 16,395, Korean (up from 12,490 in 1990); 15,457, Vietnamese (more than double the 1990 total of 6,679); 15,658, Chinese (up from 9,117 in 1990); and 8,941, Filipino. In 2004, 2.5% of the population was Asian. The population of Pacific Islanders was estimated at 4,621 in 2000. In 2004, the percentage of Pacific Islanders in Colorado was 0.1%. In all, 369,903 residents, or 8.6% of the state population, were foreign born in 2000. In 2004, 1.8% of the population reported origin of two or more races.
The first whites to visit Colorado found Arapaho, Kiowa, Comanche, and Cheyenne Indians roaming the plains and often fighting the Ute Indians in the mountains. Despite this diverse heritage, Indian place-names are not numerous: Pagosa Springs, Uncompahgre, Kiowa, and Arapahoe.
Colorado English is a mixture of the Northern and Midland dialects, in proportions varying according to settlement patterns. Homesteading New Englanders in the northeast spread sick to the stomach, pail, and comforter (tied and filled bedcover), which in the northwest and the southern half are Midland sick at the stomach, bucket, and comfort. South Midland butter beans and snap beans appear in the eastern agricultural strip. Denver has slat fence, and Heinz dog (mongrel). In the southern half of the state, the large Spanish population has bred many loanwords such as arroyo (small canyon or gulley) and penco (pet lamb).
In 2000, 3,402,266 Coloradans, amounting to 84.9% of the residents five years old and older, spoke only English at home, down from 89.5% in 1990.
The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over.
|Population 5 years and over||4,006,285||100.0|
|Speak only English||3,402,266||84.9|
|Speak a language other than English||604,019||15.1|
|Speak a language other than English||604,019||15.1|
|Speanish or Spanish Creole||421,670||10.5|
|French (incl. Patois, Cajun)||18,045||0.5|
The Spanish explorers who laid claim to (but did not settle in) Colorado were Roman Catholic, but the first American settlers were mostly Methodists, Lutherans, and Episcopalians. Some evangelical groups sought to proselytize the early mining camps during the mid-19th century.
Roman Catholics comprise the single largest religious group in the state, with 627,753 adherents in 2006 parishes in 2004. The United Methodist Church, which was the second-largest Protestant denomination in 1990, slipped down to fourth in 2000, with 77,286 adherents in 222 congregations. The second-largest group is the Latter-Day Saints, with 126,118 adherents in 275 congregations as of 2006. The Southern Baptist Convention had 85,083 adherents in 243 congregations in 2000; there were 1,898 newly baptized members in 2002.
There were about 72,000 adherents in the Jewish community in 2000. The same year, there were about 72 Buddhist, 7 Hindu, and 12 Muslim congregations in the state. About 60.5% of the population did not specify a religious affiliation.
The World Evangelical Fellowship is headquartered in Colorado Springs. The national headquarters of Promise Keepers, primarily a Christian men's organization, is in Denver. A Youth for Christ national service center is located in Englewood.
As the hub of the Rocky Mountain states, Colorado maintains extensive road and rail systems.
Because of its difficult mountainous terrain, Colorado was bypassed by the first transcontinental railroads. In 1870, however, the Denver Pacific built a line from Denver to the Union Pacific's cross-country route at Cheyenne, Wyoming. Several intrastate lines were built during the 1870s, connecting Denver with the mining towns. In particular, the Denver and Rio Grande built many narrow-gauge lines through the mountains. Denver finally became part of a main transcontinental line in 1934. As of 2003, there were 3,645 rail mi (5,868 km) of track in the state, utilized by 14 railroads. This included two Class I railroads. As of 2006, two Amtrak trains, the California Zephyr and the Southwest Chief, provided service to nine cities in Colorado.
Colorado has an extensive network of roads, including 29 mountain passes. As of 2004 there were 87,096 mi (140,225 km) of roadway in Colorado. The major state roads are Interstate 70, US 40, and US 50 crossing the state from east to west, and Interstate 25 running north-south along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains between Raton Pass and Cheyenne, Wyoming. Interstate 76 connects Denver on a northeasterly diagonal with Nebraska's I-80 to Omaha.
Of the approximately 1.990 million motor vehicles registered in 2004, there were some 880,000 automobiles, 1.096 million trucks of all types, and 2,000 buses. There were 3,205,054 licensed drivers in that same year.
In 2005, Colorado had a total of 437 public and private-use aviation-related facilities. This included 259 airports, 172 heliports, and 6 STOLports (Short Take-Off and Landing). Denver International Airport (DIA) replaced the former Stapleton International Airport in 1994 as the state's largest and busiest. In 2004, DIA handled 20,407,002 enplanements, making it the fifth busiest airport in the United States. In addition to DIA, Centennial Airport (formerly Arapahoe County Airport), located in suburban Denver, is the Rocky Mountain region's busiest general aviation airport, and in 2003, it ranked as the second-busiest such airport in the nation. General-aviation airports handle unscheduled flights, such as business and private aircraft.
A hunting people lived in eastern Colorado at least 20,000 years ago, but little is known about them. The Basket Makers, who came to southwestern Colorado after 100 bc, grew corn and squash and lived in pit houses. By ad 800, there were Pueblo tribes who practiced advanced forms of agriculture and pottery making. From the 11th through the 13th centuries (when they migrated southward), the Pueblo Indians constructed elaborate apartment-like dwellings in the cliffs of the Colorado canyons and planted their crops both on the mesa tops and in the surrounding valleys.
In the 1500s, when Spanish conquistadors arrived in the Southwest, northeastern Colorado was dominated by the Cheyenne and Arapaho, allied against the Comanche and Kiowa to the south. These plains-dwellers also warred with the mountain-dwelling Ute Indians, who were divided into the Capote, Moache, and Wiminuche in the southwest; the Yampa, Grand River, and Uintah in the northwest; and the Tabeguache and Uncompahgre along the Gunnison River.
The exact date of the first Spanish entry into the region now called Colorado is undetermined; the explorer Juan de Onate is believed to have traveled into the southeastern area in 1601. More than a century later, in 1706, Juan de Uribarri claimed southeastern Colorado for Spain, joining it with New Mexico. Meanwhile, French traders did little to stake out their claim to the Colorado region, which included most of the area east of the Rocky Mountains. In 1763, France formally ceded the Louisiana Territory to Spain, which returned it to the French in 1801. Two years later, as part of the Louisiana Purchase, Colorado east of the Rockies became US land; the rest of Colorado still belonged to Spain.
Formal boundaries had never been demarcated between the lands of French Louisiana and Spanish New Mexico. In 1806, the US government sent out a group led by Lt. Zebulon M. Pike to explore this southwestern border. Pike's group reached Pueblo on 23 November 1806 and then attempted without success to scale the peak that now bears his name. Not until 1819 did the United States and Spain agree to establish the boundary along the Arkansas River and then northward along the Continental Divide. The following year, Maj. Stephen Long explored this new border, and Dr. Edwin James made the first known ascent of Pikes Peak.
Eastern Colorado remained a wilderness for the next few decades, although traders and scouts like Charles and William Bent, Kit Carson, and Jim Bridger did venture into the largely uncharted and inhospitable land, establishing friendly relations with the Colorado Indians. It was in 1840 at Bent's Fort, the area's major trading center, that the four major eastern tribes ended their warfare and struck an alliance, a bond that lasted through their later struggle against the white settlers and US government. Between 1842 and 1853, John C. Frémont led five expeditions into the region, the first three for the US government. In 1842, he traveled along the South Platte River; on the next two trips, he crossed the Rockies. In his fourth expedition, he and a few of his party barely survived severe winter conditions. Finally, in 1853, Frémont led an expedition over a route traveled by Capt. John Gunnison earlier that year, through the San Luis Valley over Cochetopa Pass and along the Gunnison River. The 1853 trips were made five years after western and southern Colorado had come into US possession through the Mexican War.
The magnet that drew many Americans to Colorado was the greatly exaggerated report of a gold strike in Cherry Creek (present-day Denver) in July 1858. Within a year, thousands of prospectors had crossed the plains to seek their fortune. Many were disappointed and headed back east, but those who stayed benefited from a second strike at North Clear Creek, some 40 mi (64 km) to the west. The subsequent boom led to the founding of such mining towns as Central City, Tarryall, Golden, Blackhawk, Boulder, Nevadaville, Colorado City, and Gold Hill. By 1860, the pop-ulation exceeded 30,000. A bill to organize a territory called Colorado, along the lines of the state's present-day boundaries, was passed by the US Congress on 28 February 1861. Colorado City, Golden, and Denver served, at various times, as the territorial capital until 1867 when Denver was selected as the permanent site. Colorado sided with the Union during the Civil War, though some settlers fought for the Confederacy. Union troops from Colorado helped defeat a contingent led by Confederate Gen. Henry H. Sibley at La Glorieta Pass in New Mexico in 1862.
The 1860s also saw the most serious conflict between Indians and white settlers in Colorado history. Cheyenne and Arapaho chiefs had ceded most of their tribal holdings to the US government in 1861. Sent to a reservation in the Arkansas Valley, these nomadic tribes were expected to farm the land. Unsuccessful at farming, the Indians rebelled against the poor rations supplied them by the US government and sought to resume a nomadic lifestyle, hunting buffalo, raiding towns, and attacking travelers along the Overland and Sante Fe trails. Col. John Chivington was placed in charge of controlling the Indian unrest in the summer of 1864 as Territorial Governor John Evans departed for Washington, DC, leaving the situation in the hands of the military. On 29 November of that year, Chivington led his forces to Sand Creek, on the reservation's northeastern border, where they brutally massacred perhaps 200 Indian men, women, and children who thought they were under the protection of US military forces at nearby Ft. Lyon. Five more years of warfare followed, with the Indians finally defeated at Beecher Island (1868) and Summit Spring (1869). By 1874, most Plains Indians were removed to reservations in what is now Oklahoma. After gold and silver were discovered in areas belonging to the Ute in 1873, they too were forced off the land. By 1880, a series of treaties limited the Ute to a small reservation in the barren mesa country.
The first bill to admit Colorado to statehood was vetoed in 1866 by President Andrew Johnson, who at that time was in the midst of an impeachment fight and feared the entry of two more Republicans into the US Senate. Colorado finally entered the Union as the 38th state on 1 August 1876, less than a month after the nation's 100th birthday and during the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant.
In the early years of statehood, silver strikes at Leadville and Aspen brought settlers and money into Colorado. Rail lines, smelters, and refineries were built, and large coalfields were opened up. The High Plains attracted new farmers, and another new industry, tourism, emerged. As early as the 1860s, resorts had opened near some of the state's mineral springs. By the mid-1870s, scenic canyons and towns became accessible by train. One of the first major spas, Colorado Springs, recorded 25,000 tourists in 1878, and by the mid-1880s, Denver was accommodating up to 200,000 visitors a year. Colorado's boom years ended with a depression during the early 1890s. Overproduction of silver coupled with the US government's decision to adopt a gold standard in 1893 wiped out the silver market, causing the closing of mines, banks, and some businesses. Coinciding with this economic disaster was a drought that led to the abandonment of many farms. A more positive development was a gold find at Cripple Creek in 1891.
By the dawn of the 20th century, farmers were returning to the land and making better use of it. Immigrants from Germany and Russia began to grow sugar beets in the Colorado, Arkansas, and South Platte river valleys. Huge reclamation projects brought water to semiarid cropland, and dry-land farming techniques also helped increase yields. The development of the automobile and good roads opened up more of the mountain areas, bringing a big boom in tourism by the 1920s.
Following World War I, the agricultural and mining sectors fell into depression. From 1920 to 1940, statewide employment declined and the population growth rate lagged behind that of the United States as a whole. World War II (1939–45) brought military training camps, airfields, and jobs to the state. Colorado also became the site of several major prisoner-of-war (POW) camps as well as relocation centers for Japanese Americans (Nisei), especially the northeastern and southeastern areas of the state. After the war, the expansion of federal facilities in Colorado led to new employment opportunities. The placement of both the North American Air Defense Command and the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs helped stimulate the growth of defense, federal research, and aerospace-related industries in the state. As these and other industries grew, so too did Colorado's population and income: between 1960 and 1983, the state's population growth rate was more than twice that of the nation as a whole; and between 1970 and 1983, Colorado moved from 18th to 9th among the states in personal income per capita. The construction of the Air Force Space Operations Center at Colorado Springs, announced in 1983, also contributed Colorado's economic and population growth.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, Colorado experienced a boom in its oil, mining, and electronics industries. Prosperity attracted immigrants from other states, and for about a decade Colorado's population increased at an average of 3% a year. The economy began to shrink, however, in the mid-1980s with the drop in oil prices and the closing of mines, culminating in a full-scale recession by 1987. The economy rebounded by the early 1990s, spurred by an educated workforce and the low cost of doing business in the state. Industry in the state became more diverse, now including oil and gas, telecommunications, retail, and, very importantly, high technology. In 1998, the state ranked ninth nationally in per capita personal income, and by 1999 its unemployment rate, just 2.9%, was among the lowest in the country. Due to the 2001 economic recession in the United States and its aftermath, the Colorado unemployment rate stood at 5.8% in May 2003, below the national average of 6.1% but still causing difficulties for the state's economy. As of September 2005, Colorado's unemployment rate was 5.1%, exactly equal to the national unemployment rate.
