Table of contents
Updated November 30, 2023 | Infoplease Staff
Colorado flag


Colorado State Information

Capital: Denver

Official Name: State of Colorado 

Organized as a territory/republic: February 28, 1861

Entered Union (rank): August 1, 1876 (38th)

Present constitution adopted: 1876

State abbreviation/Postal code: Colo./CO

State Area Codes: 303, 720, 983, 719, 970

Fun Facts About Colorado

Nickname: The Centennial State

Origin of name: The state of Colorado was named after the Colorado River, which Spanish explorers named "Río Colorado" (meaning "colored river") for its reddish silt.

Motto: “Nil Sine Numine” (“Nothing Without Providence”)

Slogan: “Colorful Colorado”

State symbols: 

Flower: White and Lavender Columbine (Aquilegia Caerulea) (1899)

Tree: Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea Pungens) (1939)

Animal: Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep (Ovis Canadensis) (1961)

Bird: Lark Bunting (1931)

Fish: Greenback Cutthroat (1994)

Gem: Aquamarine (1971)

Colors: Gold, White, Blue, and Red (1911)

Song: “Where the Columbines Grow,” by AJ. Flynn (1915)

Grass: Blue Grama Grass (Bouteloua Gracilis)

Fossil: Stegosaurus (1982)

Dinosaur: Stegosaurus (1982)

Insect: Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly (Hypaurotis Crysalus) (1996)

Ballad: “Rocky Mountain High,” lyrics by John Denver and music by Mike Taylor (2007)


Governor: Jared Polis (to Nov. 2026)

Lieut. Governor: Dianne I. Primavera (to Nov. 2026)

Secretary of State: Jena Griswold (to Nov. 2026)

General Treasurer: Dave Young (to Nov. 2026) 

Atty. General: Phil Weiser (to Nov. 2026)

U.S. Representatives: 8

Senators: Michael Bennet, D (to Nov. 2024); John Hickenlooper, D (to Nov. 2024)

Historical biographies of Congressional members

State website:


Residents: Coloradan 

Resident population: 5,839,926 (21st Largest State, 2022)

10 largest cities (2022): Denver, 708,799; Colorado Springs, 475,282; Aurora, 383,496; Fort Collins, 166,788; Lakewood, 155,608; Thornton, 140,538; Arvada, 122,903; Westminster, 115,535; Pueblo, 111,424, Centennial, 107,972.

Race/Ethnicity: White, 86.5%; Black or African American, 4.7%; American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.7%; Asian, 3.6% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders, 0.2%; Two or More Races, 3.3%; Hispanic or Latino, 22.3% White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, 67.0%

Religion: Protestantism (39%); Catholicism (19%); Mormonism (2%); Eastern Orthodoxy (1%); Unitarianism/Universalism (1%); Unaffiliated (34%); New Age (2%); Judaism (1%); Hinduism (1%).

Sex: Male (50.7%) Female (49.3%).

Age: Under 18 (21.9%); 18-64 (63%); 65 and over (15.1%). Median Age: 36.9.


GDP: $421 billion dollars (16th in the U.S., 2021) 

Unemployment: 2.8% (2023)


Land area: 104,094 sq mi. (269,837 sq km.)

Geographic center: Park County, 30 miles NW of Pike's Peak. Longitude: 105° 38.5'W Latitude: 38° 59.9'N

Number of counties: 64 

Largest county by population and area: El Paso County, 730,395 (2020); Las Animas County, 4,775 sq mi

State parks/recreation areas: 42

See additional census data

Tourism office


Colorado, nestled amidst the majestic Rocky Mountains, captivates with its awe-inspiring natural beauty, varied terrains, and storied past. With its towering peaks, vast plains, and abundant national parks like Rocky Mountain and Mesa Verde, the state beckons adventurers to embrace its outdoor wonders, from exhilarating hikes to thrilling ski slopes.

