Coloradan, Coloradoan, adj., n.
/kol'euh rad"oh, -rah"doh/, n.
1. a state in the W United States. 2,888,834; 104,247 sq. mi. (270,000 sq. km). Cap.: Denver. Abbr.: CO (for use with zip code), Col., Colo.
2. a river flowing SW from N Colorado through Utah and Arizona into the Gulf of California: Grand Canyon; Boulder Dam. 1450 mi. (2335 km) long.
3. a river flowing SE from W Texas to the Gulf of Mexico. 840 mi. (1350 km) long.

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Group of Indian people of Ecuador's Pacific coast.

In the tropical lowlands where the Colorado traditionally have lived, they and the neighbouring Cayapas are the last remaining aboriginal groups. The Colorado (Spanish: "red"), so named because of their use of red pigment to decorate their faces and bodies, have been fishermen, hunters, and shifting cultivators; some, however, have taken up work on plantations, and others have migrated to work in the city.
State (pop., 2000: 4,301,261), west-central U.S. Bordered by Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Utah, it covers 104,100 sq mi (269,619 sq km); its capital is Denver.

Lying astride the Rocky Mountains, the state has three physiographic regions: the plains, a semiarid segment of eastern Colorado; the Colorado Piedmont in the central part of the state, where most of the population lives; and the southern Rocky Mountains and mesas of western Colorado. Its large urban population has grown faster than the national average. Its original inhabitants were Plains and Great Basin Indians, including the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute. The area was claimed by Spain in 1706 but later passed in large part to France. Eastern Colorado was part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803; the remainder stayed in Spanish and, after independence, Mexican hands until 1848. Gold was discovered in 1859 and touched off a population boom. Organized as the territory of Colorado in 1861, it achieved U.S. statehood in 1876. Agriculture, cattle production, and mining, as well as manufacturing, are important to the economy. Government military installations and service industries have become prominent, and tourism is a major source of the state's income (see Aspen; Boulder; Vail).
(as used in expressions)

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Colorado, flag of   constituent state of the United States of America (United States). It is classified as one of the Mountain states, although only about half of its area lies in the Rocky Mountains. It borders Wyoming and Nebraska to the north, Nebraska and Kansas to the east, Oklahoma and New Mexico to the south, and Utah to the west. Colorado was admitted to the union on Aug. 1, 1876, as the 38th state. The capital is Denver.

 Colorado's history is written in the names of its cities, towns, mountain ranges, and passes. Native American, French, and Spanish names alternate with those of frontier Americans, and many ghost towns are reminders of the thousands of prospectors and homesteaders who streamed into the territory in the mid-19th century to pursue dreams of gold and grain bonanzas. Vast cattle ranges and agricultural acreage fed by huge irrigation projects are characteristic of present-day Colorado, as are the diversified industries and the educational and research facilities in the state's urban centres. Area 104,094 square miles (269,602 square km). Pop. (2000) 4,301,261; (2007 est.) 4,861,515.

Land (Colorado)

Relief and drainage
   Colorado's natural landscape ranges from the flat, grass-covered eastern plains—the High Plains of the Great Plains—through the rolling, hilly Colorado Piedmont paralleling the Rocky Mountain front, to the high and numerous mountain ranges and plateaus in the western portion of the state that make up the southern Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau. Within these areas the state rises from about 3,350 feet (1,020 metres) in elevation in the east to more than 14,000 feet (4,300 metres) in the Rockies.

      Lack of water is the dominant characteristic of Colorado's eastern plains region. The Arkansas (Arkansas River) and South Platte (South Platte River) are the state's major rivers, but both rise in the mountains to the west. Many other rivers are dry during much of the year, and the land is flat. Underlain by layered rocks, sandstones, shales, and limestones covered by short-grass vegetation, the natural environment is inhabited by prairie dogs, jackrabbits, coyotes, rattlesnakes, antelope, and such birds as the meadowlark and lark bunting. The climate, flatness, and layered rocks have produced fertile soils that lack only moisture. Nearly all of the plains are covered by brown soils, which support a strong mat of buffalo and grama grass, a valued resource for cattle grazing.