On 20 April 1999, the affluent Denver suburb of Littleton made headlines around the world after two teenaged gunmen entered Columbine High School and went on a shooting rampage, killing 12 students and one teacher before turning their guns on themselves. Several others were injured. The tragic event escalated the national debate on gun control and reopened the discussion about what effect media violence has on the nation's youth.
Major challenges facing Colorado in the 1990s and into the 2000s included industrial pollution of its air and water, overcrowding on the Rockies eastern slope (home to four-fifths of its population), and water shortages. By spring 2000 one issue emerged that encompassed many of the problems Coloradans faced: the practice of open-pit gold mining. Gaping holes, forged by explosives and chemicals, had been created by mining companies across western states since 1980. According to environmentalists and other concerned citizens, the cost-efficient method for extracting the precious metal from stone had come at a price: cyanide, used to dissolve gold in the mines, leached into streams and rivers; and mishaps occurred, including the accidental cyanide release that contaminated 17 mi (27 km) of Colorado's Alamosa River in the early 1990s, the costliest mining disaster in US history. Banning open-pit mining had gained wide public support in the months preceding the 2000 election, when organizers hoped to place the initiative on the ballot. Although about 72% of Colorado voters were thought to be in agreement with the ban, the initiative failed to make the ballot in November 2000.
Colorado was among the western states ravaged by wildfires during the summer of 2000, the worst fire season since 1988. In the summer of 2002, wildfires burned over 7.1 million acres of public and private land. The Hayman fire of 2002 was called the largest wildfire in Colorado history. The Hayman fire burned 138,577 acres of Colorado land thirty miles southwest of Denver. Another major 2002 wildfire was the Missionary Ridge fire: it burned 72,964 acres of land north and northeast of Durango.
Colorado's state constitution, ratified on 1 July 1876, is a complex and extremely detailed document specifying the duties and structure of state and local government. Despite numerous amendments (145 by January 2005) and revisions, some anachronistic legislation has remained on the books.
The General Assembly, which meets annually from the second Wednesday of January into May (for a maximum of 120 calendar days), consists of a 35-member Senate and 65-member House of Representatives. The legislature may call special sessions by request of two-thirds of the members of each house. The governor may also call a special session of the legislature. Members of the legislature must be US citizens, at least 25 years old, and have lived in their district for at least one year. The legislative salary in 2004 was $30,000, unchanged from 1999.
|Colorado Presidential Vote by Political Parties, 1948–2004|
|YEAR||ELECTORAL VOTE||COLORADO WINNER||DEMOCRAT||REPUBLICAN||PROGRESSIVE||SOCIALIST||SOC. LABOR|
|*Won US presidential election.|
|1984||8||Reagan (R)||454,975||821,817||NEW ALLIANCE||—||11,257|
|2000||8||*Bush, G. W. (R)||738,227||883,748||10,465||91,434||12,799|
|AMERICAN CONSTITUTION (Peroutka)||COLORADO REFORM (Nader)|
|2004||9||*Bush, G. W. (R)||1,001,732||1,101,255||2,562||12,718||7,664|
The executive branch is headed by the governor, who submits the budget and legislative programs to the General Assembly, and appoints judges, department heads, boards, and commissions. The governor, who is limited to serving two consecutive terms, must be a US citizen, at least 30 years old, and have been a resident of the state for two years or more. Elected with the governor is the lieutenant governor, who assumes the governor's duties in the governor's absence. Other elective officers include the secretary of state, attorney general, and treasurer, all of whom serve four-year terms. As of December 2004, the governor's salary was $90,000, unchanged from 1999.
Bills may originate in either house of the General Assembly and become law when passed by majority vote of each house and signed by the governor; a bill may also become law if the governor fails to act on it within 10 days after receiving it (or within 30 days after the legislature has adjourned). A two-thirds vote of the elected members in each house is needed to override a gubernatorial veto.
The state constitution may be amended in several ways. An amendment may be introduced in the legislature, passed by a two-thirds majority in both houses, and submitted to the voters for approval. Alternatively, an initiative amendment, signed by a number of eligible voters equaling at least 5% of the number of votes cast for secretary of state in the previous election and then published in every county, may be filed no later than four months before the general election. If approved by the voters, it then becomes law.
Any US citizen 18 or older who is a resident of a Colorado state 30 days prior to an election may register to vote. Prisoners may not vote.
The Democratic and Republican parties are the major political organizations in Colorado. Although both parties were in existence when Colorado achieved statehood, the Republicans controlled most statewide offices prior to 1900. Since then, the parties have been more evenly balanced. Of the 2,990,000 registered voters in 2004, 30% were estimated to be Democratic, 36% Republican, and 33% unaffiliated or members of other parties. In 2000, 51% of all Coloradan voters cast their ballots for Republican George W. Bush; Democrat Al Gore won 42% of the vote; Green Party candidate Ralph Nader won 5% of the vote. In 2004, Bush won reelection with 54% to Democrat John Kerry's 48.8%. The state had nine electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election.
Following the election in November 2004, the state had one Democrat and one Republican US senator, and four Republican and three Democratic US representatives. Ben Nighthorse Campbell was elected US senator in 1992 as a Democrat. The only Native American in Congress, Campbell switched parties in March 1995. When he successfully ran for reelection in 1998, it was as a Republican. In the 2004 Senate contest, Democrat Ken Salazar defeated Republican Pete Coors, winning 51% of the vote to Coors's 47%. Republican Wayne Allard was elected to the Senate in 1996 and reelected in 2002.
Following the 2004 elections, the Democrats won narrow control of the state Senate (18 Democrats to 17 Republicans) and the state House (35 Democrats to 30 Republicans). Colorado's governor, Republican Bill Owens, was elected in 1998, succeeding Democrat Roy Romer, who had been in office for the maximum two terms. Owens was the first Republican elected to the governor's office in 28 years; he was reelected in 2002. In 2003, Colorado had the second-highest percentage of women in its state legislature, with 34% (Washington was first, with 36.7%).
As of 2005 there were 63 counties, 270 municipal governments, and 1,414 special districts. There were also 176 school districts. The administrative and policymaking body in each county is the board of county commissioners, whose three to five members (dependent on population) are elected to staggered, usually four-year, terms. Other county officials include the county clerk, treasurer, assessor, sheriff, coroner, superintendent of schools, surveyor, and attorney.
Statutory cities are those whose structure is defined by the state constitution. Power is delegated by the General Assembly to either a council-manager or mayor-council form of government. Colorado municipalities have increasingly opted for home rule, taking control of local functions from the state government. Towns, which generally have fewer than 2,000 residents, are governed by a mayor and a board of trustees. The major source of revenue for both cities and towns is the property tax.
Denver, Colorado's capital and largest city, is run by a mayor and city council; a city auditor, independently elected, serves as a check on the mayor. Denver and Broomfield have consolidated city-county governments.
In 2005, local government accounted for about 184,033 full-time (or equivalent) employment positions.
To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in Colorado operates under the authority of state statute and executive order; the public safety director is designated as the state homeland security adviser.
The Department of Education, under the direction of the State Board of Education, supervises and makes policy decisions for all public elementary and secondary schools. The State Board is made up of seven elected representatives from the state's congressional districts and one member-at-large; the commissioner of education is a nonvoting secretary to the Board. The Board of Regents of the University of Colorado governs the operations of that institution. All other state-run colleges, as well as the Colorado Historical Society, Council on the Arts and Humanities, and Advanced Technology Institute, are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Higher Education.
The Department of Transportation builds, operates, and maintains state roads. The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing administers welfare, medical assistance, rehabilitation, and senior-citizens programs. Human resource planning and development are under the Department of Labor and Employment, and health conditions are monitored by the Department of Health and Environment. The Department of Human Services oversees mental health, youth services, and developmental disabilities programs. The state's correctional facilities are administered by the Department of Corrections.
All programs concerned with the protection and control of Colorado's natural resources are the responsibility of the Department of Natural Resources. Other state agencies include the Department of Agriculture, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Department of Regulatory Agencies, Department of Public Safety, and Department of Law.
The supreme court, the highest court in Colorado, consists of seven justices elected on a nonpartisan ballot. The number of justices may be increased to nine upon request of the court and concurrence of two-thirds of the members of the General Assembly. The justices select a chief justice, who also serves as the supervisor of all Colorado courts. The next highest court, the court of appeals, consists of 16 judges, and is confined to civil matters. The 22 district courts have original jurisdiction in civil, criminal, juvenile, mental health, domestic relations, and probate cases, except in Denver, where probate and mental health matters are heard by the probate court and all juvenile matters by the juvenile court.
All judges in state courts are appointed to two-year terms by the governor from a list of names recommended by a judicial nominating commission. The appointees must then be elected by the voters: supreme court justices for 10-year terms, appeals court judges for 8 years, and district court judges for 6.
County courts hear minor civil disputes and misdemeanors. Appeals from the Denver county courts are heard in Denver's superior court. Municipal courts throughout the state handle violations of municipal ordinances.
As of 31 December 2004, a total of 20,293 prisoners were held in Colorado's state and federal prisons, an increase from 19,671 or 3.2% from the previous year. As of year-end 2004, a total of 1,900 inmates were female, up 9.4% (from 1,736) from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), Colorado had an incarceration rate of 438 per 100,000 population in 2004.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Colorado in 2004 had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 373.5 reported incidents per 100,000 population, or a total of 17,185 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 180,342 reported incidents or 3,919.3 reported incidents per 100,000 people. Colorado has a death penalty, of which lethal injection is the sole method used. From 1976 through 5 May 2006, the state executed only one person, which took place in October 1997. As of 1 January 2006, there were only two inmates on death row.
In 2003, Colorado spent $125,819,023 on homeland security, an average of $28 per state resident.
As of 2004, 38,234 personnel, of whom 6,455 were civilians, were stationed at the nine military facilities in the state. Additionally, there were 2,909 Reserve and National Guard personnel. The largest Army base is Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs, with 14,061 active-duty military personnel. Fort Carson is a split-based home to the 4th Infantry Division, shared with Fort Hood, Texas. This post is recognized as one of the world's premier locations to lead, train, and maintain while preparing soldiers. At the Army's Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver, chemical weapons have been produced and stored. Colorado Springs is the site of the US Air Force Academy. Peterson Air Force Base is also located in Colorado Springs, as is the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD). Defense contracts awarded in 2004 totaled nearly $3.1 billion, and defense payroll, including retired military pay, amounted to $3.0 billion.
There were 427,956 veterans of US military service in Colorado as of 2003, of whom 43,097 served in World War II; 37,689 in the Korean conflict; 137,790 during the Vietnam era; and 79,924 in the Gulf War. US Veterans Administration spending in Colorado totaled $1.0 billion in 2004.
As of 31 October 2004, the Colorado State Police employed 666 full-time sworn officers.
The discovery of gold in 1858 brought an avalanche of prospectors. Some of these migrants later moved westward into the Rockies and Colorado River canyons. In 1873, another gold strike brought settlers into the Ute territory, eventually driving the Indians into a small reservation in the southwestern corner of the state. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the sparsely populated eastern plains were settled by farmers from Kansas and Nebraska and by immigrants from Scandinavia, Germany, and Russia. Five years of drought, from 1933 to 1938, helped drive many rural Coloradans off the land into the cities or westward to California.
Since the end of World War II, net migration into the state has been substantial, amounting to over 880,000 between 1950 and 1990. Between 1990 and 1998, Colorado had net gains of 359,000 in domestic migration and 58,000 in international migration. In 1998, 6,513 foreign immigrants were admitted to the state. Growth has been evident in both urban and rural areas, but the largest increase has been in the Denver metropolitan area, where by 1997, 14.3% of the total population was of Hispanic origin. A number of migrant workers, mostly Mexican Americans, work seasonally in the western orchards and fields. In the 1980s, migration accounted for 27% of the net population increase, with some 117,000 persons, even though there was a net loss from migration every year from 1986 to 1990. In 1990, native Coloradoans made up 43.3% of the population. Between 1990 and 1998, Colorado's overall population increased 20.5%. In the period 2000–05, net international migration was 112,217 and net internal migration was 47,740, for a net gain of 159,957 people.