Balancing modern urbanity with a laid-back mountain ethos, cities like Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs offer a vibrant blend of amenities and a welcoming mountain-town vibe. Colorado's history is etched with tales of gold and silver rushes, the challenges mining communities face, and the impact of social movements. While the state has witnessed tragic events, including notorious mass shootings, it remains a place of enduring allure, blending thrilling outdoor escapades, cultural vibrancy, and remarkable heritage.

Colorado Geography

The State of Colorado's geography is renowned for its diverse natural features and awe-inspiring landscapes. The Continental Divide moves along the crest of the Rocky Mountains, which dominate the region with its towering breaks, deep canyons, and beautiful lakes, creating a wildly diverse and unique geography and varying environment ranging from snow-covered peaks to arid, dry deserts and rolling flat plains.

The Rocky Mountains, also called the Rockies, are the longest in North America, stretching from the northwest part of Canada to New Mexico. In Colorado, 78 of the highest peaks of the Rockies are located, with 30 of these being the highest in the entire range. Colorado’s famous peaks include Longs Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg. Fifty-four peaks are 14,000 feet high, known as the fourteeners.

Additionally, Mount Elbert is the highest of all the mountain peaks and the second highest in the United States at 14,433 feet.[1] The Rockies have several large, broad basins and major rivers, such as the North Platte River, the Colorado River, and the Rio Grande. The Rockies are forested with conifers and aspens. There is also the Colorado Mineral Belt along the San Juan Mountains, where much of the gold during the gold rush was found. 

The Eastern Slopes of the Rockies are the Colorado Eastern Plains and High Plains. This covers most of eastern Colorado and is covered with short-grass prairie. Buffalo used to be abundant in the area, but now their numbers have dwindled and are protected. The area has a variety of wildlife, such as pronghorns, prairie dogs, coyotes, rattlesnakes, salamanders, horned larks, and grasshopper sparrows. This section of the Great Plains is sparsely populated. Rainfall is meager and used for ranching and winter wheat. Most of the population in this area lives near the South Platte and Arkansas Rivers. The elevation here is 3,500 to 7,000 feet (1100 to 2100 meters), with Kansas to the east and Nebraska to the northeast.[2]

The Colorado River drains the Western Slope. There are the San Juan Mountains to the south and the Colorado Plateau, a desert that spreads out toward other states. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison has beautiful views of steep granite cliffs sculpted by the Gunnison River. The Grand Mesa is the largest flat-topped desert mountain, at least two miles above sea level. It’s near Grand Junction, the Colorado River, and the Gunnison River. The Grand Mesa National Forest has over 300 lakes and reservoirs. Along the eastern edge of the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado is The Great Sand Dune National Park, located in Saguache and Alamosa Counties, which covers nearly thirty square miles and has some of the tallest dunes in the United States.[3]

Colorado People and Population

As of July 1, 2022, Colorado's population is estimated to have increased by 1.5% to 5,839,926 from a previous 5,773,714 residents, according to the 2020 U.S. Census. Most of the state identities as white, making up 86% of the population, while 22.3% identified as Hispanic, 4% as African American, 3.6% as Asian, and 1.7% as American Indian or Alaskan Indian.

The capital city of Colorado is Denver. Colorado is divided into 63 counties, the most populous being El Paso County, with 2020 census data of 730,395 residents. El Paso County includes Colorado Springs, the 2nd most populated city in Colorado, with 480,000 residents. The county's most populated city is Denver's state capital, with 720,000 residents.[4]

Much of the state's population lives in big cities and their surrounding suburbs, concentrating in areas east of the Rockies. In contrast, most of the Colorado cities in the western part of the state are sparsely populated, except for Grand Junction in Mesa County, with 65,574 people. It is in the center of the western region. Many people in the western Rockies are of German background. Denver and Colorado Springs have a high Mexican-American population and strong communities of African American and Asian residents.

There are two federally recognized tribes in Colorado: the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. Native Americans compose 1.7% of the population, including the Navajo Nation, the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, and the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe.[6] 

Colorado Government

The State of Colorado officially drafted its constitution and joined the Union of the United States of America on August 1, 1876. The state government is a bicameral legislature. It divided government into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. Its state capital became Denver.