      About 50 miles (80 km) wide and 275 miles (440 km) long, the Colorado Piedmont is a picturesque hilly to mountainous landscape sandwiched between the plains and the mountains. It encompasses all of the state's large urban complexes, its major transport arteries, most of its industry, most of its major colleges and universities, and four-fifths of its people. The layered rocks have been uptilted and dissected into prominent stream divides and deep valleys by the major rivers and numerous smaller streams that discharge onto the piedmont from the mountains. The terrain, ground cover, and climatic conditions provide suitable habitats for rabbits, waterfowl, pheasants, coyotes, deer, raccoon, and, on the arid foothills and unirrigated uplands, rattlesnakes. Many species of birds prevail, of which the meadowlark, crow, dove, and western magpie are most numerous. The climate and land of the Colorado Piedmont attract tourists, homeseekers, and, beyond the rapidly growing urban centres, farmers. The major cities and the wealthy farm areas both lie where the streams have broadened the valleys. Among the attractive features of the landscape is the agglomeration of high, dramatically shaped red sandstone formations northwest of Colorado Springs known as the Garden of the Gods. In the foothills southwest of Denver is one of the world's largest and most beautiful outdoor amphitheatres, Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Since 1880 more than 400 reservoirs have been built in the piedmont to store water for irrigation. These sites are meccas for water sports, hunting, and house building.

      The western half of Colorado includes the huge mountain upthrust, comprising much of the southern Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau, where mesas and mountain ranges alternate with broad, intervening valleys and deep, narrow canyons. With its copious precipitation, this mountain land provides water for six states and Mexico. The drainage pattern from the Rockies is oriented by the mountains themselves, which form the Continental Divide, the main watershed boundary of the continent.

      The mountainous portion of Colorado comprises a great number of individual mountain ranges. In the north and northwest the Front Range, Medicine Bow Mountains, Park Range, and Rabbit Ears Range are major uplifts, and Rocky Mountain National Park (established 1915) is a popular attraction. The western and southwestern extremities of the state comprise the tilted and acutely uplifted layered rock of the Colorado Plateau. The Grand Mesa and the White River Plateau, both above 10,000 feet (3,000 metres), are major attractions. The region contains several national monuments and parks, most of them primarily scenic, while Mesa Verde National Park, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, preserves the remnants of cliff-dwelling Native American settlements.

      The San Juan Mountains, a large, heavily ice-dissected volcanic plateau, rises to over 13,000 feet (4,000 metres) in the southwest; within these mountains are the headwaters of the Rio Grande, one of the longest rivers in North America. The Sangre de Cristo Range (Sangre de Cristo Mountains) is a linear range in the south-central region of the state. At its western base are some of the largest sand dunes in the interior of the North American continent, an area of 60 square miles (155 square km) set aside in 1932 as Great Sand Dunes National Monument (Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve).

      The Sawatch (Sawatch Range), Colorado's highest range and the central core of the Colorado Rockies, consists of Mount Elbert (Elbert, Mount)—at 14,433 feet (4,399 metres) the highest point in the state—and many other elevations above 14,000 feet. The Colorado Rockies contain a significant share of the U.S. public domain in the form of 11 national forests, which total about 22,000 square miles (57,000 square km) of land. (Another national forest lies partly in the state.) There are some 53 peaks above 14,000 feet in elevation and 831 peaks between 11,000 and 14,000 feet (3,400 and 4,300 metres).

      Colorado may be divided into three climatic regions that largely reflect differences in elevation and proximity to the major mountain ranges: the eastern plains, the Colorado Piedmont, and the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado Plateau in the west. Summer temperatures on the plains average in the mid-70s F (about 24 °C) for July and August; daily minimum and maximum temperatures may vary as much as 40–50 °F (22–28 °C), although the general variation is about 25 °F (14 °C). Winters are dry, cold, windy, and generally harsh. The plains form a playground for the wind, and, though snowfall is generally light, the winter blizzard can become a dread element for both people and animals. Average January nighttime low temperatures range from about 10 to about 30 °F (−12 to −1 °C), with daily highs averaging from the mid-30s to approximately 50 °F (about −2 to 10 °C). Annual precipitation is erratic, ranging from about 15 to 20 inches (380 to 510 mm); nearly three-fourths of it falls during summer, and hail is frequent.