Among the most important interstate agreements for Coloradoans are those governing water resources. Colorado participates with New Mexico in the Animas-La Plata Project, Costilla Creek, and La Plata River compacts; with Kansas in the Arkansas River Compact of 1949; and with Nebraska in the South Platte River Compact. The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad Compact supports the tourism industry. Multistate compacts allocate water from the Colorado and Republican rivers and the Rio Grande. Colorado also is a signatory to such regional agreements as the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact and the Western Interstate Energy Compact.
The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education has its headquarters in Boulder, and the National Conference of State Legislatures has its headquarters in Denver. Federal grants to Colorado totaled over $3.9 billion in 2001. Following a national trend, they declined to $3.375 billion in fiscal year 2005, before beginning to gradually increase to an estimated $3.464 billion in fiscal year 2006, and an estimated $3.572 billion in fiscal year 2007.
During the late 1880s, Colorado was the nation's leading silver producer and an important source of gold. With its abundant reserves of coal, natural gas, and other minerals—and the economic potential of its vast oil-shale deposits, Colorado remains a major mining state, although the mineral industry's share of the state economy declined throughout the 20th century. Agriculture, primarily livestock, retains its historic importance.
Trade, services, government, and manufacturing were responsible for more than 75% of new jobs created between 1975 and 1985. From 1972 to 2000, Colorado's employment in advanced technology grew from 39,000 to 125,000 employees, growth in which the US government was a major factor. Mining and construction suffered the greatest losses of employment between 1982 and 1992. Mining jobs declined 53% in that decade, and construction jobs dropped 29%. Employment in services, in contrast, rose 36% in those years, and jobs in finance, insurance and real estate increased by 15%. Tourism has also expanded rapidly in all areas of the state. Colorado's economy recovered strongly in the 1990s. By 1997, Colorado's gross state product (GSP) was nearly $130 billion. By 2000, it had grown nearly 31%, with annual growth rates of 7.9% in 1998, 8.9% in 1999, and 11.2% in 2000. In the national recession of 2001, growth slowed abruptly to 2.6% as manufacturing fell 10.2% from the year before, leaving only a net gain of 1.5% in the sector from 1997 to 2001. Recovery remained elusive in 2002, as the state posted its first annual decline in employment since 1986.
In 2004, Colorado's GSP stood at $199.969 billion, of which the real estate sector accounted for the largest portion at $27.827 billion, or 13.9% of GSP, followed by professional and technical services at $17.082 billion (8.5% of GSP), and construction at $12.194 billion (6% of GSP). Mining, which has long been a staple of the state's economy, accounted for only $3.928 billion, or 1.9% of GSP. In 2004, Colorado had an estimated 493,886 small businesses. Of the 146,379 firms in the state that had employees in that year, an estimated 142,943, or 97.7%, worked for small firms, up by 1.8% from the previous year. An estimated 23,694 new companies were formed in Colorado in 2004, up 5.8% from the previous year. Business terminations in that same year totaled 9,734, a drop of 26.5% from 2003. However, business bankruptcies rose to 786 in 2004, an increase of 42.4% from 2003. In 2005, the personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate stood at 564 per 100,000 people, ranking Colorado 24th nationally.
In 2005 Colorado had a gross state product (GSP) of $216 billion, which accounted for 1.7% of the nation's gross domestic product and placed the state at number 21 in highest GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 Colorado had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $36,113. This ranked 10th in the United States and was 109% of the national average of $33,050. The 1994–2004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 4.6%. Colorado had a total personal income (TPI) of $166,187,829,000, which ranked 21st in the United States and reflected an increase of 5.8% from 2003. The 1994–2004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 6.9%. Earnings of persons employed in Colorado increased from $127,196,780,000 in 2003 to $135,124,532,000 in 2004, an increase of 6.2%. The 2003–04 national change was 6.3%.
The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 2002–04 in 2004 dollars was $51,022, compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 9.8% of the population was below the poverty line, as compared to 12.4% nationwide.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006, the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in Colorado numbered 2,636,700, with approximately 113,100 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 4.3%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 2,264,700. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in Colorado was 9.1%, in November 1982. The historical low was 2.5%, in January 2001. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 7.3% of the labor force was employed in construction; 6.6% in manufacturing; 18.5% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 7.1% in financial activities; 14.4% in professional and business services; 10% in education and health services; 11.5% in leisure and hospitality services; and 16.1% in government.
Colorado's labor history has been marked by major disturbances in the mining industry. From 1881 to 1886, the Knights of Labor led at least 35 strikes in the mines; during the 1890s, the Western Federation of Miners struck hard-rock mines in Telluride and Cripple Creek. The United Mine Workers, who came into the state in 1899, shut down operations at numerous mines in 1900 and 1903. Violence was common in these disputes. In one well-known episode, after striking miners and their families set up a tent colony at Ludlow, near Trinidad, the governor called out the militia; in the ensuing conflict, on 20 April 1914, the miners' tents were burned, killing 2 women and 11 children, an event that touched off a rebellion in the whole area. Federal troops restored order in June, and the strike ended with promises of improved labor conditions. In 1917, the state legislature created the Colorado Industrial Commission, whose purpose is to investigate all labor disputes.
The US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2005, a total of 170,000 of Colorado's 2,052,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. This represented 8.3% of those so employed, down from 8.4% in 2004, and below the national average of 12%. Overall in 2005, a total of 193,000 workers (9.4%) in Colorado were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation. Colorado is one of 28 states that does not have a right-to-work law.
As of 1 March 2006, Colorado had a state-mandated minimum wage rate of $5.15 per hour. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 45.3% of the employed civilian labor force.
Colorado ranked 14th among the 50 states in agricultural income in 2005, with $5.65 billion, of which more than $1.36 billion came from crops.
As of 2004 there were 30,900 farms and ranches covering about 30.9 million acres (12.5 million hectares); the average farm (including ranches) was 1,000 acres (405 hectares). The major crop-growing areas are the east and east-central plains, for sugar beets, beans, potatoes, and grains; the Arkansas Valley, for grains and peaches; and the Western Slope, for grains and fruits.
Colorado ranked seventh in the United States in production of dry edible beans in 2004, with 1,039,000 hundredweight; eighth in sugar beets, with 838,000 tons; fifth in barley, with 9.1 million bushels; and first in proso millet, with 7.9 million bushels (53% of the US total). Colorado is also a leading producer of wheat, with 46.9 million bushels. Other field crops include corn, hay, and sorghum. In 2004, Colorado produced 533,800 tons of fresh market vegetables, 27 million lb (12.3 million kg) of commercial apples, and 12 million lb (5.4 million kg) of peaches. About 100 tons of tart cherries were harvested in 2004. Colorado is also a major grower of roses.
A leading sheep-producing state, Colorado is also a major area for cattle and other livestock. Cattle and calves, dairy products, and hogs together accounted for 71% of agricultural receipts in 2004.
From 1858 to about 1890, cattle drives were a common sight in Colorado, as a few cattle barons had their Texas longhorns graze on public-domain lands along the eastern plains and Western Slope. This era came to an end when farmers in these regions fenced in their lands, and the better-quality shorthorns and Herefords took over the market. Today, huge tracts of pasture-land are leased from the federal government by both cattle and sheep ranchers, with cattle mostly confined to the eastern plains and sheep to the western part of the state.
Preliminary estimates of the number of cattle and calves for 2005 was 2,500,000 with an estimated total value of $2.5 billion. Colorado had an estimated 800,000 hogs and pigs in 2004 with an estimated total value of $76 million. In 2003, Colorado produced 62.6 million lb (28.5 million kg) of sheep and lambs for a gross income of $96.6 million. Colorado was estimated to have produced an estimated 2.57 million lb (1.1 million kg) of shorn wool in 2004.
Other livestock products in 2003 included chickens, at an estimated 8.7 million lb (4 million kg), and milk, estimated at 2.17 billion lb (1.0 billion kg). In the same year, the state produced an estimated 1.1 billion eggs.
There is virtually no commercial fishing in Colorado. The many warm-water lakes lure the state's 752,060 licensed sport anglers with perch, black bass, and trout, while walleyes are abundant in mountain streams. The Hotchkiss National Fish Hatchery produces and distributes trout to stock over 80 different water areas in Colorado and New Mexico.
Approximately 21,637,000 acres (8,756,494 hectares) of forested lands were located in Colorado as of 2004. In spite of this wood resource, however, commercial forestry is not a major element of the state's economy. Lumber production in 2004 was 135 million board feet. In Colorado, forestry emphasis occurs in diverse areas: traditional forest management and stewardship; urban and community forestry; resource protection (from wildfire, insects, and disease); and tree planting and care. As of 2005 Colorado had 12 national forests; gross national forest acreage as of 2003 was 16,015,000 acres (6,481,271 hectares).
According to the US Geological Survey, the value all nonfuel mineral production in Colorado for 2004 was $1.01 billion, up 50% from 2003. In 2004, Colorado ranked 17th among the 50 states in the production (by value) of nonfuel minerals, with molybdenum concentrates, construction sand and gravel, portland cement, gold and crushed stones, respectively, the top nonfuel minerals (by value) produced that year. Metals accounted for almost 52% of all nonfuel mineral production, of which (in descending order), molybdenum concentrates, gold, and silver were the top three.
In 2004 Colorado (by volume) ranked second in the nation in the production of molybdenum concentrates (out of six states) and third in soda ash (out of three states). That same year, the state ranked 4th in the production of gold and 10th in silver. Overall, the state ranked 17th among the 50 states in total nonfuel mineral production, by value, with over 2% of the national total. In 2004, Colorado mined 40.9 million metric tons of construction sand and gravel ($235 million), 11 million metric tons of crushed stone ($67.3 million), 26,000 tons of lime ($2.57 million), and 249,000,000 metric tons of common clay ($1.51 million).
ENERGY AND POWER
An abundant supply of coal, oil, and natural gas makes Colorado a major energy-producing state.
As of 2003, Colorado had 67 electrical power service providers, of which 29 were publicly owned and 28 were cooperatives. Of the remainder, two were investor owned, one was federally operated and seven were owners of independent generators that sold directly to customers. As of that same year there were 2,264,833 retail customers. Of that total, 1,365,652 received their power from investor-owned service providers. Cooperatives accounted for 508,019 customers, while publicly owned providers had 391,150 customers. There were five federal customers and seven independent generator or "facility" customers.
Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 10.370 million kW, with total production that same year at 46.616 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, 88.4% came from electric utilities, with the remainder coming from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 36.115 billion kWh (77.5%), came from coal-fired plants, with natural gas plants in second place, at 9.226 billion kWh (19.8%), and hydroelectric plants in third, at 1.262 billion kWh (2.7%). Other renewable power sources accounted for 0.4% of all power generated, with petroleum-fired plants at 0.1%. Colorado has no nuclear power plants.
As of 2004, Colorado had proven crude oil reserves of 225 million barrels, or 1% of all proven US reserves, while output that same year averaged 60,000 barrels per day. Including federal offshore domains, the state that year ranked 12th (11th excluding federal offshore) in proven reserves and 12th (11th excluding federal offshore) in production among the 31 producing states. In 2004 Colorado had 6,750 producing oil wells and accounted for 1% of all US production. As of 2005, the state's two petroleum refineries had a combined crude oil distillation capacity of 87,000 barrels per day.
In 2004, Colorado had 16,718 producing natural gas and gas condensate wells. In that same year, marketed gas production (all gas produced excluding gas used for repressuring, vented and flared, and nonhydrocarbon gases removed) totaled 1,079.235 billion cu ft (30.65 billion cu m). As of 31 December 2004, proven reserves of dry or consumer-grade natural gas totaled 14,743 billion cu ft (418.7 billion cu m).
Colorado in 2004 had 13 producing coal mines, 5 of which were surface mines and 8 of which were underground. Coal produc-tion that year totaled 39,870,000 short tons, up from 35,831,000 short tons in 2003. Of the total produced in 2004, underground mines accounted for 29,608,000 short tons. Recoverable coal reserves in 2004 totaled 415 million tons. (One short ton equals 2,000 lb/0.907 metric tons.)
Colorado holds the major portion of the nation's proved oil shale reserves. Because of its ample sunshine and wind, Colorado is also well suited to renewable energy development. Among the many energy-related facilities in the state is the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden.
Colorado is the main manufacturing center of the Rocky Mountain states. During the 1980s and 1990s, high-technology research and manufacturing grew substantially in the state.
