Colorado is a state in the southwestern United States. It is one of the largest states in the country by area and shares a border with seven other states (Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Arizona). It is estimated that Colorado has been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 10,000 years, but the European history of the country began in the 16th century when Spanish explorers first visited the region. The name Colorado comes from the Colorado River, which the Spanish named Rio Colorado because of the red colored silt that is carried down the river. Let’s take a look at the brief history of the area leading up to statehood and find out how it became a state.
After the region was first discovered by Europeans parts of modern day Colorado were claimed by both France and Spain. The areas claimed by France were purchased by the United States in the Louisiana purchase. Spain retained the other portion until 1821 when Mexico became independent from Spain. In 1846 the United States went to war with Mexico and in 1848 the United States acquired the remaining portion of modern day Colorado via the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. However, it was still some time before Colorado became a state.
Parts of modern day Colorado were divided between the Territory of New Mexico, the Territory of Utah, the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska. In 1859 Colorado became the Territory of Jefferson for 16 months, but this was never recognized federally. In 1861 the Territory of Colorado was created with boundaries that are identical to the modern day state. On March 3, 1875 the U.S. Congress passed an act to allow Colorado to become a state and Colorado was officially admitted to the Union on August 1, 1876 by President Ulysses S. Grant.