What was the first capital of Colorado

State of Colorado history laws

facts and figures

Parks in Colorado

38th state 
surface269,837 sq km
- water surface962 sq km (0.36%)
population4,601,403 (17 / sq km)
expansion612 km x 451 km (w x h)
The highest point4,401 m (Mount Elbert)
Deepest point1,010 m (Arikaree River)
Time zoneCET -7
Sales Tax2,9 %
Speed ​​limits75 mph interstate land
55 mph interstate city
65 mph otherwise




Detailed map (4.1mb PDF).

Colorado was probably first explored by the Spanish in the early 17th century. It is disputed whether the Spaniard Francisco Vásquez de Coronado on his expedition from Mexico to what is now Kansas (1540-1542) already grazed the eastern plains of what is now Colorado and was thus the first European on the soil of what is now the state. In this context, Juan de Oñate is also mentioned, who led an expedition from New Mexico to Kansas around the year 1600. The southeastern part of today's Colorado was claimed for the Spanish kingdom, however, only in 1706 by Juan de Uribarri. The territorial claim collided with the economic interests of the French, although they primarily promoted the colonization of the St. Lawrence River (now Canada).

After the defeat in the French and Indian War (1754-1760) against the British Empire, France, with the exception of New Orleans, had to cede all areas west of the Mississippi to Great Britain, which in turn - to compensate for the conquest of Florida - gave the Spanish the central part of North America (which later became Louisiana Territory). This caused tensions between Spain and France, which only ended on October 1, 1800 under the pressure of Napoleon I with the peace of San Ildefonso and the associated reconquest of the Central American territories by France. A little later, in 1803, the territory finally fell to the United States through the so-called Louisiana Purchase.

While the western part of today's Colorado - the southern Rocky Mountains and parts of the Colorado Plateau - remained undisputed territory of the Spaniards (New Spain), the first explorations by the Americans began in the east from 1806. The first dispatch of American soldiers led by Zebulon Pike led in the Pike expedition from Fort Bellefontaine (near Saint Louis) to the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains (Front Range), which were reached by the end of 1806. The investigation concentrated on the catchment area of ​​Arkansas, which - although an official border line was never agreed between France and Spain until the Louisiana Purchase - was viewed by the Americans as the southern border with New Spain. It was not officially established until 1819 in the so-called Adams-Onís Treaty, in which the western border was agreed in addition to Arkansas in the south with the continental divide. This was followed in 1820, under the direction of Stephen H. Long, the second major expedition, which focused on the course of the river South Platte and the region around what is now Denver.

Although after Pikes and Long's first explorations in the following years more and more fur hunters advanced into today's Colorado, a larger settlement did not begin until the 1830s with the construction of Bent's Fort. The 1833 on Arkansas (near today's La Junta) by William and Charles Bent The fort built on the Santa Fe Trail quickly became an important trading post between white and indigenous people. Meanwhile, New Mexican settlers settled in the San Luis Valley between the San Juan Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo Range and lived from agriculture. With San Luis they founded the first permanent settlement in what would later become Colorado on June 21, 1851.

In the meantime, the political division of the land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase in the east and the areas from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific coast that were newly gained after the war with Mexico (1846-1848) began in 1850. The so-called Kansas-Nebraska Act laid down the border between the territories of Nebraska and Kansas. The latter went beyond what is now the western border and took up most of the High Plains between the South Platte and the Arkansas River as far as the Front Range. In the mountains, the Utah Territory, which was founded in 1850, joined, while the remaining areas of today's Colorado were parts of Nebraska (northeast) and New Mexico (south). The Colorado Territory, on the other hand, was not created until 1861 with the gold rush in Pikes Peak Country.

While relations between whites and Indians - after initial reservations - in the region of the High Plains were predominantly friendly to date, this changed from the early 1850s, when reports of gold discoveries in California led to ever-increasing settler flows through the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains led. When gold was first found at the confluence of South Platte and Cherry Creek (now Denver) in June 1858 and prospectors founded the first larger settlements on the river and in the surrounding mountains, tensions between the white and indigenous populations increased. The number of mining camps grew steadily in the mountains and the region around Black Hawk, Central City, Nevadaville and Idaho Springs became the center of the Coloradian gold rush around 1860.

Denver City, which was founded in 1858 and incorporated the neighboring city of Auraria two years later and now had a population of around 6,000, recorded the greatest growth in the region, which was still part of Kansas at the time. The rapidly growing population drove plans to establish the region as an independent territory. This finally happened on February 28, 1861, when US President James Buchanan signed a bill to this effect in the US Congress and appointed William Gilpin as the first governor. The young Colorado was divided into 17 districts and had around 25,000 inhabitants when it was founded; The capital was initially Colorado City. However, Denver City, which was only renamed "Denver" in 1865, remained more important, even though the city had to be rebuilt after a major fire in 1863. In Golden, which replaced Colorado City as the territory's capital in 1862, Denver was designated the new capital of Colorado in 1867. Although - it turned out pretty quickly - Cherry Creek was not the gold vein it had hoped for, Denver benefited from the wealth of the nearby towns in the Front Range. At the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the capital consolidated its central position with the consistent expansion of the rail network in the early 1870s. The first milestones were the connection to the Kansas Pacific Railway, which expanded its rail network from Kansas City to Denver in 1870, and the construction of the Denver and Pacific Railroad, which connected to the Union Pacific Railroad in Cheyenne (Wyoming). Denver's connection to southwest Colorado followed in 1871 with the construction of the Denver & Rio Grande Railway. In 1872 the Colorado Central Railroad completed the route leading to the neighboring gold rush towns of Black Hawk and Central City.