According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, Colorado's manufacturing sector covered some 17 product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $33.594 billion. Of that total, food manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $6.119 billion. It was followed by computer and electric product manufacturing at $4.481 billion; beverage and tobacco product manufacturing at $2.818 billion; miscellaneous manufacturing at $2.527 billion; and transportation equipment manufacturing at $2.478 billion.
In 2004, a total of 132,925 people in Colorado were employed in the state's manufacturing sector, according to the ASM. Of that total, 87,447 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the computer and electronic product manufacturing industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees at 17,690, with 9,092 actual production workers. It was followed by food manufacturing, with 16,722 employees (12,228 actual production workers); miscellaneous manufacturing, with 12,940 (7,114 actual production workers); fabricated metal product manufacturing, with 12,561 (9,151 actual production workers); and transportation equipment manufacturing, with 9,734 (7,630 actual production workers).
ASM data for 2004 showed that Colorado's manufacturing sector paid $5.950 billion in wages. Of that amount, the computer and electronic product manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $1.015 billion. It was followed by transportation equipment manufacturing, at $702.096 million; miscellaneous manufacturing, at $556.153 million; food manufacturing, at $498.082 million; and fabricated metal product manufacturing, at $491.239 million.
Colorado is the leading wholesale and retail distribution center for the Rocky Mountain states. According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, Colorado's wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $92.09 billion from 7,339 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 4,495 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 2,093 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 751 establishments. Sales by durable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $57.4 billion, while wholesalers of nondurable goods saw sales of $26.2 billion. Electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry had sales of $8.4 billion.
In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, Colorado was listed as having 18,851 retail establishments with sales of $52.2 billion. The leading types of retail businesses by number of establishments were: miscellaneous store retailers (2,637); clothing and clothing accessories stores (2,463); food and beverage stores (2,243); motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers (1,974); and gasoline stations (1,726). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts stores accounted for the largest share of retail sales, at $14.7 billion, followed by food and beverage stores, at $8.4 billion; general merchandise stores, at $7.7 billion; and building material/garden equipment and supplies dealers, at $4.5 billion. A total of 247,264 people were employed by the retail sector in Colorado that year.
Exporters located in Colorado exported $6.7 billion in merchandise during 2005.
Colorado Attorney General's Consumer Protection Office is responsible for enforcing the state consumer protection laws including the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, the Unfair Trade Practices Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Uniform Consumer Credit Code, the Credit Services Organization Act and the Rental Purchase Agreement Act. Other applicable legislation includes the Motor Vehicle Repair Act, the Lemon Law, the Unsolicited Merchandise Act, the Charitable Solicitations Act, and the Colorado Statutes Concerning Pyramid Schemes. The office also represents the interests of consumers, small business, and agriculture before the Public Utilities Commission in matters involving electric, gas, and telephone utility services.
When dealing with consumer protection issues, the state's attorney general can initiate civil and criminal proceedings; represent the state before state and federal regulatory agencies; administer consumer protection and education programs; handle consumer complaints; and has broad subpoena powers. However, the Attorney General's Office cannot represent individual residents or consumers. In antitrust actions, the attorney general can act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own; initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts; initiate criminal proceedings; and represent counties, cities, and other governmental entities in recovering civil damages under state or federal law.
The attorney general is also responsible for the enforcement of the state's ElderWatch Program, which, in conjunction with the AARP Foundation, fights the financial abuse and fraud directed toward the state's senior citizens through consumer advocacy, referrals, and information.
The state's Consumer Protection Division, Attorney General's Office, and the ElderWatch Program are located in Denver. There are also county-level consumer protection offices in Colorado Springs, Denver, Greeley, and Pueblo.
As of June 2005, Colorado had 175 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, plus 69 state-chartered and 75 federally chartered credit unions (CUs). Excluding the CUs, the Denver-Aurora market area had 87 financial institutions in 2004, followed by Colorado Springs with 43. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for 22.2% of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $11.936 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 77.8%, or $41.760 billion in assets held.
State-chartered credit unions and savings and loans are regulated by the Division of Financial Services, under the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). State-chartered commercial banks are regulated by the Division of Banking. Federally charted financial institutions are regulated by the US government through the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (banks), the Office of Thrift Supervision or the National Credit Union Administration.
In the year ending 31 December 2005, Colorado-based banks and thrifts had a median return on assets of 1.22%, which was above the national average of 1.04% in that year. In 2004, the median net interest margin (the difference between the lower rate offered savers and the higher rate charged on loans) was 4.33%, down from 4.35% in 2003, for the state's insured institutions.
In 2004 there were 1.9 million individual life insurance policies in force with a total value of $229.6 billion; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was $351.1 billion. The average coverage amount is $118,000 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled over $814.6 million.
As of 2003, 21 property and casualty insurance companies and 10 life and health insurance companies were domiciled in Colorado. Direct premiums for property and casualty insurance amounted to about $7.57 billion in 2004. That year, there were 15,377 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of $2.7 billion.
In 2004, 58% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 6% held individual policies, and 16% were covered under Medicare and Medicaid; 17% of residents were uninsured. In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged at 16% for single coverage and 26% for family coverage. The state offers an 18-month health benefits expansion program for small-firm employees in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.
In 2003, there were over 3.1 million auto insurance policies in effect for private passenger cars. Required minimum coverage includes bodily injury liability of up to $25,000 per individual and $50,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $15,000. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was $922.67.
There are no stock or commodity exchanges in Colorado. In 2005, there were 1,750 personal financial advisers employed in the state and 5,860 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. In 2004, there were over 261 publicly traded companies within the state, with over 91 NASDAQ companies, 32 NYSE listings, and 22 AMEX listings. In 2006, the state had 10 Fortune 500 companies; Qwest Communications (based in Denver and traded on NYSE) ranked first in the state and 160th in the nation with revenues of over $19 billion, followed by First Data (NYSE), Trans-Montaigne (AMEX), Echostar Communications (NASDAQ), and Liberty Media (NYSE).
The governor's Office of State Planning and Budgeting has lead responsibility for preparing the annual budget, which is presented to the General Assembly on 1 November. The legislature is expected to adopt the budget in May for the fiscal year (FY), which runs from 1 July through 30 June. The constitution requires that the budget be balanced as submitted, as passed, and as signed into
|Colorado—State Government Finances|
|(Dollar amounts in thousands. Per capita amounts in dollars.)|
|Abbreviations and symbols:—zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable.|
|source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.|
|Individual income tax||3,413,891||741.83|
|Corporate income tax||239,591||52.06|
|Miscellaneous general revenue||1,455,951||316.37|
|Liquor store revenue||-||-|
|Insurance trust revenue||8,125,219||1,765.58|
|Insurance benefits and repayments||3,015,461||655.25|
|Assistance and subsidies||161,239||35.04|
|Interest on debt||414,492||90.07|
|Exhibit: Salaries and wages||2,796,221||607.61|
|General expenditures, by function:|
|Parks and recreation||73,484||15.97|
|Interest on general debt||408,130||88.69|
|Other and unallocable||751,816||163.37|
|Liquor store expenditure||-||-|
|Insurance trust expenditure||3,015,461||655.25|
|Debt at end of fiscal year||9,874,764||2,145.75|
|Cash and security holdings||47,441,031||10,308.79|
law. These requirements are part of the Colorado Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR), the name for a set of amendments adopted in 1992. The TABOR limits increases in per capita spending to the inflation rate, and mandates the immediate refund to the taxpayers of any surplus, unless they vote to allocate those funds to the state. The voters may also vote for tax increases beyond the inflation rate, which they did for school spending in 2001. Fiscal year 2006 general funds were estimated at $6.8 billion for resources and $6.5 billion for expenditures. In fiscal year 2004, federal government grants to Colorado were $5.6 billion.
In the fiscal year 2007 federal budget, Colorado was slated to receive: $52 million for planning and design for a new veterans hospital in Denver; $57 million for ongoing construction of the Animas La Plata Project, which will help provide water to southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico.
In 2005, Colorado collected $7,648 million in tax revenues or $1,640 per capita, which placed it 47th among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Sales taxes accounted for 26.2% of the total; selective sales taxes, 13.8%; individual income taxes, 49.3%; corporate income taxes, 4.1%; and other taxes, 6.6%.
As of 1 January 2006, Colorado had one individual income tax bracket of 4.63%. The state taxes corporations at a flat rate of 4.63%.
In 2004, local property taxes amounted to $4,722,286,000 or $1,026 per capita. The per capita amount ranks the state 23rd nationally. Colorado does not collect property taxes at the state level.
Colorado taxes retail sales at a rate of 2.90%. In addition to the state tax, local taxes on retail sales can reach as much as 7%, making for a potential total tax on retail sales of 9.90%. Food purchased for consumption off-premises is tax exempt. The tax on cigarettes is 84 cents per pack, which ranks 24th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Colorado taxes gasoline at 22 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.
According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, Colorado citizens received $0.79 in federal spending.
The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) implements the state government's economic plans. In 2000, the Governor's Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT) was established, and Colorado's first secretary of technology was appointed. Colorado's economic programs are aimed at encouraging new industry, helping existing companies expand and compete, and providing assistance to small businesses and to farmers. Economic development in rural areas is a priority. It offers real estate loans to help companies purchase or expand existing buildings or to construct new buildings. It assists employers with training programs for newly created and existing jobs. Colorado seeks to aid small businesses by contributing to lenders' reserve funds for small commercial and agricultural loans, by extending to small businesses loans with fixed interest rates, by giving grants to small technology-based firms for research and development projects, and by offering capital loans and credit to small export/import companies. The state operates a network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). The SBDCs offer Leading Edge courses to train businesspeople and people seeking to start business in entrepreneurial behaviors, covering such topics as strategic planning, marketing research, marketing, and cash-flow analysis. The state offers a variety of loan programs for economic development and manages a number of loan programs for farmers and agricultural producers. A limited program of grants are earmarked for agriculture feasibility studies, technology, and defense conversion programs.
Colorado's Enterprise Zone program provides tax incentives to encourage businesses to locate and expand in designated economically distressed areas of the state. There were 18 enterprise zones and subzones in Colorado in 2006. Businesses located in a zone may qualify for ten different enterprise zone tax credits and incentives to encourage job creation and investment in these zones. The OEDIT also operates a Minority Business Office, whose mission is to promote development of existing and new minority businesses across the state with emphasis on rural areas that do not have access to information and technical help. The OEDIT works with Colorado businesses, associations, universities, and others to encourage the growth and development of bioscience companies, the aerospace industry, and other emerging industries. The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) was created to promote Colorado as a tourism and travel destination. The Colorado Economic Development Commission (EDC) approves loans and grants from an economic development fund to public and private entities throughout the state to help existing businesses expand and new companies locate to Colorado. It also implements marketing programs to support ongoing business activities.
The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 6.6 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate in 2003 was 15.2 per 1,000 population. The abortion rate stood at 15.9 per 1,000 women in 2000. In 2003, about 79.3% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester. In 2004, approximately 77% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three.
The crude death rate in 2003 was 6.5 deaths per 1,000 population. As of 2002, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were: heart disease, 142.6; cancer, 141.7; cerebrovascular diseases, 42.5; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 41; and diabetes, 14.6. The mortality rate from HIV infection was 2.3 per 100,000 population. In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 7.3 per 100,000 population. In 2002, about 51.5% of the population was considered overweight or obese. As of 2004, about 20% of state residents were smokers.
In 2003, Colorado had 68 community hospitals with about 9,500 beds. There were about 444,000 patient admissions that year and 7 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 6,200 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $1,551. Also in 2003, there were about 215 certified nursing facilities in the state with 20,127 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 81.2%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 72.3% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year. Colorado had 268 physicians per 100,000 resident popu-lation in 2004 and 708 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there were a total of 2,980 dentists in the state.
About 16% of state residents were enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare programs in 2004. Approximately 17% of the state population was uninsured in 2004. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $3.3 million.
In 2004, about 88,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $298. In fiscal year 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 245,926 persons (107,405 households); the average monthly benefit was about $106.14 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was about $313.2 million.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reauthorized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. Colorado's TANF program is called Colorado Works. In 2004, the state program had 38,000 recipients; state and federal expenditures on this program totaled $53 million fiscal year 2003.
In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 571,470 Colorado residents. This number included 366,660 retired workers, 55,380 widows and widowers, 69,780 disabled workers, 35,840 spouses, and 43,810 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 12.4% of the total state population and 91.3% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $935; widows and widowers, $910; disabled workers, $887; and spouses, $471. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $489 per month; children of deceased workers, $656; and children of disabled workers, $277. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments in December 2004 went to 54,131 Colorado residents, averaging $381 a month. An additional $7.4 million of state-administered supplemental payments was distributed to 33,724 residents.