      There is less precipitation annually in the Colorado Piedmont than on the plains; less than three-fourths of it falls in summer, mostly in thunderstorms. July temperatures in Denver average in the low 70s F (about 23° C); January temperatures, about 30 °F (−1° C). Short hot and cold spells climbing to 90 °F (32 °C) or falling below 10 °F (−12 °C), respectively, are not uncommon. The chinook—a dry, descending winter airstream from the high mountains that is warmed by compression as it descends—often raises temperatures 30–40 °F (17–22 °C) in less than an hour, melts the snow cover, and can produce violent winds that have been recorded in excess of 100 miles (160 km) per hour.

      The rugged topography of the mountains and plateaus of western Colorado produces a complex pattern of local climates. Elevation, amount of exposure to the direct rays of the sun, and the orientation of mountain ranges and valleys to the general air circulation are major factors determining the climate of a particular location. Typically, wide variations in climate occur within short distances. July temperatures average in the low 60s F (about 16 °C) at many mountain locations, while the lower plateaus and valley bottoms average some 20 °F (11° C) higher. Winter temperatures often become more extreme with elevation. Leadville, at approximately 10,000 feet (3,000 metres), has an average January temperature in the high teens F (about −8 °C), but temperatures can drop to approximately −50 °F (−46 °C) at higher elevations. Arid conditions prevail over much of the Colorado Plateau, while at elevations above 5,500 feet (1,700 metres) precipitation is sufficient to support thick forests. Precipitation generally increases rapidly with elevation, with amounts ranging from about 20 to 50 inches (500 to 1,270 mm). Snow may fall during any month in the mountains, and total annual accumulations are heavy, regularly reaching 300 inches (7,600 mm) at some stations.

Plant and animal life
      There are four broad ecological zones, from the plains to the high mountain peaks. The plains are dominated by short-grass prairie, or steppe. In the foothills zone, from 5,500 to 7,000 feet (1,700 to 2,100 metres), oak, mountain mahogany, juniper, and piñon pine are the dominant vegetation. Higher zones, from 7,000 to about 11,500 feet (3,500 metres), feature a coniferous forest in which the ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and blue and Engelmann spruce are dominant, interspersed with aspen and other deciduous, broad-leaved species. The alpine tundra zone, above 11,500 feet, has sparse vegetation, mainly mosses, lichens, and sedges.

      Most animal species have no permanent habitat in the Colorado Rockies. They move to high elevations where food and cover are plentiful during summer and return to the warmer lower elevations during winter. Deer, elk, and mountain sheep are the most common game animals. Among the furbearers, the coyote, wildcat, badger, marten, muskrat, and beaver are prevalent. The Weminuche Wilderness, a remote segment of San Juan and Rio Grande national forests in southwestern Colorado, is the site of experimental (and controversial) reintroductions into the wild of predators such as the lynx, gray wolf, and grizzly bear.

People (Colorado)

Population composition
 The first Colorado territorial census, in 1860, revealed that more than four-fifths of the state's population of 34,277 was rural. This pattern continued until 1910, when half of the nearly 800,000 inhabitants were urban. After 1950 the urban component rose sharply, reaching more than four-fifths of the population in the early 21st century. About one-fifth of Coloradans are Hispanic, predominantly of Mexican descent. The number of African Americans and Native Americans is small. Native Americans are concentrated in two areas of the state: metropolitan Denver, with migrants from tribes throughout the United States, and the southwestern corner of Colorado, where two Ute reservations are all that remain of that tribe's once-vast presence in the area. As in most of the country, minority groups are hampered by inadequacies in education, housing, and economic opportunity. The conditions of seasonal migratory labour have been of increasing concern at all levels of government.

Settlement patterns and demographic trends
      An overall consideration of Colorado's population is most meaningful in a regional context.

      The demography of Colorado's eastern plains is much affected by the region's rigorous physical geography: its dryness, bareness, wind, and capricious precipitation. The seven plains counties constitute nearly one-sixth of Colorado's land area but have a dwindling population, the density of which rarely exceeds five persons per square mile (two per square kilometre). The towns of the plains, all located on highways and railroads, serve vast rural hinterlands where livestock raising is important and where wheat and sorghum are major products. Limon, Burlington, Cheyenne Wells, Eads, and Yuma are the largest towns.

      Ready availability of water, a climate conducive to outdoor work and recreation, and proximity to the mountain front were mainly responsible for the large population growth of the Colorado Piedmont in the late 20th century. Those 22 counties occupy one-third of the state's land area, and the overwhelming majority of the state's people live in the metropolitan areas of Denver- Aurora, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Fort Collins, and Greeley.