The Executive Branch is headed by the governor, elected on four-year terms. The current governor is Jared Polis. He is the 43rd governor of the state and a Democrat. He assumed office in 2019, and the people reelected him in 2022 for a second term. Governor Polis is the first openly gay person elected governor of any state. Dianne I. Primavera, a Democrat, is the Lieutenant Governor; she was a Colorado State Representative and Jared Polis's running mate. After the 1966 general election, they amended the Constitution of Colorado to require a joint ticket of governor and lieutenant governor. This helped to prevent having two executive state leaders from opposing parties. The secretary of state is Jena Griswold.

The legislative branch comprises the General Assembly, which has 100 members. There are 25 state senators and 65 representatives. State senators serve four-year terms, and representatives serve two years. They limit all members to eight consecutive years. The day-to-day operations of the House and Senate are run by the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Majority and Minority leaders. They also serve as the oversight authority for any legislative agencies.[7]

The state judiciary system is the responsibility of the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. It includes lower courts such as the Court of Appeals and district, county, water, and municipal courts. There are 22 judicial districts in the state of Colorado, and an elected district attorney prosecutes most crimes. The state attorney general can also prosecute certain crimes.

In the state of Colorado, there are three main types of local government. The state is divided into 64 counties. Counties handle any social services on behalf of the state, such as law enforcement, infrastructure, road maintenance, and general land use.

There are 272 municipalities in Colorado’s local government. These include consolidated cities and county governments, such as Denver, Colorado Springs, and the City of Glendale. Statutory cities and towns include Creede, Garden City, and Orchard City. Town councils or boards of trustees often run these, providing similar services to counties. Georgetown is the only municipality using the 1868 Colorado Territory charter. It’s the county seat of Clear Creek County, and according to the 2020 United States Census, its population was 1,118.[8]

Colorado also has around 4,000 special districts that provide different services that a county may not or can’t provide to its residents and are required to submit filings to various state agencies for financial and other organizational reasons. This includes districts such as fire protection, ambulance services, health services, water, and sanitation districts.[9]

Colorado Economy

Colorado's economy is thriving, with impressive statistics and diverse industries driving its growth. In 2022, the state's GDP reached a substantial $385.83 billion, positioning Colorado as the second-best economy in the country. Furthermore, it ranks as the 16th-best state to live in. The median income in Colorado stands at $77,127, but certain areas like Douglas County boast a significantly higher median income of $122,876, which is 59% above the state average. As of the beginning of the 2022 tax year, Colorado’s income tax is 4.40%, and much of Colorado has a low property tax rate.

The agriculture sector is a crucial component of Colorado's economy, generating a staggering $47 billion in revenue. The state produces various agricultural products, including cattle, corn, wheat, hay, and sorghum.

Colorado is also known for its abundant hydrocarbon resources. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the state boasts seven of the largest natural gas fields and two of the largest oil fields. Colorado's estimated oil shale deposits exceed 1 trillion barrels, surpassing current global reserves. Additionally, the state possesses substantial coal deposits. In terms of uranium reserves, Colorado ranks third among all states, following Wyoming and New Mexico.

The presence of federal facilities further contributes to Colorado's economy. Notable installations include NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), the United States Air Force Academy, Schriever Air Force Base, Fort Carson, and several federal prisons. Denver International Airport serves as a major transportation hub. Additionally, Colorado is a leading location for the aerospace, military, and technology/communication industries. It is home to 280 aerospace companies, such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Sierra Space, and Raytheon Technologies. These industries contribute to a highly educated population, are supported by institutions like the University of Colorado Boulder, one of the nation's top aerospace programs, and receive more NASA funds than any other university or college in the United States.

The largest employer in Colorado is Denver International Airport, with a workforce of 35,000 people.

Colorado has also made its mark in the marijuana industry, being the fourth-largest state in marijuana production. It became the first state to legalize recreational use in 2012, and in 2022, it collected an impressive $325.1 million in taxes and business fees from the marijuana industry. The state's progressive stance has generated revenue, attracted visitors, and created employment opportunities.