In 2004, there were an estimated 2,010,806 housing units in the state, of which 1,850,238 units were occupied; 68.6% were owner occupied. It was estimated that about 65,261 units were without telephone service, 6,527 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 7,242 lacked complete kitchen facilities. Though most homes employed gas and electricity as heating fuel, about 3,362 units were equipped for solar power heating. About 63.4% of all units were single-family, detached homes. The average household had 2.43 members.
In 2004, 46,500 new privately owned housing units were authorized. The median home value was $211,740. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $1,355 while the cost for renters was at a median of $724 per month. In September 2005, the state was awarded a grant of $150,000 from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for rural housing and economic development programs. For 2006, HUD allocated to the state over $11 million in community development block grants.
The Denver-Boulder area is Colorado's primary region of housing growth.
As of 2004, 86.9% of Coloradans 25 years and over were high school graduates, surpassing the national average of 84%. Some 35.5% of the adult population of Colorado had completed four or more years of college, higher than the national average of 26%
In fall 2002, Colorado's public elementary and secondary schools had 752,000 pupils. Of these, 534,000 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 217,000 attended high school. Approximately 64.5% of the students were white, 5.8% were black, 25.3% were Hispanic, 3.1% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1.2% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 756,000 in fall 2003 and expected to be 833,000 by fall 2014, an increase of 10.9% during the period 2002–14. There were 50,123 students enrolled in 345 private schools in fall 2003. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $6.8 billion. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005, eighth graders in Colorado scored 281 out of 500 in mathematics compared with the national average of 278.
As of fall 2002, there were 282,343 students enrolled in institutions of higher education; minority students comprised 19.9% of total postsecondary enrollment. As of 2005, Colorado had 75 degree-granting institutions. The oldest state school is the Colorado School of Mines, founded in Golden in 1869. Although chartered in 1861, the University of Colorado did not open until 1876; its Boulder campus is now the largest in the state. Colorado State University was founded at Ft. Collins in 1870. The University of Denver was chartered in 1864 as the Colorado Seminary of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Colorado is also the home of the United States Air Force Academy.
The Colorado Council on the Arts consists of 11 members appointed by the governor. In 2005, the council and other arts organizations received 26 grants totaling $2,304,700 from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Colorado Endowment for the Humanities was established in 1974. In 2005, 12 grants totaling $738,362 were awarded to state organizations from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Council on the Arts is affiliated with the regional Western States Art Federation. The state government also provides a sizable share of the total for the support of the artists. In 1988, arts organizations in Denver successfully supported a proposal to contribute 0.1% of the area's sales tax to the development of the arts.
From its earliest days of statehood, Colorado has been receptive to the arts. Such showplaces as the Tabor Opera House in Leadville and the Tabor Grand Opera House in Denver were among the most elaborate buildings in the Old West. Newer centers are Denver's Boettcher Concert Hall, which opened in 1978 as the home of the Denver Symphony, and the adjacent Helen G. Bonfils Theater Complex, which opened in 1980 and houses a repertory theater company. The Colorado Symphony Orchestra was established in 1989 as the successor to the Denver Symphony.
Other artistic organizations include the Colorado Opera Festival of Colorado Springs; the Central City Opera House Association, which sponsors a summer opera season in this old mining town; and the Four Corners Opera Association in Durango. The amphitheater in Red Rocks Park near Denver, formed by red sandstone rocks, provides a natural and acoustically excellent concert area. In 2006, Red Rocks Amphitheater was scheduled to host a wide range of artists including the Allman Brothers, Ben Harper, and Chicago.
Aspen FilmFest, founded in 1979, offers several festivals throughout the year promoting interest in independent filmmaking. The Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS), founded in 1949, is an annual internationally renowned classical music festival that offers over 200 events and educational opportunities throughout the summer.
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
As of 2001, Colorado had 116 public library systems, with a total of 243 libraries, of which 138 were branches. In that same year, the state's public libraries held nearly 11,071,000 volumes of books and serial publications and had a total circulation of 43,460,000. The system also had 489,000 audio and 441,000 video items, 20,000 electronic format items (CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and disks), and 14 bookmobiles. The largest system was the Denver Public Library with 1,882,487 volumes in 27 branches. The leading academic library is at the University of Colorado at Boulder, with over 2.8 million volumes. Total public library operating income came to $167,910,000 in 2001, including federal grants worth $219,000 and state grants worth $4,080,000. Operating expenditures in that same year totaled $152,465,000, of which 62.4% was spent on staff, and 16.3% on the collection.
Colorado has more than 174 museums and historic sites. One of the most prominent museums in the West is the Denver Art Museum, with its large collection of American Indian, South Seas, and Oriental art. Another major art museum is the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, specializing in southwestern and western American art.
Other notable museums include the Denver Museum of Natural History, University of Colorado Museum in Boulder, Western Museum of Mining and Industry in Colorado Springs, and the Colorado Ski Museum-Ski Hall of Fame in Vail. Museums specializing in state history include the Colorado Heritage Center of the Colorado Historical Society in Denver, Ute Indian Museum in Montrose, Ft. Carson Museum of the Army in the West, Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site in La Junta, Georgetown-Silver Plume Historic District, Healy House-Dexter Cabin and Tabor Opera House Museum in Leadville, and Ft. Vasquez in Platteville.
Colorado's first mail and freight service was provided in 1859 by the Leavenworth and Pikes Peak Express. Over 95.8% of the state's occupied housing units had telephones as of 2004. In addition, by June of that same year there were 2,727,910 mobile wireless telephone subscribers. In 2003, 70.0% of Colorado households had a computer and 63% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 659,883 high-speed lines in Colorado, 623,716 residential and 72,167 for business.
Of the 80 major radio stations in operation in 2005, 22 were AM and 58 FM. There were 20 major television stations in operation in 2005. The Denver area had cable in 61% of its 1,268,230 television-owning households in 1999. A total of 109,775 Internet domain names were registered in Colorado by 2000.
As of 2005, there were 21 morning dailies, 9 afternoon dailies, and 15 Sunday papers.
The leading newspapers are as follows:
|Colorado Springs||Gazette (m, S)||90,900||107,945|
|Denver||Rocky Mountain News (m, S)||595,512||705,593|
|Denver Post (m, S)||595,512||705,593|
In May 2000, long-time rivals, the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post, in search of an antitrust exemption to preserve rival editorial voices in Denver, applied for a joint operating agreement under the Newspaper Preservation Act. In 2001, they entered into a 50-50 partnership under a joint operating agreement, whereby they operate their advertising, marketing, circulation sales, distribution, and finance departments jointly. However, under their respective editors, they continue to express distinctive points of view.
In 2004, the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post ranked 30th and 31st, respectively, among largest daily newspaper in the country, based on circulation. They ranked 8th in the nation for their combined Sunday circulation the same year.
In 2005, there were 103 weekly publications in Colorado, 71 paid weeklies, 7 free weeklies, and 25 combined weeklies. The total circulation of paid weeklies (308,254) and free weeklies (143,350) is 451,604.
In 2006, there were over 4,880 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 3,613 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious organizations.
Professional and trade groups with national headquarters in the state include the Geological Society of America in Boulder; National Cattlemen's Association, the American School Food Service Association, American Sheep Producers Council, College Press Service, and National Livestock Producers Association.
Colorado Springs is the home of several important sports organizations, including the US Olympic Committee, USA Basketball, USA Hockey, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and the US Ski Association. The Sports Car Club of America is in Englewood.
State arts and cultural organizations include the Colorado Artists Guild, the Colorado Historical Society, the Aspen Writers Foundation, and Young Audiences of Colorado. Junior Achievement has a national office in Colorado Springs.
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
Tourism is making a comeback in the state as a result of improved funding and attention to the industry. A major slump for the industry began in 1993, when voters discontinued the state tourism tax. This resulted in a loss of $2.3 billion per year and a 33% decrease in Colorado's market share. The legislature reinstated funding of $6 million in 1999, and in 2000 the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) was established as a branch of the office of Economic Development and International Trade. The new CTO is led by a 13-member board of directors representing various segments of the industry.
Florida, California, Arizona, and Texas are the state's primary competitors for tourism dollars. In 2004, there were 25.8 million overnight stays, and over 24 million visitors. Tourism accounts for over 200,000 jobs within the state.
Scenery, history, and skiing combine to make Colorado a prime tourist Mecca. Vail is the most popular ski resort center, followed by Keystone and Steamboat. Skiing aside, the state's most popular attraction is the US Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs. Nearby are Pikes Peak, the Garden of the Gods (featuring unusual red sandstone formations), and Manitou Springs, a resort center. Besides its many museums, parks, and rebuilt Larimer Square district, Denver's main attraction is the US Mint. Colorado is home to over 12,050 national landmarks.
All nine national forests in Colorado are open for camping, as are the state's two national parks: Rocky Mountain, encompassing 265,000 acres (107,000 hectares) in the Front Range; and Mesa Verde, 52,000 acres (2l,000 hectares) of mesas and canyons in the southwest.
Other attractions include the fossil beds at Dinosaur National Monument, Indian cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado National Monument at Fruita, Curecanti National Recreation Area, Florissant Fossil Beds, Great Sand Dunes, Hovenweep National Monument, Durango-Silverton steam train, and white-water rafting on the Colorado, Green, and Yampa rivers.
There are four major professional sports teams in Colorado, all in Denver: the Broncos of the National Football League, the Nuggets of the National Basketball Association, the Avalanche of the National Hockey League, and the Colorado Rockies of Major League Baseball. The Broncos won the American Football Conference Championship in 1978, 1987, 1988, and 1990, losing each year in the Super Bowl. They won back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 1998 and 1999. The Avalanche, who moved to Denver from Quebec after the 1995 season, won the Stanley Cup in 1996. The Colorado Springs Sky Sox compete in the Pacific Coast division of minor league baseball, and the Colorado Gold Kings compete in the West Coast Hockey League.
Colorado is home to some of the world's finest alpine skiing resorts, such as Vail, Aspen, and Steamboat Springs.
The Buffaloes of the University of Colorado produced some excellent football teams in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and they were named National Champions in 1990 (with Georgia Tech). Colorado won the Orange Bowl in 1957 and 1991, the Fiesta Bowl in 1995, and the Cotton Bowl in 1996. The Buffaloes have won or shared five Big Eight titles, the last one in 1991. Since the conference expanded to the Big Twelve, the Buffaloes have won the title once, in 2001.
Jack Dempsey, the famous heavyweight boxer of the 1920s, was born in Manassa.
Ft. Collins was the birthplace of Byron R. White (1917–2002), who as an associate justice of the US Supreme Court since 1962, has been the state's most prominent federal officeholder. Colorado's first US senator, Henry M. Teller (b. New York, 1830–1914), also served as secretary of the interior. Gary Hart (b. Kansas, 1937) was a senator and a presidential candidate in 1984 and 1988.
Charles Bent (b. Virginia, 1799–1847), a fur trapper and an early settler in Colorado, built a famous fort and trading post near present-day La Junta. Early explorers of the Colorado region include Zebulon Pike (b. New Jersey, 1779–1813) and Stephen Long (b. New Hampshire, 1784–1864). John Evans (1814–97) was Colorado's second territorial governor and founder of the present-day University of Denver. Ouray (1820–83) was a Ute chief who ruled at the time when mining districts were being opened. Silver magnate Horace Austin Warner Tabor (b. Vermont, 1830–99) served as mayor of Leadville and lieutenant governor of the state, spent money on lavish buildings in Leadville and Denver, but lost most of his fortune before his death. The story of Tabor and his second wife Elizabeth McCourt Doe Tabor (1862–1935), is portrayed in Douglas Moore's opera The Ballad of Baby Doe (1956). Willard F. Libby (1909–80), winner of the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1960, and Edward L. Tatum (1909–75), co-winner of the 1958 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine, were born in Colorado. Among the performers born in the state were actors Lon Chaney (1883–1930) and Douglas Fairbanks (1883–1939), and band leader Paul Whiteman (1891–1967). Singer John Denver (Henry John Deutschendorf Jr., b. New Mexico, 1943–97) was closely associated with Colorado and lived in Aspen until his death in a plane crash.
Colorado's most famous sports personality is Jack Dempsey (1895–1983), born in Manassa and nicknamed the "Manassa Mauler," who held the world heavyweight boxing crown from 1919 to 1926.
Abbott, Carl, Stephen J. Leonard, and Thomas J. Noel. Colorado: A History of the Centennial State. 3rd ed. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2005.
Aylesworth, Thomas G. The Southwest: Colorado, New Mexico, Texas. Chicago: Chelsea House Publishers, 1996.