In 1879 the silver boom broke out in Colorado and Leadville and Aspen became the most important mining towns during this time. Their development was supported by the further expansion of the Denver & Rio Grande Railway, which continued its network in the 1870s from Pueblo through the Royal Gorge towards Leadville and finally reached the city in 1881. The economically emerging Colorado had long since achieved its statehood by this time. While many were initially concerned about higher taxes and excessive interference on the part of Washington, the Colorado Territory joined the United States as the 38th state on August 1, 1876, while maintaining its previous borders.

The establishment of the Colorado Territory in 1861 and the rapidly increasing settlement on Cherry Creek was an affront to the Cheyenne and Arapaho, to whom the area around the later Denver was granted in the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1851). Their resettlement in the Arkansas river valleys sparked backlash among the indigenous peoples, ranging from stagecoach robberies to the murder of isolated settlers. In an unprecedented retaliatory attack on November 29, 1864, troops of the Third Colorado Cavalry, commanded by John Chivington, penetrated an Indian village and murdered 163 men, women and children. The cruel actions of the US military in that Sand Creek massacre briefly sensitized the white population to the interests of the Indians, but also stood in the way of peaceful coexistence. The subsequent armed conflicts lasted about five years and ended after the battles of Beecher Island (September 1868; near present-day Wray) and Summit Springs (July 1869) with the surrender of Cheyenne and Arapaho, who recently formed an alliance against the with some other Indian tribes Whites had formed. As early as 1867, a large-scale resettlement of the Indians from Colorados Plains to reservations in Oklahoma had begun, which in 1874 was considered largely completed.

The Ute Indians, who live in the mountains and have not been fundamentally hostile to the US government to date, also saw themselves subjected to repression after gold and silver discoveries from the 1870s onwards Border area to New Mexico, sent.

Colorado was hit hard by the economic crisis that began in 1893 (panic of 1893; decline in the value of silver). In Denver, twelve banks suddenly had to be closed, and countless businesses had to give up. Ambitious plans by the railroad companies were halted and the closure of many mines caused unemployment to rise rapidly. Many former mining towns degenerated into ghost towns in the 20th century, while better-developed towns found new sources of income in tourism. Aspen, Breckenridge and Vail in central Colorado and Telluride in southwestern Colorado have become popular winter sports locations. With the establishment of the Rocky Mountain National Park in 1915, the first major tourist attraction came into being in the Denver catchment area. In the state capital itself, under Mayor Robert W. Speer, a systematic upgrading of the cityscape based on the model of the City Beautiful movement began shortly after the turn of the century. The beautification measures, which lasted for almost 15 years, served not least to moralize those Denverans who lived in the state capital under very poor conditions.

On April 20, 1999, in Columbine, a suburb of Denver, two heavily armed students broke into their school and caused a bloodbath. In the so-called Littleton School Massacre (Columbine High School Massacre in the United States) they killed a total of 12 classmates, a teacher and finally themselves. The news went around the world and sparked new discussions in the United States about the increasing violence in schools . A few years later, on September 27, 2006, another incident occurred at a school in nearby Bailey when a 53-year-old man took six girls from Platte Canyon High School and shot one of them while storming the school.

In the summer of 2002, Colorado was hit by the most devastating forest fire in the state's history when an illegal campfire in Pike National Forest started what was known as the Hayman Fire. The fire destroyed around 55,000 hectares of forest and approached the Denver area so threateningly that individual suburbs had to be briefly evacuated. A completely different natural disaster finally occurred in December 2006 when the state was caught by a violent blizzard just before the Christmas holidays. The main interstate highways had to be temporarily closed and brought public life in the greater Denver area to a standstill. One of the worst snowstorms in the Front Range region claimed four lives in Colorado.



Curious laws

State laws
-You are not allowed to ride a horse with the flu or a cold.
-Guests at a wedding are not allowed to throw shoes.
-You cannot shoot a rabbit from the second floor. You are also not allowed to chase ducks out of airplanes.
-Guns may not be unloaded within a city.
-You are not allowed to fish while sitting on a horse.
-Car dealers are not allowed to display cars on Sundays.
-In liquorshops no pastries and no alcohol may be sold in bakeries - with the exception of beer if it has more than 3% alcohol.
-No alcohol may be sold on Sundays and election day.
Local laws
-Homeowners have an obligation to prevent unmarried couples from having sex in their home.
Cattle Creek
-Men and women are prohibited from having sex while bathing in a lake or river.
-It is forbidden to lend a neighbor a vacuum cleaner.
-A dog catcher is only allowed to pursue his craft if he has expressly warned the dogs of the impending danger by posting posters in public parks.
-Mistreating rats is prohibited.
Logan County
-It is illegal to kiss a woman while she sleeps.
-Anyone who grows a dandelion within the city limits or does not prevent a dandelion from growing is against the law.
-Free-roaming cats must wear a reflector.

(c) Stefan Kremer - All rights reserved