Tourism is vital for Colorado's economy, with the state welcoming 84.2 million visitors in 2021. This industry supports over 1,161,000 jobs and contributes significantly to the state's economy, with visitors spending $21.9 billion the same year. Drawing visitors with diverse and scenic landscapes ranging from towering peaks in the Rockies to sand dunes, the state is particularly attractive to hikers, beer enthusiasts, stargazers, and those seeking relaxation in hot springs. 

Colorado also boasts rich cultural and historical sites, such as the town of Montrose, Black Canyon National Park, Boulder, Flatirons, and the Rocky Mountains. Popular resort towns like Vail and Aspen attract visitors year-round, especially during the ski season. The state also has a solid connection to Western cowboy heritage. The National Western Stock Show in Denver is the largest livestock and rodeo show in the country, and this event highlights horsemanship, ranching, and other traditions that are part of the cowboy’s way of life.

The State of Colorado also has a rich Native American heritage and is home to several Native American tribes, including the Ute, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Apache. Native American history and culture are celebrated and honored through many museums and historical sites. Every year in Denver, there is the Colorado Indian Market and Southwest Showcase that features Native American art, crafts, music, and dance, providing a platform to connect, appreciate, and learn about Indigenous traditions.

Colorado Interesting Facts

Colorado's reputation centers around its natural beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, craft beer culture, progressive cannabis laws, vibrant arts scene, and high quality of life. The state offers excellent health care services, excellent school districts, and high enrollment in colleges, creating a highly educated population.

Getting Back to Nature

Colorado is renowned for its natural landscapes, including the majestic Rocky Mountains and national parks like the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park. The state is a giant playground for outdoor enthusiasts, with activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and various other snow sports. Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, and Telluride all have world-class ski resorts that attract enthusiasts and professional skiers from all over the globe. There are also a lot of adventure sports, such as rock climbing, mountaineering, hiking, and trail running.

A Pint or Two?

Colorado has also earned recognition as a hub for craft beers and microbrewers. Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins are known as the "Napa Valley of Beer," home to microbrewers like New Belgium Company (with their Flat Tire Ale), Odell Brewing Company, and Great Divide. Denver hosts the Great American Beer Festival, held by the Brewers Association, and is one of the largest ticketed beer festivals in the U.S. and the world.

Sports, Sports, Sports!

Because of Colorado’s diverse and favorable climate, it has become a destination for several sports. Colorado is the least populated state with teams in each major sport, including The Colorado Rockies, a Major League Baseball team, The Colorado Rapids, a Major League Soccer team, and The Colorado Avalanche, who have won two Stanley Cups in 1996 and 2001. The Denver Broncos are the state’s beloved National Football League (NFL) team. They play their home games at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver. The Broncos have won eight AFC Championships and Three Super Bowl Championships in 1997, 1998, and 2015. 

Colorado History

Colorado's history stretches back thousands of years, with Native American tribes being the land's first inhabitants. These tribes lived in Colorado for at least 13,500 years before the arrival of Europeans. The eastern edge of the Rockies served as a significant migration route for these early peoples.

Pre-Colonial History

One notable archaeological site in Colorado is the Lindenmeier Site in Larimer County. This site contains extensive archaeological finds from the Folsom tradition, prevalent among Paleo-Indians throughout North America from 10800 to 10200 B.C. The Lindenmeier Site is now recognized as a national landmark.

During ancient times, various Native American groups inhabited Colorado. The Ancient Pueblos lived in the valleys and mesas of the Colorado Plateau, while the Ute Nation lived in the mountain valleys of the Southern and Western Rocky Mountains. The Apache and Comanche tribes occupied the eastern and southern parts of the state, respectively. In the 17th century, Arapaho and Cheyenne groups migrated westward from the Great Lakes to hunt across the High Plains.

The history of Colorado also involves Spanish settlement and the westward movement of the United States. The first Europeans to arrive in the area were Spanish Conquistadors. Juan de Oñate founded the Spanish province of Santa Fé de Nuevo México near the Pueblos of the Rio Grande in 1598. In 1706, Juan Bautista de Anza established the Settlement of San Carlos, which later became part of Santa Fé de Nuevo México and the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Spanish settlers engaged in trade with Native Americans, establishing the Comercio Comanchero (Comanche Trade).