      The density and distribution of population in Colorado's mountain and plateau counties are limited by the region's terrain, isolation, severe winters, and separation from the piedmont counties by the Continental Divide. The 34 counties of the mountain and plateau region occupy half of the state's land area, but some have less than two people per square mile. Unlike that of the plains, however, the population is increasing. The rural population is settled mainly in restricted mountain valleys, where ranching and irrigation farming support the family unit. The village of Estes Park is located in a high valley within Rocky Mountain National Park.

      Location, soil, minerals, water, space for expansion, and physical beauty are principal resources that have contributed to Colorado's growth. Among the Rocky Mountain states, Colorado accounts for nearly two-fifths of the population but about one-half of all manufacturing employment. Ski resorts enhance the local economies of such areas as Aspen and Vail, while energy production is important to the economy of Grand Junction. The Denver area has also been a leader in medical information science and data processing.

      Agriculture has long been central to Colorado's economy. Colorado was the first state to abrogate the riparian doctrine (riparian right) of water use, based on English common law, which gave prior water rights to owners of adjoining lands. It evolved instead a totally new concept for use of water resources (water resource) based on the rights of the larger public, which has been adopted and adapted by most of the 17 Western states. The state ranks high among the U.S. states in the amount of land under irrigation. Corn (maize), wheat, and hay are the major crops. The western slope and Rio Grande valley are the sites of large fruit orchards and vegetable fields, although the increasing diversion of water to the city's metropolitan areas is reducing the sustainability of agriculture in the region. Agriculture accounts for a large proportion of all water used within the state.

      Colorado is a major cattle producer and also raises large numbers of hogs and sheep; it ranks among the top cattle-producing states in the country. Weld, Morgan, Larimer, and Boulder counties are the national centre for the production of cattle fattened in feedlots, and the piedmont and high plains find acres of fat cattle feeding on alfalfa (lucerne) and grain. There is much corporate farming, and generally it is highly mechanized.

Resources and power
 Although not the leader that it was in the mining bonanzas of the 19th century, Colorado's mineral industry continues to make substantial contributions to the economy. Among the principal minerals are coal, petroleum, molybdenum, gold, and sand and gravel. Northwestern Colorado has some of the largest and most valuable coal deposits in the country. Fossil fuels—notably natural gas—account for more than four-fifths of the state's mineral output. Petroleum and natural gas reserves are mostly in the form of oil shales, a potentially highly productive source of fuel that remains largely undeveloped.

      Nearly three-fourths of Colorado's electricity is generated from coal; natural gas provides another one-fourth; and hydroelectric and other renewable sources provide smaller proportions. Consumption is immense, and demands are difficult to meet. About two-fifths of the total capacity and production is privately owned.

      Major industries include printing and publishing, industrial machinery production, food and food products, metal production, lumber and wood products, and military ordnance and accessories. Several Front Range communities have developed high-technology manufacturing parks devoted to the production of semiconductors and other components used in computers and robotics.

 Although manufacturing, agriculture, and summer tourism are the mainstays of Colorado's economy, winter sports have grown at a rapid rate since the 1970s. Transport, housing, and lift facilities are continually expanding to meet the annual ski invasion, and whole communities, including Vail, Aspen, Steamboat Springs, and Breckenridge, are economically dependent on these revenues. Colorado provides outstanding opportunities for outdoor recreation. Among its premier attractions are its three national parks—Rocky Mountain, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and Mesa Verde—which encompass some 500 square miles (1,300 square km). Many millions of tourists visit Colorado each year, a large part of them on vacations to outdoor destinations.

Transportation and telecommunications
 Colorado has a well-developed transportation system and ranks high among the mountain states in road mileage. Main highways tend to be east-west, circumvent high mountain masses, and follow valleys and canyons to their heads in the more than 30 mountain passes over the Continental Divide. The highest of the passes, at 12,183 feet (3,713 metres), is on the seasonal Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. A number of other passes exceed 10,000 feet (3,000 metres) in elevation. One of the country's major east-west arteries, Interstate Highway 70, runs through the state, utilizing twin vehicular tunnels under the Continental Divide west of Denver.

      Denver International Airport is a major centre in the country's air traffic pattern. It is served by almost all major U.S. airlines; carriers link Denver with other Colorado cities, with neighbouring states, and with international destinations. Railroad lines in Colorado are mainly bulk-freight carriers using multilevel railcars and flatcars for containerized freight, although a main east-west Amtrak passenger route passes through Denver and the Rockies.

