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Colorado Territory
Organized: February 28, 1861
Statehood: August 1, 1876

The state was named after the Spanish word "Colorado," which means "reddish colored" that presumably refers to the red sandstone formations in the area or reddish brown color of the Colorado River.

The territory that ultimately became Colorado was added to the United States by the 1803 Louisiana Purchase and the 1848 Mexican Cession. The Colorado Gold Rush of 1859 brought many settlers to the Denver area, though the population collapsed following an initial mining boom.

The Colorado Territory was organized as a United States territory on February 28, 1861, and Colorado attained statehood August 1, 1876, 100 years after the signing of our nation's Declaration of Independence (earning it the nickname the "Centennial State")

Colorado Counties

Colorado Counties

Select a County Site to visit:

County Organization Dates



 Books about Colorado and her citizens

Biographies for unspecified counties
Representative Women of Colorado Census Data 
Colorado Emblems

Colorado Outlaws

Facts and Trivia  Folklore
Government History  
Man Made Marvels in Colorado Medical
Military Records Native American
Newspaper Gleanings Recipes
Resource Links Volunteer / Search

Defunct Counties

Greenwood County - formed in 1870 from part of Huerfano county and the Arapahoe and Cheyenne Reserve. In 1874 it was abolished and Bent and Elbert counties created. History in 1871.

Platte County - formed in 1872 from part of Weld county. In 1874 was abolished and its territory returned to Weld county.

More extinct or renamed counties

The City of Aurora, which is currently located in two counties - Arapahoe, and Adams, is scheduled to become a consolidated city-county (joining Denver and Broomfield as the only city-counties in the state) around 2008

Colorado National Parks
National parks managed by the National Park Service:

  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park near Montrose
  • Mesa Verde National Park near Cortez
  • Rocky Mountain National Park at Estes Park
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve near Mosca

National monuments in Colorado are:

  • Colorado National Monument at Grand Junction and Fruita
  • Dinosaur National Monument near Dinosaur Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Florissant
  • Yucca House National Monument in Cortez

National Historic Sites:

  • Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site near La Junta
  • Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site in Kiowa County

National Historic Trails

  • California National Historic Trail
  • Old Spanish National Historic Trail
  • Pony Express National Historic Trail
  • Santa Fe National Historic Trail

The Colorado Fourteeners

  • 53 Colorado summits with at least 14,000 feet (4,267.2 m) of elevation and at least 300 feet (91,44 m) of prominence


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