The United States gradually expanded its claims over the Colorado region. In 1803, the United States made the Louisiana Purchase from France. The United States’ territorial claims to the Eastern Rocky Mountains conflicted with Spain's claim to the upper Arkansas River Basin. In 1806, Colonel Zebulon Pike led a U.S. reconnaissance expedition in Colorado. However, the Mexican authorities arrested and expelled him from Mexico. The Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819 saw the United States purchase Florida from Spain and relinquish claims to land south and north of the Arkansas River. The southeastern portion of the Missouri Territory joined the union in 1821, the rest of the territory eventually becoming part of northeastern Colorado.

From 1832 to 1856, traders and trappers established small trading posts and settlements along the Arkansas River, including Fort Range, Bent's Fort, Fort Pueblo, and Fort Saint Vrain on the South Platte. Trade with Mexico primarily focused on the southern parts of the territory until 1850, when the U.S. signed a peace treaty with the Ute Nations. Buffalo robes were a significant item of trade during this period.

In 1846, the Mexican-American War began, and in 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, leading to Mexico surrendering its northern territory, which included significant portions of western and southern Colorado. This opened up the Southern Rocky Mountains to settlers and travelers. Most settlers heading west to California or Oregon bypassed the Rockies, instead following the North Platte River and Sweet Water to South Pass in present-day Wyoming.

These historical events laid the foundation for the development and settlement of Colorado, shaping the state's rich and diverse heritage.

Colonial History 

The Pike Peak's Gold Rush played a significant role in shaping Colorado's history and how Colorado grew in rapid population. In 1850, a wagon train heading to California crossed the South Platte River and discovered gold in Clear Creek. Louis Ralston found $5 worth of gold in his pan, sparking excitement. While the wagon train continued to California, Ralston returned eight years later with the Green Party led by William Green Russell. They established the settlement of Auraville near Cherry Creek and Southern Platte River, now a neighborhood in Denver and home to several major colleges.

This gold discovery started a rush to the Rockies, and subsequent significant findings occurred. William Green and his party of Cherokee gold seekers discovered 622 grams of gold near Little Dry Creek, now part of Arvada, Colorado. From 1858 to 1861, the Central City area. Experienced. An influx of gold seekers known as the "59ers" led to a population boom of over 100,000 in three years. As placer gold deposits depleted, miners discovered rock gold, silver, coal, and other resources in the nearby mountains.

The territory of Colorado faced various challenges during this time. In 1859, the Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was formed but failed to secure approval from the United States Congress due to the contentious issue of slavery. As the Civil War approached, President James Buchanan banned slavery and established the Free Territory of Colorado in 1861 at the beginning of the war.

Pre-Civil War History

During the Civil War, the Confederacy launched a Western Campaign to disrupt mining operations in California and Colorado. Texas Calvary invaded the Territory of New Mexico, but Colorado volunteers marched to Glorieta Pass and successfully halted the Texans, destroying their supplies and forcing them to retreat. The Confederacy ceased its attempts to expand into the West.

The Colorado War (1863-1865) was an armed conflict between Native American nations, including the Kiowa, Comanche, Arapaho, Cheyenne, and White settlers. Governor John Evans appointed Reverend John Chivington as the Colonel of the Colorado Volunteers to protect the settlers. However, in 1864, Chivington ordered an attack on a Native American encampment along Sand Creek. More than 500 people, including women and children, were killed, leading to controversy and condemnation. Although Governor Evans was asked to step down, they held no one accountable for the massacre.

Silver discoveries further shaped Colorado's history. In 1863, James Huff found silver near Argentine Pass in the Front Range, southwest of Georgetown. This marked the first of many silver finds in the state. Railroads also played a crucial role in Colorado's development, with the Union Pacific Railroad and Denver Pacific Railroad establishing the first transcontinental railroad connections in 1869 and 1870. In 1872, silver was discovered in the San Juan Mountains on the Ute Indian Reservation, leading to the forcible removal of the Ute people the following year.