Council of State Governments. The Book of the States, 2006 Edition. Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 2006.
Cronin, Thomas E. Colorado Politics and Government: Governing the Centennial State. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.
Harris, Katherine. Long Vistas: Women and Families on Colorado Homesteads. Niwot: University of Colorado Press, 1993.
Hill, Alice Polk. Colorado Pioneers in Picture and Story. Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 2002.
Litvak, Dianna. Colorado. Santa Fe, N.M.: John Muir Publications, 1999.
Mahoney, Paul F., Thomas J. Noel, and Richard E. Stevens. Historical Atlas of Colorado. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994.
Preston, Thomas. Rocky Mountains: Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico. 2nd ed. Vol. 3 of The Double Eagle Guide to 1,000 Great Western Recreation Destinations. Billings, Mont.: Discovery Publications, 2003.
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Virden, William L. Cornerstones and Communities: A Historical Overview of Colorado's County Seats and Courthouses. Loveland, Colo.: Rodgers and Nelsen, 2001.
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COLORADO. Archaeological evidence reveals that humans have lived in the area that is now Colorado for over 10,000 years. In the aftermath of the last ice age, over 6,000 years ago, humans adapted to the main geographical regions of Colorado: the high plains of the east; the Rocky Mountains that cross the state from north to south; and the western plateaus and mesas. Rock paintings, remains of campsites, and other evidence reveal the social complexity of successive cultures of peoples who lived primarily through hunting and foraging, and later, agriculture. By the beginning of the Common Era, groups developed trading networks that skirted the Rocky Mountains south to New Mexico. The Ancestral Pueblans, also known as the Anasazi, built spectacular villages in southwestern Colorado. Mesa Verde, one of the best-known sites, was in habited between 600 and 1200 a.d. By 1500, many Native American groups lived in Colorado. The Ute lived in the mountains and western plains, while the Apache, Navajo, Comanche, Cheyenne, and Arapaho occupied the eastern plains.
The Spanish claimed Colorado as part of the province of New Mexico, but because it was at the northernmost edge of the empire, the Spanish presence was intermittent until the 1700s. However, the Spanish influence was profound. They brought with them the horse, which Native Americans adopted throughout the 1600s and 1700s, greatly affecting the social and economic base of their societies.
Over the centuries, the Spanish defended their claim to Colorado from the Ute and Comanche, the French, and the Americans. After the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the U.S. government dispatched expeditions to survey its new territory. In 1805, Lieutenant Zebulon Pike led an expedition into the area and described the mountain now known as Pike's Peak. The Spanish captured Pike in 1806 and did not release him until the following year. In 1819 the U.S. and Spanish governments negotiated an international boundary that ran along the Arkansas River.
Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821. The new government encouraged trade with the United States, and the Santa Fe Trail, from Missouri to New Mexico, became an important route. Trinidad, Colorado, developed on the basis of this trade. In the 1830s and 1840s, the Mexican government gave away land grants in its New Mexico province to elite residents, with the expectation that the grantees would encourage settlement by farmers. One of the first towns the farmers established was San Luis, in present-day Colorado. During the next several decades, Spanish-speaking farmers created towns throughout southern Colorado based on the patterns they had known in New Mexico. These farmers irrigated their crops, a technique that later settlers would adopt.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, trappers became an important presence in the region. These men sold beaver pelts to European and American markets via the New Mexico-Missouri trade route. The trappers traveled along the Rocky Mountains' rivers, lived and worked among Native Americans and Mexicans, and often married into these groups. Native American and Mexican women gave their husbands access to trade networks and social acceptance. In Colorado, settlements such as Bent's Fort, Fort Vasquez, and Fort Lupton became centers for trade and social interaction in this multiethnic enterprise. By the 1840s, however, the trappers had nearly wiped out the beaver. Some trappers became full-time traders and established new settlements, the most famous of which was El Pueblo (present-day Pueblo), which was founded in 1842.
The 1846–1848 war between Mexico and the United States ended in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848). This treaty required Mexico to surrender huge portions of its land to the United States; southern Colorado was part of the cession. The United States was slow to organize this territory, and present-day Colorado was variously considered part of Texas and the territories of Utah, New Mexico, Nebraska, and Kansas. The impetus for the organization of the Colorado territory was the discovery of gold.
From the time of the first Spanish explorers, many people hoped to find gold in Colorado, but it was not until 1858 that this hope was realized. The 1859 gold rush brought over 100,000 prospectors, merchants, and speculators to the region. Even after the initial claim dwindled, more discoveries of gold continued to bring settlers to the Rocky Mountains.
The confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek became the headquarters for the rush, by passing the region's older towns. Two groups established towns on either side of Cherry Creek—Auraria and Denver City—each hoping that its town would become the dominant city. Denver won this contest and absorbed Auraria. Denver emerged as the transportation, business, and cultural hub of the region.
The Plains tribes—the Cheyenne and the Arapaho—were alarmed by the flood of settlers traveling through, and building cities on, land they considered theirs. Unlike the fur traders, these settlers had no interest in striking alliances with Native Americans. The tribes did not have a unified response to the settlers. Some, such as the Arapaho chief Little Raven, and the Cheyenne chief Black Kettle, advocated peacefully accommodating the newcomers, while others, especially members of Cheyenne warrior societies, argued for war. In the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty, the Cheyenne and Arapaho agreed to restrict themselves to the land between the South Platte and Arkansas Rivers. Ten years later, the 1861 Fort Wise Treaty forced these groups to cede their claims to the foothills.
On 28 February 1861, the U.S. government organized the Territory of Colorado. (Colorado City and Golden served as the territory's capital, before Denver was declared the capital in 1867.) The territory was immediately thrown into the Civil War (1861–1865). Although the territory's residents included Southern sympathizers, radical and moderate abolitionists, and former slaves, the territory aligned itself with the Union cause. Troops from the Colorado Territory defeated General Henry S. Sibley's Confederates in the 1862 battle of Glorieta Pass, in New Mexico.
Another notorious military action was waged against the Cheyenne and the Arapaho. During 1864, the tensions between the Plains tribes and the settlers steadily escalated. Black Kettle led a group of his Cheyenne and Arapaho followers to their winter camp near Sand Creek, in southeastern Colorado Territory, after having declared his peaceful intentions to the military authorities. An American flag and a white flag flew over the camp, which largely consisted of the elderly, women, and children. The First and Third Colorado Volunteers, under the leader-ship of Colonel John Chivington, attacked this settlement on 29 November 1864. The soldiers killed over 150 people, wounded scores of others, and mutilated the dead. The Sand Creek Massacre began a cycle of violence between whites and Native Americans throughout the territory. In 1867, many of the Cheyenne and Arapaho agreed to the Medicine Lodge Treaty, which required them to relocate to Indian Territory.
Colorado in the Nineteenth Century
Colorado became a state on 1 August 1876. Due to the expansion of the railroads across the plains and into the mountains, and the subsequent increase in economic linkages, the state's population quickly grew. In 1870 there were 40,000 people in the Colorado Territory; by 1880, the population had increased to over 194,000.
Colorado's settlers demanded that the Ute, who occupied most of the western plateaus, cede their land. In 1879, several Northern Ute at the White River Agency rose up against the Indian agent and killed him, along with eleven other white men. Outraged Coloradoans called for the expulsion of the Ute. In March 1881, in Washington, D.C., the federal government concluded a treaty with the Ute that required the tribe's various bands to live in reservations in Utah or Colorado. Prospectors and farmers quickly swarmed into the land vacated by the Ute.
Farming, ranching, and mining formed the pillars of nineteenth-century Colorado's economy. Politicians and business leaders were preoccupied with encouraging economic development and growth. However, the state's economy proved to be vulnerable to violent fluctuations—a boom-and-bust cycle.
Colorado's early farmers grew grains, but by the early twentieth century sugar beets and potatoes had also become important crops. Farmers in western Colorado were known for their fruit orchards. Many farmers had to irrigate their fields, and the reliance on irrigation sparked off arguments between Colorado and its neighbors over water rights that still continue today.
Colorado was home to numerous, often short-lived, agricultural colonies. Some, such as Greeley, had utopian origins. Members of ethnic or religious groups also organized colonies. For example, in 1882 Jewish emigrants from Poland and Russia lived in a colony in Cotopaxi. One of the last colonies was the African American settlement of Dear field, established in 1910–1911.
Livestock ranching was an important sector of the economy. By the 1880s, cattle ranchers had large establishments along the South Platte and Arkansas Rivers. Cattle ranching later spread to western Colorado. From the 1880s to the 1920s, cattle ranchers and sheepherders repeatedly clashed over land in northwest Colorado. Access to public land for grazing also became a longstanding conflict between Colorado and the federal government.
In the nineteenth century, mining was a mainstay of the economy. Some settlements, such as Leadville and Georgetown, developed into full-fledged towns, while scores of mining camps faded when the vein of ore was exhausted. Mining activities altered the land: hills were deforested and many streams became polluted.
Smelting gold, silver, and other metals was an important component of the mining industry. This process gradually moved from the mining towns to large cities such as Pueblo and Denver. Pueblo was also a steel town and the home of Colorado Fuel and Iron, an enormous company that was eventually owned by the industrialist John D. Rockefeller.
Companies developed the coalfields in northern and southern Colorado and established "company towns" for their workers. The coal towns were racially and ethnically diverse. Whites, African Americans, and Hispanics worked alongside immigrants from Asia and central and eastern Europe.
The mining industries were the site of labor conflicts from the 1880s to the 1920s. During the nineteenth century, miners demanded better safety and working conditions, but the state was reluctant to enforce such measures. This situation led to many workers joining unions. Many gold and silver miners joined the Western Federation of Miners, while the United Mine Workers made progress on the coalfields. The strikes were often long and occasionally violent, such as the 1903–1904 strike by gold miners in Cripple Creek. From 1913 to 1914, coal miners striked in southern Colorado for greater health and safety regulations, recognition of their union, and an increase in wages. On 20 April 1914, at Ludlow, the National Guard attacked a tent colony, and the subsequent fire killed two women and eleven children.
Colorado in the Twentieth Century
Colorado began the century as a leader in some national reform movements. In 1893, women in Colorado received the right to vote. The state enacted prohibition of alcohol in 1916, long before the rest of the country. Colorado became home to two national parks at the beginning of the twentieth century. Mesa Verde became a national park in 1906; Rocky Mountain National Park was dedicated in 1915.
World War I (1914–1918) was a stimulus for Colorado's economy. The demand for crops such as sugar beets and wheat, and metals—molybdenum, vanadium, and tungsten— led to an economic boom. The bust came after the war, when prices for metals and agricultural commodities plummeted.
After the war, Colorado politics took a turn to the right. The state was consumed by a "RedScare" over feared Communist and Socialist influence. During the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan emerged as a powerful statewide organization, widely disseminating its hate-based politics. The Klan dominated politics in Denver and held weekly cross burnings. Klan members and sympathizers controlled the lower house of the state legislature. Although the Klan's influence faded somewhat after the mid-1920s, local and state governments took little initiative in protecting the civil rights of political, racial, or ethnic minorities.
Colorado was ill equipped to deal with the economic disaster of the Great Depression. Prices dropped even lower for minerals and agriculture, and between 1933 and 1938, many of the farms of eastern Colorado were stripped bare by the Dust Bowl's winds. Displaced farmers and workers received very little aid from city and state governments that had only minimal provisions for the un-employed and needy. President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs helped fill this gap. For example, one New Deal program, the Works Progress Administration, became one of the state's largest employers, and by 1942 had completed over 5,000 projects in Colorado.
World War II had a wide-ranging impact on Colorado. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt ordered the detention of Japanese Americans living on the Pacific coast and in Arizona. A detention camp, Amache, was located in southeast Colorado. However, Colorado's governor resisted demands to intern Japanese American Coloradoans and allowed Japanese Americans from other parts of the country to settle in the state. Many military bases and facilities, such as Camp Hale, home of the Tenth Mountain Division, were located in the state. War industries boomed. Even the mining sector revived with the demand for uranium.
During the Cold War, industries involved in defense, aerospace, and high technology research moved into the state. The federal government also located many facilities in the state, including the new Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs. This inflow of industry, commerce, and population, however, was concentrated among the Front Range cities.
Many of Colorado's oldest economic sectors were in steep decline by the 1970s. Sugar beet processors closed their operations. Mining was greatly diminished and concentrated on coal and molybdenum. In the 1970s, the Exxon Corporation developed facilities in northwest Colorado for processing oil shale into oil. When Exxon abruptly abandoned the project on 2 May 1982, the resulting crash had state wide ramifications.
