Colorado joined the U.S. in the country’s centennial year and has had a colorful history, before and after being admitted as the 38th state. Here are five things you might not know about the “Centennial State.”
1. In 1860, during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, the greatest number of immigrants to Colorado came from Ohio, followed by Illinois, New York, Missouri, and Indiana. That year, the population of Colorado Territory was 34,277, of which only 1,586 were women.
2. Zebulon Pike never made it to the top of the mountain peak that bears his name. Spanish explorers were the first Europeans to see it and they called it “El Capitán.” The name Pike’s Peak was a beacon to gold rush settlers who flocked to the area with the slogan “Pike’s Peak or Bust.”
3. Colorado sent 8,000 men to serve the Union during the Civil War, although there were also pockets of Confederate sympathizers throughout the state. Among their contributions, Colorado volunteers made an important stop of Confederate forces at Glorieta Pass in 1862.
4. The discovery of silver at Leadville led to a silver boom in the state of Colorado in 1879 further fueling the state’s booming population. Between the 1870 and 1880 censuses, the population of the state swelled by 387% and increased by another 112% by 1890.
5. Rocky Mountain National Park was created in 1915, just 15 years after a fire raged in that same area. The park now encompasses 415 square miles of breathtaking landscapes.
Want to learn more about the history of Colorado and what resources are available to help you discover your Centennial State heritage? Check out our free state research guide for Colorado.
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