Post-Civil War History 

Colorado's journey in the 20th century began with its admission as the 38th state on August 1, 1876, shortly after the United States Centennial celebration. Colorado was the first state to grant women the right to vote through a popular state election. The state's population and economy continued to flourish with mining production. Still, by the 1880s, many surface mineral and metal deposits had been exhausted, leading to deeper mining operations that required increased industrialization and funding.

The discovery of silver in Leadville in 1879 triggered a Colorado Silver Boom. However, the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, implemented in 1890, resulted in an oversupply of silver and decreased value. The mining industry suffered, mines closed down, and Colorado faced an economic crisis. The Panic of 1890 further exacerbated the situation, leading to a run on the banks for gold.

As mining operations extended deeper into the earth, the work became increasingly perilous. Conflicts emerged between mine workers and owners, often escalating into violence. Throughout the 1890s, miners formed unions, leading to labor disputes and notable strikes such as the Cripple Creek Miners Strike in 1894 and the 1903-1904 Western Federation of Miners Strike. Governor Waite, who supported labor unions, deployed the state militia to protect the striking workers, a departure from subsequent governors.

The Colorado Coalfield War occurred from 1913 to 1914, resulting in a significant uprising in Southern and Central Colorado and the Front Range. The Ludlow Massacre stands out as a tragic event during this period. On April 20, 1914, the Colorado National Guard and private guards attacked a tent colony of striking coal miners and their families, resulting in the deaths of 21 people, including women and children, and numerous injuries.

In 1927 the first Columbine Massacre occurred in the Town of Serene during another strike. Six strikers lost their lives, and dozens were injured. This event ultimately led to federal legislation in 1933, which allowed coal miners to unionize without fear of retaliation.

As mining played a crucial role in establishing numerous towns, the decline of ore deposits and the shift to natural gas led to the abandonment of many settlements. Colorado became dotted with ghost towns, preserving remnants of mining shafts and buildings. While towns like Leadville, Georgetown, Cripple Creek, and Central City managed to survive, albeit with mining-related evidence from the Old West, others, like Creede, experienced a decline. Creede boomed in 1889 with a population of 600 that skyrocketed to 10,000 by 1891. However, the silver panic of 1893 ended the silver boom, causing the town's population to dwindle. In the 2020 U.S. Census, Creede recorded a population of 257.

Colorado's history in the early 20th century and during World War II brought about significant developments and changes in the state. Notably, Colorado was the first state to host a political convention when Democrats gathered in Denver in 1905.

In 1924, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) experienced its peak membership in Colorado and aimed to control state politics. However, efforts from non-Klan law enforcement officials and lawyers led to a swift decline in membership and demonstrations by the end of the 1920s.

During the 1930s, Colorado's population surpassed one million residents for the first time. However, the state faced challenges due to the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Despite these difficulties, the 1930s marked the beginning of the ski industry and the establishment of resorts in locations such as Estes Park and Gunnison.

In January 1941, the federal government awarded a $122 million contract for the development of the Denver Ordnance Plant, which the Remington Arms Company operated. This plant, situated on the 7,000-acre Hayden Ranch (soon to be Lakewood), created thousands of construction and factory jobs, primarily employing women. It played a crucial role in lifting Denver out of the Depression and produced .30 caliber bullets used in standard-issue rifles.

The 1940s brought the discovery of molybdenum in the mountains, which helped revive Leadville's struggling gold and silver mining industry. The proximity of Camp Hale, a military training facility for elite ski troops just 10 miles away, contributed to Leadville's resurgence.

World War II also led to the establishment of various Air Force and Army bases in Colorado, including the Lowry Air Force Base, which held significance as it was favored by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was married to Mamie Doud, the daughter of a prominent Denver family.

Governor Ralph Carr spoke out against racial discrimination and the internment of Japanese civilians in the United States during World War II, highlighting Colorado's commitment to equality and justice.

Additionally, the war period and its aftermath played a significant role in the growth of Colorado's tourism industry. The state's efforts during the war also contributed to developing the factory and technology sectors, which became critical economic mainstays.