Since the 1970s, Colorado's service industries have become an increasingly important part of the economy. For example, the tourism and recreation sectors have developed from the spas and campgrounds of the early twentieth century to the ski resort industry, which emerged after World War II.
During the last quarter of the twentieth century, Colorado wrestled with controversial issues, such as desegregation, environmental policy, the size of government, and nuclear energy. The issue of civil rights for African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and gays and lesbians repeatedly surfaced during this time. Longstanding issues, including water policy, land use, and growth, remain vexing. Colorado's natural beauty and opportunities continue to attract immigrants from around the country and the world. According to the 1990 census, less than half of the population was born in the state. Over 82 percent of Colorado's 4.4 million people live in urban areas, and most of the population is concentrated on the Front Range. As the state enters the twenty-first century, it faces challenges and opportunities that are both grounded in its history and common to all of the United States.
Abbot, Carl, Stephen J. Leonard, and David McComb. Colorado: A History of the Centennial State. 3ded. Niwot: University Press of Colorado, 1994.
Deutsch, Sarah. No Separate Refuge: Culture, Class, and Gender on an Anglo-Hispanic Frontier in the American Southwest, 1880–1940. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.
Jameson, Elizabeth. All That Glitters: Class, Conflict, and Community in Cripple Creek. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998.
Taylor, Quintard. In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the American West, 1528–1990. New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.
Ubbelohde, Carl, Maxine Benson, and Duane A. Smith. A Colorado History. 8th ed. Boulder, Colo.: Pruett Publishing Company, 2001.
West, Elliot. The Contested Plains: Indians, Gold seekers, and the Rush to Colorado. Lawrence: The University Press of Kansas, 1998.
Wyckoff, William. Creating Colorado: The Making of a Western American Landscape, 1860–1940. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1999.
"Colorado." Dictionary of American History. 2003. Encyclopedia.com. (September 25, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401800923.html
"Colorado." Dictionary of American History. 2003. Retrieved September 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401800923.html
Colorado (state, United States)
Colorado (kŏlərăd´ə, –răd´ō, –rä´dō), state, W central United States, one of the Rocky Mt. states. It is bordered by Wyoming (N), Nebraska (N, E), Kansas (E), Oklahoma and New Mexico (S), and Utah (W); it touches Arizona (SW) in the Four Corners region.
Facts and Figures
Area, 104,247 sq mi (270,000 sq km). Pop. (2010) 5,029,196, a 16.9% increase since the 2000 census. Capital and largest city, Denver. Statehood, Aug. 1, 1876 (38th state). Highest pt., Mt. Elbert, 14,433 ft (4,402 m); lowest pt., Arkansas River, 3,350 ft (1,022 m). Nickname, Centennial State. Motto,Nil Sine Numine [Nothing without Providence]. State bird, lark bunting. State flower, Rocky Mountain columbine. State tree, Colorado blue spruce. Abbr., Colo., CO
Colorado's eastern expanses are part of the High Plains section of the Great Plains. On their western edge the plains give way to the Rocky Mountains, which run north-south through central Colorado. The mountains are divided into several ranges that make up two generally parallel belts, with the Front Range and a portion of the Sangre de Cristo Mts. on the east and the Park Range, Sawatch Mts., and San Juan Mts. on the west. Mt. Elbert (14,433 ft/4,399 m) is the highest peak in the U.S. Rocky Mts. The mountain ranges are separated by high valleys and basins called parks. These include North Park, Middle Park, South Park, Estes Park, and San Luis Park. The Continental Divide runs north-south along the Rocky Mts. in Colorado.
One of the most scenic states in the country, Colorado has recreational parks including Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park with its narrow gorge cut by the Gunnison River, Dinosaur National Monument in NW Colorado, and Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in S central Colorado. Mesa Verde National Park and Canyons of the Ancients and Chimney Rock national monuments, once home to Ancestral Pueblo peoples (see cliff dwellers), are in the southwestern corner of the state, a beautiful but formidable area of mesas and canyons.
Most of W Colorado is occupied by the Colorado Plateau, where deep canyons have been formed by the action of the Colorado, Gunnison, and other rivers. Colorado has a mean elevation of c.6,800 ft (2,070 m) and has 51 of the 80 peaks in North America over 14,000 ft (4,267 m) high, thus laying claim to the name "top of the world."
A broad timber belt, largely coniferous and mostly within national forest reserves, covers large sections of the mountains. The mighty Colorado River originates in Rocky Mountain National Park, and the headwaters of the North Platte, South Platte, Arkansas, and Rio Grande also gather in Colorado's mountains. The average annual rainfall in Colorado is only 16.6 in. (42.2 cm), but the state has been able to develop otherwise unusable land and ranks high among the states in irrigated acres. The Colorado–Big Thompson project and the Fryingpan-Arkansas project are two major water-diversion systems that carry water by tunnel across the Continental Divide to farms on the plains of E Colorado.
Most of the population lives in cities among the Front Range foothills, principally in Denver, the capital, largest city, and regional metropolis. Other major cities are Colorado Springs, Aurora, Lakewood, and Pueblo.
Agriculture, especially the raising of cattle and sheep and production of dairy goods, is economically important in the state. Crops include wheat, hay, corn, and sugar beets. Since the 1950s manufacturing has been the major source of income in the state. Food processing is a major industry; others include the manufacture of computer equipment, aerospace products, transportation equipment, and electrical equipment; printing and publishing; and the production of fabricated metals, chemicals, and lumber. Federal facilities including army and air force bases, prisons, and the Denver Mint, as well as regional offices, contribute greatly to the economy. A new $4 billion international airport opened near Denver in Feb., 1995.
Tourism plays a vital role in Colorado's economy. The state's climate, scenery, historical sites, and extensive recreational facilities bring millions of visitors annually. Numerous resorts in towns such as Vail and Aspen attract visitors year-round as well as during ski season. Besides fine hunting, fishing, and skiing there are many special events held in the state, including arts festivals, rodeos, and fairs.
Gold, the lure to exploration and settlement of Colorado, was the first of many valuable minerals (notably silver and lead) discovered here. Leading minerals today are petroleum, coal, molybdenum, sand and gravel, and uranium. Gold is no longer mined extensively. There are also large coal and oil deposits.
Government, Politics, and Higher Education
Colorado's state government is based on the constitution drawn up in 1876 and since amended. The governor serves for a term of four years. The legislature is made up of a senate with 35 members and a house of representatives with 65 members. Colorado is represented in the U.S. Congress by two senators and six representatives and has eight votes in the electoral college. Democrat Roy Romer, elected governor in 1986 and reelected in 1990 and 1994, was succeeded by Republican Bill Owens, elected in 1998 and reelected in 2002. In 2006 a Democrat, Bill Ritter, won the governorship; John Hickenlooper, also a Democrat, was elected in 2010 and 2014.
Among Colorado's institutions of higher learning are the Univ. of Colorado, at Boulder; the Univ. of Denver, at Denver; Colorado State Univ., at Fort Collins; and the United States Air Force Academy, at Colorado Springs.
Early Inhabitants, European Exploration, and U.S. Conquest
Colorado's earliest inhabitants were the Basket Makers, Native Americans who settled in the mesa country before the beginning of the Christian era. Later people known as cliff dwellers inhabited the area, building their pueblos in canyon walls.
The first European to enter the region was probably the Spanish conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in the 16th cent. Spain subsequently claimed (1706) the territory, although no Spanish settlements were established there. Part of the area was also claimed for France as part of the Louisiana Territory. At the end of the French and Indian Wars (1763), France secretly ceded the Louisiana Territory, including much of Colorado, to Spain. The French regained the whole area in 1800 by the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso concluded with Spain (see San Ildefonso, Treaty of).
The United States bought the area N of the Arkansas River and E of the Rocky Mts. in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The federal government sent expeditions to Colorado which generated some public interest in the new territory, and they explored routes opened earlier by the famous mountain men, trappers, and fur traders who included William H. Ashley, James Bridger, Jedediah S. Smith, Kit Carson, and the Bent brothers. Bent's Fort, in Colorado, was one of the best-known Western trading posts. Settlement in the area did not begin, however, until the United States acquired the remainder of present-day Colorado from Mexico by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.
Gold, Settlement, and Statehood
In the early 1800s a small farming settlement had been established in the San Luis valley, but most settlers pushing westward across the Great Plains continued on to the more fertile lands of Oregon, Washington, and California. It was the discovery of gold that first brought large numbers of settlers to Colorado. Prospectors led by Green Russell discovered gold in 1858 at Cherry Creek, where part of the city of Denver now stands, and after another strike the following year, the mining boom began.
At the time of the gold rush the area in which the gold fields were located was part of the U.S. Kansas Territory. A group of miners organized the gold fields as Arapahoe co. of Kansas Territory. The region was divided into districts, and miners' and people's courts were set up to provide quick justice. The miners sought separate territorial status in 1859 and formed the illegal Territory of Jefferson, which operated until the bill for territorial status was passed by Congress in 1861. William Gilpin, the first territorial governor, chose the name Colorado [Span.,=red or colored]. Measures proposing statehood for Colorado were introduced in the U.S. Congress in 1864, and again in 1866 and 1867 when they were vetoed by Andrew Johnson. A bill granting Colorado's statehood was finally passed by Congress in 1876.
When the first settlers came to Colorado, the Ute lived in the mountain areas, while the Comanche, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Kiowa inhabited the Great Plains. Warfare between plains and mountain ethnic groups was continuous. The tribes of the plains combined their forces in 1840 to halt the invasion of their homelands and hunting grounds by settlers, and violence ensued. The warfare finally culminated in the Native Americans' defeat after the Indian Wars (1861–69) and the Buffalo War (1873–74). Colorado's Native Americans now live mainly on the Southern Ute reservation and in the Denver area.
Decline and Diversification
While Colorado was seeking to establish a government and engaged in conflict with Native Americans, the state's mining boom was in sharp decline. The surface gold had been extracted in the middle 1860s, and mining areas became, and in many cases remain, studded with ghost towns—machinery abandoned and shacks deserted. Other towns, such as Central City with its famous opera house dating from the city's days of opulence, managed to stay alive.
The completion (1870) of a railroad link from Denver to the Union Pacific in Cheyenne, Wyo., and later railroad construction helped to stimulate the extension of farming and the growth of huge cattle ranches as well as to encourage an influx of settlers. Between 1870 and 1880 population increased almost fivefold. Denver briefly became the largest receiving market for sheep, and a smelting industry was established.
In the 1870s the discovery of silver-bearing lead carbonite ore at Leadville started a new mining boom. Prosperity was short-lived, however, for in the 1890s, despite a rich silver strike at Creede and the discovery of the state's richest gold field at Cripple Creek, Colorado suffered a depression. In 1893 the U.S. government stopped buying silver in order to restore confidence in the nation's currency, which had been placed on the gold standard in 1873. The silver market subsequently collapsed, dealing a severe blow to Colorado's economy.
Labor conflicts, disputes over railway franchises, and warfare between sheep and cattle interests also plagued the state at the turn of the century. Many of labor's battles in this period were fought in the mines of Colorado, and the lawlessness and ruthlessness that prevailed among both employers and miners were reminiscent of the early days of the mining camps. When the silver market broke, Colorado turned politically to fusion Populist-Democratic leaders advocating a return to bimetallism. The free-silver movement, however, was unsuccessful, and by 1910, with the improvement of national economic conditions, Colorado settled down to a predominantly agricultural economy.
The Twentieth Century
Large national parks, established in the early 1900s, have provided a continuing source of revenue; tourism has grown steadily. During World War I the price of silver soared again and the economy prospered. The stock-market crash of 1929 and the droughts of 1935 and 1937 brought hardships, but the economy recovered again during World War II, when the state's foods, minerals, and metal products were important to the war effort.
In the mid-1960s Colorado experienced a large influx of new residents and rapid urban growth and development, especially along a strip (c.150 mi/240 km long) centered on Denver and stretching from Fort Collins and Greeley in the north to Pueblo in the south. This growth, combined with the area's high altitude, caused pollution problems, most notably smog. The discovery and exploitation of oil created a boom in the 1970s, which collapsed in the early 1980s. Diversifying industry, swelling in-migration and accompanying construction, and tourism and recreation have since enabled Colorado to rebound, and between 1990 and 2000 it had the third largest percentage of growth of any state in the union.
See P. Eberhart, Guide to the Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps (1959); C. Bancroft, Colorful Colorado: Its Dramatic History (1959); P. F. Dorset, The New Eldorado: The Story of Colorado's Gold and Silver Rushes (1970); L. R. Hafen, Colorado: The Story of a Western Commonwealth (1970); C. Abbott, Colorado: A History of the Centennial State (1982); M. Griffiths and L. Rubright, Colorado: A Geography (1983); G. Lawson, Colorado (1990).
"Colorado (state, United States)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Encyclopedia.com. (September 25, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Colorad-st.html
"Colorado (state, United States)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Colorad-st.html
Mention the state of Colorado and Americans still conjure up images of freewheeling gold and silver mining towns, rugged mountains, open spaces, health spas, and ski resorts. To a large extent, all of these stereotypes correctly describe aspects of the state and its history. First developed by prospectors looking for riches in gold and silver, the state also discovered its agricultural potential and promoted its many tourist attractions. Contemporary Colorado has a healthy industrial base, as well as a steadily growing population attracted by the state's many amenities.
In the early 1600s, Spanish conquistadors arrived in Colorado, finding a number of warring Native American tribes. French fur traders were not much interested in what was called the Colorado region, which then included most of the area east of the Rocky Mountains. France ceded the territory to Spain in 1763, then regained it in 1801. In 1803 the area east of the Rockies became part of the Louisiana Purchase when France ceded it to the United States.
In 1806 Lt. Zebulon M. Pike (1779–1813) set out to explore the southwestern border of the territory, and he unsuccessfully attempted to scale the peak that now bears his name. In 1819 the United States and Spain established a boundary along the Arkansas River, then north to the Continental Divide. Stephen Long (1784–1864) soon arrived to explore the new border, and Dr. Edwin James was the first to climb Pikes Peak. Western and southern Colorado became U.S. territory after the Mexican War (1846–1848). John C. Frémont (1813–1890) led five expeditions into eastern Colorado between 1842 and 1853.
It was an exaggerated report of the discovery of gold at Cherry Creek (now Denver), however, which brought thousands of prospectors into the territory beginning in 1858. The so-called "Pikes Peakers" sent home glowing reports of fortunes to be made in Colorado. A number of mining towns sprang up, and by 1860 the population of Colorado was more than 30,000. In 1861 Colorado formally became a territory, with Denver becoming the capital in 1867.
Expansion and settlement of the Colorado region was not without its difficulties. The early history of the territory was marked by serious conflict between white settlers and Native Americans. Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, who had been pushed onto reservations, began to rebel, raiding towns and attacking travelers. After a brutal massacre of the Indians at Sand Creek in 1864, more warfare followed; but most of the Plains Indians were eventually moved to reservations in the Oklahoma territory. In 1873 the Ute Indians were forced from their large reservation, supposedly forever given to them by the U.S. government, when gold and silver were discovered there. After a number of unsuccessful attempts, Colorado finally entered the Union in 1876 as the thirty-eighth state.
More people trekked to Colorado during the 1870s and 1880s to seek their fortunes in the silver and lead mines, and farmers were attracted to the High Plains. At first bypassed by the transcontinental railroads, Colorado soon had rail access from Denver to the Union Pacific rail station at Cheyenne, Wyoming. Early tourism was also important to the economy of the new state. Resorts developed around the many mineral springs, and narrow-gauge trains brought travelers to the scenic mountain areas. Colorado Springs, one of the most important early spas, attracted thousands of tourists during this period, as did Denver. Unfortunately, this boom in the economy ended abruptly with a depression during the early 1890s. Silver became a glut on the market when the U.S. government adopted a gold standard in 1893. In addition, a severe drought caused many to abandon their farms.
California mineral miners experienced a number of violent disturbances during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. The Knights of Labor led around 35 strikes against mine owners between 1881 and 1886; and the Western Federation of Miners struck at Telluride and Cripple Creek. The United Mine Workers shut down operations at a number of mines in the early 1900s; a particularly violent episode occurred at Ludlow in 1914, when several women and children were killed after the governor called out the militia.
In the early twentieth century, farmers began returning to the land after a period of farm depression. Many German and Russian immigrants planted sugar beets in the Colorado, Arkansas, and South Platte river valleys. Cattle barons from Texas also drove their longhorns to Colorado's public lands for grazing. Later local farmers began to fence their land to produce the more popular shorthorns and Herefords. Water, always in short supply in the semiarid state, was made more available during this period by large reclamation projects. Tourism also increased as more roads were built in the mountain areas.
The state's economy fell after World War I (1914–1918), when mining and agriculture went into decline. The population growth rate in the state also declined, as did employment. During World War II (1939–1945) a number of military bases brought jobs, as did postwar expansion of federal facilities. Colorado Springs benefited from the placement of the North American Air Defense Command, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the Air Force Space Operations Center. Between 1960 and 1983 Colorado grew twice as fast as the rest of the nation; by 1983 the state ranked ninth in per capita income.
In the 1970s and early 1980s Colorado's economy boomed as the oil, mining, and electronic industries continued to expand. In the mid-1980s, however, a drop in oil prices and the closing of several mines brought a recession, with the number of new businesses dropping 23 percent between 1987 and 1988. An upturn, however, occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The state continues to face challenges, including air pollution, overcrowding on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, water shortages, and unemployment caused by cuts in defense spending.
Though agriculture and mining continue to be important economic sectors in Colorado, more jobs were created in trade, government, and manufacturing between 1975 and 1985. The service sector now accounts for more than 50 percent of the state's gross product. The companies that grew the fastest in Colorado during the 1980s and early 1990s were high-technology concerns such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Apple Computer, and MCI Telecommunications. Tourism generates more than $6 billion each year for the state. Ski resorts, such as Vail and Aspen, and tourist attractions, such as the Air Force Academy and Colorado's rugged mountains, continue to bring thousands of visitors to the state during all seasons. The per capita income of Colorado in 1996 was nearly $25,000, placing thirteenth in the nation. Denver ranked thirtieth among the most important metropolitan areas in income.
See also: Louisiana Purchase, Pike's Expedition
Abbott, Carl. Colorado: A History of the Centennial State. Boulder: Colorado Associated University Press, 1994.
Aylesworth, Thomas G. The Southwest: Colorado, New Mexico, Texas. Chicago: Chelsea House Publishers, 1996.
Sprague, Marshall. Colorado: A Bicentennial History. New York: Norton, 1976.
Ubbelohde, Carol, et al. A Colorado History. Boulder: Pruett, 1982.
the pikes peakers created [the colorado territory], propelled by faith, greed, ambition, and zest for achieving the impossible.
marshall sprague, colorado: a bicentennial history, 1976
"Colorado." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. 1999. Encyclopedia.com. (September 25, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3406400186.html
"Colorado." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. 1999. Retrieved September 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3406400186.html
ETHNONYMS: Tatchila, Tsáchela, Tsatchela, Zatchila
The 1,025 to 1,800 Colorado Indians live in the western lowlands of Ecuador, chiefly in Pichincha Province and especially in Santo Domingo de los Colorados. They speak a language belonging to the Chibchan Family. The Colorado call themselves the "Tsatchela," a name originating from their practice of dyeing their hair red with an extract of achiote (Bixa orellana). In 1900 the Colorado numbered 3,000, but their population has since declined. Pichincha Province has been heavily settled by Whites, and the Colorado often work for the newcomers as laborers on their plantations.
The Colorado traditionally made their living through subsistence horticulture, although many now raise cattle, and others are wage laborers in towns and cities. The Ecuadoran government has created reservations for the Colorado, on which mestizos are forbidden to settle.
By the beginning of the twentieth century, the Colorado had adopted the plantain and made it their staple crop, each family owning thousands of trees. They planted yams, peppers, and cacao near their houses, whereas maize, rice, manioc, sugarcane, pineapples, citrus fruits, and medicinal and fish-poison plants are grown in more distant fields. The Colorado use traps, nets, hooks, and especially the poison barbasco to kill fish. They traditionally hunted with blowguns, using clay pellets rather than darts, but by the mid-twentieth century shotguns had replaced blowguns. Deer, monkeys, and agoutis are the most commonly sought game. In addition, the Colorado raise pigs, chickens, guinea pigs, and dogs. Men and women share the labor involved in the cultivation, harvest, and transportation of products to market. Men clear fields, hunt, fish, and weave nets; women cook, care for the children and domestic animals, and weave cotton goods.
Colorado families live in houses surrounded by their fields and often by forest; each house is thus separated by some distance from others and there is no village. Households have a high degree of economic self-sufficiency. Colorado houses, whick lack walls, consist of palm-leaf thatched roofs held up by posts.
Colorado children are greatly indulged. When a boy reaches 10 to 12 years of age, his nose is pierced in a ritual by a shaman, and he then begins to paint his body in an adult fashion. Boys marry sometime after puberty, but girls marry almost immediately thereafter. A deceased Colorado individual is dressed in his or her best clothing and is waked for a day by relatives, who weep, drink, and play special games in order to remain awake and to repel spirits that cause disease. The corpse is buried underneath the floor of the house, with a string around its neck connected to the roof to aid the soul in leaving. After the burial, the house is abandoned.
Colorado religion has undergone three major influences: traditional, Highland Quechua, and Catholic. Catholicism has become the most visible influence (the Colorado observe Catholic ritual and ceremony), but traditional beliefs concerning the supernatural and the creation myth endure. Shamans cure by removing the effects of witchcraft.
Elliot, Elisabeth (1975). These Strange Ashes. New York: Harper & Row.
Karsten, Rafael (1924). "The Colorado Indians of Western Ecuador." Ymer (Stockholm) 44(2): 137-152.
Moore, Bruce R. (1979). El cambio cultural entre los colorado de Santo Domingo. Quito: Instituto Lingüístico de Verano.
Santiana, Antonio (1951). The Colorado Indians (Tsatchila). Quito: Imprenta de la Universidad.
Von Hagen, Victor W. (1939). "The Tsátchela Indians of Western Ecuador." Indian Notes and Monographs (Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation). Miscellaneous Series, no. 51. 79 pp.
"Colorado." Encyclopedia of World Cultures. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. (September 25, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3458001177.html
"Colorado." Encyclopedia of World Cultures. 1996. Retrieved September 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3458001177.html
Boulder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243
Colorado Springs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255
Denver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267
Fort Collins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279
The State in Brief
Nickname: Centennial State
Motto: Nil sine numine (Nothing without providence)
Flower: Rocky Mountain columbine
Bird: Lark bunting
Area: 104,093 square miles (2000; U.S. rank: 8th)
Elevation: Ranges from 3,350 feet to 14,433 feet above sea level
Climate: Dry and sunny, with a wide daily and seasonal variation in temperature and with alpine conditions in the high mountains
Admitted to Union: August 1, 1876
Head Official: Governor Bill Owens (R) (until 2007)
2004 estimate: 4,601,403
Percent change, 1990–2000: 30.6%
U.S. rank in 2004: 22nd
Percent of residents born in state: 41.1% (2000)
Density: 41.5 people per square mile (2000)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 195,936
Racial and Ethnic Characteristics (2000)
Black or African American: 165,063
American Indian and Alaska Native: 44,241
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 4,621
Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 735,601
Age Characteristics (2000)
Population under 5 years old: 297,505
Population 5 to 19 years old: 927,163
Percent of population 65 years and over: 9.7%
Median age: 34.3 years (2000)
Total number of births (2003): 69,341
Total number of deaths (2003): 29,462 (infant deaths, 416)
AIDS cases reported through 2003: 3,675
Major industries: Services, manufacturing, communications, transportation, agriculture
Unemployment rate: 4.8% (January 2005)
Per capita income: $34,510 (2003; U.S. rank: 8th)
Median household income: $50,224 (3-year average, 2001-2003)
Percentage of persons below poverty level: 9.4% (3-year average, 2001-2003)
Income tax rate: 4.63%
Sales tax rate: 2.9%
"Colorado." Cities of the United States. 2006. Encyclopedia.com. (September 25, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3441800904.html
"Colorado." Cities of the United States. 2006. Retrieved September 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3441800904.html
August 1, 1876
The Centennial State
State bird :
State flower :
Rocky Mountain columbine
State tree :
State motto :
Nothing without providence
"Colorado." World Encyclopedia. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. (September 25, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O142-Colorado.html
"Colorado." World Encyclopedia. 2005. Retrieved September 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O142-Colorado.html
Colorado (river, Argentina)
Colorado (kōlōrä´ŧħō), river, c.550 mi (885 km) long, rising from tributaries in the Andes and flowing SE across S central Argentina to the Atlantic Ocean. It marks the northern limit of Patagonia. It is also a rough boundary between the commercial agriculture to the north and ranching to the south. The Colorado's lower course splits into two branches that flow into the Atlantic Ocean; the river often overflows its banks in spring.
"Colorado (river, Argentina)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Encyclopedia.com. (September 25, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-ColoradArg.html
"Colorado (river, Argentina)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-ColoradArg.html
"Colorado." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. (September 25, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O233-Colorado.html
"Colorado." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Retrieved September 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O233-Colorado.html