      In the late 20th century, Colorado was the site of a telecommunications boom. Several national high-technology and telecommunications companies located their headquarters in Denver and elsewhere in the state. Despite a subsequent downturn in the industry, Colorado remained a national leader in the field into the 21st century.

Government and society

Constitutional framework
   In 1875 a convention drew up the constitution for the prospective state, which was admitted to the union the following year. Because Colorado's admission occurred 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, it became known as the Centennial State.

      The executive branch is made up of a governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and state treasurer, who are elected to four-year terms. Numerous commissions, boards, and examiners are appointed to discharge the executive functions of state government. At the county level the constitution provides for several kinds of officers.

      The legislative branch consists of a bicameral legislature known as the General Assembly, which meets annually. It comprises a Senate of 35 members elected to four-year terms and a House of Representatives of 65 members elected to two-year terms. By a rule adopted in 1977 to streamline the legislative process, members of the assembly may introduce no more than five bills a year. The Legislative Council, created by statute in 1953, is a nonpartisan fact-finding agency of the General Assembly. The Joint Budget Committee, established in 1959, is the General Assembly's permanent agency for fiscal and budgetary review.

      Local governments in Colorado have a jurisdictional balance with the state government. Counties can opt for either a home rule charter or a constitutional government with offices and powers outlined by the state legislature. Several of the counties have home rule charters. Constitutional local governments generally consist of the following officers (variations depending on population): commissioners, clerk, sheriff, coroner, treasurer, surveyor, assessor, and attorney. Most terms are for four years. Property taxes are levied by local governments, especially school districts, and not by the state; such taxes are subject to frequent rebates and credits.

      The Colorado judiciary comprises the seven-member state Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, district courts encompassing one or more counties, and county courts. The chief justice of the Supreme Court is the head of the state's judicial branch. In addition, the constitution calls for juvenile and probate courts, as well as municipal courts, which provide the grassroots core of the judicial system. The judiciary also comprises seven special courts that adjudicate conflicts over water resources.

      Since World War II each state political campaign has involved the issue of extension of federal activities, with Democrats (Democratic Party) generally committed to extension and Republicans (Republican Party) opposed. Since the 1920s each of the two parties has won control of the legislature in about one-half of the elections, which indicates a fairly even balance within the state. Colorado trended decidedly conservative and Republican in the late 20th century, but Democrats made gains in the early 21st century. Democrats tended to have relatively greater success in local elections than in congressional ones, but several Colorado Democrats have achieved national prominence; among them were Sen. Gary Hart and Rep. Patricia Schroeder (Schroeder, Patricia).

Health and welfare
      Colorado's income per capita is well above the national average, as is its expenditure on public assistance. There is considerable income disparity between the rural counties and the urban counties of the Front Range corridor. For example, Arapahoe's per capita income, the highest among the area's urban counties, is more than three times that of Conejos, the lowest among the area's rural counties. Provision of health, education, and other services is affected by this disparity, although the state government attempts to equalize services.

      Education is mandatory between ages 7 and 16. Publicly supported primary education began in 1862, and secondary schools opened in the following decade. Population increases in the late 20th century created problems in funding and instructional space; even so, Colorado ranks favourably nationally in terms of levels of educational attainment and standardized test scores. The high school graduation rate was about three-fourths in the early 21st century.

      Colorado ranks among the top states in terms of number of college and university graduates. The people of the Colorado Territory created the University of Colorado (Colorado, University of) in 1861, although the school did not open until 1877. It has its main campus in Boulder, with branches in Colorado Springs and Denver. The Colorado School of Mines (1869), in Golden, and Colorado State University (1870), at Fort Collins, were founded before statehood, and the State Normal School of Colorado (later Colorado State College of Education, now University of Northern Colorado), in Greeley, was established in 1889. Another public institution, Fort Lewis College (1964), in Durango, grew from an Indian school founded in 1911 into a liberal arts college whose mission includes providing tuition-free education for Native Americans. In all, Colorado has more than 40 colleges, junior colleges, and universities, of which more than two dozen are publicly supported. Among the state's noteworthy private higher educational institutions are the University of Denver (Denver, University of) (1864), Colorado College (1874), in Colorado Springs, and Naropa University (founded as the Naropa Institute in 1974), in Boulder, which provides “contemplative” education based on a fusion of Eastern and Western pedagogical traditions. Of special note is the U.S. Air Force Academy (United States Air Force Academy), authorized by Congress in 1954. In 1958 it moved into its campus near Colorado Springs.

Cultural life

Arts and cultural institutions
 Among the writers associated with Colorado are poet and novelist Helen Hunt Jackson (Jackson, Helen Hunt), who relocated from Massachusetts to Colorado Springs in 1875, novelist James Michener (Michener, James), who studied and taught at the Colorado State College of Education, and gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson (Thompson, Hunter S.), who lived near Aspen. Moreover, Neil Cassady, the model for Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac (Kerouac, Jack)'s novel On the Road (1957), grew up on Denver's mean streets.

      Colorado fine and decorative artists include Jinny Beyer (Beyer, Jinny) and Boardman Robinson (Robinson, Boardman), who founded the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Noted musicians associated with the state are John Denver, Paul Whiteman (Whiteman, Paul), and Glenn Miller (Miller, Glenn).

 Red Rocks Park, in the foothills west of Denver, contains a large natural amphitheatre that hosts frequent musical events and festivals. Slightly farther west, in Central City, the Central City Opera House, dating from 1878, has a summer season of opera and drama. Summer fare is available as well at festivals in Aspen and Boulder. The Denver Performing Arts Complex is home to theatre, ballet, and opera companies and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. The Fine Arts Center in Colorado Springs is a regional art centre with a main museum facility—which is also the location of the Bemis School of Art—as well as an annex for exhibitions of contemporary art, FAC Modern. The Denver Art Museum houses collections of Renaissance and Peruvian paintings as well as Asian and pre-Columbian works.

      The Colorado Historical Society maintains a range of historical sites and museums around the state. These include the Colorado History Museum in Denver, several houses and forts dating from the early days of the state, the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose, and the El Pueblo History Museum in Pueblo.

      Libraries have an important function in Colorado's cultural milieu. There has been a continuing trend to organize regional libraries to provide adequate service to every community. The Colorado State Library is responsible for furnishing all Colorado institutions with research, reference, and general reading services.

Sports and recreation
  On the western and southwestern plateaus, scenic and recreational attractions include Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (established as a national monument, 1933; elevated to national park status, 1999) and Colorado (Colorado National Monument) (1911) and Dinosaur (Dinosaur National Monument) (1915) national monuments, the last of which lies partly in Utah. Because of their cultural and historical value, Mesa Verde National Park (1906) and Hovenweep (Hovenweep National Monument) (1923) and Yucca House (Yucca House National Monument) (1919) national monuments in the southwest—all relics of former Native American civilizations—are preserved for archaeological study and exploration. Mesa Verde National Park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978. Other museums and attractions include the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Botanic Gardens.

      Colorado's abundant open spaces, natural beauty, and varied terrain make outdoor activities, particularly winter sports, a common pastime for both residents and tourists. Skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, rock climbing, white-water rafting, and kayaking are all popular sports.

      Colorado has several professional sports teams, all of them located in the capital: the Colorado Rockies (baseball), the Colorado Avalanche (hockey), the Denver Nuggets (basketball), and the Denver Broncos (football). The Broncos, who have one of the most avid fan bases in the National Football League (NFL), were led to the Super Bowl five times in the 1980s and '90s by Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway (Elway, John) (winning in 1998 and 1999). The University of Colorado (Big 12 Conference) and Colorado State University (Mountain West Conference) both have notable traditions in football, and the Colorado College and University of Denver men's hockey teams have done well in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA's) championship tournament, reaching the Frozen Four and winning championships; the Colorado College women's soccer team has also been a power traditionally. Among the best-known athletes native to Colorado are legendary heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey (Dempsey, Jack) and University of Colorado and NFL star (and, later, U.S. Supreme Court (Supreme Court of the United States) justice) Byron (“Whizzer”) White (White, Byron R.).

Media and publishing
      Major metropolitan newspapers are the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News (Denver). Daily newspapers are also published in more than a dozen other cities, including Boulder, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and Greeley.

History (Colorado)

The earliest inhabitants
      The influence of Native American culture on Colorado has been strong. Native American place-names have enriched the English vocabulary; Native American folktales, music, and dances have been adopted as aspects of American culture; and Native American food and artwork have made valuable and unique contributions to Colorado's sense of identity. The cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo culture (Anasazi) in Mesa Verde National Park are among the significant physical remains of early Native American communities.

      The Plains Indians (Plains Indian), mainly Arapaho and Cheyenne, guided the explorers, traders, and trappers across the plains. They knew the streams, the natural routes, the sources of fresh water and firewood, the areas of natural protection, and the feeding grounds of the buffalo. The Great Basin (Great Basin Indian) groups, mainly the Ute, made similar contributions to knowledge of the Rocky Mountains.

      The Native Americans, however, were displaced by Spanish explorers from Mexico in search of cities of gold and silver. Fearing attacks by the United States, they strengthened the Spanish frontier in the 1840s with huge land grants reaching as far north as the Arkansas River. On these grants were established the first permanent settlements of non-Native American people in Colorado and, in 1851, the first recorded irrigation. The Spanish language is imprinted on Colorado geography. The state's name is derived from the Spanish colorado (“red,” or “ruddy”). Twenty large streams in Colorado are called ríos, and numerous cities, villages, and mountain ranges and peaks have Spanish names.

The U.S. territory
 American exploration of Colorado began immediately after the United States made the Louisiana Purchase, of which Colorado was a part, in 1803. Dispatched to map, explore, and record scientific data about the new land were Zebulon Pike (Pike, Zebulon Montgomery) in 1806, Stephen Long in 1820, and John C. Frémont (Frémont, John C) in 1842. As knowledge of the area spread, fur traders and trappers followed. Frontier scouts Kit Carson (Carson, Kit), Jim Bridger (Bridger, Jim), and others explored the territory. Fort Bent and Fort Saint Vrain served as collection points for furs, places for food and supplies, and shelter and protection from Indians.

      In 1858 gold was discovered along the South Platte; discoveries in other locations followed. When word reached the eastern United States the following year, a gold rush ensued. The cry of “ Pikes Peak or bust” was the prospectors' motto, and the bustling gold-dust towns of Central City, Black Hawk, Gold Hill, and Cripple Creek made mining history. The first gold was panned from the streambeds, after which came the search for the mother lode in the mountains. Fueled by the mining boom, open conflict with Native American peoples grew. Such incidents as the Sand Creek Massacre (1864) continued to occur until the 1870s; in that decade most tribes—including the Arapaho, the Pawnee, the Cheyenne, and the Crow—were relocated to reservations outside the state.

      In the frontier mining districts, civil and criminal codes were drawn up, and penalties for crimes were established. Of the thousands of seekers for gold, only a few found their bonanza. By the 1890s the boom was over, and the mountains were largely vacated except for a few permanent mining towns.

      Contemporaneous with the mining rushes was Colorado's period of territorial government. In 1861 congressional legislation provided for administrative officials to be appointed by the president. Seven governors were appointed in 15 years, and none served a full four-year term. In 1875 a constitution was drawn up and ratified by the territorial assembly, and in 1876 Colorado became a member of the union.

Economic and social growth
      Shortages of food during the gold rush led enterprising pioneers to initiate a new and significant component to the regional economy. Water (water resource) was diverted from the streams to irrigate the land in what has been called the single most significant event in Colorado history. An entirely new social code and economy and a Western water law—drawing on elements of English common law and Spanish statutes alike—evolved in a time of conflict between livestock herders and farmers. The industries and inhabitants of cities and towns came to depend upon irrigation agriculture. Sugar factories, which extracted the juice from the sugar beet, sprang up across the landscape.

 By 1881 the buffalo herds on Colorado's plains had been replaced by cattle and sheep. From its mountain valleys, plains, and feedlots, Colorado became a major producer of meat. Automobiles, railroads, and a tunnel through the mountainous backbone united the mountains and high plateaus of western Colorado with the flat eastern portion of the state, and the flow of resources set the pace for industrial development. Also in the 1880s, steel was first produced in Pueblo, based on local deposits of iron ore and coal, and Pueblo became a major producer of metals. Drought and the Great Depression of the 1930s triggered rural emigration but also spurred the construction of a large-scale transmountain water-diversion project.

World War II and after
      Fear of enemy attack on both U.S. coasts during World War II stimulated the development of government facilities in Colorado because of its interior, yet accessible, location. In 1942 Japanese Americans from the West Coast were interned at Camp Amache, near the high-plains farming town of Granada. The Denver Federal Center, Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Camp (later Fort) Carson, Camp Hale, and other government and military installations attracted thousands of newcomers to the state. By the late 1940s the state was second only to Washington, D.C. (Washington), in number of federal government offices, almost all of which had administrative jurisdiction beyond the state borders.

      The federal presence in Colorado grew increasingly during the Cold War era. The U.S. Air Force Academy (United States Air Force Academy), founded as the service's chief officer-training school in 1954, relocated from Denver to Colorado Springs in 1958. Peterson Air Force Base—the communications and administrative headquarters for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (formerly North American Air Defense Command) and the U.S. Space Command—and the Pueblo (Army) Chemical Depot, a major repository of chemical weapons and wastes, also moved to the area. Civilian offices of federal agencies—including the Department of Agriculture, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Treasury, the Department of Energy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—were also established in Colorado, almost entirely in Front Range urban centres.

      Colorado's post-World War II economy was fueled by newcomers who embraced the state's capacity to develop ski resorts and additional outdoor-sports facilities. In the 1950s Colorado began to grow as a centre of electronic and, later, high-technology manufacturing. The diversification and strengthening of the Colorado economy brought an influx of newcomers, and by the 1980s some three-fifths of the state's population had been born outside Colorado. Tourism soon became an economic mainstay, while official state policy promoted orderly growth of the economy and the infrastructure to support it. The rapid growth of technological industries continued in the last two decades of the 20th century but slowed in the early 21st century. In the late 1990s the Front Range communities remained among the fastest-growing regions in the country in terms of both population and economic expansion; the economy slowed by the following decade, but the population growth rate was higher than in the country overall. In the 1990s members of several tribes that were relocated in the 1870s following the Sand Creek Massacre sought restitution for the loss of ancestral lands; the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Colorado legislature, and other entities issued formal apologies, but no monetary compensation was provided. In 2007 the U.S. Department of the Interior established the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site in order to preserve the site and commemorate and interpret the event.

M. John Loeffler John L. Dietz Gregory Lewis McNamee

Additional Reading
Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Colorado, Colorado: A Guide to the Highest State (1941, reprinted as The WPA Guide to 1930s Colorado, 1987), addresses numerous aspects of the state's geography and history. Mel Griffiths and Lynnell Rubright, Colorado: A Geography (1983), is a systematic look at the state's geography. Reference atlases include Kenneth A. Erickson and Albert W. Smith, Atlas of Colorado (1985); DeLorme Mapping Company, Colorado Atlas & Gazetteer, 8th ed. (2007); Benchmark Maps, Colorado Road & Recreation Atlas (2007); and Thomas J. Noel, Paul F. Mahoney, and Richard E. Stevens, Historical Atlas of Colorado (1994). William Bright, Colorado Place Names, 3rd ed. (2004); and Maxine Benson, 1001 Colorado Place Names (1994), combine geography and local history. Cornelia Fleischer Mutel and John C. Emerick, From Grassland to Glacier: The Natural History of Colorado and the Surrounding Region, 2nd ed. (1992), describes various Colorado ecosystems. Halka Chronic and Felicie Williams, Roadside Geology of Colorado, 2nd ed. (2002), is an accessible introduction to the state's landforms. Philip L. Fradkin, A River No More: The Colorado River and the West, expanded and updated ed. (1996), examines the role of water in the Colorado basin, as does Frank Waters, The Colorado (1946, reprinted 1984). Gleaves Whitney, Colorado Front Range: A Landscape Divided (1983), traces the rapid growth along the Front Range corridor.Historical treatments include Carl Ubbelohde, Maxine Benson, and Duane A. Smith, A Colorado History, 9th ed. (2006); Carl Abbott, Stephen J. Leonard, and Thomas J. Noel, Colorado: A History of the Centennial State, 4th ed. (2005); Marshall Sprague, Colorado: A History (1984); James McTighe, Roadside History of Colorado, rev. ed. (1989); and Robert G. Athearn, The Coloradans (1982). Elliott West, The Contested Plains: Indians, Goldseekers & the Rush to Colorado (1998), is a useful study of the state's 19th-century history. Colorado History (semiannual) publishes current historical research.John L. Dietz Gregory Lewis McNamee

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Universalium. 2010.

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