Modern History

In 1969, Colorado was selected for Project Rulison, one of the 52 nuclear test sites to explore "peaceful scientific uses" of nuclear bombs. The project took place near present-day Parachute, Colorado, in Garfield County. The test involved placing nuclear bombs deep into the subterranean Piceance Basin to determine if they could stimulate the release of natural gas. While the test successfully pushed up the gas, it also contaminated it with radiation, rendering it unusable. The cleanup efforts began in the 1970s and concluded in 1998, leaving behind a buffer zone.

Another test, called Project Rio Blanco, took place in 1973 and focused on natural gas reservoirs, resulting in similar effects.

During the late 1960s and 1970s, Colorado experienced various protest movements in Denver, including the civil rights movement and the Chicano Movement, which advocated for social, civil rights for Mexican-Americans. 1967 Colorado became the first state to relax abortion laws, thanks to Governor John Love. This allowed victims of rape, incest, or those facing mental or physical health threats to access abortions.

Since the 1990s, Colorado has unfortunately witnessed several high-profile mass shootings. The tragic events include the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, where two students killed 12 fellow students and one teacher before taking their own lives. In July 2012, a gunman killed 12 people in a movie theater in Aurora. On March 22, 2021, another shooting occurred in a supermarket in Boulder, claiming the lives of ten individuals. Additionally, on November 19-20, 2022, anti-LGBTQ violence resulted in losing five lives at a nightclub in Colorado Springs. These incidents have profoundly impacted the state and the nation, sparking debates and discussions on gun control and mental health.

Recognizing these events alongside Colorado's rich history and diverse accomplishments is essential as they shape the collective memory and ongoing efforts to create a safer and more inclusive society.

People Also Ask…

If you are interested in more information about the state of Colorado, then keep reading — we have compiled answers to the most common FAQs below. Plus, test your newfound state knowledge by taking our Fifty States Quiz!

What Is Colorado Known For?

Colorado is best known for the Rocky Mountains and diverse natural landscapes. It is an outdoor person's dream, offering many activities, from hiking, rafting, boating, climbing, mountain biking, and stargazing. It’s also known for having a high quality of living and a rich and diverse arts and culture scene.

What State Is Closer to Colorado?

Several states board Colorado. It has Wyoming to the north, Nebraska to the northeast, Kansas to the east, and Oklahoma to the southeast. New Mexico is to the south, Utah to the west, and Arizona to the southwest at the Four Corners. Colorado's southwest corner borders Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, the only place in America where the corners of four states meet.

What Is Interesting About Colorado?

The mountainous areas of Colorado contain 9,600 miles of fishing streams, 2,850 lakes, and over 1000 peaks that are at least two miles. The region is six times the size of Switzerland. The United States has 91 “fourteeners” (mountain peaks over 14,000 feet), and 56 are in Colorado.

See more on Colorado:
Encyclopedia: Colorado
Encyclopedia: Geography
Encyclopedia: Economy
Encyclopedia: Government
Encyclopedia: History
Monthly Temperature Extremes

Selected famous natives and residents:


The 50 States of America | U.S. State Information
Sources +

[1] Yongli. (n.d.). Fourteeners. Articles | Colorado Encyclopedia.,peaks%2014%2C000%20feet%20or%20higher.
[2] Hutch. (2017). Grasslands. Colorado Birding Trail,the%20prairie%20in%20many%20areas.
[3] Place, H. (2020). See It To Believe It: Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado). Happier Place.
[4] United States Census Bureau QuickFacts. (n.d.-a). U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Colorado. Census Bureau QuickFacts.
[5] Reavis, W. (2022, June 17). Largest Cities in Colorado by population
[6] Tribes | Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs. (n.d.).,of%20state%20and%20local%20governments.
[7]State of Colorado Government | University of Denver. (n.d.). The University of Denver.
[8] Local Government Overview | Grand County, CO - Official Website. (n.d.).,town
[9] Special Districts | Grand County, CO - Official Website. (n.d.).

See also: