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  1. Alexithymia~
    January 4th, 2010 01:10 AM
    Alexithymia~
    Go on then. -dangles free catnip mouse in front of you- DANCE!
  2. King Syn
    January 3rd, 2010 11:35 PM
    King Syn
    Broncos

    4 patriots
  3. King Syn
    January 3rd, 2010 06:55 PM
    King Syn
    Colorado ( /kɒləˈrædoʊ/ (help·info) or /kɒləˈrɑːdoʊ/ (help·info))[6] is a U.S. state located in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States of America. It may also be considered to be part of the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. In rare cases Eastern Colorado is considered part of the Midwestern United States. Colorado entered statehood in 1876 and was nicknamed the “Centennial State”. It is bordered to the north by Wyoming, to the south by New Mexico and Oklahoma, at the southwest corner by Arizona, to the east by Nebraska and Kansas and to the west by Utah.
    The state is well known for its magnificent scenery of mountains, rivers, lakes, and plains. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 5,024,748 on July 1, 2009, a 16.82% increase since the U.S. Census 2000.[3] Denver is the capital of Colorado and the state's most populous city. Residents of Colorado are properly known as "Coloradans" although the archaic term "Coloradoan" is still used.[1][2]
    Contents [hide]
    1 Geography
    1.1 Climate
    1.1.1 Eastern Plains
    1.1.2 West of the plains and foothills
    1.1.3 Extreme weather
    1.1.4 Records
    2 History
    3 Demographics
    3.1 Religion
    3.2 Health
    4 Culture
    4.1 Fine arts
    4.2 Cuisine
    5 Economy
    5.1 Philanthropy
    5.2 Energy
    5.3 Special tax districts
    6 Transportation
    7 Government and politics
    7.1 State government
    7.2 Federal politics
    8 Cities and Towns
    9 Counties
    10 Education
    11 Metropolitan Areas
    12 Military Installations
    13 Protected areas
    14 Sports
    14.1 Professional sports teams
    14.1.1 Former professional sports teams
    15 State symbols
    16 Prominent Coloradans
    17 See also
    18 References
    19 Further reading
    20 External links
    [edit]Geography



    An enlargeable map of the State of Colorado
    Main article: Geography of Colorado
    The State of Colorado is defined as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian).[7] Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only three U.S. states that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries and that have no natural borders. When government surveyors established the border markers for the Territory of Colorado, minor surveying errors created several small kinks along the borders, most notably along the border with the Territory of Utah. The surveyors' benchmarks, once agreed upon by the interested parties, became the legal boundaries for the Colorado Territory.[8]


    Tenmile Range near Leadville, Colorado.
    The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation in Lake County is the state's highest point and the highest point in the entire Rocky Mountains.[4][5] Colorado has more than 100 mountain peaks that exceed 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) elevation. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in the State of Colorado at 3,315 feet (1,010 m) elevation. This crossing point holds the distinction of being the highest low point of any U.S. state.[4][9]
    Nearly a third of the state is flat or rolling in stark contrast to Colorado's rugged Rocky Mountains. East of the Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Colorado at elevations ranging from roughly 3,350 to 6,500 feet (1,020 to 1,980 m).[10] The states of Kansas and Nebraska border Colorado to the east. The Colorado plains are usually thought of as prairies, but actually have a handful of deciduous forests. Eastern Colorado is mainly covered in farmland as well as small farming communities. Precipitation is fair, averaging from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually.[10] The summers in the plains are usually hot and humid, whereas the winters are often bitter cold, snowy and icy. Corn, wheat, hay, soybeans and oats are all typical crops and most small towns in the region boast both a water tower and a grain elevator. As well as crop farming Eastern Colorado has livestock farming, such as cattle farming and hog farming. It also contains many dairy farms and poultry farms.
    Most of Colorado's population lives along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor. This region is partially protected from prevailing storms by the high mountains to the west.


    The Continental Divide dips down to 11,990 feet (3,655 m) at Loveland Pass.
    To the west lies the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains with notable peaks such as Longs Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg in the south. This area drains to the east, is forested, and partially urbanized. During the drought of 2002 devastating forest fires swept this area.
    Hinsdale County, with Lake City (population appx. 300) as its seat, has been judged the most remote county in the 48 contiguous states. It has only one incorporated town (Lake City). It is one of the only places within the continental United States that one can venture more than 10 miles (16 km) from any road.
    The Continental Divide stretches across the crest of the Rocky Mountains. To the west of the Continental Divide is the Western Slope. Water west of the Continental Divide drains west into the Sea of Cortez via the Colorado River.
    Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks or high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is North Park. North Park is drained by the North Platte River, which flows north into Wyoming. Just south but on the west side of the Continental Divide is Middle Park, drained by the Colorado River. South Park is the headwaters of the South Platte River. To the south lies the San Luis Valley, the headwaters of the Rio Grande, which drains into New Mexico. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San Luis Valley, lie along the Rio Grande Rift, a major geological formation, and its branches.
    The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 54 peaks that are 14,000 feet (4,267 m) or higher elevation, known as fourteeners.[11] The mountains are timbered with conifers and aspens to the tree line, at an elevation of about 12,140 feet (3,700 m) in southern Colorado to about 10,500 feet (3,200 m) in northern Colorado; above this only alpine vegetation grows. The Colorado Rockies are snow-covered year round; a lot of the snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few small glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan Mountains in the southwest to Boulder and Central City on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado.
    The Western Slope is generally drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Notable to the south are the San Juan Mountains, an extremely rugged mountain range, and to the west of the San Juans, the Colorado Plateau, a high semi-desert bordering Southern Utah. Grand Junction is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction is served by Interstate Highway I-70. To the southeast of Grand Junction is Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Further east are the ski resorts of Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs. The northwestern corner of Colorado bordering Northern Utah and Western Wyoming is mostly sparsely populated ranch and rangeland.
    From west to east, the state consists of semi-desert-like basins, turning into plateaus, then alpine mountains, and then the grassland and a few forests of the Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peak is just west of Colorado Springs. Its lone peak is visible from near the Kansas border on clear days.[12]
    Colorado is also one of only four states in the United States to share a common border (Four Corners), along with Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. At this intersection, it is possible to stand in four states at once.
    See also: Colorado cities and towns, Colorado counties, Colorado municipalities, Colorado rivers, and Four Corners Monument
    [edit]Climate

    This section needs additional citations for verification.
    Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2009)


    Spring melt at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
    The climate of Colorado is quite complex compared to most of the United States. Unlike in other states, the southern Colorado is not necessarily warmer than the northern Colorado. Mountains and surrounding valleys greatly affect local climate. As a general rule, with an increase in elevation comes a decrease in temperature and an increase in precipitation. A main climatic division in Colorado occurs between the Rocky Mountains on the west and the plains on the east with the foothills forming a transitional zone between the two.[citation needed]
    [edit]Eastern Plains


    Center pivot irrigation of wheat growing in Yuma County.
    The climate of the Eastern Plains is a continental climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) of low humidity and moderate precipitation, usually from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually. The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool clear nights, which give this area the highest average diurnal temperature range in the United States[citation needed]. In summer, this area can have many days above 95 °F (35 °C) and sometimes 100 °F (38 °C)[13], although 105 °F (41 °C) is the maximum in the front range cities above 5,000 ft (1,500 m). In the plains, the winter extremes can be from 0 °F (−18 °C) to −10 °F (−23.3 °C) and −15 °F (−26.1 °C). The all time low in the area was −40 °F (−40.0 °C)[citation needed]. About 75% of the precipitation falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which are often severe, and from major snowstorms that occur most often in the early spring, late autumn, and sometimes winter. Otherwise, winters tend to be mostly dry and cold. In much of the region, March and April are the snowiest months. April and May are normally the rainiest months, while April is the wettest month overall. The Front Range cities closer to the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to chinook winds which warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures of 40 °F (4 °C) or higher in the winter.[13] The average July temperature is 55 °F (13 °C) in the morning and 80 °F (27 °C) in the afternoon. The average January temperature is 10 °F (−12 °C) in the morning and 30 °F (−1 °C) in the afternoon, although variation between consecutive days can be 40 °F (4 °C).
    [edit]West of the plains and foothills


    View of the Western Slope from Grand Junction.
    West of the plains and foothills, the weather of Colorado is much less uniform. Even places a few miles apart can experience entirely different weather depending on the topography of the area. Most valleys have a semi-arid climate, which becomes an alpine climate at higher elevations. Humid microclimates also exist in some areas. Generally, the wettest season in western Colorado is winter while June is the driest month. This is the opposite of precipitation patterns in the east. The mountains have cool summers with many days of high temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C), although frequent thunderstorms can cause sudden drops in temperature. Summer nights are cool or even cold at the highest elevations, which sometimes get snow even in the middle of the summer. The winters bring abundant, powdery snowfall to the mountains with abundant sunshine in between major storms. The western slope has high summer temperatures similar to those found on the plains, while the winters tend to be slightly cooler due to the lack of warming winds common to the plains and Front Range. Other areas in the west have their own unique climate. The San Luis Valley is generally dry with little rain or snow, although the snow that falls tends to stay on the ground all winter.[citation needed]
    [edit]Extreme weather


    Snow highlights the rugged mountains as well as the urban and agricultural landscapes of the Colorado plains.
    Extreme weather is a common occurrence in Colorado. Thunderstorms are common east of the Continental divide in the spring and summer, and Colorado is one of the leading states in deaths due to lightning. Hail is a common sight in the mountains east of the divide and in the northwest part of the state. The Eastern Plains have some of the biggest hail storms in North America.[10] Also the Eastern Plains are part of Tornado Alley and produce some of the deadliest U.S. tornadoes. Some damaging tornadoes in the Eastern Plains include the 1990 Limon F3 tornado and the 2008 Windsor EF3 tornado, which devastated the town.[14] The plains are also susceptible to floods, which are caused both by thunderstorms and by the rapid melting of snow in the mountains during warm weather. Denver's 1901 record for number of consecutive days above 90 °F (32 °C) was broken in the summer of 2008. The new record of twenty-four (24) consecutive days surpassed the previous record by almost a week.[15] Colorado is a relatively dry state averaging only 17 inches (430 mm) of rain per year and rarely experiences a time when some portion of the state is not in some degree of drought.[16] The lack of precipitation contributes to the severity of wildfires in the state such as the Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildfires in US history.
    [edit]Records
    The highest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was 118 °F (48 °C) on July 11, 1888, at Bennett, while the lowest was −61 °F (−51.7 °C) on February 1, 1985, at Maybell.[17][18]
    Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Colorado Cities (°F)
    City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Alamosa 33/-4 40/5 50/16 59/23 68/32 78/40 82/46 79/45 72/36 62/24 46/11 35/-1
    Colorado Springs 42/13 45/18 52/24 59/31 68/41 79/50 86/55 82/54 74/45 63/34 50/23 42/16
    Denver 43/15 47/19 54/25 61/34 70/44 82/53 88/59 86/57 77/47 66/36 52/24 44/16
    Grand Junction 37/16 45/23 56/31 64/38 74/46 87/55 96/61 92/60 83/50 67/39 50/26 39/18
    Pueblo 45/14 50/19 57/26 65/34 75/45 86/54 91/59 89/58 81/49 69/35 54/22 45/15
    [19]
    [edit]History

    Main articles: History of Colorado and Outline of Colorado history


    The ruins of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde as photographed by Gustaf Nordenskiöld in 1891.
    The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 13 millennia. The Lindenmeier Site in Larimer County contains artifacts dating from approximately 11200 BCE to 3000 BCE. The Ancient Pueblo Peoples lived in the valleys and mesas of the Colorado Plateau. The Ute Nation inhabited the mountain valleys of the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Western Rocky Mountains. The Arapaho Nation and the Cheyenne Nation moved west to hunt across the High Plains.
    The United States acquired a territorial claim to the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. The U.S. claim conflicted with Spain's claim that a huge region surrounding its colony of Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico was its sovereign trading zone. Zebulon Pike led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the disputed region in 1806. Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish cavalry in the San Luis Valley the following February, taken to Chihuahua, and expelled from México the following July.


    Bent's Old Fort along the Arkansas River operated from 1833 to 1849.
    The United States relinquished its claim to all land south and west of the Arkansas River as part of the U.S. purchase of Florida from Spain with the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. México finally won its independence from Spain in 1821, but it surrendered its northern territories to the United States after the Mexican-American War with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In 1849, the Mormons of Deseret (now Utah) organized the extralegal State of Deseret which claimed all land drained by the Green River and the Colorado River. The federal government refused to recognize the new government, and the Mormons declined to settle east of the Green River for more than 20 years. The United States divided the area of the future Colorado among the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah organized in 1850, and the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska organized in 1854.
    Most American settlers traveling west to Oregon, Deseret, or California avoided the rugged Rocky Mountains and instead followed the North Platte River and Sweetwater River through what is now Wyoming. On April 9, 1851, Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexico, settled the village of San Luis, then in the New Mexico Territory, but now Colorado's first permanent European settlement. Gold was discovered along the South Platte River in western Kansas Territory in July 1858, precipitating the Pike's Peak Gold Rush.[20] The placer gold deposits along the rivers and streams of the region rapidly played out, but miners soon discovered far more valuable seams of hard rock gold, silver, and other minerals in the nearby mountains.


    A lithograph of the Denver City mining camp in 1859.
    The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on August 24, 1859, but the new territory failed to secure federal sanction. The election of Abraham Lincoln for U.S. President on November 6, 1860, led to the secession of six slave states and the threat of civil war. Seeking to augment the political power of the free states, the Republican led U.S. Congress hurriedly admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of Kansas to the Union as the free State of Kansas on January 29, 1861, leaving the western portion of the territory, and its gold fields, unorganized.


    The Georgetown Loop of the Colorado Central Railroad as photographed by William H. Jackson in 1899.
    Thirty days later on February 28, 1861, outgoing U.S. President James Buchanan signed an act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado.[21] The original boundaries of Colorado remain unchanged today. The name Colorado was chosen because it was commonly believed that the Colorado River originated in the territory.[22] Early Spanish explorers named the river the Rio Colorado for the reddish-brown silt the river carried from the mountains.[23] In fact, the Colorado River did not flow through the State of Colorado until House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th United States Congress changed the name of the Grand River to the Colorado River on July 25, 1921.[24]


    Colorado state history plaque
    The United States Congress passed an enabling act on March 3, 1875, specifying the requirements for the Territory of Colorado to become a state.[7] On August 1, 1876 (28 days after the Centennial of the United States), U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting the State of Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and earning it the moniker "Centennial State".[25] The discovery of a major silver lode near Leadville in 1878, triggered the Colorado Silver Boom. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 envigorated silver mining, but the repeal of the act in 1893 led to a major collapse of the mining and agricultural economy of the state.
    Colorado women were granted the right to vote beginning on November 7, 1893, making Colorado the second U.S. state to grant universal suffrage and the first by popular vote. By the 1930 U.S. Census, the population of Colorado exceeded one million residents. The state suffered through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but a major wave of immigration following World War II boosted Colorado's fortune. Tourism became a mainstay of the state economy, and high technology became an important economic engine. Colorado's population exceeded 4.3 million at U.S. Census 2000.
    Three warships of the United States Navy have been named USS Colorado. The first USS Colorado was named for the Colorado River. The later two ships were named in honor of the landlocked state.
    [edit]Demographics

    Historical populations
    Census Pop. %±
    1860 34,277

    1870 39,864 16.3%
    1880 194,327 387.5%
    1890 413,249 112.7%
    1900 539,700 30.6%
    1910 799,024 48.0%
    1920 939,629 17.6%
    1930 1,035,791 10.2%
    1940 1,123,296 8.4%
    1950 1,325,089 18.0%
    1960 1,753,947 32.4%
    1970 2,207,259 25.8%
    1980 2,889,964 30.9%
    1990 3,294,394 14.0%
    2000 4,301,261 30.6%
    Est. 2008[26] 4,939,456 14.8%


    Colorado Population Density Map
    The state's most populous city, and capital, is Denver. The Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area, home to 2,927,911 people, contains more than two-thirds of the state's population. Residents of Colorado are properly referred to as Coloradans, although the term Coloradoans is still used.[2][27]
    As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus 147,770 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 159,957 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 47,740 people.
    The largest increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor, especially in the Denver metropolitan area. The state's fastest growing counties are Douglas and Weld.[28] Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from California, which led some locals to feel that their state was "Californicated" in the 1990s (esp. Denver resembled more of Los Angeles) when lower cost of living and a healthier economy drew in over 100,000 Californians at the time. The center of population of Colorado is located just north of the town of Critchell in Jefferson County.[29]
    Colorado has a high proportion of Hispanic citizens and Denver and some other areas have significant Mexican populations, while southern Colorado has a large number of Hispanos, the descendants of early New Mexican settlers of colonial Spanish origin. The 2000 U.S. Census reports that 10.52% of people aged 5 and over in Colorado speak Spanish at home.[30] Colorado, like New Mexico, is very rich in archaic Spanish idioms.[31]
    Colorado also has some African-Americans communities which are located in northeast Denver in the Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Park Hill and Colfax Park areas. The state has sizable numbers of Asian-Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Southeast Asian and Japanese descent. The Denver metropolitan area is considered more liberal and diverse than much of the state when it comes to political issues and environmental concerns.
    According to the 2000 Census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado are German (22%) including of Swiss and Austrian nationalities, Irish (12.2%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are the largest group in the state and are especially strong in the Front Range, the Rockies (west-central counties) and Eastern parts/High Plains.[32] Denver and nearby areas on the Front Range has sizable German, Scandinavian, Italian, Slavic and Jewish American communities, partly a legacy of gold rushes in the late 19th century (1861-1889).
    Demographics of Colorado (csv)
    By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
    2000 (total population) 92.23% 4.55% 1.91% 2.84% 0.25%
    2000 (Hispanic only) 16.20% 0.37% 0.64% 0.14% 0.05%
    2005 (total population) 91.91% 4.74% 1.83% 3.19% 0.26%
    2005 (Hispanic only) 18.46% 0.48% 0.61% 0.18% 0.06%
    Growth 2000–05 (total population) 8.09% 13.03% 3.85% 22.08% 15.47%
    Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 4.78% 10.67% 3.75% 21.14% 11.70%
    Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 23.60% 39.64% 4.05% 40.04% 29.23%
    * AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    There were a total of 70,331 births in Colorado in 2006. (Birth Rate of 14.6). In 2007, Non-Hispanic Whites constituted 73.5% of the population and accounted for 59.1% of all the births.[33] The first time in state history with the statistic of non-Hispanic whites have fewer babies. But 14.06% of the births happened to parents of different races (About two-thirds to White-Latino parents).[34] Westernmost counties where the majority of residents are adherents of Mormonism there's a slightly higher percentage of families with children and those of under age 18.
    Colorado has a higher number of younger persons in median age: 33, according to the 2000 Census report. Large numbers of married couples in professional careers with young children move to the state in a belief it's a better place to raise a family. Colorado is also a major retirement destination by senior citizens in search of a cooler climate, recreation activities and the higher altitude in most of Colorado is said to provide health benefits for those with respiratory diseases.
    [edit]Religion


    The Chapel on the Rock at Camp Saint Malo near Allenspark.


    The Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs.
    Colorado's most popular religion is Christianity, and its most popular denomination is Catholicism. Colorado, and specifically the city of Colorado Springs, serves as the headquarters of numerous Christian groups, many of them Evangelical. Focus on the Family is a major conservative Christian organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.
    Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:[35]
    Christian — 65%
    Protestant — 44%
    Evangelical — 23%
    Mainline — 19%
    Other Protestant — 2%
    Roman Catholic — 19%
    Orthodox — 1%
    Latter Day Saint / Mormon — 2%
    Jewish — 2%
    Muslim — 1%
    Other Religions — 5%
    Unaffiliated — 25%
    The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 752,505; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 92,326 (133,727 year-end 2007) ; and Baptist with 85,083.[36]
    [edit]Health
    Colorado also has a reputation for being a state of very active and athletic people. According to several studies, Coloradans have the lowest rates of obesity of any state in the US.[37] As of 2007 the 17.6% of the population was considered medically obese, and while the lowest in the nation, the percentage had increased from 16.9% from 2004. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter spoke that “As an avid fisherman and bike rider, I know first-hand that Colorado provides a great environment for active, healthy lifestyles,” although he did highlight the need for continued education and support to slow the growth of obesity in the state.[38]
    [edit]Culture

    Main article: Culture of Colorado
    [edit]Fine arts
    Main article: Fine arts in Colorado
    Music of Colorado
    Theater in Colorado
    [edit]Cuisine
    Main article: Cuisine of Colorado
    [edit]Economy



    The United States quarter dollar coin released 2006-06-14, in honor of the State of Colorado.


    Denver World Trade Center.
    The Denver financial district along 17th Street is known as the Wall Street of the West.


    Maize growing in Larimer County


    Cattle ranching in Jackson County


    An oil well in western Colorado
    Main article: Economy of Colorado
    The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product in 2007 was $236 billion. Per capita personal income in 2007 was $41,192, ranking Colorado eleventh in the nation.[39] The state's economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.
    The federal government is also a major economic force in the state with many important federal facilities including NORAD, United States Air Force Academy and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs; NOAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder; U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood; the Denver Mint, Buckley Air Force Base, and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prison and other federal prisons near Cañon City. In addition to these and other federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four National Parks that contribute to federal ownership of 24,615,788 acres (99,617 km2) of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the state.[40] In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and service sectors have expanded greatly. The state's economy is diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research and high-technology industries. Other industries include food processing, transportation equipment, machinery, chemical products, minerals such as gold and molybdenum, and tourism. Colorado also produces the largest amount of beer of any state.[41] Denver is an important financial center.
    A number of nationally known brand names have originated in Colorado factories and laboratories. From Denver came the forerunner of telecommunications giant Qwest in 1879, Samsonite luggage in 1910, Gates belts and hoses in 1911, and Russell Stover Candies in 1923. Kuner canned vegetables began in Brighton in 1864. From Golden came Coors beer in 1873, CoorsTek industrial ceramics in 1920, and Jolly Rancher candy in 1949. CF&I railroad rails, wire, nails and pipe debuted in Pueblo in 1892. The present-day Swift packed meat of Greeley evolved from Monfort of Colorado, Inc., established in 1930. Estes model rockets were launched in Penrose in 1958. Fort Collins has been the home of Woodward Governor Company's motor controllers (governors) since 1870, and Waterpik dental water jets and showerheads since 1962. Celestial Seasonings herbal teas have been made in Boulder since 1969. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory made its first candy in Durango in 1981.
    Colorado has a flat 4.63% income tax, regardless of income level. Unlike most states, which calculate taxes based on federal adjusted gross income, Colorado taxes are based on taxable income - income after federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard) deductions.[42][43] Colorado's state sales tax is 2.9% on retail sales. When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, full-year Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and special district taxes that may apply.
    Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The state's senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break is scheduled to return for assessment year 2006, payable in 2007.
    [edit]Philanthropy
    Major philanthropic organizations based in Colorado, including the Daniels Fund, the Anschutz Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation, grant approximately $400 million[44] each year from approximately $7 billion[45] of assets.
    [edit]Energy
    Colorado has significant energy resources. According to the Energy Information Administration, Colorado hosts seven of the Nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields and two of its 100 largest oil fields. Conventional and unconventional natural gas output from several Colorado basins typically account for more than 5 percent of annual U.S. natural gas production. Substantial deposits of bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite coal are also found in the state. Colorado's high Rocky Mountain ridges and eastern plains offer wind power potential, and geologic activity in the mountain areas provides potential for geothermal power development. Much of the state is sunny and could produce solar power. Major rivers flowing from the Rocky Mountains offer hydroelectric power resources. Corn grown in the flat eastern part of the State offers potential resources for ethanol production. Notably, Colorado’s oil shale deposits hold an estimated 1 trillion barrels (160 km3) of oil – nearly as much oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. Oil production from those deposits, however, remains speculative.[46]
    [edit]Special tax districts
    Some of the special tax districts are:
    The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which affects the counties of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas Counties
    The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties
    It is a 0.1% retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10).
    According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history or cultural history.
    As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently divided into three "tiers" among which receipts are allocated by percentage.
    Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives 65.5%.
    Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives 21%.
    Tier III has over 280 local organizations such as small theaters, orchestras, art centers, and natural history, cultural history, and community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding to the county cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%.
    An eleven-member board of directors oversees the distributions in accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council) and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado.
    The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to pay for and help build the Denver Broncos' stadium INVESCO Field at Mile High
    Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of southeast Jefferson and Boulder counties
    Regional Transportation Districts (RTA) taxes at varying rates in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison County
    Occupational Privilege Taxes (OPT or Head Tax) Denver and Aurora both levy an OPT on Employers and Employees
    If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the Employee and Employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
    In Denver, the Employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and the Employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.
    In Aurora, both Employer and Employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.
    It is the Employer's responsibility to with hold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an Employer does not comply, they can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.
    [edit]Transportation



    Colorado state welcome sign


    Denver International Airport


    Union Station in Denver.
    Interstate and Federal Highway Routes in the State of Colorado
    Interstate 25
    Interstate 70
    Interstate 76
    Interstate 225
    Interstate 270
    U.S. Route 6
    U.S. Route 24
    U.S. Route 34
    U.S. Route 36
    U.S. Route 40
    U.S. Route 50
    U.S. Route 84
    U.S. Route 85
    U.S. Route 87
    U.S. Route 138
    U.S. Route 160
    U.S. Route 285
    U.S. Route 287
    U.S. Route 350
    U.S. Route 400
    U.S. Route 491
    U.S. Route 550
    Commercial Airports in the State of Colorado
    ALS - San Luis Valley Regional Airport
    ASE - Aspen-Pitkin County Airport
    CEZ - Cortez Municipal Airport
    COS - City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport
    DEN - Denver International Airport[47]
    DRO - Durango-La Plata County Airport
    EGE - Eagle County Regional Airport
    FNL - Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport
    GJT - Grand Junction Regional Airport
    GUC - Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport
    HDN - Yampa Valley Airport
    MTJ - Montrose Regional Airport
    PUB - Pueblo Memorial Airport
    TEX - Telluride Regional Airport
    Amtrak Passenger Railroad Routes through the State of Colorado
    California Zephyr: Chicago, Galesburg, Omaha, Fort Morgan, Denver, Winter Park, Granby, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Salt Lake City, Reno, Sacramento, and Emeryville
    Southwest Chief: Chicago, Galesburg, Kansas City, Topeka, Lamar, La Junta, Trinidad, Albuquerque, Gallup, Flagstaff, Needles, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles
    Communities in the State of Colorado with Regional Bus Service
    Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Brush, Colorado Springs, Delta, Denver, Durango, Englewood, Frisco, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Greeley, Lamar, Limon, Longmont, Montrose, Pueblo, Rocky Ford, Springfield, Sterling, Trinidad, Vail, and Walsenburg
    See also: Colorado Department of Transportation, List of Colorado state highways, List of airports in Colorado, and Amtrak
    [edit]Government and politics

    [edit]State government
    Gubernatorial election results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2006 40.16% 625,886 56.98% 888,096
    2002 62.62% 884,584 33.65% 475,373
    1998 49.06% 648,202 48.43% 639,905
    1994 38.70% 432,042 55.47% 619,205
    1990 35.43% 358,403 61.89% 626,032
    Main article: Law and Government of Colorado


    The Colorado State Capitol in Denver
    Like all U.S. states, Colorado's constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The governor heads the state's executive branch. The Colorado Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the state. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. Currently, Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly. The 2005 Colorado General Assembly was the first to be controlled by the Democrats in forty years. The incumbent governor is Democrat August William "Bill" Ritter, Jr..
    Most Coloradans are originally native to other states (nearly 60% according to the 2000 census[48]), and this is illustrated by the fact that the state did not have a native-born governor from 1975 (when John David Vanderhoof left office) until 2007, when Bill Ritter took office; his election the previous year marked the first electoral victory for a native-born Coloradan in a gubernatorial race since 1958 (Vanderhoof had ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon's administration in 1973).
    [edit]Federal politics
    Presidential elections results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2008 44.71% 1,073,584 53.66% 1,288,568
    2004 51.69% 1,101,255 47.02% 1,001,732
    2000 50.75% 883,745 42.39% 738,227
    1996 45.80% 691,848 44.43% 671,152
    1992 35.87% 562,850 40.13% 629,681
    1988 53.06% 728,177 45.28% 621,453
    Main article: Politics of Colorado
    Colorado is considered a swing state in both state and federal elections. Coloradans have elected 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans to the governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado supported Democrats Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008, and supported Republicans Robert J. Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The presidential outcome in 2008 was the second closest to the national popular vote, after Virginia.[49]
    Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and liberal cities such as Boulder. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins and Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a few western ski resort counties. The Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains, Colorado Springs, Greeley, some Denver suburbs, and the western half of the state (including Grand Junction). The fastest growing parts of the state particularly Douglas, Elbert, and Weld CounColorado ( /kɒləˈrædoʊ/ (help·info) or /kɒləˈrɑːdoʊ/ (help·info))[6] is a U.S. state located in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States of America. It may also be considered to be part of the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. In rare cases Eastern Colorado is considered part of the Midwestern United States. Colorado entered statehood in 1876 and was nicknamed the “Centennial State”. It is bordered to the north by Wyoming, to the south by New Mexico and Oklahoma, at the southwest corner by Arizona, to the east by Nebraska and Kansas and to the west by Utah.
    The state is well known for its magnificent scenery of mountains, rivers, lakes, and plains. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 5,024,748 on July 1, 2009, a 16.82% increase since the U.S. Census 2000.[3] Denver is the capital of Colorado and the state's most populous city. Residents of Colorado are properly known as "Coloradans" although the archaic term "Coloradoan" is still used.[1][2]
    Contents [hide]
    1 Geography
    1.1 Climate
    1.1.1 Eastern Plains
    1.1.2 West of the plains and foothills
    1.1.3 Extreme weather
    1.1.4 Records
    2 History
    3 Demographics
    3.1 Religion
    3.2 Health
    4 Culture
    4.1 Fine arts
    4.2 Cuisine
    5 Economy
    5.1 Philanthropy
    5.2 Energy
    5.3 Special tax districts
    6 Transportation
    7 Government and politics
    7.1 State government
    7.2 Federal politics
    8 Cities and Towns
    9 Counties
    10 Education
    11 Metropolitan Areas
    12 Military Installations
    13 Protected areas
    14 Sports
    14.1 Professional sports teams
    14.1.1 Former professional sports teams
    15 State symbols
    16 Prominent Coloradans
    17 See also
    18 References
    19 Further reading
    20 External links
    [edit]Geography



    An enlargeable map of the State of Colorado
    Main article: Geography of Colorado
    The State of Colorado is defined as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian).[7] Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only three U.S. states that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries and that have no natural borders. When government surveyors established the border markers for the Territory of Colorado, minor surveying errors created several small kinks along the borders, most notably along the border with the Territory of Utah. The surveyors' benchmarks, once agreed upon by the interested parties, became the legal boundaries for the Colorado Territory.[8]


    Tenmile Range near Leadville, Colorado.
    The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation in Lake County is the state's highest point and the highest point in the entire Rocky Mountains.[4][5] Colorado has more than 100 mountain peaks that exceed 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) elevation. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in the State of Colorado at 3,315 feet (1,010 m) elevation. This crossing point holds the distinction of being the highest low point of any U.S. state.[4][9]
    Nearly a third of the state is flat or rolling in stark contrast to Colorado's rugged Rocky Mountains. East of the Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Colorado at elevations ranging from roughly 3,350 to 6,500 feet (1,020 to 1,980 m).[10] The states of Kansas and Nebraska border Colorado to the east. The Colorado plains are usually thought of as prairies, but actually have a handful of deciduous forests. Eastern Colorado is mainly covered in farmland as well as small farming communities. Precipitation is fair, averaging from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually.[10] The summers in the plains are usually hot and humid, whereas the winters are often bitter cold, snowy and icy. Corn, wheat, hay, soybeans and oats are all typical crops and most small towns in the region boast both a water tower and a grain elevator. As well as crop farming Eastern Colorado has livestock farming, such as cattle farming and hog farming. It also contains many dairy farms and poultry farms.
    Most of Colorado's population lives along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor. This region is partially protected from prevailing storms by the high mountains to the west.


    The Continental Divide dips down to 11,990 feet (3,655 m) at Loveland Pass.
    To the west lies the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains with notable peaks such as Longs Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg in the south. This area drains to the east, is forested, and partially urbanized. During the drought of 2002 devastating forest fires swept this area.
    Hinsdale County, with Lake City (population appx. 300) as its seat, has been judged the most remote county in the 48 contiguous states. It has only one incorporated town (Lake City). It is one of the only places within the continental United States that one can venture more than 10 miles (16 km) from any road.
    The Continental Divide stretches across the crest of the Rocky Mountains. To the west of the Continental Divide is the Western Slope. Water west of the Continental Divide drains west into the Sea of Cortez via the Colorado River.
    Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks or high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is North Park. North Park is drained by the North Platte River, which flows north into Wyoming. Just south but on the west side of the Continental Divide is Middle Park, drained by the Colorado River. South Park is the headwaters of the South Platte River. To the south lies the San Luis Valley, the headwaters of the Rio Grande, which drains into New Mexico. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San Luis Valley, lie along the Rio Grande Rift, a major geological formation, and its branches.
    The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 54 peaks that are 14,000 feet (4,267 m) or higher elevation, known as fourteeners.[11] The mountains are timbered with conifers and aspens to the tree line, at an elevation of about 12,140 feet (3,700 m) in southern Colorado to about 10,500 feet (3,200 m) in northern Colorado; above this only alpine vegetation grows. The Colorado Rockies are snow-covered year round; a lot of the snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few small glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan Mountains in the southwest to Boulder and Central City on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado.
    The Western Slope is generally drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Notable to the south are the San Juan Mountains, an extremely rugged mountain range, and to the west of the San Juans, the Colorado Plateau, a high semi-desert bordering Southern Utah. Grand Junction is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction is served by Interstate Highway I-70. To the southeast of Grand Junction is Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Further east are the ski resorts of Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs. The northwestern corner of Colorado bordering Northern Utah and Western Wyoming is mostly sparsely populated ranch and rangeland.
    From west to east, the state consists of semi-desert-like basins, turning into plateaus, then alpine mountains, and then the grassland and a few forests of the Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peak is just west of Colorado Springs. Its lone peak is visible from near the Kansas border on clear days.[12]
    Colorado is also one of only four states in the United States to share a common border (Four Corners), along with Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. At this intersection, it is possible to stand in four states at once.
    See also: Colorado cities and towns, Colorado counties, Colorado municipalities, Colorado rivers, and Four Corners Monument
    [edit]Climate

    This section needs additional citations for verification.
    Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2009)


    Spring melt at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
    The climate of Colorado is quite complex compared to most of the United States. Unlike in other states, the southern Colorado is not necessarily warmer than the northern Colorado. Mountains and surrounding valleys greatly affect local climate. As a general rule, with an increase in elevation comes a decrease in temperature and an increase in precipitation. A main climatic division in Colorado occurs between the Rocky Mountains on the west and the plains on the east with the foothills forming a transitional zone between the two.[citation needed]
    [edit]Eastern Plains


    Center pivot irrigation of wheat growing in Yuma County.
    The climate of the Eastern Plains is a continental climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) of low humidity and moderate precipitation, usually from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually. The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool clear nights, which give this area the highest average diurnal temperature range in the United States[citation needed]. In summer, this area can have many days above 95 °F (35 °C) and sometimes 100 °F (38 °C)[13], although 105 °F (41 °C) is the maximum in the front range cities above 5,000 ft (1,500 m). In the plains, the winter extremes can be from 0 °F (−18 °C) to −10 °F (−23.3 °C) and −15 °F (−26.1 °C). The all time low in the area was −40 °F (−40.0 °C)[citation needed]. About 75% of the precipitation falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which are often severe, and from major snowstorms that occur most often in the early spring, late autumn, and sometimes winter. Otherwise, winters tend to be mostly dry and cold. In much of the region, March and April are the snowiest months. April and May are normally the rainiest months, while April is the wettest month overall. The Front Range cities closer to the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to chinook winds which warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures of 40 °F (4 °C) or higher in the winter.[13] The average July temperature is 55 °F (13 °C) in the morning and 80 °F (27 °C) in the afternoon. The average January temperature is 10 °F (−12 °C) in the morning and 30 °F (−1 °C) in the afternoon, although variation between consecutive days can be 40 °F (4 °C).
    [edit]West of the plains and foothills


    View of the Western Slope from Grand Junction.
    West of the plains and foothills, the weather of Colorado is much less uniform. Even places a few miles apart can experience entirely different weather depending on the topography of the area. Most valleys have a semi-arid climate, which becomes an alpine climate at higher elevations. Humid microclimates also exist in some areas. Generally, the wettest season in western Colorado is winter while June is the driest month. This is the opposite of precipitation patterns in the east. The mountains have cool summers with many days of high temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C), although frequent thunderstorms can cause sudden drops in temperature. Summer nights are cool or even cold at the highest elevations, which sometimes get snow even in the middle of the summer. The winters bring abundant, powdery snowfall to the mountains with abundant sunshine in between major storms. The western slope has high summer temperatures similar to those found on the plains, while the winters tend to be slightly cooler due to the lack of warming winds common to the plains and Front Range. Other areas in the west have their own unique climate. The San Luis Valley is generally dry with little rain or snow, although the snow that falls tends to stay on the ground all winter.[citation needed]
    [edit]Extreme weather


    Snow highlights the rugged mountains as well as the urban and agricultural landscapes of the Colorado plains.
    Extreme weather is a common occurrence in Colorado. Thunderstorms are common east of the Continental divide in the spring and summer, and Colorado is one of the leading states in deaths due to lightning. Hail is a common sight in the mountains east of the divide and in the northwest part of the state. The Eastern Plains have some of the biggest hail storms in North America.[10] Also the Eastern Plains are part of Tornado Alley and produce some of the deadliest U.S. tornadoes. Some damaging tornadoes in the Eastern Plains include the 1990 Limon F3 tornado and the 2008 Windsor EF3 tornado, which devastated the town.[14] The plains are also susceptible to floods, which are caused both by thunderstorms and by the rapid melting of snow in the mountains during warm weather. Denver's 1901 record for number of consecutive days above 90 °F (32 °C) was broken in the summer of 2008. The new record of twenty-four (24) consecutive days surpassed the previous record by almost a week.[15] Colorado is a relatively dry state averaging only 17 inches (430 mm) of rain per year and rarely experiences a time when some portion of the state is not in some degree of drought.[16] The lack of precipitation contributes to the severity of wildfires in the state such as the Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildfires in US history.
    [edit]Records
    The highest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was 118 °F (48 °C) on July 11, 1888, at Bennett, while the lowest was −61 °F (−51.7 °C) on February 1, 1985, at Maybell.[17][18]
    Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Colorado Cities (°F)
    City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Alamosa 33/-4 40/5 50/16 59/23 68/32 78/40 82/46 79/45 72/36 62/24 46/11 35/-1
    Colorado Springs 42/13 45/18 52/24 59/31 68/41 79/50 86/55 82/54 74/45 63/34 50/23 42/16
    Denver 43/15 47/19 54/25 61/34 70/44 82/53 88/59 86/57 77/47 66/36 52/24 44/16
    Grand Junction 37/16 45/23 56/31 64/38 74/46 87/55 96/61 92/60 83/50 67/39 50/26 39/18
    Pueblo 45/14 50/19 57/26 65/34 75/45 86/54 91/59 89/58 81/49 69/35 54/22 45/15
    [19]
    [edit]History

    Main articles: History of Colorado and Outline of Colorado history


    The ruins of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde as photographed by Gustaf Nordenskiöld in 1891.
    The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 13 millennia. The Lindenmeier Site in Larimer County contains artifacts dating from approximately 11200 BCE to 3000 BCE. The Ancient Pueblo Peoples lived in the valleys and mesas of the Colorado Plateau. The Ute Nation inhabited the mountain valleys of the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Western Rocky Mountains. The Arapaho Nation and the Cheyenne Nation moved west to hunt across the High Plains.
    The United States acquired a territorial claim to the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. The U.S. claim conflicted with Spain's claim that a huge region surrounding its colony of Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico was its sovereign trading zone. Zebulon Pike led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the disputed region in 1806. Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish cavalry in the San Luis Valley the following February, taken to Chihuahua, and expelled from México the following July.


    Bent's Old Fort along the Arkansas River operated from 1833 to 1849.
    The United States relinquished its claim to all land south and west of the Arkansas River as part of the U.S. purchase of Florida from Spain with the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. México finally won its independence from Spain in 1821, but it surrendered its northern territories to the United States after the Mexican-American War with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In 1849, the Mormons of Deseret (now Utah) organized the extralegal State of Deseret which claimed all land drained by the Green River and the Colorado River. The federal government refused to recognize the new government, and the Mormons declined to settle east of the Green River for more than 20 years. The United States divided the area of the future Colorado among the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah organized in 1850, and the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska organized in 1854.
    Most American settlers traveling west to Oregon, Deseret, or California avoided the rugged Rocky Mountains and instead followed the North Platte River and Sweetwater River through what is now Wyoming. On April 9, 1851, Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexico, settled the village of San Luis, then in the New Mexico Territory, but now Colorado's first permanent European settlement. Gold was discovered along the South Platte River in western Kansas Territory in July 1858, precipitating the Pike's Peak Gold Rush.[20] The placer gold deposits along the rivers and streams of the region rapidly played out, but miners soon discovered far more valuable seams of hard rock gold, silver, and other minerals in the nearby mountains.


    A lithograph of the Denver City mining camp in 1859.
    The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on August 24, 1859, but the new territory failed to secure federal sanction. The election of Abraham Lincoln for U.S. President on November 6, 1860, led to the secession of six slave states and the threat of civil war. Seeking to augment the political power of the free states, the Republican led U.S. Congress hurriedly admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of Kansas to the Union as the free State of Kansas on January 29, 1861, leaving the western portion of the territory, and its gold fields, unorganized.


    The Georgetown Loop of the Colorado Central Railroad as photographed by William H. Jackson in 1899.
    Thirty days later on February 28, 1861, outgoing U.S. President James Buchanan signed an act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado.[21] The original boundaries of Colorado remain unchanged today. The name Colorado was chosen because it was commonly believed that the Colorado River originated in the territory.[22] Early Spanish explorers named the river the Rio Colorado for the reddish-brown silt the river carried from the mountains.[23] In fact, the Colorado River did not flow through the State of Colorado until House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th United States Congress changed the name of the Grand River to the Colorado River on July 25, 1921.[24]


    Colorado state history plaque
    The United States Congress passed an enabling act on March 3, 1875, specifying the requirements for the Territory of Colorado to become a state.[7] On August 1, 1876 (28 days after the Centennial of the United States), U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting the State of Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and earning it the moniker "Centennial State".[25] The discovery of a major silver lode near Leadville in 1878, triggered the Colorado Silver Boom. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 envigorated silver mining, but the repeal of the act in 1893 led to a major collapse of the mining and agricultural economy of the state.
    Colorado women were granted the right to vote beginning on November 7, 1893, making Colorado the second U.S. state to grant universal suffrage and the first by popular vote. By the 1930 U.S. Census, the population of Colorado exceeded one million residents. The state suffered through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but a major wave of immigration following World War II boosted Colorado's fortune. Tourism became a mainstay of the state economy, and high technology became an important economic engine. Colorado's population exceeded 4.3 million at U.S. Census 2000.
    Three warships of the United States Navy have been named USS Colorado. The first USS Colorado was named for the Colorado River. The later two ships were named in honor of the landlocked state.
    [edit]Demographics

    Historical populations
    Census Pop. %±
    1860 34,277

    1870 39,864 16.3%
    1880 194,327 387.5%
    1890 413,249 112.7%
    1900 539,700 30.6%
    1910 799,024 48.0%
    1920 939,629 17.6%
    1930 1,035,791 10.2%
    1940 1,123,296 8.4%
    1950 1,325,089 18.0%
    1960 1,753,947 32.4%
    1970 2,207,259 25.8%
    1980 2,889,964 30.9%
    1990 3,294,394 14.0%
    2000 4,301,261 30.6%
    Est. 2008[26] 4,939,456 14.8%


    Colorado Population Density Map
    The state's most populous city, and capital, is Denver. The Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area, home to 2,927,911 people, contains more than two-thirds of the state's population. Residents of Colorado are properly referred to as Coloradans, although the term Coloradoans is still used.[2][27]
    As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus 147,770 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 159,957 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 47,740 people.
    The largest increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor, especially in the Denver metropolitan area. The state's fastest growing counties are Douglas and Weld.[28] Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from California, which led some locals to feel that their state was "Californicated" in the 1990s (esp. Denver resembled more of Los Angeles) when lower cost of living and a healthier economy drew in over 100,000 Californians at the time. The center of population of Colorado is located just north of the town of Critchell in Jefferson County.[29]
    Colorado has a high proportion of Hispanic citizens and Denver and some other areas have significant Mexican populations, while southern Colorado has a large number of Hispanos, the descendants of early New Mexican settlers of colonial Spanish origin. The 2000 U.S. Census reports that 10.52% of people aged 5 and over in Colorado speak Spanish at home.[30] Colorado, like New Mexico, is very rich in archaic Spanish idioms.[31]
    Colorado also has some African-Americans communities which are located in northeast Denver in the Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Park Hill and Colfax Park areas. The state has sizable numbers of Asian-Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Southeast Asian and Japanese descent. The Denver metropolitan area is considered more liberal and diverse than much of the state when it comes to political issues and environmental concerns.
    According to the 2000 Census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado are German (22%) including of Swiss and Austrian nationalities, Irish (12.2%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are the largest group in the state and are especially strong in the Front Range, the Rockies (west-central counties) and Eastern parts/High Plains.[32] Denver and nearby areas on the Front Range has sizable German, Scandinavian, Italian, Slavic and Jewish American communities, partly a legacy of gold rushes in the late 19th century (1861-1889).
    Demographics of Colorado (csv)
    By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
    2000 (total population) 92.23% 4.55% 1.91% 2.84% 0.25%
    2000 (Hispanic only) 16.20% 0.37% 0.64% 0.14% 0.05%
    2005 (total population) 91.91% 4.74% 1.83% 3.19% 0.26%
    2005 (Hispanic only) 18.46% 0.48% 0.61% 0.18% 0.06%
    Growth 2000–05 (total population) 8.09% 13.03% 3.85% 22.08% 15.47%
    Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 4.78% 10.67% 3.75% 21.14% 11.70%
    Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 23.60% 39.64% 4.05% 40.04% 29.23%
    * AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    There were a total of 70,331 births in Colorado in 2006. (Birth Rate of 14.6). In 2007, Non-Hispanic Whites constituted 73.5% of the population and accounted for 59.1% of all the births.[33] The first time in state history with the statistic of non-Hispanic whites have fewer babies. But 14.06% of the births happened to parents of different races (About two-thirds to White-Latino parents).[34] Westernmost counties where the majority of residents are adherents of Mormonism there's a slightly higher percentage of families with children and those of under age 18.
    Colorado has a higher number of younger persons in median age: 33, according to the 2000 Census report. Large numbers of married couples in professional careers with young children move to the state in a belief it's a better place to raise a family. Colorado is also a major retirement destination by senior citizens in search of a cooler climate, recreation activities and the higher altitude in most of Colorado is said to provide health benefits for those with respiratory diseases.
    [edit]Religion


    The Chapel on the Rock at Camp Saint Malo near Allenspark.


    The Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs.
    Colorado's most popular religion is Christianity, and its most popular denomination is Catholicism. Colorado, and specifically the city of Colorado Springs, serves as the headquarters of numerous Christian groups, many of them Evangelical. Focus on the Family is a major conservative Christian organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.
    Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:[35]
    Christian — 65%
    Protestant — 44%
    Evangelical — 23%
    Mainline — 19%
    Other Protestant — 2%
    Roman Catholic — 19%
    Orthodox — 1%
    Latter Day Saint / Mormon — 2%
    Jewish — 2%
    Muslim — 1%
    Other Religions — 5%
    Unaffiliated — 25%
    The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 752,505; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 92,326 (133,727 year-end 2007) ; and Baptist with 85,083.[36]
    [edit]Health
    Colorado also has a reputation for being a state of very active and athletic people. According to several studies, Coloradans have the lowest rates of obesity of any state in the US.[37] As of 2007 the 17.6% of the population was considered medically obese, and while the lowest in the nation, the percentage had increased from 16.9% from 2004. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter spoke that “As an avid fisherman and bike rider, I know first-hand that Colorado provides a great environment for active, healthy lifestyles,” although he did highlight the need for continued education and support to slow the growth of obesity in the state.[38]
    [edit]Culture

    Main article: Culture of Colorado
    [edit]Fine arts
    Main article: Fine arts in Colorado
    Music of Colorado
    Theater in Colorado
    [edit]Cuisine
    Main article: Cuisine of Colorado
    [edit]Economy



    The United States quarter dollar coin released 2006-06-14, in honor of the State of Colorado.


    Denver World Trade Center.
    The Denver financial district along 17th Street is known as the Wall Street of the West.


    Maize growing in Larimer County


    Cattle ranching in Jackson County


    An oil well in western Colorado
    Main article: Economy of Colorado
    The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product in 2007 was $236 billion. Per capita personal income in 2007 was $41,192, ranking Colorado eleventh in the nation.[39] The state's economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.
    The federal government is also a major economic force in the state with many important federal facilities including NORAD, United States Air Force Academy and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs; NOAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder; U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood; the Denver Mint, Buckley Air Force Base, and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prison and other federal prisons near Cañon City. In addition to these and other federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four National Parks that contribute to federal ownership of 24,615,788 acres (99,617 km2) of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the state.[40] In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and service sectors have expanded greatly. The state's economy is diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research and high-technology industries. Other industries include food processing, transportation equipment, machinery, chemical products, minerals such as gold and molybdenum, and tourism. Colorado also produces the largest amount of beer of any state.[41] Denver is an important financial center.
    A number of nationally known brand names have originated in Colorado factories and laboratories. From Denver came the forerunner of telecommunications giant Qwest in 1879, Samsonite luggage in 1910, Gates belts and hoses in 1911, and Russell Stover Candies in 1923. Kuner canned vegetables began in Brighton in 1864. From Golden came Coors beer in 1873, CoorsTek industrial ceramics in 1920, and Jolly Rancher candy in 1949. CF&I railroad rails, wire, nails and pipe debuted in Pueblo in 1892. The present-day Swift packed meat of Greeley evolved from Monfort of Colorado, Inc., established in 1930. Estes model rockets were launched in Penrose in 1958. Fort Collins has been the home of Woodward Governor Company's motor controllers (governors) since 1870, and Waterpik dental water jets and showerheads since 1962. Celestial Seasonings herbal teas have been made in Boulder since 1969. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory made its first candy in Durango in 1981.
    Colorado has a flat 4.63% income tax, regardless of income level. Unlike most states, which calculate taxes based on federal adjusted gross income, Colorado taxes are based on taxable income - income after federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard) deductions.[42][43] Colorado's state sales tax is 2.9% on retail sales. When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, full-year Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and special district taxes that may apply.
    Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The state's senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break is scheduled to return for assessment year 2006, payable in 2007.
    [edit]Philanthropy
    Major philanthropic organizations based in Colorado, including the Daniels Fund, the Anschutz Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation, grant approximately $400 million[44] each year from approximately $7 billion[45] of assets.
    [edit]Energy
    Colorado has significant energy resources. According to the Energy Information Administration, Colorado hosts seven of the Nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields and two of its 100 largest oil fields. Conventional and unconventional natural gas output from several Colorado basins typically account for more than 5 percent of annual U.S. natural gas production. Substantial deposits of bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite coal are also found in the state. Colorado's high Rocky Mountain ridges and eastern plains offer wind power potential, and geologic activity in the mountain areas provides potential for geothermal power development. Much of the state is sunny and could produce solar power. Major rivers flowing from the Rocky Mountains offer hydroelectric power resources. Corn grown in the flat eastern part of the State offers potential resources for ethanol production. Notably, Colorado’s oil shale deposits hold an estimated 1 trillion barrels (160 km3) of oil – nearly as much oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. Oil production from those deposits, however, remains speculative.[46]
    [edit]Special tax districts
    Some of the special tax districts are:
    The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which affects the counties of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas Counties
    The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties
    It is a 0.1% retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10).
    According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history or cultural history.
    As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently divided into three "tiers" among which receipts are allocated by percentage.
    Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives 65.5%.
    Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives 21%.
    Tier III has over 280 local organizations such as small theaters, orchestras, art centers, and natural history, cultural history, and community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding to the county cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%.
    An eleven-member board of directors oversees the distributions in accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council) and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado.
    The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to pay for and help build the Denver Broncos' stadium INVESCO Field at Mile High
    Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of southeast Jefferson and Boulder counties
    Regional Transportation Districts (RTA) taxes at varying rates in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison County
    Occupational Privilege Taxes (OPT or Head Tax) Denver and Aurora both levy an OPT on Employers and Employees
    If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the Employee and Employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
    In Denver, the Employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and the Employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.
    In Aurora, both Employer and Employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.
    It is the Employer's responsibility to with hold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an Employer does not comply, they can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.
    [edit]Transportation



    Colorado state welcome sign


    Denver International Airport


    Union Station in Denver.
    Interstate and Federal Highway Routes in the State of Colorado
    Interstate 25
    Interstate 70
    Interstate 76
    Interstate 225
    Interstate 270
    U.S. Route 6
    U.S. Route 24
    U.S. Route 34
    U.S. Route 36
    U.S. Route 40
    U.S. Route 50
    U.S. Route 84
    U.S. Route 85
    U.S. Route 87
    U.S. Route 138
    U.S. Route 160
    U.S. Route 285
    U.S. Route 287
    U.S. Route 350
    U.S. Route 400
    U.S. Route 491
    U.S. Route 550
    Commercial Airports in the State of Colorado
    ALS - San Luis Valley Regional Airport
    ASE - Aspen-Pitkin County Airport
    CEZ - Cortez Municipal Airport
    COS - City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport
    DEN - Denver International Airport[47]
    DRO - Durango-La Plata County Airport
    EGE - Eagle County Regional Airport
    FNL - Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport
    GJT - Grand Junction Regional Airport
    GUC - Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport
    HDN - Yampa Valley Airport
    MTJ - Montrose Regional Airport
    PUB - Pueblo Memorial Airport
    TEX - Telluride Regional Airport
    Amtrak Passenger Railroad Routes through the State of Colorado
    California Zephyr: Chicago, Galesburg, Omaha, Fort Morgan, Denver, Winter Park, Granby, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Salt Lake City, Reno, Sacramento, and Emeryville
    Southwest Chief: Chicago, Galesburg, Kansas City, Topeka, Lamar, La Junta, Trinidad, Albuquerque, Gallup, Flagstaff, Needles, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles
    Communities in the State of Colorado with Regional Bus Service
    Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Brush, Colorado Springs, Delta, Denver, Durango, Englewood, Frisco, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Greeley, Lamar, Limon, Longmont, Montrose, Pueblo, Rocky Ford, Springfield, Sterling, Trinidad, Vail, and Walsenburg
    See also: Colorado Department of Transportation, List of Colorado state highways, List of airports in Colorado, and Amtrak
    [edit]Government and politics

    [edit]State government
    Gubernatorial election results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2006 40.16% 625,886 56.98% 888,096
    2002 62.62% 884,584 33.65% 475,373
    1998 49.06% 648,202 48.43% 639,905
    1994 38.70% 432,042 55.47% 619,205
    1990 35.43% 358,403 61.89% 626,032
    Main article: Law and Government of Colorado


    The Colorado State Capitol in Denver
    Like all U.S. states, Colorado's constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The governor heads the state's executive branch. The Colorado Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the state. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. Currently, Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly. The 2005 Colorado General Assembly was the first to be controlled by the Democrats in forty years. The incumbent governor is Democrat August William "Bill" Ritter, Jr..
    Most Coloradans are originally native to other states (nearly 60% according to the 2000 census[48]), and this is illustrated by the fact that the state did not have a native-born governor from 1975 (when John David Vanderhoof left office) until 2007, when Bill Ritter took office; his election the previous year marked the first electoral victory for a native-born Coloradan in a gubernatorial race since 1958 (Vanderhoof had ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon's administration in 1973).
    [edit]Federal politics
    Presidential elections results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2008 44.71% 1,073,584 53.66% 1,288,568
    2004 51.69% 1,101,255 47.02% 1,001,732
    2000 50.75% 883,745 42.39% 738,227
    1996 45.80% 691,848 44.43% 671,152
    1992 35.87% 562,850 40.13% 629,681
    1988 53.06% 728,177 45.28% 621,453
    Main article: Politics of Colorado
    Colorado is considered a swing state in both state and federal elections. Coloradans have elected 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans to the governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado supported Democrats Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008, and supported Republicans Robert J. Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The presidential outcome in 2008 was the second closest to the national popular vote, after Virginia.[49]
    Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and liberal cities such as Boulder. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins and Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a few western ski resort counties. The Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains, Colorado Springs, Greeley, some Denver suburbs, and the western half of the state (including Grand Junction). The fastest growing parts of the state particularly Douglas, Elbert, and Weld Counties, in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area, are somewhat Republican-leaning.ties, in tColorado ( /kɒləˈrædoʊ/ (help·info) or /kɒləˈrɑːdoʊ/ (help·info))[6] is a U.S. state located in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States of America. It may also be considered to be part of the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. In rare cases Eastern Colorado is considered part of the Midwestern United States. Colorado entered statehood in 1876 and was nicknamed the “Centennial State”. It is bordered to the north by Wyoming, to the south by New Mexico and Oklahoma, at the southwest corner by Arizona, to the east by Nebraska and Kansas and to the west by Utah.
    The state is well known for its magnificent scenery of mountains, rivers, lakes, and plains. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 5,024,748 on July 1, 2009, a 16.82% increase since the U.S. Census 2000.[3] Denver is the capital of Colorado and the state's most populous city. Residents of Colorado are properly known as "Coloradans" although the archaic term "Coloradoan" is still used.[1][2]
    Contents [hide]
    1 Geography
    1.1 Climate
    1.1.1 Eastern Plains
    1.1.2 West of the plains and foothills
    1.1.3 Extreme weather
    1.1.4 Records
    2 History
    3 Demographics
    3.1 Religion
    3.2 Health
    4 Culture
    4.1 Fine arts
    4.2 Cuisine
    5 Economy
    5.1 Philanthropy
    5.2 Energy
    5.3 Special tax districts
    6 Transportation
    7 Government and politics
    7.1 State government
    7.2 Federal politics
    8 Cities and Towns
    9 Counties
    10 Education
    11 Metropolitan Areas
    12 Military Installations
    13 Protected areas
    14 Sports
    14.1 Professional sports teams
    14.1.1 Former professional sports teams
    15 State symbols
    16 Prominent Coloradans
    17 See also
    18 References
    19 Further reading
    20 External links
    [edit]Geography



    An enlargeable map of the State of Colorado
    Main article: Geography of Colorado
    The State of Colorado is defined as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian).[7] Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only three U.S. states that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries and that have no natural borders. When government surveyors established the border markers for the Territory of Colorado, minor surveying errors created several small kinks along the borders, most notably along the border with the Territory of Utah. The surveyors' benchmarks, once agreed upon by the interested parties, became the legal boundaries for the Colorado Territory.[8]


    Tenmile Range near Leadville, Colorado.
    The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation in Lake County is the state's highest point and the highest point in the entire Rocky Mountains.[4][5] Colorado has more than 100 mountain peaks that exceed 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) elevation. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in the State of Colorado at 3,315 feet (1,010 m) elevation. This crossing point holds the distinction of being the highest low point of any U.S. state.[4][9]
    Nearly a third of the state is flat or rolling in stark contrast to Colorado's rugged Rocky Mountains. East of the Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Colorado at elevations ranging from roughly 3,350 to 6,500 feet (1,020 to 1,980 m).[10] The states of Kansas and Nebraska border Colorado to the east. The Colorado plains are usually thought of as prairies, but actually have a handful of deciduous forests. Eastern Colorado is mainly covered in farmland as well as small farming communities. Precipitation is fair, averaging from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually.[10] The summers in the plains are usually hot and humid, whereas the winters are often bitter cold, snowy and icy. Corn, wheat, hay, soybeans and oats are all typical crops and most small towns in the region boast both a water tower and a grain elevator. As well as crop farming Eastern Colorado has livestock farming, such as cattle farming and hog farming. It also contains many dairy farms and poultry farms.
    Most of Colorado's population lives along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor. This region is partially protected from prevailing storms by the high mountains to the west.


    The Continental Divide dips down to 11,990 feet (3,655 m) at Loveland Pass.
    To the west lies the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains with notable peaks such as Longs Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg in the south. This area drains to the east, is forested, and partially urbanized. During the drought of 2002 devastating forest fires swept this area.
    Hinsdale County, with Lake City (population appx. 300) as its seat, has been judged the most remote county in the 48 contiguous states. It has only one incorporated town (Lake City). It is one of the only places within the continental United States that one can venture more than 10 miles (16 km) from any road.
    The Continental Divide stretches across the crest of the Rocky Mountains. To the west of the Continental Divide is the Western Slope. Water west of the Continental Divide drains west into the Sea of Cortez via the Colorado River.
    Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks or high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is North Park. North Park is drained by the North Platte River, which flows north into Wyoming. Just south but on the west side of the Continental Divide is Middle Park, drained by the Colorado River. South Park is the headwaters of the South Platte River. To the south lies the San Luis Valley, the headwaters of the Rio Grande, which drains into New Mexico. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San Luis Valley, lie along the Rio Grande Rift, a major geological formation, and its branches.
    The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 54 peaks that are 14,000 feet (4,267 m) or higher elevation, known as fourteeners.[11] The mountains are timbered with conifers and aspens to the tree line, at an elevation of about 12,140 feet (3,700 m) in southern Colorado to about 10,500 feet (3,200 m) in northern Colorado; above this only alpine vegetation grows. The Colorado Rockies are snow-covered year round; a lot of the snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few small glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan Mountains in the southwest to Boulder and Central City on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado.
    The Western Slope is generally drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Notable to the south are the San Juan Mountains, an extremely rugged mountain range, and to the west of the San Juans, the Colorado Plateau, a high semi-desert bordering Southern Utah. Grand Junction is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction is served by Interstate Highway I-70. To the southeast of Grand Junction is Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Further east are the ski resorts of Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs. The northwestern corner of Colorado bordering Northern Utah and Western Wyoming is mostly sparsely populated ranch and rangeland.
    From west to east, the state consists of semi-desert-like basins, turning into plateaus, then alpine mountains, and then the grassland and a few forests of the Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peak is just west of Colorado Springs. Its lone peak is visible from near the Kansas border on clear days.[12]
    Colorado is also one of only four states in the United States to share a common border (Four Corners), along with Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. At this intersection, it is possible to stand in four states at once.
    See also: Colorado cities and towns, Colorado counties, Colorado municipalities, Colorado rivers, and Four Corners Monument
    [edit]Climate

    This section needs additional citations for verification.
    Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2009)


    Spring melt at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
    The climate of Colorado is quite complex compared to most of the United States. Unlike in other states, the southern Colorado is not necessarily warmer than the northern Colorado. Mountains and surrounding valleys greatly affect local climate. As a general rule, with an increase in elevation comes a decrease in temperature and an increase in precipitation. A main climatic division in Colorado occurs between the Rocky Mountains on the west and the plains on the east with the foothills forming a transitional zone between the two.[citation needed]
    [edit]Eastern Plains


    Center pivot irrigation of wheat growing in Yuma County.
    The climate of the Eastern Plains is a continental climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) of low humidity and moderate precipitation, usually from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually. The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool clear nights, which give this area the highest average diurnal temperature range in the United States[citation needed]. In summer, this area can have many days above 95 °F (35 °C) and sometimes 100 °F (38 °C)[13], although 105 °F (41 °C) is the maximum in the front range cities above 5,000 ft (1,500 m). In the plains, the winter extremes can be from 0 °F (−18 °C) to −10 °F (−23.3 °C) and −15 °F (−26.1 °C). The all time low in the area was −40 °F (−40.0 °C)[citation needed]. About 75% of the precipitation falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which are often severe, and from major snowstorms that occur most often in the early spring, late autumn, and sometimes winter. Otherwise, winters tend to be mostly dry and cold. In much of the region, March and April are the snowiest months. April and May are normally the rainiest months, while April is the wettest month overall. The Front Range cities closer to the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to chinook winds which warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures of 40 °F (4 °C) or higher in the winter.[13] The average July temperature is 55 °F (13 °C) in the morning and 80 °F (27 °C) in the afternoon. The average January temperature is 10 °F (−12 °C) in the morning and 30 °F (−1 °C) in the afternoon, although variation between consecutive days can be 40 °F (4 °C).
    [edit]West of the plains and foothills


    View of the Western Slope from Grand Junction.
    West of the plains and foothills, the weather of Colorado is much less uniform. Even places a few miles apart can experience entirely different weather depending on the topography of the area. Most valleys have a semi-arid climate, which becomes an alpine climate at higher elevations. Humid microclimates also exist in some areas. Generally, the wettest season in western Colorado is winter while June is the driest month. This is the opposite of precipitation patterns in the east. The mountains have cool summers with many days of high temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C), although frequent thunderstorms can cause sudden drops in temperature. Summer nights are cool or even cold at the highest elevations, which sometimes get snow even in the middle of the summer. The winters bring abundant, powdery snowfall to the mountains with abundant sunshine in between major storms. The western slope has high summer temperatures similar to those found on the plains, while the winters tend to be slightly cooler due to the lack of warming winds common to the plains and Front Range. Other areas in the west have their own unique climate. The San Luis Valley is generally dry with little rain or snow, although the snow that falls tends to stay on the ground all winter.[citation needed]
    [edit]Extreme weather


    Snow highlights the rugged mountains as well as the urban and agricultural landscapes of the Colorado plains.
    Extreme weather is a common occurrence in Colorado. Thunderstorms are common east of the Continental divide in the spring and summer, and Colorado is one of the leading states in deaths due to lightning. Hail is a common sight in the mountains east of the divide and in the northwest part of the state. The Eastern Plains have some of the biggest hail storms in North America.[10] Also the Eastern Plains are part of Tornado Alley and produce some of the deadliest U.S. tornadoes. Some damaging tornadoes in the Eastern Plains include the 1990 Limon F3 tornado and the 2008 Windsor EF3 tornado, which devastated the town.[14] The plains are also susceptible to floods, which are caused both by thunderstorms and by the rapid melting of snow in the mountains during warm weather. Denver's 1901 record for number of consecutive days above 90 °F (32 °C) was broken in the summer of 2008. The new record of twenty-four (24) consecutive days surpassed the previous record by almost a week.[15] Colorado is a relatively dry state averaging only 17 inches (430 mm) of rain per year and rarely experiences a time when some portion of the state is not in some degree of drought.[16] The lack of precipitation contributes to the severity of wildfires in the state such as the Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildfires in US history.
    [edit]Records
    The highest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was 118 °F (48 °C) on July 11, 1888, at Bennett, while the lowest was −61 °F (−51.7 °C) on February 1, 1985, at Maybell.[17][18]
    Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Colorado Cities (°F)
    City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Alamosa 33/-4 40/5 50/16 59/23 68/32 78/40 82/46 79/45 72/36 62/24 46/11 35/-1
    Colorado Springs 42/13 45/18 52/24 59/31 68/41 79/50 86/55 82/54 74/45 63/34 50/23 42/16
    Denver 43/15 47/19 54/25 61/34 70/44 82/53 88/59 86/57 77/47 66/36 52/24 44/16
    Grand Junction 37/16 45/23 56/31 64/38 74/46 87/55 96/61 92/60 83/50 67/39 50/26 39/18
    Pueblo 45/14 50/19 57/26 65/34 75/45 86/54 91/59 89/58 81/49 69/35 54/22 45/15
    [19]
    [edit]History

    Main articles: History of Colorado and Outline of Colorado history


    The ruins of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde as photographed by Gustaf Nordenskiöld in 1891.
    The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 13 millennia. The Lindenmeier Site in Larimer County contains artifacts dating from approximately 11200 BCE to 3000 BCE. The Ancient Pueblo Peoples lived in the valleys and mesas of the Colorado Plateau. The Ute Nation inhabited the mountain valleys of the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Western Rocky Mountains. The Arapaho Nation and the Cheyenne Nation moved west to hunt across the High Plains.
    The United States acquired a territorial claim to the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. The U.S. claim conflicted with Spain's claim that a huge region surrounding its colony of Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico was its sovereign trading zone. Zebulon Pike led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the disputed region in 1806. Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish cavalry in the San Luis Valley the following February, taken to Chihuahua, and expelled from México the following July.


    Bent's Old Fort along the Arkansas River operated from 1833 to 1849.
    The United States relinquished its claim to all land south and west of the Arkansas River as part of the U.S. purchase of Florida from Spain with the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. México finally won its independence from Spain in 1821, but it surrendered its northern territories to the United States after the Mexican-American War with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In 1849, the Mormons of Deseret (now Utah) organized the extralegal State of Deseret which claimed all land drained by the Green River and the Colorado River. The federal government refused to recognize the new government, and the Mormons declined to settle east of the Green River for more than 20 years. The United States divided the area of the future Colorado among the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah organized in 1850, and the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska organized in 1854.
    Most American settlers traveling west to Oregon, Deseret, or California avoided the rugged Rocky Mountains and instead followed the North Platte River and Sweetwater River through what is now Wyoming. On April 9, 1851, Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexico, settled the village of San Luis, then in the New Mexico Territory, but now Colorado's first permanent European settlement. Gold was discovered along the South Platte River in western Kansas Territory in July 1858, precipitating the Pike's Peak Gold Rush.[20] The placer gold deposits along the rivers and streams of the region rapidly played out, but miners soon discovered far more valuable seams of hard rock gold, silver, and other minerals in the nearby mountains.


    A lithograph of the Denver City mining camp in 1859.
    The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on August 24, 1859, but the new territory failed to secure federal sanction. The election of Abraham Lincoln for U.S. President on November 6, 1860, led to the secession of six slave states and the threat of civil war. Seeking to augment the political power of the free states, the Republican led U.S. Congress hurriedly admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of Kansas to the Union as the free State of Kansas on January 29, 1861, leaving the western portion of the territory, and its gold fields, unorganized.


    The Georgetown Loop of the Colorado Central Railroad as photographed by William H. Jackson in 1899.
    Thirty days later on February 28, 1861, outgoing U.S. President James Buchanan signed an act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado.[21] The original boundaries of Colorado remain unchanged today. The name Colorado was chosen because it was commonly believed that the Colorado River originated in the territory.[22] Early Spanish explorers named the river the Rio Colorado for the reddish-brown silt the river carried from the mountains.[23] In fact, the Colorado River did not flow through the State of Colorado until House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th United States Congress changed the name of the Grand River to the Colorado River on July 25, 1921.[24]


    Colorado state history plaque
    The United States Congress passed an enabling act on March 3, 1875, specifying the requirements for the Territory of Colorado to become a state.[7] On August 1, 1876 (28 days after the Centennial of the United States), U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting the State of Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and earning it the moniker "Centennial State".[25] The discovery of a major silver lode near Leadville in 1878, triggered the Colorado Silver Boom. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 envigorated silver mining, but the repeal of the act in 1893 led to a major collapse of the mining and agricultural economy of the state.
    Colorado women were granted the right to vote beginning on November 7, 1893, making Colorado the second U.S. state to grant universal suffrage and the first by popular vote. By the 1930 U.S. Census, the population of Colorado exceeded one million residents. The state suffered through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but a major wave of immigration following World War II boosted Colorado's fortune. Tourism became a mainstay of the state economy, and high technology became an important economic engine. Colorado's population exceeded 4.3 million at U.S. Census 2000.
    Three warships of the United States Navy have been named USS Colorado. The first USS Colorado was named for the Colorado River. The later two ships were named in honor of the landlocked state.
    [edit]Demographics

    Historical populations
    Census Pop. %±
    1860 34,277

    1870 39,864 16.3%
    1880 194,327 387.5%
    1890 413,249 112.7%
    1900 539,700 30.6%
    1910 799,024 48.0%
    1920 939,629 17.6%
    1930 1,035,791 10.2%
    1940 1,123,296 8.4%
    1950 1,325,089 18.0%
    1960 1,753,947 32.4%
    1970 2,207,259 25.8%
    1980 2,889,964 30.9%
    1990 3,294,394 14.0%
    2000 4,301,261 30.6%
    Est. 2008[26] 4,939,456 14.8%


    Colorado Population Density Map
    The state's most populous city, and capital, is Denver. The Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area, home to 2,927,911 people, contains more than two-thirds of the state's population. Residents of Colorado are properly referred to as Coloradans, although the term Coloradoans is still used.[2][27]
    As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus 147,770 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 159,957 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 47,740 people.
    The largest increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor, especially in the Denver metropolitan area. The state's fastest growing counties are Douglas and Weld.[28] Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from California, which led some locals to feel that their state was "Californicated" in the 1990s (esp. Denver resembled more of Los Angeles) when lower cost of living and a healthier economy drew in over 100,000 Californians at the time. The center of population of Colorado is located just north of the town of Critchell in Jefferson County.[29]
    Colorado has a high proportion of Hispanic citizens and Denver and some other areas have significant Mexican populations, while southern Colorado has a large number of Hispanos, the descendants of early New Mexican settlers of colonial Spanish origin. The 2000 U.S. Census reports that 10.52% of people aged 5 and over in Colorado speak Spanish at home.[30] Colorado, like New Mexico, is very rich in archaic Spanish idioms.[31]
    Colorado also has some African-Americans communities which are located in northeast Denver in the Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Park Hill and Colfax Park areas. The state has sizable numbers of Asian-Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Southeast Asian and Japanese descent. The Denver metropolitan area is considered more liberal and diverse than much of the state when it comes to political issues and environmental concerns.
    According to the 2000 Census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado are German (22%) including of Swiss and Austrian nationalities, Irish (12.2%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are the largest group in the state and are especially strong in the Front Range, the Rockies (west-central counties) and Eastern parts/High Plains.[32] Denver and nearby areas on the Front Range has sizable German, Scandinavian, Italian, Slavic and Jewish American communities, partly a legacy of gold rushes in the late 19th century (1861-1889).
    Demographics of Colorado (csv)
    By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
    2000 (total population) 92.23% 4.55% 1.91% 2.84% 0.25%
    2000 (Hispanic only) 16.20% 0.37% 0.64% 0.14% 0.05%
    2005 (total population) 91.91% 4.74% 1.83% 3.19% 0.26%
    2005 (Hispanic only) 18.46% 0.48% 0.61% 0.18% 0.06%
    Growth 2000–05 (total population) 8.09% 13.03% 3.85% 22.08% 15.47%
    Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 4.78% 10.67% 3.75% 21.14% 11.70%
    Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 23.60% 39.64% 4.05% 40.04% 29.23%
    * AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    There were a total of 70,331 births in Colorado in 2006. (Birth Rate of 14.6). In 2007, Non-Hispanic Whites constituted 73.5% of the population and accounted for 59.1% of all the births.[33] The first time in state history with the statistic of non-Hispanic whites have fewer babies. But 14.06% of the births happened to parents of different races (About two-thirds to White-Latino parents).[34] Westernmost counties where the majority of residents are adherents of Mormonism there's a slightly higher percentage of families with children and those of under age 18.
    Colorado has a higher number of younger persons in median age: 33, according to the 2000 Census report. Large numbers of married couples in professional careers with young children move to the state in a belief it's a better place to raise a family. Colorado is also a major retirement destination by senior citizens in search of a cooler climate, recreation activities and the higher altitude in most of Colorado is said to provide health benefits for those with respiratory diseases.
    [edit]Religion


    The Chapel on the Rock at Camp Saint Malo near Allenspark.


    The Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs.
    Colorado's most popular religion is Christianity, and its most popular denomination is Catholicism. Colorado, and specifically the city of Colorado Springs, serves as the headquarters of numerous Christian groups, many of them Evangelical. Focus on the Family is a major conservative Christian organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.
    Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:[35]
    Christian — 65%
    Protestant — 44%
    Evangelical — 23%
    Mainline — 19%
    Other Protestant — 2%
    Roman Catholic — 19%
    Orthodox — 1%
    Latter Day Saint / Mormon — 2%
    Jewish — 2%
    Muslim — 1%
    Other Religions — 5%
    Unaffiliated — 25%
    The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 752,505; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 92,326 (133,727 year-end 2007) ; and Baptist with 85,083.[36]
    [edit]Health
    Colorado also has a reputation for being a state of very active and athletic people. According to several studies, Coloradans have the lowest rates of obesity of any state in the US.[37] As of 2007 the 17.6% of the population was considered medically obese, and while the lowest in the nation, the percentage had increased from 16.9% from 2004. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter spoke that “As an avid fisherman and bike rider, I know first-hand that Colorado provides a great environment for active, healthy lifestyles,” although he did highlight the need for continued education and support to slow the growth of obesity in the state.[38]
    [edit]Culture

    Main article: Culture of Colorado
    [edit]Fine arts
    Main article: Fine arts in Colorado
    Music of Colorado
    Theater in Colorado
    [edit]Cuisine
    Main article: Cuisine of Colorado
    [edit]Economy



    The United States quarter dollar coin released 2006-06-14, in honor of the State of Colorado.


    Denver World Trade Center.
    The Denver financial district along 17th Street is known as the Wall Street of the West.


    Maize growing in Larimer County


    Cattle ranching in Jackson County


    An oil well in western Colorado
    Main article: Economy of Colorado
    The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product in 2007 was $236 billion. Per capita personal income in 2007 was $41,192, ranking Colorado eleventh in the nation.[39] The state's economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.
    The federal government is also a major economic force in the state with many important federal facilities including NORAD, United States Air Force Academy and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs; NOAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder; U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood; the Denver Mint, Buckley Air Force Base, and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prison and other federal prisons near Cañon City. In addition to these and other federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four National Parks that contribute to federal ownership of 24,615,788 acres (99,617 km2) of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the state.[40] In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and service sectors have expanded greatly. The state's economy is diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research and high-technology industries. Other industries include food processing, transportation equipment, machinery, chemical products, minerals such as gold and molybdenum, and tourism. Colorado also produces the largest amount of beer of any state.[41] Denver is an important financial center.
    A number of nationally known brand names have originated in Colorado factories and laboratories. From Denver came the forerunner of telecommunications giant Qwest in 1879, Samsonite luggage in 1910, Gates belts and hoses in 1911, and Russell Stover Candies in 1923. Kuner canned vegetables began in Brighton in 1864. From Golden came Coors beer in 1873, CoorsTek industrial ceramics in 1920, and Jolly Rancher candy in 1949. CF&I railroad rails, wire, nails and pipe debuted in Pueblo in 1892. The present-day Swift packed meat of Greeley evolved from Monfort of Colorado, Inc., established in 1930. Estes model rockets were launched in Penrose in 1958. Fort Collins has been the home of Woodward Governor Company's motor controllers (governors) since 1870, and Waterpik dental water jets and showerheads since 1962. Celestial Seasonings herbal teas have been made in Boulder since 1969. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory made its first candy in Durango in 1981.
    Colorado has a flat 4.63% income tax, regardless of income level. Unlike most states, which calculate taxes based on federal adjusted gross income, Colorado taxes are based on taxable income - income after federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard) deductions.[42][43] Colorado's state sales tax is 2.9% on retail sales. When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, full-year Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and special district taxes that may apply.
    Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The state's senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break is scheduled to return for assessment year 2006, payable in 2007.
    [edit]Philanthropy
    Major philanthropic organizations based in Colorado, including the Daniels Fund, the Anschutz Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation, grant approximately $400 million[44] each year from approximately $7 billion[45] of assets.
    [edit]Energy
    Colorado has significant energy resources. According to the Energy Information Administration, Colorado hosts seven of the Nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields and two of its 100 largest oil fields. Conventional and unconventional natural gas output from several Colorado basins typically account for more than 5 percent of annual U.S. natural gas production. Substantial deposits of bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite coal are also found in the state. Colorado's high Rocky Mountain ridges and eastern plains offer wind power potential, and geologic activity in the mountain areas provides potential for geothermal power development. Much of the state is sunny and could produce solar power. Major rivers flowing from the Rocky Mountains offer hydroelectric power resources. Corn grown in the flat eastern part of the State offers potential resources for ethanol production. Notably, Colorado’s oil shale deposits hold an estimated 1 trillion barrels (160 km3) of oil – nearly as much oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. Oil production from those deposits, however, remains speculative.[46]
    [edit]Special tax districts
    Some of the special tax districts are:
    The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which affects the counties of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas Counties
    The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties
    It is a 0.1% retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10).
    According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history or cultural history.
    As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently divided into three "tiers" among which receipts are allocated by percentage.
    Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives 65.5%.
    Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives 21%.
    Tier III has over 280 local organizations such as small theaters, orchestras, art centers, and natural history, cultural history, and community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding to the county cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%.
    An eleven-member board of directors oversees the distributions in accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council) and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado.
    The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to pay for and help build the Denver Broncos' stadium INVESCO Field at Mile High
    Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of southeast Jefferson and Boulder counties
    Regional Transportation Districts (RTA) taxes at varying rates in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison County
    Occupational Privilege Taxes (OPT or Head Tax) Denver and Aurora both levy an OPT on Employers and Employees
    If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the Employee and Employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
    In Denver, the Employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and the Employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.
    In Aurora, both Employer and Employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.
    It is the Employer's responsibility to with hold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an Employer does not comply, they can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.
    [edit]Transportation



    Colorado state welcome sign


    Denver International Airport


    Union Station in Denver.
    Interstate and Federal Highway Routes in the State of Colorado
    Interstate 25
    Interstate 70
    Interstate 76
    Interstate 225
    Interstate 270
    U.S. Route 6
    U.S. Route 24
    U.S. Route 34
    U.S. Route 36
    U.S. Route 40
    U.S. Route 50
    U.S. Route 84
    U.S. Route 85
    U.S. Route 87
    U.S. Route 138
    U.S. Route 160
    U.S. Route 285
    U.S. Route 287
    U.S. Route 350
    U.S. Route 400
    U.S. Route 491
    U.S. Route 550
    Commercial Airports in the State of Colorado
    ALS - San Luis Valley Regional Airport
    ASE - Aspen-Pitkin County Airport
    CEZ - Cortez Municipal Airport
    COS - City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport
    DEN - Denver International Airport[47]
    DRO - Durango-La Plata County Airport
    EGE - Eagle County Regional Airport
    FNL - Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport
    GJT - Grand Junction Regional Airport
    GUC - Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport
    HDN - Yampa Valley Airport
    MTJ - Montrose Regional Airport
    PUB - Pueblo Memorial Airport
    TEX - Telluride Regional Airport
    Amtrak Passenger Railroad Routes through the State of Colorado
    California Zephyr: Chicago, Galesburg, Omaha, Fort Morgan, Denver, Winter Park, Granby, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Salt Lake City, Reno, Sacramento, and Emeryville
    Southwest Chief: Chicago, Galesburg, Kansas City, Topeka, Lamar, La Junta, Trinidad, Albuquerque, Gallup, Flagstaff, Needles, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles
    Communities in the State of Colorado with Regional Bus Service
    Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Brush, Colorado Springs, Delta, Denver, Durango, Englewood, Frisco, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Greeley, Lamar, Limon, Longmont, Montrose, Pueblo, Rocky Ford, Springfield, Sterling, Trinidad, Vail, and Walsenburg
    See also: Colorado Department of Transportation, List of Colorado state highways, List of airports in Colorado, and Amtrak
    [edit]Government and politics

    [edit]State government
    Gubernatorial election results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2006 40.16% 625,886 56.98% 888,096
    2002 62.62% 884,584 33.65% 475,373
    1998 49.06% 648,202 48.43% 639,905
    1994 38.70% 432,042 55.47% 619,205
    1990 35.43% 358,403 61.89% 626,032
    Main article: Law and Government of Colorado


    The Colorado State Capitol in Denver
    Like all U.S. states, Colorado's constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The governor heads the state's executive branch. The Colorado Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the state. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. Currently, Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly. The 2005 Colorado General Assembly was the first to be controlled by the Democrats in forty years. The incumbent governor is Democrat August William "Bill" Ritter, Jr..
    Most Coloradans are originally native to other states (nearly 60% according to the 2000 census[48]), and this is illustrated by the fact that the state did not have a native-born governor from 1975 (when John David Vanderhoof left office) until 2007, when Bill Ritter took office; his election the previous year marked the first electoral victory for a native-born Coloradan in a gubernatorial race since 1958 (Vanderhoof had ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon's administration in 1973).
    [edit]Federal politics
    Presidential elections results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2008 44.71% 1,073,584 53.66% 1,288,568
    2004 51.69% 1,101,255 47.02% 1,001,732
    2000 50.75% 883,745 42.39% 738,227
    1996 45.80% 691,848 44.43% 671,152
    1992 35.87% 562,850 40.13% 629,681
    1988 53.06% 728,177 45.28% 621,453
    Main article: Politics of Colorado
    Colorado is considered a swing state in both state and federal elections. Coloradans have elected 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans to the governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado supported Democrats Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008, and supported Republicans Robert J. Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The presidential outcome in 2008 was the second closest to the national popular vote, after Virginia.[49]
    Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and liberal cities such as Boulder. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins and Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a few western ski resort counties. The Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains, Colorado Springs, Greeley, some Denver suburbs, and the western half of the state (including Grand Junction). The fastest growing parts of the state particularly Douglas, Elbert, and Weld Counties, in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area, are somewhat Republican-leaning.he Denver-AColorado ( /kɒləˈrædoʊ/ (help·info) or /kɒləˈrɑːdoʊ/ (help·info))[6] is a U.S. state located in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States of America. It may also be considered to be part of the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. In rare cases Eastern Colorado is considered part of the Midwestern United States. Colorado entered statehood in 1876 and was nicknamed the “Centennial State”. It is bordered to the north by Wyoming, to the south by New Mexico and Oklahoma, at the southwest corner by Arizona, to the east by Nebraska and Kansas and to the west by Utah.
    The state is well known for its magnificent scenery of mountains, rivers, lakes, and plains. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 5,024,748 on July 1, 2009, a 16.82% increase since the U.S. Census 2000.[3] Denver is the capital of Colorado and the state's most populous city. Residents of Colorado are properly known as "Coloradans" although the archaic term "Coloradoan" is still used.[1][2]
    Contents [hide]
    1 Geography
    1.1 Climate
    1.1.1 Eastern Plains
    1.1.2 West of the plains and foothills
    1.1.3 Extreme weather
    1.1.4 Records
    2 History
    3 Demographics
    3.1 Religion
    3.2 Health
    4 Culture
    4.1 Fine arts
    4.2 Cuisine
    5 Economy
    5.1 Philanthropy
    5.2 Energy
    5.3 Special tax districts
    6 Transportation
    7 Government and politics
    7.1 State government
    7.2 Federal politics
    8 Cities and Towns
    9 Counties
    10 Education
    11 Metropolitan Areas
    12 Military Installations
    13 Protected areas
    14 Sports
    14.1 Professional sports teams
    14.1.1 Former professional sports teams
    15 State symbols
    16 Prominent Coloradans
    17 See also
    18 References
    19 Further reading
    20 External links
    [edit]Geography



    An enlargeable map of the State of Colorado
    Main article: Geography of Colorado
    The State of Colorado is defined as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian).[7] Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only three U.S. states that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries and that have no natural borders. When government surveyors established the border markers for the Territory of Colorado, minor surveying errors created several small kinks along the borders, most notably along the border with the Territory of Utah. The surveyors' benchmarks, once agreed upon by the interested parties, became the legal boundaries for the Colorado Territory.[8]


    Tenmile Range near Leadville, Colorado.
    The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation in Lake County is the state's highest point and the highest point in the entire Rocky Mountains.[4][5] Colorado has more than 100 mountain peaks that exceed 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) elevation. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in the State of Colorado at 3,315 feet (1,010 m) elevation. This crossing point holds the distinction of being the highest low point of any U.S. state.[4][9]
    Nearly a third of the state is flat or rolling in stark contrast to Colorado's rugged Rocky Mountains. East of the Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Colorado at elevations ranging from roughly 3,350 to 6,500 feet (1,020 to 1,980 m).[10] The states of Kansas and Nebraska border Colorado to the east. The Colorado plains are usually thought of as prairies, but actually have a handful of deciduous forests. Eastern Colorado is mainly covered in farmland as well as small farming communities. Precipitation is fair, averaging from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually.[10] The summers in the plains are usually hot and humid, whereas the winters are often bitter cold, snowy and icy. Corn, wheat, hay, soybeans and oats are all typical crops and most small towns in the region boast both a water tower and a grain elevator. As well as crop farming Eastern Colorado has livestock farming, such as cattle farming and hog farming. It also contains many dairy farms and poultry farms.
    Most of Colorado's population lives along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor. This region is partially protected from prevailing storms by the high mountains to the west.


    The Continental Divide dips down to 11,990 feet (3,655 m) at Loveland Pass.
    To the west lies the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains with notable peaks such as Longs Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg in the south. This area drains to the east, is forested, and partially urbanized. During the drought of 2002 devastating forest fires swept this area.
    Hinsdale County, with Lake City (population appx. 300) as its seat, has been judged the most remote county in the 48 contiguous states. It has only one incorporated town (Lake City). It is one of the only places within the continental United States that one can venture more than 10 miles (16 km) from any road.
    The Continental Divide stretches across the crest of the Rocky Mountains. To the west of the Continental Divide is the Western Slope. Water west of the Continental Divide drains west into the Sea of Cortez via the Colorado River.
    Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks or high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is North Park. North Park is drained by the North Platte River, which flows north into Wyoming. Just south but on the west side of the Continental Divide is Middle Park, drained by the Colorado River. South Park is the headwaters of the South Platte River. To the south lies the San Luis Valley, the headwaters of the Rio Grande, which drains into New Mexico. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San Luis Valley, lie along the Rio Grande Rift, a major geological formation, and its branches.
    The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 54 peaks that are 14,000 feet (4,267 m) or higher elevation, known as fourteeners.[11] The mountains are timbered with conifers and aspens to the tree line, at an elevation of about 12,140 feet (3,700 m) in southern Colorado to about 10,500 feet (3,200 m) in northern Colorado; above this only alpine vegetation grows. The Colorado Rockies are snow-covered year round; a lot of the snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few small glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan Mountains in the southwest to Boulder and Central City on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado.
    The Western Slope is generally drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Notable to the south are the San Juan Mountains, an extremely rugged mountain range, and to the west of the San Juans, the Colorado Plateau, a high semi-desert bordering Southern Utah. Grand Junction is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction is served by Interstate Highway I-70. To the southeast of Grand Junction is Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Further east are the ski resorts of Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs. The northwestern corner of Colorado bordering Northern Utah and Western Wyoming is mostly sparsely populated ranch and rangeland.
    From west to east, the state consists of semi-desert-like basins, turning into plateaus, then alpine mountains, and then the grassland and a few forests of the Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peak is just west of Colorado Springs. Its lone peak is visible from near the Kansas border on clear days.[12]
    Colorado is also one of only four states in the United States to share a common border (Four Corners), along with Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. At this intersection, it is possible to stand in four states at once.
    See also: Colorado cities and towns, Colorado counties, Colorado municipalities, Colorado rivers, and Four Corners Monument
    [edit]Climate

    This section needs additional citations for verification.
    Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2009)


    Spring melt at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
    The climate of Colorado is quite complex compared to most of the United States. Unlike in other states, the southern Colorado is not necessarily warmer than the northern Colorado. Mountains and surrounding valleys greatly affect local climate. As a general rule, with an increase in elevation comes a decrease in temperature and an increase in precipitation. A main climatic division in Colorado occurs between the Rocky Mountains on the west and the plains on the east with the foothills forming a transitional zone between the two.[citation needed]
    [edit]Eastern Plains


    Center pivot irrigation of wheat growing in Yuma County.
    The climate of the Eastern Plains is a continental climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) of low humidity and moderate precipitation, usually from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually. The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool clear nights, which give this area the highest average diurnal temperature range in the United States[citation needed]. In summer, this area can have many days above 95 °F (35 °C) and sometimes 100 °F (38 °C)[13], although 105 °F (41 °C) is the maximum in the front range cities above 5,000 ft (1,500 m). In the plains, the winter extremes can be from 0 °F (−18 °C) to −10 °F (−23.3 °C) and −15 °F (−26.1 °C). The all time low in the area was −40 °F (−40.0 °C)[citation needed]. About 75% of the precipitation falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which are often severe, and from major snowstorms that occur most often in the early spring, late autumn, and sometimes winter. Otherwise, winters tend to be mostly dry and cold. In much of the region, March and April are the snowiest months. April and May are normally the rainiest months, while April is the wettest month overall. The Front Range cities closer to the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to chinook winds which warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures of 40 °F (4 °C) or higher in the winter.[13] The average July temperature is 55 °F (13 °C) in the morning and 80 °F (27 °C) in the afternoon. The average January temperature is 10 °F (−12 °C) in the morning and 30 °F (−1 °C) in the afternoon, although variation between consecutive days can be 40 °F (4 °C).
    [edit]West of the plains and foothills


    View of the Western Slope from Grand Junction.
    West of the plains and foothills, the weather of Colorado is much less uniform. Even places a few miles apart can experience entirely different weather depending on the topography of the area. Most valleys have a semi-arid climate, which becomes an alpine climate at higher elevations. Humid microclimates also exist in some areas. Generally, the wettest season in western Colorado is winter while June is the driest month. This is the opposite of precipitation patterns in the east. The mountains have cool summers with many days of high temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C), although frequent thunderstorms can cause sudden drops in temperature. Summer nights are cool or even cold at the highest elevations, which sometimes get snow even in the middle of the summer. The winters bring abundant, powdery snowfall to the mountains with abundant sunshine in between major storms. The western slope has high summer temperatures similar to those found on the plains, while the winters tend to be slightly cooler due to the lack of warming winds common to the plains and Front Range. Other areas in the west have their own unique climate. The San Luis Valley is generally dry with little rain or snow, although the snow that falls tends to stay on the ground all winter.[citation needed]
    [edit]Extreme weather


    Snow highlights the rugged mountains as well as the urban and agricultural landscapes of the Colorado plains.
    Extreme weather is a common occurrence in Colorado. Thunderstorms are common east of the Continental divide in the spring and summer, and Colorado is one of the leading states in deaths due to lightning. Hail is a common sight in the mountains east of the divide and in the northwest part of the state. The Eastern Plains have some of the biggest hail storms in North America.[10] Also the Eastern Plains are part of Tornado Alley and produce some of the deadliest U.S. tornadoes. Some damaging tornadoes in the Eastern Plains include the 1990 Limon F3 tornado and the 2008 Windsor EF3 tornado, which devastated the town.[14] The plains are also susceptible to floods, which are caused both by thunderstorms and by the rapid melting of snow in the mountains during warm weather. Denver's 1901 record for number of consecutive days above 90 °F (32 °C) was broken in the summer of 2008. The new record of twenty-four (24) consecutive days surpassed the previous record by almost a week.[15] Colorado is a relatively dry state averaging only 17 inches (430 mm) of rain per year and rarely experiences a time when some portion of the state is not in some degree of drought.[16] The lack of precipitation contributes to the severity of wildfires in the state such as the Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildfires in US history.
    [edit]Records
    The highest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was 118 °F (48 °C) on July 11, 1888, at Bennett, while the lowest was −61 °F (−51.7 °C) on February 1, 1985, at Maybell.[17][18]
    Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Colorado Cities (°F)
    City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Alamosa 33/-4 40/5 50/16 59/23 68/32 78/40 82/46 79/45 72/36 62/24 46/11 35/-1
    Colorado Springs 42/13 45/18 52/24 59/31 68/41 79/50 86/55 82/54 74/45 63/34 50/23 42/16
    Denver 43/15 47/19 54/25 61/34 70/44 82/53 88/59 86/57 77/47 66/36 52/24 44/16
    Grand Junction 37/16 45/23 56/31 64/38 74/46 87/55 96/61 92/60 83/50 67/39 50/26 39/18
    Pueblo 45/14 50/19 57/26 65/34 75/45 86/54 91/59 89/58 81/49 69/35 54/22 45/15
    [19]
    [edit]History

    Main articles: History of Colorado and Outline of Colorado history


    The ruins of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde as photographed by Gustaf Nordenskiöld in 1891.
    The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 13 millennia. The Lindenmeier Site in Larimer County contains artifacts dating from approximately 11200 BCE to 3000 BCE. The Ancient Pueblo Peoples lived in the valleys and mesas of the Colorado Plateau. The Ute Nation inhabited the mountain valleys of the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Western Rocky Mountains. The Arapaho Nation and the Cheyenne Nation moved west to hunt across the High Plains.
    The United States acquired a territorial claim to the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. The U.S. claim conflicted with Spain's claim that a huge region surrounding its colony of Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico was its sovereign trading zone. Zebulon Pike led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the disputed region in 1806. Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish cavalry in the San Luis Valley the following February, taken to Chihuahua, and expelled from México the following July.


    Bent's Old Fort along the Arkansas River operated from 1833 to 1849.
    The United States relinquished its claim to all land south and west of the Arkansas River as part of the U.S. purchase of Florida from Spain with the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. México finally won its independence from Spain in 1821, but it surrendered its northern territories to the United States after the Mexican-American War with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In 1849, the Mormons of Deseret (now Utah) organized the extralegal State of Deseret which claimed all land drained by the Green River and the Colorado River. The federal government refused to recognize the new government, and the Mormons declined to settle east of the Green River for more than 20 years. The United States divided the area of the future Colorado among the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah organized in 1850, and the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska organized in 1854.
    Most American settlers traveling west to Oregon, Deseret, or California avoided the rugged Rocky Mountains and instead followed the North Platte River and Sweetwater River through what is now Wyoming. On April 9, 1851, Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexico, settled the village of San Luis, then in the New Mexico Territory, but now Colorado's first permanent European settlement. Gold was discovered along the South Platte River in western Kansas Territory in July 1858, precipitating the Pike's Peak Gold Rush.[20] The placer gold deposits along the rivers and streams of the region rapidly played out, but miners soon discovered far more valuable seams of hard rock gold, silver, and other minerals in the nearby mountains.


    A lithograph of the Denver City mining camp in 1859.
    The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on August 24, 1859, but the new territory failed to secure federal sanction. The election of Abraham Lincoln for U.S. President on November 6, 1860, led to the secession of six slave states and the threat of civil war. Seeking to augment the political power of the free states, the Republican led U.S. Congress hurriedly admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of Kansas to the Union as the free State of Kansas on January 29, 1861, leaving the western portion of the territory, and its gold fields, unorganized.


    The Georgetown Loop of the Colorado Central Railroad as photographed by William H. Jackson in 1899.
    Thirty days later on February 28, 1861, outgoing U.S. President James Buchanan signed an act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado.[21] The original boundaries of Colorado remain unchanged today. The name Colorado was chosen because it was commonly believed that the Colorado River originated in the territory.[22] Early Spanish explorers named the river the Rio Colorado for the reddish-brown silt the river carried from the mountains.[23] In fact, the Colorado River did not flow through the State of Colorado until House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th United States Congress changed the name of the Grand River to the Colorado River on July 25, 1921.[24]


    Colorado state history plaque
    The United States Congress passed an enabling act on March 3, 1875, specifying the requirements for the Territory of Colorado to become a state.[7] On August 1, 1876 (28 days after the Centennial of the United States), U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting the State of Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and earning it the moniker "Centennial State".[25] The discovery of a major silver lode near Leadville in 1878, triggered the Colorado Silver Boom. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 envigorated silver mining, but the repeal of the act in 1893 led to a major collapse of the mining and agricultural economy of the state.
    Colorado women were granted the right to vote beginning on November 7, 1893, making Colorado the second U.S. state to grant universal suffrage and the first by popular vote. By the 1930 U.S. Census, the population of Colorado exceeded one million residents. The state suffered through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but a major wave of immigration following World War II boosted Colorado's fortune. Tourism became a mainstay of the state economy, and high technology became an important economic engine. Colorado's population exceeded 4.3 million at U.S. Census 2000.
    Three warships of the United States Navy have been named USS Colorado. The first USS Colorado was named for the Colorado River. The later two ships were named in honor of the landlocked state.
    [edit]Demographics

    Historical populations
    Census Pop. %±
    1860 34,277

    1870 39,864 16.3%
    1880 194,327 387.5%
    1890 413,249 112.7%
    1900 539,700 30.6%
    1910 799,024 48.0%
    1920 939,629 17.6%
    1930 1,035,791 10.2%
    1940 1,123,296 8.4%
    1950 1,325,089 18.0%
    1960 1,753,947 32.4%
    1970 2,207,259 25.8%
    1980 2,889,964 30.9%
    1990 3,294,394 14.0%
    2000 4,301,261 30.6%
    Est. 2008[26] 4,939,456 14.8%


    Colorado Population Density Map
    The state's most populous city, and capital, is Denver. The Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area, home to 2,927,911 people, contains more than two-thirds of the state's population. Residents of Colorado are properly referred to as Coloradans, although the term Coloradoans is still used.[2][27]
    As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus 147,770 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 159,957 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 47,740 people.
    The largest increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor, especially in the Denver metropolitan area. The state's fastest growing counties are Douglas and Weld.[28] Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from California, which led some locals to feel that their state was "Californicated" in the 1990s (esp. Denver resembled more of Los Angeles) when lower cost of living and a healthier economy drew in over 100,000 Californians at the time. The center of population of Colorado is located just north of the town of Critchell in Jefferson County.[29]
    Colorado has a high proportion of Hispanic citizens and Denver and some other areas have significant Mexican populations, while southern Colorado has a large number of Hispanos, the descendants of early New Mexican settlers of colonial Spanish origin. The 2000 U.S. Census reports that 10.52% of people aged 5 and over in Colorado speak Spanish at home.[30] Colorado, like New Mexico, is very rich in archaic Spanish idioms.[31]
    Colorado also has some African-Americans communities which are located in northeast Denver in the Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Park Hill and Colfax Park areas. The state has sizable numbers of Asian-Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Southeast Asian and Japanese descent. The Denver metropolitan area is considered more liberal and diverse than much of the state when it comes to political issues and environmental concerns.
    According to the 2000 Census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado are German (22%) including of Swiss and Austrian nationalities, Irish (12.2%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are the largest group in the state and are especially strong in the Front Range, the Rockies (west-central counties) and Eastern parts/High Plains.[32] Denver and nearby areas on the Front Range has sizable German, Scandinavian, Italian, Slavic and Jewish American communities, partly a legacy of gold rushes in the late 19th century (1861-1889).
    Demographics of Colorado (csv)
    By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
    2000 (total population) 92.23% 4.55% 1.91% 2.84% 0.25%
    2000 (Hispanic only) 16.20% 0.37% 0.64% 0.14% 0.05%
    2005 (total population) 91.91% 4.74% 1.83% 3.19% 0.26%
    2005 (Hispanic only) 18.46% 0.48% 0.61% 0.18% 0.06%
    Growth 2000–05 (total population) 8.09% 13.03% 3.85% 22.08% 15.47%
    Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 4.78% 10.67% 3.75% 21.14% 11.70%
    Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 23.60% 39.64% 4.05% 40.04% 29.23%
    * AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    There were a total of 70,331 births in Colorado in 2006. (Birth Rate of 14.6). In 2007, Non-Hispanic Whites constituted 73.5% of the population and accounted for 59.1% of all the births.[33] The first time in state history with the statistic of non-Hispanic whites have fewer babies. But 14.06% of the births happened to parents of different races (About two-thirds to White-Latino parents).[34] Westernmost counties where the majority of residents are adherents of Mormonism there's a slightly higher percentage of families with children and those of under age 18.
    Colorado has a higher number of younger persons in median age: 33, according to the 2000 Census report. Large numbers of married couples in professional careers with young children move to the state in a belief it's a better place to raise a family. Colorado is also a major retirement destination by senior citizens in search of a cooler climate, recreation activities and the higher altitude in most of Colorado is said to provide health benefits for those with respiratory diseases.
    [edit]Religion


    The Chapel on the Rock at Camp Saint Malo near Allenspark.


    The Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs.
    Colorado's most popular religion is Christianity, and its most popular denomination is Catholicism. Colorado, and specifically the city of Colorado Springs, serves as the headquarters of numerous Christian groups, many of them Evangelical. Focus on the Family is a major conservative Christian organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.
    Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:[35]
    Christian — 65%
    Protestant — 44%
    Evangelical — 23%
    Mainline — 19%
    Other Protestant — 2%
    Roman Catholic — 19%
    Orthodox — 1%
    Latter Day Saint / Mormon — 2%
    Jewish — 2%
    Muslim — 1%
    Other Religions — 5%
    Unaffiliated — 25%
    The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 752,505; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 92,326 (133,727 year-end 2007) ; and Baptist with 85,083.[36]
    [edit]Health
    Colorado also has a reputation for being a state of very active and athletic people. According to several studies, Coloradans have the lowest rates of obesity of any state in the US.[37] As of 2007 the 17.6% of the population was considered medically obese, and while the lowest in the nation, the percentage had increased from 16.9% from 2004. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter spoke that “As an avid fisherman and bike rider, I know first-hand that Colorado provides a great environment for active, healthy lifestyles,” although he did highlight the need for continued education and support to slow the growth of obesity in the state.[38]
    [edit]Culture

    Main article: Culture of Colorado
    [edit]Fine arts
    Main article: Fine arts in Colorado
    Music of Colorado
    Theater in Colorado
    [edit]Cuisine
    Main article: Cuisine of Colorado
    [edit]Economy



    The United States quarter dollar coin released 2006-06-14, in honor of the State of Colorado.


    Denver World Trade Center.
    The Denver financial district along 17th Street is known as the Wall Street of the West.


    Maize growing in Larimer County


    Cattle ranching in Jackson County


    An oil well in western Colorado
    Main article: Economy of Colorado
    The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product in 2007 was $236 billion. Per capita personal income in 2007 was $41,192, ranking Colorado eleventh in the nation.[39] The state's economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.
    The federal government is also a major economic force in the state with many important federal facilities including NORAD, United States Air Force Academy and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs; NOAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder; U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood; the Denver Mint, Buckley Air Force Base, and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prison and other federal prisons near Cañon City. In addition to these and other federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four National Parks that contribute to federal ownership of 24,615,788 acres (99,617 km2) of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the state.[40] In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and service sectors have expanded greatly. The state's economy is diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research and high-technology industries. Other industries include food processing, transportation equipment, machinery, chemical products, minerals such as gold and molybdenum, and tourism. Colorado also produces the largest amount of beer of any state.[41] Denver is an important financial center.
    A number of nationally known brand names have originated in Colorado factories and laboratories. From Denver came the forerunner of telecommunications giant Qwest in 1879, Samsonite luggage in 1910, Gates belts and hoses in 1911, and Russell Stover Candies in 1923. Kuner canned vegetables began in Brighton in 1864. From Golden came Coors beer in 1873, CoorsTek industrial ceramics in 1920, and Jolly Rancher candy in 1949. CF&I railroad rails, wire, nails and pipe debuted in Pueblo in 1892. The present-day Swift packed meat of Greeley evolved from Monfort of Colorado, Inc., established in 1930. Estes model rockets were launched in Penrose in 1958. Fort Collins has been the home of Woodward Governor Company's motor controllers (governors) since 1870, and Waterpik dental water jets and showerheads since 1962. Celestial Seasonings herbal teas have been made in Boulder since 1969. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory made its first candy in Durango in 1981.
    Colorado has a flat 4.63% income tax, regardless of income level. Unlike most states, which calculate taxes based on federal adjusted gross income, Colorado taxes are based on taxable income - income after federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard) deductions.[42][43] Colorado's state sales tax is 2.9% on retail sales. When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, full-year Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and special district taxes that may apply.
    Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The state's senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break is scheduled to return for assessment year 2006, payable in 2007.
    [edit]Philanthropy
    Major philanthropic organizations based in Colorado, including the Daniels Fund, the Anschutz Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation, grant approximately $400 million[44] each year from approximately $7 billion[45] of assets.
    [edit]Energy
    Colorado has significant energy resources. According to the Energy Information Administration, Colorado hosts seven of the Nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields and two of its 100 largest oil fields. Conventional and unconventional natural gas output from several Colorado basins typically account for more than 5 percent of annual U.S. natural gas production. Substantial deposits of bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite coal are also found in the state. Colorado's high Rocky Mountain ridges and eastern plains offer wind power potential, and geologic activity in the mountain areas provides potential for geothermal power development. Much of the state is sunny and could produce solar power. Major rivers flowing from the Rocky Mountains offer hydroelectric power resources. Corn grown in the flat eastern part of the State offers potential resources for ethanol production. Notably, Colorado’s oil shale deposits hold an estimated 1 trillion barrels (160 km3) of oil – nearly as much oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. Oil production from those deposits, however, remains speculative.[46]
    [edit]Special tax districts
    Some of the special tax districts are:
    The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which affects the counties of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas Counties
    The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties
    It is a 0.1% retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10).
    According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history or cultural history.
    As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently divided into three "tiers" among which receipts are allocated by percentage.
    Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives 65.5%.
    Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives 21%.
    Tier III has over 280 local organizations such as small theaters, orchestras, art centers, and natural history, cultural history, and community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding to the county cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%.
    An eleven-member board of directors oversees the distributions in accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council) and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado.
    The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to pay for and help build the Denver Broncos' stadium INVESCO Field at Mile High
    Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of southeast Jefferson and Boulder counties
    Regional Transportation Districts (RTA) taxes at varying rates in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison County
    Occupational Privilege Taxes (OPT or Head Tax) Denver and Aurora both levy an OPT on Employers and Employees
    If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the Employee and Employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
    In Denver, the Employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and the Employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.
    In Aurora, both Employer and Employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.
    It is the Employer's responsibility to with hold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an Employer does not comply, they can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.
    [edit]Transportation



    Colorado state welcome sign


    Denver International Airport


    Union Station in Denver.
    Interstate and Federal Highway Routes in the State of Colorado
    Interstate 25
    Interstate 70
    Interstate 76
    Interstate 225
    Interstate 270
    U.S. Route 6
    U.S. Route 24
    U.S. Route 34
    U.S. Route 36
    U.S. Route 40
    U.S. Route 50
    U.S. Route 84
    U.S. Route 85
    U.S. Route 87
    U.S. Route 138
    U.S. Route 160
    U.S. Route 285
    U.S. Route 287
    U.S. Route 350
    U.S. Route 400
    U.S. Route 491
    U.S. Route 550
    Commercial Airports in the State of Colorado
    ALS - San Luis Valley Regional Airport
    ASE - Aspen-Pitkin County Airport
    CEZ - Cortez Municipal Airport
    COS - City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport
    DEN - Denver International Airport[47]
    DRO - Durango-La Plata County Airport
    EGE - Eagle County Regional Airport
    FNL - Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport
    GJT - Grand Junction Regional Airport
    GUC - Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport
    HDN - Yampa Valley Airport
    MTJ - Montrose Regional Airport
    PUB - Pueblo Memorial Airport
    TEX - Telluride Regional Airport
    Amtrak Passenger Railroad Routes through the State of Colorado
    California Zephyr: Chicago, Galesburg, Omaha, Fort Morgan, Denver, Winter Park, Granby, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Salt Lake City, Reno, Sacramento, and Emeryville
    Southwest Chief: Chicago, Galesburg, Kansas City, Topeka, Lamar, La Junta, Trinidad, Albuquerque, Gallup, Flagstaff, Needles, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles
    Communities in the State of Colorado with Regional Bus Service
    Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Brush, Colorado Springs, Delta, Denver, Durango, Englewood, Frisco, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Greeley, Lamar, Limon, Longmont, Montrose, Pueblo, Rocky Ford, Springfield, Sterling, Trinidad, Vail, and Walsenburg
    See also: Colorado Department of Transportation, List of Colorado state highways, List of airports in Colorado, and Amtrak
    [edit]Government and politics

    [edit]State government
    Gubernatorial election results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2006 40.16% 625,886 56.98% 888,096
    2002 62.62% 884,584 33.65% 475,373
    1998 49.06% 648,202 48.43% 639,905
    1994 38.70% 432,042 55.47% 619,205
    1990 35.43% 358,403 61.89% 626,032
    Main article: Law and Government of Colorado


    The Colorado State Capitol in Denver
    Like all U.S. states, Colorado's constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The governor heads the state's executive branch. The Colorado Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the state. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. Currently, Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly. The 2005 Colorado General Assembly was the first to be controlled by the Democrats in forty years. The incumbent governor is Democrat August William "Bill" Ritter, Jr..
    Most Coloradans are originally native to other states (nearly 60% according to the 2000 census[48]), and this is illustrated by the fact that the state did not have a native-born governor from 1975 (when John David Vanderhoof left office) until 2007, when Bill Ritter took office; his election the previous year marked the first electoral victory for a native-born Coloradan in a gubernatorial race since 1958 (Vanderhoof had ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon's administration in 1973).
    [edit]Federal politics
    Presidential elections results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2008 44.71% 1,073,584 53.66% 1,288,568
    2004 51.69% 1,101,255 47.02% 1,001,732
    2000 50.75% 883,745 42.39% 738,227
    1996 45.80% 691,848 44.43% 671,152
    1992 35.87% 562,850 40.13% 629,681
    1988 53.06% 728,177 45.28% 621,453
    Main article: Politics of Colorado
    Colorado is considered a swing state in both state and federal elections. Coloradans have elected 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans to the governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado supported Democrats Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008, and supported Republicans Robert J. Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The presidential outcome in 2008 was the second closest to the national popular vote, after Virginia.[49]
    Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and liberal cities such as Boulder. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins and Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a few western ski resort counties. The Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains, Colorado Springs, Greeley, some Denver suburbs, and the western half of the state (including Grand Junction). The fastest growing parts of the state particularly Douglas, Elbert, and Weld Counties, in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area, are somewhat Republican-leaning.urora Metropolitan ArColorado ( /kɒləˈrædoʊ/ (help·info) or /kɒləˈrɑːdoʊ/ (help·info))[6] is a U.S. state located in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States of America. It may also be considered to be part of the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. In rare cases Eastern Colorado is considered part of the Midwestern United States. Colorado entered statehood in 1876 and was nicknamed the “Centennial State”. It is bordered to the north by Wyoming, to the south by New Mexico and Oklahoma, at the southwest corner by Arizona, to the east by Nebraska and Kansas and to the west by Utah.
    The state is well known for its magnificent scenery of mountains, rivers, lakes, and plains. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 5,024,748 on July 1, 2009, a 16.82% increase since the U.S. Census 2000.[3] Denver is the capital of Colorado and the state's most populous city. Residents of Colorado are properly known as "Coloradans" although the archaic term "Coloradoan" is still used.[1][2]
    Contents [hide]
    1 Geography
    1.1 Climate
    1.1.1 Eastern Plains
    1.1.2 West of the plains and foothills
    1.1.3 Extreme weather
    1.1.4 Records
    2 History
    3 Demographics
    3.1 Religion
    3.2 Health
    4 Culture
    4.1 Fine arts
    4.2 Cuisine
    5 Economy
    5.1 Philanthropy
    5.2 Energy
    5.3 Special tax districts
    6 Transportation
    7 Government and politics
    7.1 State government
    7.2 Federal politics
    8 Cities and Towns
    9 Counties
    10 Education
    11 Metropolitan Areas
    12 Military Installations
    13 Protected areas
    14 Sports
    14.1 Professional sports teams
    14.1.1 Former professional sports teams
    15 State symbols
    16 Prominent Coloradans
    17 See also
    18 References
    19 Further reading
    20 External links
    [edit]Geography



    An enlargeable map of the State of Colorado
    Main article: Geography of Colorado
    The State of Colorado is defined as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian).[7] Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only three U.S. states that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries and that have no natural borders. When government surveyors established the border markers for the Territory of Colorado, minor surveying errors created several small kinks along the borders, most notably along the border with the Territory of Utah. The surveyors' benchmarks, once agreed upon by the interested parties, became the legal boundaries for the Colorado Territory.[8]


    Tenmile Range near Leadville, Colorado.
    The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation in Lake County is the state's highest point and the highest point in the entire Rocky Mountains.[4][5] Colorado has more than 100 mountain peaks that exceed 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) elevation. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in the State of Colorado at 3,315 feet (1,010 m) elevation. This crossing point holds the distinction of being the highest low point of any U.S. state.[4][9]
    Nearly a third of the state is flat or rolling in stark contrast to Colorado's rugged Rocky Mountains. East of the Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Colorado at elevations ranging from roughly 3,350 to 6,500 feet (1,020 to 1,980 m).[10] The states of Kansas and Nebraska border Colorado to the east. The Colorado plains are usually thought of as prairies, but actually have a handful of deciduous forests. Eastern Colorado is mainly covered in farmland as well as small farming communities. Precipitation is fair, averaging from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually.[10] The summers in the plains are usually hot and humid, whereas the winters are often bitter cold, snowy and icy. Corn, wheat, hay, soybeans and oats are all typical crops and most small towns in the region boast both a water tower and a grain elevator. As well as crop farming Eastern Colorado has livestock farming, such as cattle farming and hog farming. It also contains many dairy farms and poultry farms.
    Most of Colorado's population lives along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor. This region is partially protected from prevailing storms by the high mountains to the west.


    The Continental Divide dips down to 11,990 feet (3,655 m) at Loveland Pass.
    To the west lies the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains with notable peaks such as Longs Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg in the south. This area drains to the east, is forested, and partially urbanized. During the drought of 2002 devastating forest fires swept this area.
    Hinsdale County, with Lake City (population appx. 300) as its seat, has been judged the most remote county in the 48 contiguous states. It has only one incorporated town (Lake City). It is one of the only places within the continental United States that one can venture more than 10 miles (16 km) from any road.
    The Continental Divide stretches across the crest of the Rocky Mountains. To the west of the Continental Divide is the Western Slope. Water west of the Continental Divide drains west into the Sea of Cortez via the Colorado River.
    Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks or high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is North Park. North Park is drained by the North Platte River, which flows north into Wyoming. Just south but on the west side of the Continental Divide is Middle Park, drained by the Colorado River. South Park is the headwaters of the South Platte River. To the south lies the San Luis Valley, the headwaters of the Rio Grande, which drains into New Mexico. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San Luis Valley, lie along the Rio Grande Rift, a major geological formation, and its branches.
    The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 54 peaks that are 14,000 feet (4,267 m) or higher elevation, known as fourteeners.[11] The mountains are timbered with conifers and aspens to the tree line, at an elevation of about 12,140 feet (3,700 m) in southern Colorado to about 10,500 feet (3,200 m) in northern Colorado; above this only alpine vegetation grows. The Colorado Rockies are snow-covered year round; a lot of the snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few small glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan Mountains in the southwest to Boulder and Central City on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado.
    The Western Slope is generally drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Notable to the south are the San Juan Mountains, an extremely rugged mountain range, and to the west of the San Juans, the Colorado Plateau, a high semi-desert bordering Southern Utah. Grand Junction is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction is served by Interstate Highway I-70. To the southeast of Grand Junction is Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Further east are the ski resorts of Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs. The northwestern corner of Colorado bordering Northern Utah and Western Wyoming is mostly sparsely populated ranch and rangeland.
    From west to east, the state consists of semi-desert-like basins, turning into plateaus, then alpine mountains, and then the grassland and a few forests of the Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peak is just west of Colorado Springs. Its lone peak is visible from near the Kansas border on clear days.[12]
    Colorado is also one of only four states in the United States to share a common border (Four Corners), along with Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. At this intersection, it is possible to stand in four states at once.
    See also: Colorado cities and towns, Colorado counties, Colorado municipalities, Colorado rivers, and Four Corners Monument
    [edit]Climate

    This section needs additional citations for verification.
    Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2009)


    Spring melt at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
    The climate of Colorado is quite complex compared to most of the United States. Unlike in other states, the southern Colorado is not necessarily warmer than the northern Colorado. Mountains and surrounding valleys greatly affect local climate. As a general rule, with an increase in elevation comes a decrease in temperature and an increase in precipitation. A main climatic division in Colorado occurs between the Rocky Mountains on the west and the plains on the east with the foothills forming a transitional zone between the two.[citation needed]
    [edit]Eastern Plains


    Center pivot irrigation of wheat growing in Yuma County.
    The climate of the Eastern Plains is a continental climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) of low humidity and moderate precipitation, usually from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually. The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool clear nights, which give this area the highest average diurnal temperature range in the United States[citation needed]. In summer, this area can have many days above 95 °F (35 °C) and sometimes 100 °F (38 °C)[13], although 105 °F (41 °C) is the maximum in the front range cities above 5,000 ft (1,500 m). In the plains, the winter extremes can be from 0 °F (−18 °C) to −10 °F (−23.3 °C) and −15 °F (−26.1 °C). The all time low in the area was −40 °F (−40.0 °C)[citation needed]. About 75% of the precipitation falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which are often severe, and from major snowstorms that occur most often in the early spring, late autumn, and sometimes winter. Otherwise, winters tend to be mostly dry and cold. In much of the region, March and April are the snowiest months. April and May are normally the rainiest months, while April is the wettest month overall. The Front Range cities closer to the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to chinook winds which warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures of 40 °F (4 °C) or higher in the winter.[13] The average July temperature is 55 °F (13 °C) in the morning and 80 °F (27 °C) in the afternoon. The average January temperature is 10 °F (−12 °C) in the morning and 30 °F (−1 °C) in the afternoon, although variation between consecutive days can be 40 °F (4 °C).
    [edit]West of the plains and foothills


    View of the Western Slope from Grand Junction.
    West of the plains and foothills, the weather of Colorado is much less uniform. Even places a few miles apart can experience entirely different weather depending on the topography of the area. Most valleys have a semi-arid climate, which becomes an alpine climate at higher elevations. Humid microclimates also exist in some areas. Generally, the wettest season in western Colorado is winter while June is the driest month. This is the opposite of precipitation patterns in the east. The mountains have cool summers with many days of high temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C), although frequent thunderstorms can cause sudden drops in temperature. Summer nights are cool or even cold at the highest elevations, which sometimes get snow even in the middle of the summer. The winters bring abundant, powdery snowfall to the mountains with abundant sunshine in between major storms. The western slope has high summer temperatures similar to those found on the plains, while the winters tend to be slightly cooler due to the lack of warming winds common to the plains and Front Range. Other areas in the west have their own unique climate. The San Luis Valley is generally dry with little rain or snow, although the snow that falls tends to stay on the ground all winter.[citation needed]
    [edit]Extreme weather


    Snow highlights the rugged mountains as well as the urban and agricultural landscapes of the Colorado plains.
    Extreme weather is a common occurrence in Colorado. Thunderstorms are common east of the Continental divide in the spring and summer, and Colorado is one of the leading states in deaths due to lightning. Hail is a common sight in the mountains east of the divide and in the northwest part of the state. The Eastern Plains have some of the biggest hail storms in North America.[10] Also the Eastern Plains are part of Tornado Alley and produce some of the deadliest U.S. tornadoes. Some damaging tornadoes in the Eastern Plains include the 1990 Limon F3 tornado and the 2008 Windsor EF3 tornado, which devastated the town.[14] The plains are also susceptible to floods, which are caused both by thunderstorms and by the rapid melting of snow in the mountains during warm weather. Denver's 1901 record for number of consecutive days above 90 °F (32 °C) was broken in the summer of 2008. The new record of twenty-four (24) consecutive days surpassed the previous record by almost a week.[15] Colorado is a relatively dry state averaging only 17 inches (430 mm) of rain per year and rarely experiences a time when some portion of the state is not in some degree of drought.[16] The lack of precipitation contributes to the severity of wildfires in the state such as the Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildfires in US history.
    [edit]Records
    The highest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was 118 °F (48 °C) on July 11, 1888, at Bennett, while the lowest was −61 °F (−51.7 °C) on February 1, 1985, at Maybell.[17][18]
    Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Colorado Cities (°F)
    City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Alamosa 33/-4 40/5 50/16 59/23 68/32 78/40 82/46 79/45 72/36 62/24 46/11 35/-1
    Colorado Springs 42/13 45/18 52/24 59/31 68/41 79/50 86/55 82/54 74/45 63/34 50/23 42/16
    Denver 43/15 47/19 54/25 61/34 70/44 82/53 88/59 86/57 77/47 66/36 52/24 44/16
    Grand Junction 37/16 45/23 56/31 64/38 74/46 87/55 96/61 92/60 83/50 67/39 50/26 39/18
    Pueblo 45/14 50/19 57/26 65/34 75/45 86/54 91/59 89/58 81/49 69/35 54/22 45/15
    [19]
    [edit]History

    Main articles: History of Colorado and Outline of Colorado history


    The ruins of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde as photographed by Gustaf Nordenskiöld in 1891.
    The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 13 millennia. The Lindenmeier Site in Larimer County contains artifacts dating from approximately 11200 BCE to 3000 BCE. The Ancient Pueblo Peoples lived in the valleys and mesas of the Colorado Plateau. The Ute Nation inhabited the mountain valleys of the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Western Rocky Mountains. The Arapaho Nation and the Cheyenne Nation moved west to hunt across the High Plains.
    The United States acquired a territorial claim to the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. The U.S. claim conflicted with Spain's claim that a huge region surrounding its colony of Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico was its sovereign trading zone. Zebulon Pike led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the disputed region in 1806. Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish cavalry in the San Luis Valley the following February, taken to Chihuahua, and expelled from México the following July.


    Bent's Old Fort along the Arkansas River operated from 1833 to 1849.
    The United States relinquished its claim to all land south and west of the Arkansas River as part of the U.S. purchase of Florida from Spain with the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. México finally won its independence from Spain in 1821, but it surrendered its northern territories to the United States after the Mexican-American War with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In 1849, the Mormons of Deseret (now Utah) organized the extralegal State of Deseret which claimed all land drained by the Green River and the Colorado River. The federal government refused to recognize the new government, and the Mormons declined to settle east of the Green River for more than 20 years. The United States divided the area of the future Colorado among the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah organized in 1850, and the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska organized in 1854.
    Most American settlers traveling west to Oregon, Deseret, or California avoided the rugged Rocky Mountains and instead followed the North Platte River and Sweetwater River through what is now Wyoming. On April 9, 1851, Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexico, settled the village of San Luis, then in the New Mexico Territory, but now Colorado's first permanent European settlement. Gold was discovered along the South Platte River in western Kansas Territory in July 1858, precipitating the Pike's Peak Gold Rush.[20] The placer gold deposits along the rivers and streams of the region rapidly played out, but miners soon discovered far more valuable seams of hard rock gold, silver, and other minerals in the nearby mountains.


    A lithograph of the Denver City mining camp in 1859.
    The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on August 24, 1859, but the new territory failed to secure federal sanction. The election of Abraham Lincoln for U.S. President on November 6, 1860, led to the secession of six slave states and the threat of civil war. Seeking to augment the political power of the free states, the Republican led U.S. Congress hurriedly admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of Kansas to the Union as the free State of Kansas on January 29, 1861, leaving the western portion of the territory, and its gold fields, unorganized.


    The Georgetown Loop of the Colorado Central Railroad as photographed by William H. Jackson in 1899.
    Thirty days later on February 28, 1861, outgoing U.S. President James Buchanan signed an act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado.[21] The original boundaries of Colorado remain unchanged today. The name Colorado was chosen because it was commonly believed that the Colorado River originated in the territory.[22] Early Spanish explorers named the river the Rio Colorado for the reddish-brown silt the river carried from the mountains.[23] In fact, the Colorado River did not flow through the State of Colorado until House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th United States Congress changed the name of the Grand River to the Colorado River on July 25, 1921.[24]


    Colorado state history plaque
    The United States Congress passed an enabling act on March 3, 1875, specifying the requirements for the Territory of Colorado to become a state.[7] On August 1, 1876 (28 days after the Centennial of the United States), U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting the State of Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and earning it the moniker "Centennial State".[25] The discovery of a major silver lode near Leadville in 1878, triggered the Colorado Silver Boom. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 envigorated silver mining, but the repeal of the act in 1893 led to a major collapse of the mining and agricultural economy of the state.
    Colorado women were granted the right to vote beginning on November 7, 1893, making Colorado the second U.S. state to grant universal suffrage and the first by popular vote. By the 1930 U.S. Census, the population of Colorado exceeded one million residents. The state suffered through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but a major wave of immigration following World War II boosted Colorado's fortune. Tourism became a mainstay of the state economy, and high technology became an important economic engine. Colorado's population exceeded 4.3 million at U.S. Census 2000.
    Three warships of the United States Navy have been named USS Colorado. The first USS Colorado was named for the Colorado River. The later two ships were named in honor of the landlocked state.
    [edit]Demographics

    Historical populations
    Census Pop. %±
    1860 34,277

    1870 39,864 16.3%
    1880 194,327 387.5%
    1890 413,249 112.7%
    1900 539,700 30.6%
    1910 799,024 48.0%
    1920 939,629 17.6%
    1930 1,035,791 10.2%
    1940 1,123,296 8.4%
    1950 1,325,089 18.0%
    1960 1,753,947 32.4%
    1970 2,207,259 25.8%
    1980 2,889,964 30.9%
    1990 3,294,394 14.0%
    2000 4,301,261 30.6%
    Est. 2008[26] 4,939,456 14.8%


    Colorado Population Density Map
    The state's most populous city, and capital, is Denver. The Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area, home to 2,927,911 people, contains more than two-thirds of the state's population. Residents of Colorado are properly referred to as Coloradans, although the term Coloradoans is still used.[2][27]
    As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus 147,770 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 159,957 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 47,740 people.
    The largest increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor, especially in the Denver metropolitan area. The state's fastest growing counties are Douglas and Weld.[28] Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from California, which led some locals to feel that their state was "Californicated" in the 1990s (esp. Denver resembled more of Los Angeles) when lower cost of living and a healthier economy drew in over 100,000 Californians at the time. The center of population of Colorado is located just north of the town of Critchell in Jefferson County.[29]
    Colorado has a high proportion of Hispanic citizens and Denver and some other areas have significant Mexican populations, while southern Colorado has a large number of Hispanos, the descendants of early New Mexican settlers of colonial Spanish origin. The 2000 U.S. Census reports that 10.52% of people aged 5 and over in Colorado speak Spanish at home.[30] Colorado, like New Mexico, is very rich in archaic Spanish idioms.[31]
    Colorado also has some African-Americans communities which are located in northeast Denver in the Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Park Hill and Colfax Park areas. The state has sizable numbers of Asian-Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Southeast Asian and Japanese descent. The Denver metropolitan area is considered more liberal and diverse than much of the state when it comes to political issues and environmental concerns.
    According to the 2000 Census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado are German (22%) including of Swiss and Austrian nationalities, Irish (12.2%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are the largest group in the state and are especially strong in the Front Range, the Rockies (west-central counties) and Eastern parts/High Plains.[32] Denver and nearby areas on the Front Range has sizable German, Scandinavian, Italian, Slavic and Jewish American communities, partly a legacy of gold rushes in the late 19th century (1861-1889).
    Demographics of Colorado (csv)
    By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
    2000 (total population) 92.23% 4.55% 1.91% 2.84% 0.25%
    2000 (Hispanic only) 16.20% 0.37% 0.64% 0.14% 0.05%
    2005 (total population) 91.91% 4.74% 1.83% 3.19% 0.26%
    2005 (Hispanic only) 18.46% 0.48% 0.61% 0.18% 0.06%
    Growth 2000–05 (total population) 8.09% 13.03% 3.85% 22.08% 15.47%
    Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 4.78% 10.67% 3.75% 21.14% 11.70%
    Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 23.60% 39.64% 4.05% 40.04% 29.23%
    * AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    There were a total of 70,331 births in Colorado in 2006. (Birth Rate of 14.6). In 2007, Non-Hispanic Whites constituted 73.5% of the population and accounted for 59.1% of all the births.[33] The first time in state history with the statistic of non-Hispanic whites have fewer babies. But 14.06% of the births happened to parents of different races (About two-thirds to White-Latino parents).[34] Westernmost counties where the majority of residents are adherents of Mormonism there's a slightly higher percentage of families with children and those of under age 18.
    Colorado has a higher number of younger persons in median age: 33, according to the 2000 Census report. Large numbers of married couples in professional careers with young children move to the state in a belief it's a better place to raise a family. Colorado is also a major retirement destination by senior citizens in search of a cooler climate, recreation activities and the higher altitude in most of Colorado is said to provide health benefits for those with respiratory diseases.
    [edit]Religion


    The Chapel on the Rock at Camp Saint Malo near Allenspark.


    The Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs.
    Colorado's most popular religion is Christianity, and its most popular denomination is Catholicism. Colorado, and specifically the city of Colorado Springs, serves as the headquarters of numerous Christian groups, many of them Evangelical. Focus on the Family is a major conservative Christian organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.
    Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:[35]
    Christian — 65%
    Protestant — 44%
    Evangelical — 23%
    Mainline — 19%
    Other Protestant — 2%
    Roman Catholic — 19%
    Orthodox — 1%
    Latter Day Saint / Mormon — 2%
    Jewish — 2%
    Muslim — 1%
    Other Religions — 5%
    Unaffiliated — 25%
    The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 752,505; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 92,326 (133,727 year-end 2007) ; and Baptist with 85,083.[36]
    [edit]Health
    Colorado also has a reputation for being a state of very active and athletic people. According to several studies, Coloradans have the lowest rates of obesity of any state in the US.[37] As of 2007 the 17.6% of the population was considered medically obese, and while the lowest in the nation, the percentage had increased from 16.9% from 2004. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter spoke that “As an avid fisherman and bike rider, I know first-hand that Colorado provides a great environment for active, healthy lifestyles,” although he did highlight the need for continued education and support to slow the growth of obesity in the state.[38]
    [edit]Culture

    Main article: Culture of Colorado
    [edit]Fine arts
    Main article: Fine arts in Colorado
    Music of Colorado
    Theater in Colorado
    [edit]Cuisine
    Main article: Cuisine of Colorado
    [edit]Economy



    The United States quarter dollar coin released 2006-06-14, in honor of the State of Colorado.


    Denver World Trade Center.
    The Denver financial district along 17th Street is known as the Wall Street of the West.


    Maize growing in Larimer County


    Cattle ranching in Jackson County


    An oil well in western Colorado
    Main article: Economy of Colorado
    The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product in 2007 was $236 billion. Per capita personal income in 2007 was $41,192, ranking Colorado eleventh in the nation.[39] The state's economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.
    The federal government is also a major economic force in the state with many important federal facilities including NORAD, United States Air Force Academy and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs; NOAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder; U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood; the Denver Mint, Buckley Air Force Base, and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prison and other federal prisons near Cañon City. In addition to these and other federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four National Parks that contribute to federal ownership of 24,615,788 acres (99,617 km2) of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the state.[40] In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and service sectors have expanded greatly. The state's economy is diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research and high-technology industries. Other industries include food processing, transportation equipment, machinery, chemical products, minerals such as gold and molybdenum, and tourism. Colorado also produces the largest amount of beer of any state.[41] Denver is an important financial center.
    A number of nationally known brand names have originated in Colorado factories and laboratories. From Denver came the forerunner of telecommunications giant Qwest in 1879, Samsonite luggage in 1910, Gates belts and hoses in 1911, and Russell Stover Candies in 1923. Kuner canned vegetables began in Brighton in 1864. From Golden came Coors beer in 1873, CoorsTek industrial ceramics in 1920, and Jolly Rancher candy in 1949. CF&I railroad rails, wire, nails and pipe debuted in Pueblo in 1892. The present-day Swift packed meat of Greeley evolved from Monfort of Colorado, Inc., established in 1930. Estes model rockets were launched in Penrose in 1958. Fort Collins has been the home of Woodward Governor Company's motor controllers (governors) since 1870, and Waterpik dental water jets and showerheads since 1962. Celestial Seasonings herbal teas have been made in Boulder since 1969. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory made its first candy in Durango in 1981.
    Colorado has a flat 4.63% income tax, regardless of income level. Unlike most states, which calculate taxes based on federal adjusted gross income, Colorado taxes are based on taxable income - income after federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard) deductions.[42][43] Colorado's state sales tax is 2.9% on retail sales. When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, full-year Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and special district taxes that may apply.
    Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The state's senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break is scheduled to return for assessment year 2006, payable in 2007.
    [edit]Philanthropy
    Major philanthropic organizations based in Colorado, including the Daniels Fund, the Anschutz Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation, grant approximately $400 million[44] each year from approximately $7 billion[45] of assets.
    [edit]Energy
    Colorado has significant energy resources. According to the Energy Information Administration, Colorado hosts seven of the Nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields and two of its 100 largest oil fields. Conventional and unconventional natural gas output from several Colorado basins typically account for more than 5 percent of annual U.S. natural gas production. Substantial deposits of bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite coal are also found in the state. Colorado's high Rocky Mountain ridges and eastern plains offer wind power potential, and geologic activity in the mountain areas provides potential for geothermal power development. Much of the state is sunny and could produce solar power. Major rivers flowing from the Rocky Mountains offer hydroelectric power resources. Corn grown in the flat eastern part of the State offers potential resources for ethanol production. Notably, Colorado’s oil shale deposits hold an estimated 1 trillion barrels (160 km3) of oil – nearly as much oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. Oil production from those deposits, however, remains speculative.[46]
    [edit]Special tax districts
    Some of the special tax districts are:
    The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which affects the counties of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas Counties
    The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties
    It is a 0.1% retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10).
    According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history or cultural history.
    As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently divided into three "tiers" among which receipts are allocated by percentage.
    Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives 65.5%.
    Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives 21%.
    Tier III has over 280 local organizations such as small theaters, orchestras, art centers, and natural history, cultural history, and community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding to the county cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%.
    An eleven-member board of directors oversees the distributions in accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council) and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado.
    The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to pay for and help build the Denver Broncos' stadium INVESCO Field at Mile High
    Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of southeast Jefferson and Boulder counties
    Regional Transportation Districts (RTA) taxes at varying rates in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison County
    Occupational Privilege Taxes (OPT or Head Tax) Denver and Aurora both levy an OPT on Employers and Employees
    If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the Employee and Employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
    In Denver, the Employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and the Employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.
    In Aurora, both Employer and Employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.
    It is the Employer's responsibility to with hold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an Employer does not comply, they can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.
    [edit]Transportation



    Colorado state welcome sign


    Denver International Airport


    Union Station in Denver.
    Interstate and Federal Highway Routes in the State of Colorado
    Interstate 25
    Interstate 70
    Interstate 76
    Interstate 225
    Interstate 270
    U.S. Route 6
    U.S. Route 24
    U.S. Route 34
    U.S. Route 36
    U.S. Route 40
    U.S. Route 50
    U.S. Route 84
    U.S. Route 85
    U.S. Route 87
    U.S. Route 138
    U.S. Route 160
    U.S. Route 285
    U.S. Route 287
    U.S. Route 350
    U.S. Route 400
    U.S. Route 491
    U.S. Route 550
    Commercial Airports in the State of Colorado
    ALS - San Luis Valley Regional Airport
    ASE - Aspen-Pitkin County Airport
    CEZ - Cortez Municipal Airport
    COS - City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport
    DEN - Denver International Airport[47]
    DRO - Durango-La Plata County Airport
    EGE - Eagle County Regional Airport
    FNL - Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport
    GJT - Grand Junction Regional Airport
    GUC - Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport
    HDN - Yampa Valley Airport
    MTJ - Montrose Regional Airport
    PUB - Pueblo Memorial Airport
    TEX - Telluride Regional Airport
    Amtrak Passenger Railroad Routes through the State of Colorado
    California Zephyr: Chicago, Galesburg, Omaha, Fort Morgan, Denver, Winter Park, Granby, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Salt Lake City, Reno, Sacramento, and Emeryville
    Southwest Chief: Chicago, Galesburg, Kansas City, Topeka, Lamar, La Junta, Trinidad, Albuquerque, Gallup, Flagstaff, Needles, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles
    Communities in the State of Colorado with Regional Bus Service
    Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Brush, Colorado Springs, Delta, Denver, Durango, Englewood, Frisco, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Greeley, Lamar, Limon, Longmont, Montrose, Pueblo, Rocky Ford, Springfield, Sterling, Trinidad, Vail, and Walsenburg
    See also: Colorado Department of Transportation, List of Colorado state highways, List of airports in Colorado, and Amtrak
    [edit]Government and politics

    [edit]State government
    Gubernatorial election results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2006 40.16% 625,886 56.98% 888,096
    2002 62.62% 884,584 33.65% 475,373
    1998 49.06% 648,202 48.43% 639,905
    1994 38.70% 432,042 55.47% 619,205
    1990 35.43% 358,403 61.89% 626,032
    Main article: Law and Government of Colorado


    The Colorado State Capitol in Denver
    Like all U.S. states, Colorado's constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The governor heads the state's executive branch. The Colorado Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the state. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. Currently, Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly. The 2005 Colorado General Assembly was the first to be controlled by the Democrats in forty years. The incumbent governor is Democrat August William "Bill" Ritter, Jr..
    Most Coloradans are originally native to other states (nearly 60% according to the 2000 census[48]), and this is illustrated by the fact that the state did not have a native-born governor from 1975 (when John David Vanderhoof left office) until 2007, when Bill Ritter took office; his election the previous year marked the first electoral victory for a native-born Coloradan in a gubernatorial race since 1958 (Vanderhoof had ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon's administration in 1973).
    [edit]Federal politics
    Presidential elections results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2008 44.71% 1,073,584 53.66% 1,288,568
    2004 51.69% 1,101,255 47.02% 1,001,732
    2000 50.75% 883,745 42.39% 738,227
    1996 45.80% 691,848 44.43% 671,152
    1992 35.87% 562,850 40.13% 629,681
    1988 53.06% 728,177 45.28% 621,453
    Main article: Politics of Colorado
    Colorado is considered a swing state in both state and federal elections. Coloradans have elected 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans to the governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado supported Democrats Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008, and supported Republicans Robert J. Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The presidential outcome in 2008 was the second closest to the national popular vote, after Virginia.[49]
    Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and liberal cities such as Boulder. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins and Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a few western ski resort counties. The Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains, Colorado Springs, Greeley, some Denver suburbs, and the western half of the state (including Grand Junction). The fastest growing partColorado ( /kɒləˈrædoʊ/ (help·info) or /kɒləˈrɑːdoʊ/ (help·info))[6] is a U.S. state located in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States of America. It may also be considered to be part of the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. In rare cases Eastern Colorado is considered part of the Midwestern United States. Colorado entered statehood in 1876 and was nicknamed the “Centennial State”. It is bordered to the north by Wyoming, to the south by New Mexico and Oklahoma, at the southwest corner by Arizona, to the east by Nebraska and Kansas and to the west by Utah.
    The state is well known for its magnificent scenery of mountains, rivers, lakes, and plains. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 5,024,748 on July 1, 2009, a 16.82% increase since the U.S. Census 2000.[3] Denver is the capital of Colorado and the state's most populous city. Residents of Colorado are properly known as "Coloradans" although the archaic term "Coloradoan" is still used.[1][2]
    Contents [hide]
    1 Geography
    1.1 Climate
    1.1.1 Eastern Plains
    1.1.2 West of the plains and foothills
    1.1.3 Extreme weather
    1.1.4 Records
    2 History
    3 Demographics
    3.1 Religion
    3.2 Health
    4 Culture
    4.1 Fine arts
    4.2 Cuisine
    5 Economy
    5.1 Philanthropy
    5.2 Energy
    5.3 Special tax districts
    6 Transportation
    7 Government and politics
    7.1 State government
    7.2 Federal politics
    8 Cities and Towns
    9 Counties
    10 Education
    11 Metropolitan Areas
    12 Military Installations
    13 Protected areas
    14 Sports
    14.1 Professional sports teams
    14.1.1 Former professional sports teams
    15 State symbols
    16 Prominent Coloradans
    17 See also
    18 References
    19 Further reading
    20 External links
    [edit]Geography



    An enlargeable map of the State of Colorado
    Main article: Geography of Colorado
    The State of Colorado is defined as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian).[7] Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only three U.S. states that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries and that have no natural borders. When government surveyors established the border markers for the Territory of Colorado, minor surveying errors created several small kinks along the borders, most notably along the border with the Territory of Utah. The surveyors' benchmarks, once agreed upon by the interested parties, became the legal boundaries for the Colorado Territory.[8]


    Tenmile Range near Leadville, Colorado.
    The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation in Lake County is the state's highest point and the highest point in the entire Rocky Mountains.[4][5] Colorado has more than 100 mountain peaks that exceed 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) elevation. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in the State of Colorado at 3,315 feet (1,010 m) elevation. This crossing point holds the distinction of being the highest low point of any U.S. state.[4][9]
    Nearly a third of the state is flat or rolling in stark contrast to Colorado's rugged Rocky Mountains. East of the Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Colorado at elevations ranging from roughly 3,350 to 6,500 feet (1,020 to 1,980 m).[10] The states of Kansas and Nebraska border Colorado to the east. The Colorado plains are usually thought of as prairies, but actually have a handful of deciduous forests. Eastern Colorado is mainly covered in farmland as well as small farming communities. Precipitation is fair, averaging from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually.[10] The summers in the plains are usually hot and humid, whereas the winters are often bitter cold, snowy and icy. Corn, wheat, hay, soybeans and oats are all typical crops and most small towns in the region boast both a water tower and a grain elevator. As well as crop farming Eastern Colorado has livestock farming, such as cattle farming and hog farming. It also contains many dairy farms and poultry farms.
    Most of Colorado's population lives along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor. This region is partially protected from prevailing storms by the high mountains to the west.


    The Continental Divide dips down to 11,990 feet (3,655 m) at Loveland Pass.
    To the west lies the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains with notable peaks such as Longs Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg in the south. This area drains to the east, is forested, and partially urbanized. During the drought of 2002 devastating forest fires swept this area.
    Hinsdale County, with Lake City (population appx. 300) as its seat, has been judged the most remote county in the 48 contiguous states. It has only one incorporated town (Lake City). It is one of the only places within the continental United States that one can venture more than 10 miles (16 km) from any road.
    The Continental Divide stretches across the crest of the Rocky Mountains. To the west of the Continental Divide is the Western Slope. Water west of the Continental Divide drains west into the Sea of Cortez via the Colorado River.
    Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks or high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is North Park. North Park is drained by the North Platte River, which flows north into Wyoming. Just south but on the west side of the Continental Divide is Middle Park, drained by the Colorado River. South Park is the headwaters of the South Platte River. To the south lies the San Luis Valley, the headwaters of the Rio Grande, which drains into New Mexico. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San Luis Valley, lie along the Rio Grande Rift, a major geological formation, and its branches.
    The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 54 peaks that are 14,000 feet (4,267 m) or higher elevation, known as fourteeners.[11] The mountains are timbered with conifers and aspens to the tree line, at an elevation of about 12,140 feet (3,700 m) in southern Colorado to about 10,500 feet (3,200 m) in northern Colorado; above this only alpine vegetation grows. The Colorado Rockies are snow-covered year round; a lot of the snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few small glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan Mountains in the southwest to Boulder and Central City on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado.
    The Western Slope is generally drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Notable to the south are the San Juan Mountains, an extremely rugged mountain range, and to the west of the San Juans, the Colorado Plateau, a high semi-desert bordering Southern Utah. Grand Junction is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction is served by Interstate Highway I-70. To the southeast of Grand Junction is Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Further east are the ski resorts of Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs. The northwestern corner of Colorado bordering Northern Utah and Western Wyoming is mostly sparsely populated ranch and rangeland.
    From west to east, the state consists of semi-desert-like basins, turning into plateaus, then alpine mountains, and then the grassland and a few forests of the Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peak is just west of Colorado Springs. Its lone peak is visible from near the Kansas border on clear days.[12]
    Colorado is also one of only four states in the United States to share a common border (Four Corners), along with Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. At this intersection, it is possible to stand in four states at once.
    See also: Colorado cities and towns, Colorado counties, Colorado municipalities, Colorado rivers, and Four Corners Monument
    [edit]Climate

    This section needs additional citations for verification.
    Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2009)


    Spring melt at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
    The climate of Colorado is quite complex compared to most of the United States. Unlike in other states, the southern Colorado is not necessarily warmer than the northern Colorado. Mountains and surrounding valleys greatly affect local climate. As a general rule, with an increase in elevation comes a decrease in temperature and an increase in precipitation. A main climatic division in Colorado occurs between the Rocky Mountains on the west and the plains on the east with the foothills forming a transitional zone between the two.[citation needed]
    [edit]Eastern Plains


    Center pivot irrigation of wheat growing in Yuma County.
    The climate of the Eastern Plains is a continental climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) of low humidity and moderate precipitation, usually from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually. The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool clear nights, which give this area the highest average diurnal temperature range in the United States[citation needed]. In summer, this area can have many days above 95 °F (35 °C) and sometimes 100 °F (38 °C)[13], although 105 °F (41 °C) is the maximum in the front range cities above 5,000 ft (1,500 m). In the plains, the winter extremes can be from 0 °F (−18 °C) to −10 °F (−23.3 °C) and −15 °F (−26.1 °C). The all time low in the area was −40 °F (−40.0 °C)[citation needed]. About 75% of the precipitation falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which are often severe, and from major snowstorms that occur most often in the early spring, late autumn, and sometimes winter. Otherwise, winters tend to be mostly dry and cold. In much of the region, March and April are the snowiest months. April and May are normally the rainiest months, while April is the wettest month overall. The Front Range cities closer to the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to chinook winds which warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures of 40 °F (4 °C) or higher in the winter.[13] The average July temperature is 55 °F (13 °C) in the morning and 80 °F (27 °C) in the afternoon. The average January temperature is 10 °F (−12 °C) in the morning and 30 °F (−1 °C) in the afternoon, although variation between consecutive days can be 40 °F (4 °C).
    [edit]West of the plains and foothills


    View of the Western Slope from Grand Junction.
    West of the plains and foothills, the weather of Colorado is much less uniform. Even places a few miles apart can experience entirely different weather depending on the topography of the area. Most valleys have a semi-arid climate, which becomes an alpine climate at higher elevations. Humid microclimates also exist in some areas. Generally, the wettest season in western Colorado is winter while June is the driest month. This is the opposite of precipitation patterns in the east. The mountains have cool summers with many days of high temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C), although frequent thunderstorms can cause sudden drops in temperature. Summer nights are cool or even cold at the highest elevations, which sometimes get snow even in the middle of the summer. The winters bring abundant, powdery snowfall to the mountains with abundant sunshine in between major storms. The western slope has high summer temperatures similar to those found on the plains, while the winters tend to be slightly cooler due to the lack of warming winds common to the plains and Front Range. Other areas in the west have their own unique climate. The San Luis Valley is generally dry with little rain or snow, although the snow that falls tends to stay on the ground all winter.[citation needed]
    [edit]Extreme weather


    Snow highlights the rugged mountains as well as the urban and agricultural landscapes of the Colorado plains.
    Extreme weather is a common occurrence in Colorado. Thunderstorms are common east of the Continental divide in the spring and summer, and Colorado is one of the leading states in deaths due to lightning. Hail is a common sight in the mountains east of the divide and in the northwest part of the state. The Eastern Plains have some of the biggest hail storms in North America.[10] Also the Eastern Plains are part of Tornado Alley and produce some of the deadliest U.S. tornadoes. Some damaging tornadoes in the Eastern Plains include the 1990 Limon F3 tornado and the 2008 Windsor EF3 tornado, which devastated the town.[14] The plains are also susceptible to floods, which are caused both by thunderstorms and by the rapid melting of snow in the mountains during warm weather. Denver's 1901 record for number of consecutive days above 90 °F (32 °C) was broken in the summer of 2008. The new record of twenty-four (24) consecutive days surpassed the previous record by almost a week.[15] Colorado is a relatively dry state averaging only 17 inches (430 mm) of rain per year and rarely experiences a time when some portion of the state is not in some degree of drought.[16] The lack of precipitation contributes to the severity of wildfires in the state such as the Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildfires in US history.
    [edit]Records
    The highest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was 118 °F (48 °C) on July 11, 1888, at Bennett, while the lowest was −61 °F (−51.7 °C) on February 1, 1985, at Maybell.[17][18]
    Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Colorado Cities (°F)
    City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Alamosa 33/-4 40/5 50/16 59/23 68/32 78/40 82/46 79/45 72/36 62/24 46/11 35/-1
    Colorado Springs 42/13 45/18 52/24 59/31 68/41 79/50 86/55 82/54 74/45 63/34 50/23 42/16
    Denver 43/15 47/19 54/25 61/34 70/44 82/53 88/59 86/57 77/47 66/36 52/24 44/16
    Grand Junction 37/16 45/23 56/31 64/38 74/46 87/55 96/61 92/60 83/50 67/39 50/26 39/18
    Pueblo 45/14 50/19 57/26 65/34 75/45 86/54 91/59 89/58 81/49 69/35 54/22 45/15
    [19]
    [edit]History

    Main articles: History of Colorado and Outline of Colorado history


    The ruins of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde as photographed by Gustaf Nordenskiöld in 1891.
    The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 13 millennia. The Lindenmeier Site in Larimer County contains artifacts dating from approximately 11200 BCE to 3000 BCE. The Ancient Pueblo Peoples lived in the valleys and mesas of the Colorado Plateau. The Ute Nation inhabited the mountain valleys of the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Western Rocky Mountains. The Arapaho Nation and the Cheyenne Nation moved west to hunt across the High Plains.
    The United States acquired a territorial claim to the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. The U.S. claim conflicted with Spain's claim that a huge region surrounding its colony of Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico was its sovereign trading zone. Zebulon Pike led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the disputed region in 1806. Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish cavalry in the San Luis Valley the following February, taken to Chihuahua, and expelled from México the following July.


    Bent's Old Fort along the Arkansas River operated from 1833 to 1849.
    The United States relinquished its claim to all land south and west of the Arkansas River as part of the U.S. purchase of Florida from Spain with the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. México finally won its independence from Spain in 1821, but it surrendered its northern territories to the United States after the Mexican-American War with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In 1849, the Mormons of Deseret (now Utah) organized the extralegal State of Deseret which claimed all land drained by the Green River and the Colorado River. The federal government refused to recognize the new government, and the Mormons declined to settle east of the Green River for more than 20 years. The United States divided the area of the future Colorado among the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah organized in 1850, and the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska organized in 1854.
    Most American settlers traveling west to Oregon, Deseret, or California avoided the rugged Rocky Mountains and instead followed the North Platte River and Sweetwater River through what is now Wyoming. On April 9, 1851, Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexico, settled the village of San Luis, then in the New Mexico Territory, but now Colorado's first permanent European settlement. Gold was discovered along the South Platte River in western Kansas Territory in July 1858, precipitating the Pike's Peak Gold Rush.[20] The placer gold deposits along the rivers and streams of the region rapidly played out, but miners soon discovered far more valuable seams of hard rock gold, silver, and other minerals in the nearby mountains.


    A lithograph of the Denver City mining camp in 1859.
    The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on August 24, 1859, but the new territory failed to secure federal sanction. The election of Abraham Lincoln for U.S. President on November 6, 1860, led to the secession of six slave states and the threat of civil war. Seeking to augment the political power of the free states, the Republican led U.S. Congress hurriedly admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of Kansas to the Union as the free State of Kansas on January 29, 1861, leaving the western portion of the territory, and its gold fields, unorganized.


    The Georgetown Loop of the Colorado Central Railroad as photographed by William H. Jackson in 1899.
    Thirty days later on February 28, 1861, outgoing U.S. President James Buchanan signed an act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado.[21] The original boundaries of Colorado remain unchanged today. The name Colorado was chosen because it was commonly believed that the Colorado River originated in the territory.[22] Early Spanish explorers named the river the Rio Colorado for the reddish-brown silt the river carried from the mountains.[23] In fact, the Colorado River did not flow through the State of Colorado until House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th United States Congress changed the name of the Grand River to the Colorado River on July 25, 1921.[24]


    Colorado state history plaque
    The United States Congress passed an enabling act on March 3, 1875, specifying the requirements for the Territory of Colorado to become a state.[7] On August 1, 1876 (28 days after the Centennial of the United States), U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting the State of Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and earning it the moniker "Centennial State".[25] The discovery of a major silver lode near Leadville in 1878, triggered the Colorado Silver Boom. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 envigorated silver mining, but the repeal of the act in 1893 led to a major collapse of the mining and agricultural economy of the state.
    Colorado women were granted the right to vote beginning on November 7, 1893, making Colorado the second U.S. state to grant universal suffrage and the first by popular vote. By the 1930 U.S. Census, the population of Colorado exceeded one million residents. The state suffered through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but a major wave of immigration following World War II boosted Colorado's fortune. Tourism became a mainstay of the state economy, and high technology became an important economic engine. Colorado's population exceeded 4.3 million at U.S. Census 2000.
    Three warships of the United States Navy have been named USS Colorado. The first USS Colorado was named for the Colorado River. The later two ships were named in honor of the landlocked state.
    [edit]Demographics

    Historical populations
    Census Pop. %±
    1860 34,277

    1870 39,864 16.3%
    1880 194,327 387.5%
    1890 413,249 112.7%
    1900 539,700 30.6%
    1910 799,024 48.0%
    1920 939,629 17.6%
    1930 1,035,791 10.2%
    1940 1,123,296 8.4%
    1950 1,325,089 18.0%
    1960 1,753,947 32.4%
    1970 2,207,259 25.8%
    1980 2,889,964 30.9%
    1990 3,294,394 14.0%
    2000 4,301,261 30.6%
    Est. 2008[26] 4,939,456 14.8%


    Colorado Population Density Map
    The state's most populous city, and capital, is Denver. The Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area, home to 2,927,911 people, contains more than two-thirds of the state's population. Residents of Colorado are properly referred to as Coloradans, although the term Coloradoans is still used.[2][27]
    As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus 147,770 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 159,957 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 47,740 people.
    The largest increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor, especially in the Denver metropolitan area. The state's fastest growing counties are Douglas and Weld.[28] Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from California, which led some locals to feel that their state was "Californicated" in the 1990s (esp. Denver resembled more of Los Angeles) when lower cost of living and a healthier economy drew in over 100,000 Californians at the time. The center of population of Colorado is located just north of the town of Critchell in Jefferson County.[29]
    Colorado has a high proportion of Hispanic citizens and Denver and some other areas have significant Mexican populations, while southern Colorado has a large number of Hispanos, the descendants of early New Mexican settlers of colonial Spanish origin. The 2000 U.S. Census reports that 10.52% of people aged 5 and over in Colorado speak Spanish at home.[30] Colorado, like New Mexico, is very rich in archaic Spanish idioms.[31]
    Colorado also has some African-Americans communities which are located in northeast Denver in the Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Park Hill and Colfax Park areas. The state has sizable numbers of Asian-Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Southeast Asian and Japanese descent. The Denver metropolitan area is considered more liberal and diverse than much of the state when it comes to political issues and environmental concerns.
    According to the 2000 Census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado are German (22%) including of Swiss and Austrian nationalities, Irish (12.2%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are the largest group in the state and are especially strong in the Front Range, the Rockies (west-central counties) and Eastern parts/High Plains.[32] Denver and nearby areas on the Front Range has sizable German, Scandinavian, Italian, Slavic and Jewish American communities, partly a legacy of gold rushes in the late 19th century (1861-1889).
    Demographics of Colorado (csv)
    By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
    2000 (total population) 92.23% 4.55% 1.91% 2.84% 0.25%
    2000 (Hispanic only) 16.20% 0.37% 0.64% 0.14% 0.05%
    2005 (total population) 91.91% 4.74% 1.83% 3.19% 0.26%
    2005 (Hispanic only) 18.46% 0.48% 0.61% 0.18% 0.06%
    Growth 2000–05 (total population) 8.09% 13.03% 3.85% 22.08% 15.47%
    Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 4.78% 10.67% 3.75% 21.14% 11.70%
    Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 23.60% 39.64% 4.05% 40.04% 29.23%
    * AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    There were a total of 70,331 births in Colorado in 2006. (Birth Rate of 14.6). In 2007, Non-Hispanic Whites constituted 73.5% of the population and accounted for 59.1% of all the births.[33] The first time in state history with the statistic of non-Hispanic whites have fewer babies. But 14.06% of the births happened to parents of different races (About two-thirds to White-Latino parents).[34] Westernmost counties where the majority of residents are adherents of Mormonism there's a slightly higher percentage of families with children and those of under age 18.
    Colorado has a higher number of younger persons in median age: 33, according to the 2000 Census report. Large numbers of married couples in professional careers with young children move to the state in a belief it's a better place to raise a family. Colorado is also a major retirement destination by senior citizens in search of a cooler climate, recreation activities and the higher altitude in most of Colorado is said to provide health benefits for those with respiratory diseases.
    [edit]Religion


    The Chapel on the Rock at Camp Saint Malo near Allenspark.


    The Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs.
    Colorado's most popular religion is Christianity, and its most popular denomination is Catholicism. Colorado, and specifically the city of Colorado Springs, serves as the headquarters of numerous Christian groups, many of them Evangelical. Focus on the Family is a major conservative Christian organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.
    Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:[35]
    Christian — 65%
    Protestant — 44%
    Evangelical — 23%
    Mainline — 19%
    Other Protestant — 2%
    Roman Catholic — 19%
    Orthodox — 1%
    Latter Day Saint / Mormon — 2%
    Jewish — 2%
    Muslim — 1%
    Other Religions — 5%
    Unaffiliated — 25%
    The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 752,505; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 92,326 (133,727 year-end 2007) ; and Baptist with 85,083.[36]
    [edit]Health
    Colorado also has a reputation for being a state of very active and athletic people. According to several studies, Coloradans have the lowest rates of obesity of any state in the US.[37] As of 2007 the 17.6% of the population was considered medically obese, and while the lowest in the nation, the percentage had increased from 16.9% from 2004. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter spoke that “As an avid fisherman and bike rider, I know first-hand that Colorado provides a great environment for active, healthy lifestyles,” although he did highlight the need for continued education and support to slow the growth of obesity in the state.[38]
    [edit]Culture

    Main article: Culture of Colorado
    [edit]Fine arts
    Main article: Fine arts in Colorado
    Music of Colorado
    Theater in Colorado
    [edit]Cuisine
    Main article: Cuisine of Colorado
    [edit]Economy



    The United States quarter dollar coin released 2006-06-14, in honor of the State of Colorado.


    Denver World Trade Center.
    The Denver financial district along 17th Street is known as the Wall Street of the West.


    Maize growing in Larimer County


    Cattle ranching in Jackson County


    An oil well in western Colorado
    Main article: Economy of Colorado
    The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product in 2007 was $236 billion. Per capita personal income in 2007 was $41,192, ranking Colorado eleventh in the nation.[39] The state's economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.
    The federal government is also a major economic force in the state with many important federal facilities including NORAD, United States Air Force Academy and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs; NOAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder; U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood; the Denver Mint, Buckley Air Force Base, and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prison and other federal prisons near Cañon City. In addition to these and other federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four National Parks that contribute to federal ownership of 24,615,788 acres (99,617 km2) of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the state.[40] In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and service sectors have expanded greatly. The state's economy is diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research and high-technology industries. Other industries include food processing, transportation equipment, machinery, chemical products, minerals such as gold and molybdenum, and tourism. Colorado also produces the largest amount of beer of any state.[41] Denver is an important financial center.
    A number of nationally known brand names have originated in Colorado factories and laboratories. From Denver came the forerunner of telecommunications giant Qwest in 1879, Samsonite luggage in 1910, Gates belts and hoses in 1911, and Russell Stover Candies in 1923. Kuner canned vegetables began in Brighton in 1864. From Golden came Coors beer in 1873, CoorsTek industrial ceramics in 1920, and Jolly Rancher candy in 1949. CF&I railroad rails, wire, nails and pipe debuted in Pueblo in 1892. The present-day Swift packed meat of Greeley evolved from Monfort of Colorado, Inc., established in 1930. Estes model rockets were launched in Penrose in 1958. Fort Collins has been the home of Woodward Governor Company's motor controllers (governors) since 1870, and Waterpik dental water jets and showerheads since 1962. Celestial Seasonings herbal teas have been made in Boulder since 1969. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory made its first candy in Durango in 1981.
    Colorado has a flat 4.63% income tax, regardless of income level. Unlike most states, which calculate taxes based on federal adjusted gross income, Colorado taxes are based on taxable income - income after federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard) deductions.[42][43] Colorado's state sales tax is 2.9% on retail sales. When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, full-year Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and special district taxes that may apply.
    Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The state's senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break is scheduled to return for assessment year 2006, payable in 2007.
    [edit]Philanthropy
    Major philanthropic organizations based in Colorado, including the Daniels Fund, the Anschutz Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation, grant approximately $400 million[44] each year from approximately $7 billion[45] of assets.
    [edit]Energy
    Colorado has significant energy resources. According to the Energy Information Administration, Colorado hosts seven of the Nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields and two of its 100 largest oil fields. Conventional and unconventional natural gas output from several Colorado basins typically account for more than 5 percent of annual U.S. natural gas production. Substantial deposits of bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite coal are also found in the state. Colorado's high Rocky Mountain ridges and eastern plains offer wind power potential, and geologic activity in the mountain areas provides potential for geothermal power development. Much of the state is sunny and could produce solar power. Major rivers flowing from the Rocky Mountains offer hydroelectric power resources. Corn grown in the flat eastern part of the State offers potential resources for ethanol production. Notably, Colorado’s oil shale deposits hold an estimated 1 trillion barrels (160 km3) of oil – nearly as much oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. Oil production from those deposits, however, remains speculative.[46]
    [edit]Special tax districts
    Some of the special tax districts are:
    The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which affects the counties of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas Counties
    The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties
    It is a 0.1% retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10).
    According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history or cultural history.
    As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently divided into three "tiers" among which receipts are allocated by percentage.
    Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives 65.5%.
    Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives 21%.
    Tier III has over 280 local organizations such as small theaters, orchestras, art centers, and natural history, cultural history, and community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding to the county cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%.
    An eleven-member board of directors oversees the distributions in accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council) and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado.
    The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to pay for and help build the Denver Broncos' stadium INVESCO Field at Mile High
    Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of southeast Jefferson and Boulder counties
    Regional Transportation Districts (RTA) taxes at varying rates in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison County
    Occupational Privilege Taxes (OPT or Head Tax) Denver and Aurora both levy an OPT on Employers and Employees
    If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the Employee and Employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
    In Denver, the Employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and the Employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.
    In Aurora, both Employer and Employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.
    It is the Employer's responsibility to with hold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an Employer does not comply, they can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.
    [edit]Transportation



    Colorado state welcome sign


    Denver International Airport


    Union Station in Denver.
    Interstate and Federal Highway Routes in the State of Colorado
    Interstate 25
    Interstate 70
    Interstate 76
    Interstate 225
    Interstate 270
    U.S. Route 6
    U.S. Route 24
    U.S. Route 34
    U.S. Route 36
    U.S. Route 40
    U.S. Route 50
    U.S. Route 84
    U.S. Route 85
    U.S. Route 87
    U.S. Route 138
    U.S. Route 160
    U.S. Route 285
    U.S. Route 287
    U.S. Route 350
    U.S. Route 400
    U.S. Route 491
    U.S. Route 550
    Commercial Airports in the State of Colorado
    ALS - San Luis Valley Regional Airport
    ASE - Aspen-Pitkin County Airport
    CEZ - Cortez Municipal Airport
    COS - City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport
    DEN - Denver International Airport[47]
    DRO - Durango-La Plata County Airport
    EGE - Eagle County Regional Airport
    FNL - Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport
    GJT - Grand Junction Regional Airport
    GUC - Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport
    HDN - Yampa Valley Airport
    MTJ - Montrose Regional Airport
    PUB - Pueblo Memorial Airport
    TEX - Telluride Regional Airport
    Amtrak Passenger Railroad Routes through the State of Colorado
    California Zephyr: Chicago, Galesburg, Omaha, Fort Morgan, Denver, Winter Park, Granby, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Salt Lake City, Reno, Sacramento, and Emeryville
    Southwest Chief: Chicago, Galesburg, Kansas City, Topeka, Lamar, La Junta, Trinidad, Albuquerque, Gallup, Flagstaff, Needles, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles
    Communities in the State of Colorado with Regional Bus Service
    Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Brush, Colorado Springs, Delta, Denver, Durango, Englewood, Frisco, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Greeley, Lamar, Limon, Longmont, Montrose, Pueblo, Rocky Ford, Springfield, Sterling, Trinidad, Vail, and Walsenburg
    See also: Colorado Department of Transportation, List of Colorado state highways, List of airports in Colorado, and Amtrak
    [edit]Government and politics

    [edit]State government
    Gubernatorial election results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2006 40.16% 625,886 56.98% 888,096
    2002 62.62% 884,584 33.65% 475,373
    1998 49.06% 648,202 48.43% 639,905
    1994 38.70% 432,042 55.47% 619,205
    1990 35.43% 358,403 61.89% 626,032
    Main article: Law and Government of Colorado


    The Colorado State Capitol in Denver
    Like all U.S. states, Colorado's constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The governor heads the state's executive branch. The Colorado Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the state. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. Currently, Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly. The 2005 Colorado General Assembly was the first to be controlled by the Democrats in forty years. The incumbent governor is Democrat August William "Bill" Ritter, Jr..
    Most Coloradans are originally native to other states (nearly 60% according to the 2000 census[48]), and this is illustrated by the fact that the state did not have a native-born governor from 1975 (when John David Vanderhoof left office) until 2007, when Bill Ritter took office; his election the previous year marked the first electoral victory for a native-born Coloradan in a gubernatorial race since 1958 (Vanderhoof had ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon's administration in 1973).
    [edit]Federal politics
    Presidential elections results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2008 44.71% 1,073,584 53.66% 1,288,568
    2004 51.69% 1,101,255 47.02% 1,001,732
    2000 50.75% 883,745 42.39% 738,227
    1996 45.80% 691,848 44.43% 671,152
    1992 35.87% 562,850 40.13% 629,681
    1988 53.06% 728,177 45.28% 621,453
    Main article: Politics of Colorado
    Colorado is considered a swing state in both state and federal elections. Coloradans have elected 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans to the governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado supported Democrats Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008, and supported Republicans Robert J. Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The presidential outcome in 2008 was the second closest to the national popular vote, after Virginia.[49]
    Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and liberal cities such as Boulder. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins and Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a few western ski resort counties. The Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains, Colorado Springs, Greeley, some Denver suburbs, and the western half of the state (including Grand Junction). The fastest growing parts of the state particularly Douglas, Elbert, and Weld Counties, in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area, are somewhat Republican-leaning.s of the state particularly Douglas, Elbert, and Weld Counties, in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area, are somewhat Republican-leaning.ea, are somewhat Republican-leaning.
  4. King Syn
    January 3rd, 2010 06:53 PM
    King Syn
    Colorado ( /kɒləˈrædoʊ/ (help·info) or /kɒləˈrɑːdoʊ/ (help·info))[6] is a U.S. state located in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States of America. It may also be considered to be part of the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. In rare cases Eastern Colorado is considered part of the Midwestern United States. Colorado entered statehood in 1876 and was nicknamed the “Centennial State”. It is bordered to the north by Wyoming, to the south by New Mexico and Oklahoma, at the southwest corner by Arizona, to the east by Nebraska and Kansas and to the west by Utah.
    The state is well known for its magnificent scenery of mountains, rivers, lakes, and plains. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 5,024,748 on July 1, 2009, a 16.82% increase since the U.S. Census 2000.[3] Denver is the capital of Colorado and the state's most populous city. Residents of Colorado are properly known as "Coloradans" although the archaic term "Coloradoan" is still used.[1][2]
    Contents [hide]
    1 Geography
    1.1 Climate
    1.1.1 Eastern Plains
    1.1.2 West of the plains and foothills
    1.1.3 Extreme weather
    1.1.4 Records
    2 History
    3 Demographics
    3.1 Religion
    3.2 Health
    4 Culture
    4.1 Fine arts
    4.2 Cuisine
    5 Economy
    5.1 Philanthropy
    5.2 Energy
    5.3 Special tax districts
    6 Transportation
    7 Government and politics
    7.1 State government
    7.2 Federal politics
    8 Cities and Towns
    9 Counties
    10 Education
    11 Metropolitan Areas
    12 Military Installations
    13 Protected areas
    14 Sports
    14.1 Professional sports teams
    14.1.1 Former professional sports teams
    15 State symbols
    16 Prominent Coloradans
    17 See also
    18 References
    19 Further reading
    20 External links
    [edit]Geography



    An enlargeable map of the State of Colorado
    Main article: Geography of Colorado
    The State of Colorado is defined as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian).[7] Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only three U.S. states that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries and that have no natural borders. When government surveyors established the border markers for the Territory of Colorado, minor surveying errors created several small kinks along the borders, most notably along the border with the Territory of Utah. The surveyors' benchmarks, once agreed upon by the interested parties, became the legal boundaries for the Colorado Territory.[8]


    Tenmile Range near Leadville, Colorado.
    The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation in Lake County is the state's highest point and the highest point in the entire Rocky Mountains.[4][5] Colorado has more than 100 mountain peaks that exceed 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) elevation. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in the State of Colorado at 3,315 feet (1,010 m) elevation. This crossing point holds the distinction of being the highest low point of any U.S. state.[4][9]
    Nearly a third of the state is flat or rolling in stark contrast to Colorado's rugged Rocky Mountains. East of the Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Colorado at elevations ranging from roughly 3,350 to 6,500 feet (1,020 to 1,980 m).[10] The states of Kansas and Nebraska border Colorado to the east. The Colorado plains are usually thought of as prairies, but actually have a handful of deciduous forests. Eastern Colorado is mainly covered in farmland as well as small farming communities. Precipitation is fair, averaging from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually.[10] The summers in the plains are usually hot and humid, whereas the winters are often bitter cold, snowy and icy. Corn, wheat, hay, soybeans and oats are all typical crops and most small towns in the region boast both a water tower and a grain elevator. As well as crop farming Eastern Colorado has livestock farming, such as cattle farming and hog farming. It also contains many dairy farms and poultry farms.
    Most of Colorado's population lives along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor. This region is partially protected from prevailing storms by the high mountains to the west.


    The Continental Divide dips down to 11,990 feet (3,655 m) at Loveland Pass.
    To the west lies the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains with notable peaks such as Longs Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg in the south. This area drains to the east, is forested, and partially urbanized. During the drought of 2002 devastating forest fires swept this area.
    Hinsdale County, with Lake City (population appx. 300) as its seat, has been judged the most remote county in the 48 contiguous states. It has only one incorporated town (Lake City). It is one of the only places within the continental United States that one can venture more than 10 miles (16 km) from any road.
    The Continental Divide stretches across the crest of the Rocky Mountains. To the west of the Continental Divide is the Western Slope. Water west of the Continental Divide drains west into the Sea of Cortez via the Colorado River.
    Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks or high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is North Park. North Park is drained by the North Platte River, which flows north into Wyoming. Just south but on the west side of the Continental Divide is Middle Park, drained by the Colorado River. South Park is the headwaters of the South Platte River. To the south lies the San Luis Valley, the headwaters of the Rio Grande, which drains into New Mexico. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San Luis Valley, lie along the Rio Grande Rift, a major geological formation, and its branches.
    The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 54 peaks that are 14,000 feet (4,267 m) or higher elevation, known as fourteeners.[11] The mountains are timbered with conifers and aspens to the tree line, at an elevation of about 12,140 feet (3,700 m) in southern Colorado to about 10,500 feet (3,200 m) in northern Colorado; above this only alpine vegetation grows. The Colorado Rockies are snow-covered year round; a lot of the snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few small glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan Mountains in the southwest to Boulder and Central City on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado.
    The Western Slope is generally drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Notable to the south are the San Juan Mountains, an extremely rugged mountain range, and to the west of the San Juans, the Colorado Plateau, a high semi-desert bordering Southern Utah. Grand Junction is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction is served by Interstate Highway I-70. To the southeast of Grand Junction is Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Further east are the ski resorts of Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs. The northwestern corner of Colorado bordering Northern Utah and Western Wyoming is mostly sparsely populated ranch and rangeland.
    From west to east, the state consists of semi-desert-like basins, turning into plateaus, then alpine mountains, and then the grassland and a few forests of the Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peak is just west of Colorado Springs. Its lone peak is visible from near the Kansas border on clear days.[12]
    Colorado is also one of only four states in the United States to share a common border (Four Corners), along with Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. At this intersection, it is possible to stand in four states at once.
    See also: Colorado cities and towns, Colorado counties, Colorado municipalities, Colorado rivers, and Four Corners Monument
    [edit]Climate

    This section needs additional citations for verification.
    Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2009)


    Spring melt at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
    The climate of Colorado is quite complex compared to most of the United States. Unlike in other states, the southern Colorado is not necessarily warmer than the northern Colorado. Mountains and surrounding valleys greatly affect local climate. As a general rule, with an increase in elevation comes a decrease in temperature and an increase in precipitation. A main climatic division in Colorado occurs between the Rocky Mountains on the west and the plains on the east with the foothills forming a transitional zone between the two.[citation needed]
    [edit]Eastern Plains


    Center pivot irrigation of wheat growing in Yuma County.
    The climate of the Eastern Plains is a continental climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) of low humidity and moderate precipitation, usually from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually. The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool clear nights, which give this area the highest average diurnal temperature range in the United States[citation needed]. In summer, this area can have many days above 95 °F (35 °C) and sometimes 100 °F (38 °C)[13], although 105 °F (41 °C) is the maximum in the front range cities above 5,000 ft (1,500 m). In the plains, the winter extremes can be from 0 °F (−18 °C) to −10 °F (−23.3 °C) and −15 °F (−26.1 °C). The all time low in the area was −40 °F (−40.0 °C)[citation needed]. About 75% of the precipitation falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which are often severe, and from major snowstorms that occur most often in the early spring, late autumn, and sometimes winter. Otherwise, winters tend to be mostly dry and cold. In much of the region, March and April are the snowiest months. April and May are normally the rainiest months, while April is the wettest month overall. The Front Range cities closer to the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to chinook winds which warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures of 40 °F (4 °C) or higher in the winter.[13] The average July temperature is 55 °F (13 °C) in the morning and 80 °F (27 °C) in the afternoon. The average January temperature is 10 °F (−12 °C) in the morning and 30 °F (−1 °C) in the afternoon, although variation between consecutive days can be 40 °F (4 °C).
    [edit]West of the plains and foothills


    View of the Western Slope from Grand Junction.
    West of the plains and foothills, the weather of Colorado is much less uniform. Even places a few miles apart can experience entirely different weather depending on the topography of the area. Most valleys have a semi-arid climate, which becomes an alpine climate at higher elevations. Humid microclimates also exist in some areas. Generally, the wettest season in western Colorado is winter while June is the driest month. This is the opposite of precipitation patterns in the east. The mountains have cool summers with many days of high temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C), although frequent thunderstorms can cause sudden drops in temperature. Summer nights are cool or even cold at the highest elevations, which sometimes get snow even in the middle of the summer. The winters bring abundant, powdery snowfall to the mountains with abundant sunshine in between major storms. The western slope has high summer temperatures similar to those found on the plains, while the winters tend to be slightly cooler due to the lack of warming winds common to the plains and Front Range. Other areas in the west have their own unique climate. The San Luis Valley is generally dry with little rain or snow, although the snow that falls tends to stay on the ground all winter.[citation needed]
    [edit]Extreme weather


    Snow highlights the rugged mountains as well as the urban and agricultural landscapes of the Colorado plains.
    Extreme weather is a common occurrence in Colorado. Thunderstorms are common east of the Continental divide in the spring and summer, and Colorado is one of the leading states in deaths due to lightning. Hail is a common sight in the mountains east of the divide and in the northwest part of the state. The Eastern Plains have some of the biggest hail storms in North America.[10] Also the Eastern Plains are part of Tornado Alley and produce some of the deadliest U.S. tornadoes. Some damaging tornadoes in the Eastern Plains include the 1990 Limon F3 tornado and the 2008 Windsor EF3 tornado, which devastated the town.[14] The plains are also susceptible to floods, which are caused both by thunderstorms and by the rapid melting of snow in the mountains during warm weather. Denver's 1901 record for number of consecutive days above 90 °F (32 °C) was broken in the summer of 2008. The new record of twenty-four (24) consecutive days surpassed the previous record by almost a week.[15] Colorado is a relatively dry state averaging only 17 inches (430 mm) of rain per year and rarely experiences a time when some portion of the state is not in some degree of drought.[16] The lack of precipitation contributes to the severity of wildfires in the state such as the Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildfires in US history.
    [edit]Records
    The highest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was 118 °F (48 °C) on July 11, 1888, at Bennett, while the lowest was −61 °F (−51.7 °C) on February 1, 1985, at Maybell.[17][18]
    Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Colorado Cities (°F)
    City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Alamosa 33/-4 40/5 50/16 59/23 68/32 78/40 82/46 79/45 72/36 62/24 46/11 35/-1
    Colorado Springs 42/13 45/18 52/24 59/31 68/41 79/50 86/55 82/54 74/45 63/34 50/23 42/16
    Denver 43/15 47/19 54/25 61/34 70/44 82/53 88/59 86/57 77/47 66/36 52/24 44/16
    Grand Junction 37/16 45/23 56/31 64/38 74/46 87/55 96/61 92/60 83/50 67/39 50/26 39/18
    Pueblo 45/14 50/19 57/26 65/34 75/45 86/54 91/59 89/58 81/49 69/35 54/22 45/15
    [19]
    [edit]History

    Main articles: History of Colorado and Outline of Colorado history


    The ruins of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde as photographed by Gustaf Nordenskiöld in 1891.
    The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 13 millennia. The Lindenmeier Site in Larimer County contains artifacts dating from approximately 11200 BCE to 3000 BCE. The Ancient Pueblo Peoples lived in the valleys and mesas of the Colorado Plateau. The Ute Nation inhabited the mountain valleys of the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Western Rocky Mountains. The Arapaho Nation and the Cheyenne Nation moved west to hunt across the High Plains.
    The United States acquired a territorial claim to the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. The U.S. claim conflicted with Spain's claim that a huge region surrounding its colony of Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico was its sovereign trading zone. Zebulon Pike led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the disputed region in 1806. Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish cavalry in the San Luis Valley the following February, taken to Chihuahua, and expelled from México the following July.


    Bent's Old Fort along the Arkansas River operated from 1833 to 1849.
    The United States relinquished its claim to all land south and west of the Arkansas River as part of the U.S. purchase of Florida from Spain with the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. México finally won its independence from Spain in 1821, but it surrendered its northern territories to the United States after the Mexican-American War with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In 1849, the Mormons of Deseret (now Utah) organized the extralegal State of Deseret which claimed all land drained by the Green River and the Colorado River. The federal government refused to recognize the new government, and the Mormons declined to settle east of the Green River for more than 20 years. The United States divided the area of the future Colorado among the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah organized in 1850, and the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska organized in 1854.
    Most American settlers traveling west to Oregon, Deseret, or California avoided the rugged Rocky Mountains and instead followed the North Platte River and Sweetwater River through what is now Wyoming. On April 9, 1851, Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexico, settled the village of San Luis, then in the New Mexico Territory, but now Colorado's first permanent European settlement. Gold was discovered along the South Platte River in western Kansas Territory in July 1858, precipitating the Pike's Peak Gold Rush.[20] The placer gold deposits along the rivers and streams of the region rapidly played out, but miners soon discovered far more valuable seams of hard rock gold, silver, and other minerals in the nearby mountains.


    A lithograph of the Denver City mining camp in 1859.
    The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on August 24, 1859, but the new territory failed to secure federal sanction. The election of Abraham Lincoln for U.S. President on November 6, 1860, led to the secession of six slave states and the threat of civil war. Seeking to augment the political power of the free states, the Republican led U.S. Congress hurriedly admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of Kansas to the Union as the free State of Kansas on January 29, 1861, leaving the western portion of the territory, and its gold fields, unorganized.


    The Georgetown Loop of the Colorado Central Railroad as photographed by William H. Jackson in 1899.
    Thirty days later on February 28, 1861, outgoing U.S. President James Buchanan signed an act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado.[21] The original boundaries of Colorado remain unchanged today. The name Colorado was chosen because it was commonly believed that the Colorado River originated in the territory.[22] Early Spanish explorers named the river the Rio Colorado for the reddish-brown silt the river carried from the mountains.[23] In fact, the Colorado River did not flow through the State of Colorado until House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th United States Congress changed the name of the Grand River to the Colorado River on July 25, 1921.[24]


    Colorado state history plaque
    The United States Congress passed an enabling act on March 3, 1875, specifying the requirements for the Territory of Colorado to become a state.[7] On August 1, 1876 (28 days after the Centennial of the United States), U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting the State of Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and earning it the moniker "Centennial State".[25] The discovery of a major silver lode near Leadville in 1878, triggered the Colorado Silver Boom. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 envigorated silver mining, but the repeal of the act in 1893 led to a major collapse of the mining and agricultural economy of the state.
    Colorado women were granted the right to vote beginning on November 7, 1893, making Colorado the second U.S. state to grant universal suffrage and the first by popular vote. By the 1930 U.S. Census, the population of Colorado exceeded one million residents. The state suffered through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but a major wave of immigration following World War II boosted Colorado's fortune. Tourism became a mainstay of the state economy, and high technology became an important economic engine. Colorado's population exceeded 4.3 million at U.S. Census 2000.
    Three warships of the United States Navy have been named USS Colorado. The first USS Colorado was named for the Colorado River. The later two ships were named in honor of the landlocked state.
    [edit]Demographics

    Historical populations
    Census Pop. %±
    1860 34,277

    1870 39,864 16.3%
    1880 194,327 387.5%
    1890 413,249 112.7%
    1900 539,700 30.6%
    1910 799,024 48.0%
    1920 939,629 17.6%
    1930 1,035,791 10.2%
    1940 1,123,296 8.4%
    1950 1,325,089 18.0%
    1960 1,753,947 32.4%
    1970 2,207,259 25.8%
    1980 2,889,964 30.9%
    1990 3,294,394 14.0%
    2000 4,301,261 30.6%
    Est. 2008[26] 4,939,456 14.8%


    Colorado Population Density Map
    The state's most populous city, and capital, is Denver. The Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area, home to 2,927,911 people, contains more than two-thirds of the state's population. Residents of Colorado are properly referred to as Coloradans, although the term Coloradoans is still used.[2][27]
    As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus 147,770 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 159,957 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 47,740 people.
    The largest increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor, especially in the Denver metropolitan area. The state's fastest growing counties are Douglas and Weld.[28] Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from California, which led some locals to feel that their state was "Californicated" in the 1990s (esp. Denver resembled more of Los Angeles) when lower cost of living and a healthier economy drew in over 100,000 Californians at the time. The center of population of Colorado is located just north of the town of Critchell in Jefferson County.[29]
    Colorado has a high proportion of Hispanic citizens and Denver and some other areas have significant Mexican populations, while southern Colorado has a large number of Hispanos, the descendants of early New Mexican settlers of colonial Spanish origin. The 2000 U.S. Census reports that 10.52% of people aged 5 and over in Colorado speak Spanish at home.[30] Colorado, like New Mexico, is very rich in archaic Spanish idioms.[31]
    Colorado also has some African-Americans communities which are located in northeast Denver in the Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Park Hill and Colfax Park areas. The state has sizable numbers of Asian-Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Southeast Asian and Japanese descent. The Denver metropolitan area is considered more liberal and diverse than much of the state when it comes to political issues and environmental concerns.
    According to the 2000 Census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado are German (22%) including of Swiss and Austrian nationalities, Irish (12.2%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are the largest group in the state and are especially strong in the Front Range, the Rockies (west-central counties) and Eastern parts/High Plains.[32] Denver and nearby areas on the Front Range has sizable German, Scandinavian, Italian, Slavic and Jewish American communities, partly a legacy of gold rushes in the late 19th century (1861-1889).
    Demographics of Colorado (csv)
    By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
    2000 (total population) 92.23% 4.55% 1.91% 2.84% 0.25%
    2000 (Hispanic only) 16.20% 0.37% 0.64% 0.14% 0.05%
    2005 (total population) 91.91% 4.74% 1.83% 3.19% 0.26%
    2005 (Hispanic only) 18.46% 0.48% 0.61% 0.18% 0.06%
    Growth 2000–05 (total population) 8.09% 13.03% 3.85% 22.08% 15.47%
    Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 4.78% 10.67% 3.75% 21.14% 11.70%
    Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 23.60% 39.64% 4.05% 40.04% 29.23%
    * AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    There were a total of 70,331 births in Colorado in 2006. (Birth Rate of 14.6). In 2007, Non-Hispanic Whites constituted 73.5% of the population and accounted for 59.1% of all the births.[33] The first time in state history with the statistic of non-Hispanic whites have fewer babies. But 14.06% of the births happened to parents of different races (About two-thirds to White-Latino parents).[34] Westernmost counties where the majority of residents are adherents of Mormonism there's a slightly higher percentage of families with children and those of under age 18.
    Colorado has a higher number of younger persons in median age: 33, according to the 2000 Census report. Large numbers of married couples in professional careers with young children move to the state in a belief it's a better place to raise a family. Colorado is also a major retirement destination by senior citizens in search of a cooler climate, recreation activities and the higher altitude in most of Colorado is said to provide health benefits for those with respiratory diseases.
    [edit]Religion


    The Chapel on the Rock at Camp Saint Malo near Allenspark.


    The Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs.
    Colorado's most popular religion is Christianity, and its most popular denomination is Catholicism. Colorado, and specifically the city of Colorado Springs, serves as the headquarters of numerous Christian groups, many of them Evangelical. Focus on the Family is a major conservative Christian organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.
    Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:[35]
    Christian — 65%
    Protestant — 44%
    Evangelical — 23%
    Mainline — 19%
    Other Protestant — 2%
    Roman Catholic — 19%
    Orthodox — 1%
    Latter Day Saint / Mormon — 2%
    Jewish — 2%
    Muslim — 1%
    Other Religions — 5%
    Unaffiliated — 25%
    The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 752,505; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 92,326 (133,727 year-end 2007) ; and Baptist with 85,083.[36]
    [edit]Health
    Colorado also has a reputation for being a state of very active and athletic people. According to several studies, Coloradans have the lowest rates of obesity of any state in the US.[37] As of 2007 the 17.6% of the population was considered medically obese, and while the lowest in the nation, the percentage had increased from 16.9% from 2004. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter spoke that “As an avid fisherman and bike rider, I know first-hand that Colorado provides a great environment for active, healthy lifestyles,” although he did highlight the need for continued education and support to slow the growth of obesity in the state.[38]
    [edit]Culture

    Main article: Culture of Colorado
    [edit]Fine arts
    Main article: Fine arts in Colorado
    Music of Colorado
    Theater in Colorado
    [edit]Cuisine
    Main article: Cuisine of Colorado
    [edit]Economy



    The United States quarter dollar coin released 2006-06-14, in honor of the State of Colorado.


    Denver World Trade Center.
    The Denver financial district along 17th Street is known as the Wall Street of the West.


    Maize growing in Larimer County


    Cattle ranching in Jackson County


    An oil well in western Colorado
    Main article: Economy of Colorado
    The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product in 2007 was $236 billion. Per capita personal income in 2007 was $41,192, ranking Colorado eleventh in the nation.[39] The state's economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.
    The federal government is also a major economic force in the state with many important federal facilities including NORAD, United States Air Force Academy and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs; NOAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder; U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood; the Denver Mint, Buckley Air Force Base, and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prison and other federal prisons near Cañon City. In addition to these and other federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four National Parks that contribute to federal ownership of 24,615,788 acres (99,617 km2) of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the state.[40] In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and service sectors have expanded greatly. The state's economy is diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research and high-technology industries. Other industries include food processing, transportation equipment, machinery, chemical products, minerals such as gold and molybdenum, and tourism. Colorado also produces the largest amount of beer of any state.[41] Denver is an important financial center.
    A number of nationally known brand names have originated in Colorado factories and laboratories. From Denver came the forerunner of telecommunications giant Qwest in 1879, Samsonite luggage in 1910, Gates belts and hoses in 1911, and Russell Stover Candies in 1923. Kuner canned vegetables began in Brighton in 1864. From Golden came Coors beer in 1873, CoorsTek industrial ceramics in 1920, and Jolly Rancher candy in 1949. CF&I railroad rails, wire, nails and pipe debuted in Pueblo in 1892. The present-day Swift packed meat of Greeley evolved from Monfort of Colorado, Inc., established in 1930. Estes model rockets were launched in Penrose in 1958. Fort Collins has been the home of Woodward Governor Company's motor controllers (governors) since 1870, and Waterpik dental water jets and showerheads since 1962. Celestial Seasonings herbal teas have been made in Boulder since 1969. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory made its first candy in Durango in 1981.
    Colorado has a flat 4.63% income tax, regardless of income level. Unlike most states, which calculate taxes based on federal adjusted gross income, Colorado taxes are based on taxable income - income after federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard) deductions.[42][43] Colorado's state sales tax is 2.9% on retail sales. When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, full-year Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and special district taxes that may apply.
    Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The state's senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break is scheduled to return for assessment year 2006, payable in 2007.
    [edit]Philanthropy
    Major philanthropic organizations based in Colorado, including the Daniels Fund, the Anschutz Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation, grant approximately $400 million[44] each year from approximately $7 billion[45] of assets.
    [edit]Energy
    Colorado has significant energy resources. According to the Energy Information Administration, Colorado hosts seven of the Nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields and two of its 100 largest oil fields. Conventional and unconventional natural gas output from several Colorado basins typically account for more than 5 percent of annual U.S. natural gas production. Substantial deposits of bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite coal are also found in the state. Colorado's high Rocky Mountain ridges and eastern plains offer wind power potential, and geologic activity in the mountain areas provides potential for geothermal power development. Much of the state is sunny and could produce solar power. Major rivers flowing from the Rocky Mountains offer hydroelectric power resources. Corn grown in the flat eastern part of the State offers potential resources for ethanol production. Notably, Colorado’s oil shale deposits hold an estimated 1 trillion barrels (160 km3) of oil – nearly as much oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. Oil production from those deposits, however, remains speculative.[46]
    [edit]Special tax districts
    Some of the special tax districts are:
    The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which affects the counties of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas Counties
    The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties
    It is a 0.1% retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10).
    According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history or cultural history.
    As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently divided into three "tiers" among which receipts are allocated by percentage.
    Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives 65.5%.
    Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives 21%.
    Tier III has over 280 local organizations such as small theaters, orchestras, art centers, and natural history, cultural history, and community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding to the county cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%.
    An eleven-member board of directors oversees the distributions in accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council) and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado.
    The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to pay for and help build the Denver Broncos' stadium INVESCO Field at Mile High
    Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of southeast Jefferson and Boulder counties
    Regional Transportation Districts (RTA) taxes at varying rates in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison County
    Occupational Privilege Taxes (OPT or Head Tax) Denver and Aurora both levy an OPT on Employers and Employees
    If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the Employee and Employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
    In Denver, the Employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and the Employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.
    In Aurora, both Employer and Employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.
    It is the Employer's responsibility to with hold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an Employer does not comply, they can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.
    [edit]Transportation



    Colorado state welcome sign


    Denver International Airport


    Union Station in Denver.
    Interstate and Federal Highway Routes in the State of Colorado
    Interstate 25
    Interstate 70
    Interstate 76
    Interstate 225
    Interstate 270
    U.S. Route 6
    U.S. Route 24
    U.S. Route 34
    U.S. Route 36
    U.S. Route 40
    U.S. Route 50
    U.S. Route 84
    U.S. Route 85
    U.S. Route 87
    U.S. Route 138
    U.S. Route 160
    U.S. Route 285
    U.S. Route 287
    U.S. Route 350
    U.S. Route 400
    U.S. Route 491
    U.S. Route 550
    Commercial Airports in the State of Colorado
    ALS - San Luis Valley Regional Airport
    ASE - Aspen-Pitkin County Airport
    CEZ - Cortez Municipal Airport
    COS - City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport
    DEN - Denver International Airport[47]
    DRO - Durango-La Plata County Airport
    EGE - Eagle County Regional Airport
    FNL - Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport
    GJT - Grand Junction Regional Airport
    GUC - Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport
    HDN - Yampa Valley Airport
    MTJ - Montrose Regional Airport
    PUB - Pueblo Memorial Airport
    TEX - Telluride Regional Airport
    Amtrak Passenger Railroad Routes through the State of Colorado
    California Zephyr: Chicago, Galesburg, Omaha, Fort Morgan, Denver, Winter Park, Granby, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Salt Lake City, Reno, Sacramento, and Emeryville
    Southwest Chief: Chicago, Galesburg, Kansas City, Topeka, Lamar, La Junta, Trinidad, Albuquerque, Gallup, Flagstaff, Needles, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles
    Communities in the State of Colorado with Regional Bus Service
    Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Brush, Colorado Springs, Delta, Denver, Durango, Englewood, Frisco, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Greeley, Lamar, Limon, Longmont, Montrose, Pueblo, Rocky Ford, Springfield, Sterling, Trinidad, Vail, and Walsenburg
    See also: Colorado Department of Transportation, List of Colorado state highways, List of airports in Colorado, and Amtrak
    [edit]Government and politics

    [edit]State government
    Gubernatorial election results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2006 40.16% 625,886 56.98% 888,096
    2002 62.62% 884,584 33.65% 475,373
    1998 49.06% 648,202 48.43% 639,905
    1994 38.70% 432,042 55.47% 619,205
    1990 35.43% 358,403 61.89% 626,032
    Main article: Law and Government of Colorado


    The Colorado State Capitol in Denver
    Like all U.S. states, Colorado's constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The governor heads the state's executive branch. The Colorado Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the state. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. Currently, Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly. The 2005 Colorado General Assembly was the first to be controlled by the Democrats in forty years. The incumbent governor is Democrat August William "Bill" Ritter, Jr..
    Most Coloradans are originally native to other states (nearly 60% according to the 2000 census[48]), and this is illustrated by the fact that the state did not have a native-born governor from 1975 (when John David Vanderhoof left office) until 2007, when Bill Ritter took office; his election the previous year marked the first electoral victory for a native-born Coloradan in a gubernatorial race since 1958 (Vanderhoof had ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon's administration in 1973).
    [edit]Federal politics
    Presidential elections results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2008 44.71% 1,073,584 53.66% 1,288,568
    2004 51.69% 1,101,255 47.02% 1,001,732
    2000 50.75% 883,745 42.39% 738,227
    1996 45.80% 691,848 44.43% 671,152
    1992 35.87% 562,850 40.13% 629,681
    1988 53.06% 728,177 45.28% 621,453
    Main article: Politics of Colorado
    Colorado is considered a swing state in both state and federal elections. Coloradans have elected 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans to the governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado supported Democrats Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008, and supported Republicans Robert J. Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The presidential outcome in 2008 was the second closest to the national popular vote, after Virginia.[49]
    Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and liberal cities such as Boulder. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins and Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a few western ski resort counties. The Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains, Colorado Springs, Greeley, some Denver suburbs, and the western half of the state (including Grand Junction). The fastest growing parts of the state particularly Douglas, Elbert, and Weld CounColorado ( /kɒləˈrædoʊ/ (help·info) or /kɒləˈrɑːdoʊ/ (help·info))[6] is a U.S. state located in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States of America. It may also be considered to be part of the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. In rare cases Eastern Colorado is considered part of the Midwestern United States. Colorado entered statehood in 1876 and was nicknamed the “Centennial State”. It is bordered to the north by Wyoming, to the south by New Mexico and Oklahoma, at the southwest corner by Arizona, to the east by Nebraska and Kansas and to the west by Utah.
    The state is well known for its magnificent scenery of mountains, rivers, lakes, and plains. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 5,024,748 on July 1, 2009, a 16.82% increase since the U.S. Census 2000.[3] Denver is the capital of Colorado and the state's most populous city. Residents of Colorado are properly known as "Coloradans" although the archaic term "Coloradoan" is still used.[1][2]
    Contents [hide]
    1 Geography
    1.1 Climate
    1.1.1 Eastern Plains
    1.1.2 West of the plains and foothills
    1.1.3 Extreme weather
    1.1.4 Records
    2 History
    3 Demographics
    3.1 Religion
    3.2 Health
    4 Culture
    4.1 Fine arts
    4.2 Cuisine
    5 Economy
    5.1 Philanthropy
    5.2 Energy
    5.3 Special tax districts
    6 Transportation
    7 Government and politics
    7.1 State government
    7.2 Federal politics
    8 Cities and Towns
    9 Counties
    10 Education
    11 Metropolitan Areas
    12 Military Installations
    13 Protected areas
    14 Sports
    14.1 Professional sports teams
    14.1.1 Former professional sports teams
    15 State symbols
    16 Prominent Coloradans
    17 See also
    18 References
    19 Further reading
    20 External links
    [edit]Geography



    An enlargeable map of the State of Colorado
    Main article: Geography of Colorado
    The State of Colorado is defined as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian).[7] Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only three U.S. states that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries and that have no natural borders. When government surveyors established the border markers for the Territory of Colorado, minor surveying errors created several small kinks along the borders, most notably along the border with the Territory of Utah. The surveyors' benchmarks, once agreed upon by the interested parties, became the legal boundaries for the Colorado Territory.[8]


    Tenmile Range near Leadville, Colorado.
    The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation in Lake County is the state's highest point and the highest point in the entire Rocky Mountains.[4][5] Colorado has more than 100 mountain peaks that exceed 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) elevation. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in the State of Colorado at 3,315 feet (1,010 m) elevation. This crossing point holds the distinction of being the highest low point of any U.S. state.[4][9]
    Nearly a third of the state is flat or rolling in stark contrast to Colorado's rugged Rocky Mountains. East of the Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Colorado at elevations ranging from roughly 3,350 to 6,500 feet (1,020 to 1,980 m).[10] The states of Kansas and Nebraska border Colorado to the east. The Colorado plains are usually thought of as prairies, but actually have a handful of deciduous forests. Eastern Colorado is mainly covered in farmland as well as small farming communities. Precipitation is fair, averaging from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually.[10] The summers in the plains are usually hot and humid, whereas the winters are often bitter cold, snowy and icy. Corn, wheat, hay, soybeans and oats are all typical crops and most small towns in the region boast both a water tower and a grain elevator. As well as crop farming Eastern Colorado has livestock farming, such as cattle farming and hog farming. It also contains many dairy farms and poultry farms.
    Most of Colorado's population lives along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor. This region is partially protected from prevailing storms by the high mountains to the west.


    The Continental Divide dips down to 11,990 feet (3,655 m) at Loveland Pass.
    To the west lies the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains with notable peaks such as Longs Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg in the south. This area drains to the east, is forested, and partially urbanized. During the drought of 2002 devastating forest fires swept this area.
    Hinsdale County, with Lake City (population appx. 300) as its seat, has been judged the most remote county in the 48 contiguous states. It has only one incorporated town (Lake City). It is one of the only places within the continental United States that one can venture more than 10 miles (16 km) from any road.
    The Continental Divide stretches across the crest of the Rocky Mountains. To the west of the Continental Divide is the Western Slope. Water west of the Continental Divide drains west into the Sea of Cortez via the Colorado River.
    Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks or high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is North Park. North Park is drained by the North Platte River, which flows north into Wyoming. Just south but on the west side of the Continental Divide is Middle Park, drained by the Colorado River. South Park is the headwaters of the South Platte River. To the south lies the San Luis Valley, the headwaters of the Rio Grande, which drains into New Mexico. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San Luis Valley, lie along the Rio Grande Rift, a major geological formation, and its branches.
    The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 54 peaks that are 14,000 feet (4,267 m) or higher elevation, known as fourteeners.[11] The mountains are timbered with conifers and aspens to the tree line, at an elevation of about 12,140 feet (3,700 m) in southern Colorado to about 10,500 feet (3,200 m) in northern Colorado; above this only alpine vegetation grows. The Colorado Rockies are snow-covered year round; a lot of the snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few small glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan Mountains in the southwest to Boulder and Central City on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado.
    The Western Slope is generally drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Notable to the south are the San Juan Mountains, an extremely rugged mountain range, and to the west of the San Juans, the Colorado Plateau, a high semi-desert bordering Southern Utah. Grand Junction is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction is served by Interstate Highway I-70. To the southeast of Grand Junction is Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Further east are the ski resorts of Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs. The northwestern corner of Colorado bordering Northern Utah and Western Wyoming is mostly sparsely populated ranch and rangeland.
    From west to east, the state consists of semi-desert-like basins, turning into plateaus, then alpine mountains, and then the grassland and a few forests of the Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peak is just west of Colorado Springs. Its lone peak is visible from near the Kansas border on clear days.[12]
    Colorado is also one of only four states in the United States to share a common border (Four Corners), along with Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. At this intersection, it is possible to stand in four states at once.
    See also: Colorado cities and towns, Colorado counties, Colorado municipalities, Colorado rivers, and Four Corners Monument
    [edit]Climate

    This section needs additional citations for verification.
    Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2009)


    Spring melt at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
    The climate of Colorado is quite complex compared to most of the United States. Unlike in other states, the southern Colorado is not necessarily warmer than the northern Colorado. Mountains and surrounding valleys greatly affect local climate. As a general rule, with an increase in elevation comes a decrease in temperature and an increase in precipitation. A main climatic division in Colorado occurs between the Rocky Mountains on the west and the plains on the east with the foothills forming a transitional zone between the two.[citation needed]
    [edit]Eastern Plains


    Center pivot irrigation of wheat growing in Yuma County.
    The climate of the Eastern Plains is a continental climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) of low humidity and moderate precipitation, usually from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually. The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool clear nights, which give this area the highest average diurnal temperature range in the United States[citation needed]. In summer, this area can have many days above 95 °F (35 °C) and sometimes 100 °F (38 °C)[13], although 105 °F (41 °C) is the maximum in the front range cities above 5,000 ft (1,500 m). In the plains, the winter extremes can be from 0 °F (−18 °C) to −10 °F (−23.3 °C) and −15 °F (−26.1 °C). The all time low in the area was −40 °F (−40.0 °C)[citation needed]. About 75% of the precipitation falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which are often severe, and from major snowstorms that occur most often in the early spring, late autumn, and sometimes winter. Otherwise, winters tend to be mostly dry and cold. In much of the region, March and April are the snowiest months. April and May are normally the rainiest months, while April is the wettest month overall. The Front Range cities closer to the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to chinook winds which warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures of 40 °F (4 °C) or higher in the winter.[13] The average July temperature is 55 °F (13 °C) in the morning and 80 °F (27 °C) in the afternoon. The average January temperature is 10 °F (−12 °C) in the morning and 30 °F (−1 °C) in the afternoon, although variation between consecutive days can be 40 °F (4 °C).
    [edit]West of the plains and foothills


    View of the Western Slope from Grand Junction.
    West of the plains and foothills, the weather of Colorado is much less uniform. Even places a few miles apart can experience entirely different weather depending on the topography of the area. Most valleys have a semi-arid climate, which becomes an alpine climate at higher elevations. Humid microclimates also exist in some areas. Generally, the wettest season in western Colorado is winter while June is the driest month. This is the opposite of precipitation patterns in the east. The mountains have cool summers with many days of high temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C), although frequent thunderstorms can cause sudden drops in temperature. Summer nights are cool or even cold at the highest elevations, which sometimes get snow even in the middle of the summer. The winters bring abundant, powdery snowfall to the mountains with abundant sunshine in between major storms. The western slope has high summer temperatures similar to those found on the plains, while the winters tend to be slightly cooler due to the lack of warming winds common to the plains and Front Range. Other areas in the west have their own unique climate. The San Luis Valley is generally dry with little rain or snow, although the snow that falls tends to stay on the ground all winter.[citation needed]
    [edit]Extreme weather


    Snow highlights the rugged mountains as well as the urban and agricultural landscapes of the Colorado plains.
    Extreme weather is a common occurrence in Colorado. Thunderstorms are common east of the Continental divide in the spring and summer, and Colorado is one of the leading states in deaths due to lightning. Hail is a common sight in the mountains east of the divide and in the northwest part of the state. The Eastern Plains have some of the biggest hail storms in North America.[10] Also the Eastern Plains are part of Tornado Alley and produce some of the deadliest U.S. tornadoes. Some damaging tornadoes in the Eastern Plains include the 1990 Limon F3 tornado and the 2008 Windsor EF3 tornado, which devastated the town.[14] The plains are also susceptible to floods, which are caused both by thunderstorms and by the rapid melting of snow in the mountains during warm weather. Denver's 1901 record for number of consecutive days above 90 °F (32 °C) was broken in the summer of 2008. The new record of twenty-four (24) consecutive days surpassed the previous record by almost a week.[15] Colorado is a relatively dry state averaging only 17 inches (430 mm) of rain per year and rarely experiences a time when some portion of the state is not in some degree of drought.[16] The lack of precipitation contributes to the severity of wildfires in the state such as the Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildfires in US history.
    [edit]Records
    The highest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was 118 °F (48 °C) on July 11, 1888, at Bennett, while the lowest was −61 °F (−51.7 °C) on February 1, 1985, at Maybell.[17][18]
    Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Colorado Cities (°F)
    City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Alamosa 33/-4 40/5 50/16 59/23 68/32 78/40 82/46 79/45 72/36 62/24 46/11 35/-1
    Colorado Springs 42/13 45/18 52/24 59/31 68/41 79/50 86/55 82/54 74/45 63/34 50/23 42/16
    Denver 43/15 47/19 54/25 61/34 70/44 82/53 88/59 86/57 77/47 66/36 52/24 44/16
    Grand Junction 37/16 45/23 56/31 64/38 74/46 87/55 96/61 92/60 83/50 67/39 50/26 39/18
    Pueblo 45/14 50/19 57/26 65/34 75/45 86/54 91/59 89/58 81/49 69/35 54/22 45/15
    [19]
    [edit]History

    Main articles: History of Colorado and Outline of Colorado history


    The ruins of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde as photographed by Gustaf Nordenskiöld in 1891.
    The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 13 millennia. The Lindenmeier Site in Larimer County contains artifacts dating from approximately 11200 BCE to 3000 BCE. The Ancient Pueblo Peoples lived in the valleys and mesas of the Colorado Plateau. The Ute Nation inhabited the mountain valleys of the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Western Rocky Mountains. The Arapaho Nation and the Cheyenne Nation moved west to hunt across the High Plains.
    The United States acquired a territorial claim to the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. The U.S. claim conflicted with Spain's claim that a huge region surrounding its colony of Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico was its sovereign trading zone. Zebulon Pike led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the disputed region in 1806. Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish cavalry in the San Luis Valley the following February, taken to Chihuahua, and expelled from México the following July.


    Bent's Old Fort along the Arkansas River operated from 1833 to 1849.
    The United States relinquished its claim to all land south and west of the Arkansas River as part of the U.S. purchase of Florida from Spain with the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. México finally won its independence from Spain in 1821, but it surrendered its northern territories to the United States after the Mexican-American War with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In 1849, the Mormons of Deseret (now Utah) organized the extralegal State of Deseret which claimed all land drained by the Green River and the Colorado River. The federal government refused to recognize the new government, and the Mormons declined to settle east of the Green River for more than 20 years. The United States divided the area of the future Colorado among the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah organized in 1850, and the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska organized in 1854.
    Most American settlers traveling west to Oregon, Deseret, or California avoided the rugged Rocky Mountains and instead followed the North Platte River and Sweetwater River through what is now Wyoming. On April 9, 1851, Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexico, settled the village of San Luis, then in the New Mexico Territory, but now Colorado's first permanent European settlement. Gold was discovered along the South Platte River in western Kansas Territory in July 1858, precipitating the Pike's Peak Gold Rush.[20] The placer gold deposits along the rivers and streams of the region rapidly played out, but miners soon discovered far more valuable seams of hard rock gold, silver, and other minerals in the nearby mountains.


    A lithograph of the Denver City mining camp in 1859.
    The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on August 24, 1859, but the new territory failed to secure federal sanction. The election of Abraham Lincoln for U.S. President on November 6, 1860, led to the secession of six slave states and the threat of civil war. Seeking to augment the political power of the free states, the Republican led U.S. Congress hurriedly admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of Kansas to the Union as the free State of Kansas on January 29, 1861, leaving the western portion of the territory, and its gold fields, unorganized.


    The Georgetown Loop of the Colorado Central Railroad as photographed by William H. Jackson in 1899.
    Thirty days later on February 28, 1861, outgoing U.S. President James Buchanan signed an act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado.[21] The original boundaries of Colorado remain unchanged today. The name Colorado was chosen because it was commonly believed that the Colorado River originated in the territory.[22] Early Spanish explorers named the river the Rio Colorado for the reddish-brown silt the river carried from the mountains.[23] In fact, the Colorado River did not flow through the State of Colorado until House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th United States Congress changed the name of the Grand River to the Colorado River on July 25, 1921.[24]


    Colorado state history plaque
    The United States Congress passed an enabling act on March 3, 1875, specifying the requirements for the Territory of Colorado to become a state.[7] On August 1, 1876 (28 days after the Centennial of the United States), U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting the State of Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and earning it the moniker "Centennial State".[25] The discovery of a major silver lode near Leadville in 1878, triggered the Colorado Silver Boom. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 envigorated silver mining, but the repeal of the act in 1893 led to a major collapse of the mining and agricultural economy of the state.
    Colorado women were granted the right to vote beginning on November 7, 1893, making Colorado the second U.S. state to grant universal suffrage and the first by popular vote. By the 1930 U.S. Census, the population of Colorado exceeded one million residents. The state suffered through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but a major wave of immigration following World War II boosted Colorado's fortune. Tourism became a mainstay of the state economy, and high technology became an important economic engine. Colorado's population exceeded 4.3 million at U.S. Census 2000.
    Three warships of the United States Navy have been named USS Colorado. The first USS Colorado was named for the Colorado River. The later two ships were named in honor of the landlocked state.
    [edit]Demographics

    Historical populations
    Census Pop. %±
    1860 34,277

    1870 39,864 16.3%
    1880 194,327 387.5%
    1890 413,249 112.7%
    1900 539,700 30.6%
    1910 799,024 48.0%
    1920 939,629 17.6%
    1930 1,035,791 10.2%
    1940 1,123,296 8.4%
    1950 1,325,089 18.0%
    1960 1,753,947 32.4%
    1970 2,207,259 25.8%
    1980 2,889,964 30.9%
    1990 3,294,394 14.0%
    2000 4,301,261 30.6%
    Est. 2008[26] 4,939,456 14.8%


    Colorado Population Density Map
    The state's most populous city, and capital, is Denver. The Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area, home to 2,927,911 people, contains more than two-thirds of the state's population. Residents of Colorado are properly referred to as Coloradans, although the term Coloradoans is still used.[2][27]
    As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus 147,770 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 159,957 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 47,740 people.
    The largest increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor, especially in the Denver metropolitan area. The state's fastest growing counties are Douglas and Weld.[28] Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from California, which led some locals to feel that their state was "Californicated" in the 1990s (esp. Denver resembled more of Los Angeles) when lower cost of living and a healthier economy drew in over 100,000 Californians at the time. The center of population of Colorado is located just north of the town of Critchell in Jefferson County.[29]
    Colorado has a high proportion of Hispanic citizens and Denver and some other areas have significant Mexican populations, while southern Colorado has a large number of Hispanos, the descendants of early New Mexican settlers of colonial Spanish origin. The 2000 U.S. Census reports that 10.52% of people aged 5 and over in Colorado speak Spanish at home.[30] Colorado, like New Mexico, is very rich in archaic Spanish idioms.[31]
    Colorado also has some African-Americans communities which are located in northeast Denver in the Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Park Hill and Colfax Park areas. The state has sizable numbers of Asian-Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Southeast Asian and Japanese descent. The Denver metropolitan area is considered more liberal and diverse than much of the state when it comes to political issues and environmental concerns.
    According to the 2000 Census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado are German (22%) including of Swiss and Austrian nationalities, Irish (12.2%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are the largest group in the state and are especially strong in the Front Range, the Rockies (west-central counties) and Eastern parts/High Plains.[32] Denver and nearby areas on the Front Range has sizable German, Scandinavian, Italian, Slavic and Jewish American communities, partly a legacy of gold rushes in the late 19th century (1861-1889).
    Demographics of Colorado (csv)
    By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
    2000 (total population) 92.23% 4.55% 1.91% 2.84% 0.25%
    2000 (Hispanic only) 16.20% 0.37% 0.64% 0.14% 0.05%
    2005 (total population) 91.91% 4.74% 1.83% 3.19% 0.26%
    2005 (Hispanic only) 18.46% 0.48% 0.61% 0.18% 0.06%
    Growth 2000–05 (total population) 8.09% 13.03% 3.85% 22.08% 15.47%
    Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 4.78% 10.67% 3.75% 21.14% 11.70%
    Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 23.60% 39.64% 4.05% 40.04% 29.23%
    * AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    There were a total of 70,331 births in Colorado in 2006. (Birth Rate of 14.6). In 2007, Non-Hispanic Whites constituted 73.5% of the population and accounted for 59.1% of all the births.[33] The first time in state history with the statistic of non-Hispanic whites have fewer babies. But 14.06% of the births happened to parents of different races (About two-thirds to White-Latino parents).[34] Westernmost counties where the majority of residents are adherents of Mormonism there's a slightly higher percentage of families with children and those of under age 18.
    Colorado has a higher number of younger persons in median age: 33, according to the 2000 Census report. Large numbers of married couples in professional careers with young children move to the state in a belief it's a better place to raise a family. Colorado is also a major retirement destination by senior citizens in search of a cooler climate, recreation activities and the higher altitude in most of Colorado is said to provide health benefits for those with respiratory diseases.
    [edit]Religion


    The Chapel on the Rock at Camp Saint Malo near Allenspark.


    The Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs.
    Colorado's most popular religion is Christianity, and its most popular denomination is Catholicism. Colorado, and specifically the city of Colorado Springs, serves as the headquarters of numerous Christian groups, many of them Evangelical. Focus on the Family is a major conservative Christian organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.
    Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:[35]
    Christian — 65%
    Protestant — 44%
    Evangelical — 23%
    Mainline — 19%
    Other Protestant — 2%
    Roman Catholic — 19%
    Orthodox — 1%
    Latter Day Saint / Mormon — 2%
    Jewish — 2%
    Muslim — 1%
    Other Religions — 5%
    Unaffiliated — 25%
    The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 752,505; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 92,326 (133,727 year-end 2007) ; and Baptist with 85,083.[36]
    [edit]Health
    Colorado also has a reputation for being a state of very active and athletic people. According to several studies, Coloradans have the lowest rates of obesity of any state in the US.[37] As of 2007 the 17.6% of the population was considered medically obese, and while the lowest in the nation, the percentage had increased from 16.9% from 2004. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter spoke that “As an avid fisherman and bike rider, I know first-hand that Colorado provides a great environment for active, healthy lifestyles,” although he did highlight the need for continued education and support to slow the growth of obesity in the state.[38]
    [edit]Culture

    Main article: Culture of Colorado
    [edit]Fine arts
    Main article: Fine arts in Colorado
    Music of Colorado
    Theater in Colorado
    [edit]Cuisine
    Main article: Cuisine of Colorado
    [edit]Economy



    The United States quarter dollar coin released 2006-06-14, in honor of the State of Colorado.


    Denver World Trade Center.
    The Denver financial district along 17th Street is known as the Wall Street of the West.


    Maize growing in Larimer County


    Cattle ranching in Jackson County


    An oil well in western Colorado
    Main article: Economy of Colorado
    The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product in 2007 was $236 billion. Per capita personal income in 2007 was $41,192, ranking Colorado eleventh in the nation.[39] The state's economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.
    The federal government is also a major economic force in the state with many important federal facilities including NORAD, United States Air Force Academy and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs; NOAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder; U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood; the Denver Mint, Buckley Air Force Base, and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prison and other federal prisons near Cañon City. In addition to these and other federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four National Parks that contribute to federal ownership of 24,615,788 acres (99,617 km2) of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the state.[40] In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and service sectors have expanded greatly. The state's economy is diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research and high-technology industries. Other industries include food processing, transportation equipment, machinery, chemical products, minerals such as gold and molybdenum, and tourism. Colorado also produces the largest amount of beer of any state.[41] Denver is an important financial center.
    A number of nationally known brand names have originated in Colorado factories and laboratories. From Denver came the forerunner of telecommunications giant Qwest in 1879, Samsonite luggage in 1910, Gates belts and hoses in 1911, and Russell Stover Candies in 1923. Kuner canned vegetables began in Brighton in 1864. From Golden came Coors beer in 1873, CoorsTek industrial ceramics in 1920, and Jolly Rancher candy in 1949. CF&I railroad rails, wire, nails and pipe debuted in Pueblo in 1892. The present-day Swift packed meat of Greeley evolved from Monfort of Colorado, Inc., established in 1930. Estes model rockets were launched in Penrose in 1958. Fort Collins has been the home of Woodward Governor Company's motor controllers (governors) since 1870, and Waterpik dental water jets and showerheads since 1962. Celestial Seasonings herbal teas have been made in Boulder since 1969. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory made its first candy in Durango in 1981.
    Colorado has a flat 4.63% income tax, regardless of income level. Unlike most states, which calculate taxes based on federal adjusted gross income, Colorado taxes are based on taxable income - income after federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard) deductions.[42][43] Colorado's state sales tax is 2.9% on retail sales. When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, full-year Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and special district taxes that may apply.
    Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The state's senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break is scheduled to return for assessment year 2006, payable in 2007.
    [edit]Philanthropy
    Major philanthropic organizations based in Colorado, including the Daniels Fund, the Anschutz Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation, grant approximately $400 million[44] each year from approximately $7 billion[45] of assets.
    [edit]Energy
    Colorado has significant energy resources. According to the Energy Information Administration, Colorado hosts seven of the Nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields and two of its 100 largest oil fields. Conventional and unconventional natural gas output from several Colorado basins typically account for more than 5 percent of annual U.S. natural gas production. Substantial deposits of bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite coal are also found in the state. Colorado's high Rocky Mountain ridges and eastern plains offer wind power potential, and geologic activity in the mountain areas provides potential for geothermal power development. Much of the state is sunny and could produce solar power. Major rivers flowing from the Rocky Mountains offer hydroelectric power resources. Corn grown in the flat eastern part of the State offers potential resources for ethanol production. Notably, Colorado’s oil shale deposits hold an estimated 1 trillion barrels (160 km3) of oil – nearly as much oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. Oil production from those deposits, however, remains speculative.[46]
    [edit]Special tax districts
    Some of the special tax districts are:
    The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which affects the counties of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas Counties
    The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties
    It is a 0.1% retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10).
    According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history or cultural history.
    As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently divided into three "tiers" among which receipts are allocated by percentage.
    Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives 65.5%.
    Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives 21%.
    Tier III has over 280 local organizations such as small theaters, orchestras, art centers, and natural history, cultural history, and community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding to the county cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%.
    An eleven-member board of directors oversees the distributions in accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council) and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado.
    The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to pay for and help build the Denver Broncos' stadium INVESCO Field at Mile High
    Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of southeast Jefferson and Boulder counties
    Regional Transportation Districts (RTA) taxes at varying rates in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison County
    Occupational Privilege Taxes (OPT or Head Tax) Denver and Aurora both levy an OPT on Employers and Employees
    If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the Employee and Employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
    In Denver, the Employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and the Employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.
    In Aurora, both Employer and Employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.
    It is the Employer's responsibility to with hold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an Employer does not comply, they can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.
    [edit]Transportation



    Colorado state welcome sign


    Denver International Airport


    Union Station in Denver.
    Interstate and Federal Highway Routes in the State of Colorado
    Interstate 25
    Interstate 70
    Interstate 76
    Interstate 225
    Interstate 270
    U.S. Route 6
    U.S. Route 24
    U.S. Route 34
    U.S. Route 36
    U.S. Route 40
    U.S. Route 50
    U.S. Route 84
    U.S. Route 85
    U.S. Route 87
    U.S. Route 138
    U.S. Route 160
    U.S. Route 285
    U.S. Route 287
    U.S. Route 350
    U.S. Route 400
    U.S. Route 491
    U.S. Route 550
    Commercial Airports in the State of Colorado
    ALS - San Luis Valley Regional Airport
    ASE - Aspen-Pitkin County Airport
    CEZ - Cortez Municipal Airport
    COS - City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport
    DEN - Denver International Airport[47]
    DRO - Durango-La Plata County Airport
    EGE - Eagle County Regional Airport
    FNL - Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport
    GJT - Grand Junction Regional Airport
    GUC - Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport
    HDN - Yampa Valley Airport
    MTJ - Montrose Regional Airport
    PUB - Pueblo Memorial Airport
    TEX - Telluride Regional Airport
    Amtrak Passenger Railroad Routes through the State of Colorado
    California Zephyr: Chicago, Galesburg, Omaha, Fort Morgan, Denver, Winter Park, Granby, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Salt Lake City, Reno, Sacramento, and Emeryville
    Southwest Chief: Chicago, Galesburg, Kansas City, Topeka, Lamar, La Junta, Trinidad, Albuquerque, Gallup, Flagstaff, Needles, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles
    Communities in the State of Colorado with Regional Bus Service
    Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Brush, Colorado Springs, Delta, Denver, Durango, Englewood, Frisco, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Greeley, Lamar, Limon, Longmont, Montrose, Pueblo, Rocky Ford, Springfield, Sterling, Trinidad, Vail, and Walsenburg
    See also: Colorado Department of Transportation, List of Colorado state highways, List of airports in Colorado, and Amtrak
    [edit]Government and politics

    [edit]State government
    Gubernatorial election results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2006 40.16% 625,886 56.98% 888,096
    2002 62.62% 884,584 33.65% 475,373
    1998 49.06% 648,202 48.43% 639,905
    1994 38.70% 432,042 55.47% 619,205
    1990 35.43% 358,403 61.89% 626,032
    Main article: Law and Government of Colorado


    The Colorado State Capitol in Denver
    Like all U.S. states, Colorado's constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The governor heads the state's executive branch. The Colorado Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the state. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. Currently, Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly. The 2005 Colorado General Assembly was the first to be controlled by the Democrats in forty years. The incumbent governor is Democrat August William "Bill" Ritter, Jr..
    Most Coloradans are originally native to other states (nearly 60% according to the 2000 census[48]), and this is illustrated by the fact that the state did not have a native-born governor from 1975 (when John David Vanderhoof left office) until 2007, when Bill Ritter took office; his election the previous year marked the first electoral victory for a native-born Coloradan in a gubernatorial race since 1958 (Vanderhoof had ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon's administration in 1973).
    [edit]Federal politics
    Presidential elections results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2008 44.71% 1,073,584 53.66% 1,288,568
    2004 51.69% 1,101,255 47.02% 1,001,732
    2000 50.75% 883,745 42.39% 738,227
    1996 45.80% 691,848 44.43% 671,152
    1992 35.87% 562,850 40.13% 629,681
    1988 53.06% 728,177 45.28% 621,453
    Main article: Politics of Colorado
    Colorado is considered a swing state in both state and federal elections. Coloradans have elected 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans to the governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado supported Democrats Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008, and supported Republicans Robert J. Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The presidential outcome in 2008 was the second closest to the national popular vote, after Virginia.[49]
    Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and liberal cities such as Boulder. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins and Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a few western ski resort counties. The Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains, Colorado Springs, Greeley, some Denver suburbs, and the western half of the state (including Grand Junction). The fastest growing parts of the state particularly Douglas, Elbert, and Weld Counties, in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area, are somewhat Republican-leaning.ties, in tColorado ( /kɒləˈrædoʊ/ (help·info) or /kɒləˈrɑːdoʊ/ (help·info))[6] is a U.S. state located in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States of America. It may also be considered to be part of the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. In rare cases Eastern Colorado is considered part of the Midwestern United States. Colorado entered statehood in 1876 and was nicknamed the “Centennial State”. It is bordered to the north by Wyoming, to the south by New Mexico and Oklahoma, at the southwest corner by Arizona, to the east by Nebraska and Kansas and to the west by Utah.
    The state is well known for its magnificent scenery of mountains, rivers, lakes, and plains. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 5,024,748 on July 1, 2009, a 16.82% increase since the U.S. Census 2000.[3] Denver is the capital of Colorado and the state's most populous city. Residents of Colorado are properly known as "Coloradans" although the archaic term "Coloradoan" is still used.[1][2]
    Contents [hide]
    1 Geography
    1.1 Climate
    1.1.1 Eastern Plains
    1.1.2 West of the plains and foothills
    1.1.3 Extreme weather
    1.1.4 Records
    2 History
    3 Demographics
    3.1 Religion
    3.2 Health
    4 Culture
    4.1 Fine arts
    4.2 Cuisine
    5 Economy
    5.1 Philanthropy
    5.2 Energy
    5.3 Special tax districts
    6 Transportation
    7 Government and politics
    7.1 State government
    7.2 Federal politics
    8 Cities and Towns
    9 Counties
    10 Education
    11 Metropolitan Areas
    12 Military Installations
    13 Protected areas
    14 Sports
    14.1 Professional sports teams
    14.1.1 Former professional sports teams
    15 State symbols
    16 Prominent Coloradans
    17 See also
    18 References
    19 Further reading
    20 External links
    [edit]Geography



    An enlargeable map of the State of Colorado
    Main article: Geography of Colorado
    The State of Colorado is defined as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian).[7] Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only three U.S. states that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries and that have no natural borders. When government surveyors established the border markers for the Territory of Colorado, minor surveying errors created several small kinks along the borders, most notably along the border with the Territory of Utah. The surveyors' benchmarks, once agreed upon by the interested parties, became the legal boundaries for the Colorado Territory.[8]


    Tenmile Range near Leadville, Colorado.
    The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation in Lake County is the state's highest point and the highest point in the entire Rocky Mountains.[4][5] Colorado has more than 100 mountain peaks that exceed 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) elevation. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in the State of Colorado at 3,315 feet (1,010 m) elevation. This crossing point holds the distinction of being the highest low point of any U.S. state.[4][9]
    Nearly a third of the state is flat or rolling in stark contrast to Colorado's rugged Rocky Mountains. East of the Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Colorado at elevations ranging from roughly 3,350 to 6,500 feet (1,020 to 1,980 m).[10] The states of Kansas and Nebraska border Colorado to the east. The Colorado plains are usually thought of as prairies, but actually have a handful of deciduous forests. Eastern Colorado is mainly covered in farmland as well as small farming communities. Precipitation is fair, averaging from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually.[10] The summers in the plains are usually hot and humid, whereas the winters are often bitter cold, snowy and icy. Corn, wheat, hay, soybeans and oats are all typical crops and most small towns in the region boast both a water tower and a grain elevator. As well as crop farming Eastern Colorado has livestock farming, such as cattle farming and hog farming. It also contains many dairy farms and poultry farms.
    Most of Colorado's population lives along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor. This region is partially protected from prevailing storms by the high mountains to the west.


    The Continental Divide dips down to 11,990 feet (3,655 m) at Loveland Pass.
    To the west lies the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains with notable peaks such as Longs Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg in the south. This area drains to the east, is forested, and partially urbanized. During the drought of 2002 devastating forest fires swept this area.
    Hinsdale County, with Lake City (population appx. 300) as its seat, has been judged the most remote county in the 48 contiguous states. It has only one incorporated town (Lake City). It is one of the only places within the continental United States that one can venture more than 10 miles (16 km) from any road.
    The Continental Divide stretches across the crest of the Rocky Mountains. To the west of the Continental Divide is the Western Slope. Water west of the Continental Divide drains west into the Sea of Cortez via the Colorado River.
    Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks or high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is North Park. North Park is drained by the North Platte River, which flows north into Wyoming. Just south but on the west side of the Continental Divide is Middle Park, drained by the Colorado River. South Park is the headwaters of the South Platte River. To the south lies the San Luis Valley, the headwaters of the Rio Grande, which drains into New Mexico. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San Luis Valley, lie along the Rio Grande Rift, a major geological formation, and its branches.
    The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 54 peaks that are 14,000 feet (4,267 m) or higher elevation, known as fourteeners.[11] The mountains are timbered with conifers and aspens to the tree line, at an elevation of about 12,140 feet (3,700 m) in southern Colorado to about 10,500 feet (3,200 m) in northern Colorado; above this only alpine vegetation grows. The Colorado Rockies are snow-covered year round; a lot of the snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few small glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan Mountains in the southwest to Boulder and Central City on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado.
    The Western Slope is generally drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Notable to the south are the San Juan Mountains, an extremely rugged mountain range, and to the west of the San Juans, the Colorado Plateau, a high semi-desert bordering Southern Utah. Grand Junction is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction is served by Interstate Highway I-70. To the southeast of Grand Junction is Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Further east are the ski resorts of Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs. The northwestern corner of Colorado bordering Northern Utah and Western Wyoming is mostly sparsely populated ranch and rangeland.
    From west to east, the state consists of semi-desert-like basins, turning into plateaus, then alpine mountains, and then the grassland and a few forests of the Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peak is just west of Colorado Springs. Its lone peak is visible from near the Kansas border on clear days.[12]
    Colorado is also one of only four states in the United States to share a common border (Four Corners), along with Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. At this intersection, it is possible to stand in four states at once.
    See also: Colorado cities and towns, Colorado counties, Colorado municipalities, Colorado rivers, and Four Corners Monument
    [edit]Climate

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    Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2009)


    Spring melt at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
    The climate of Colorado is quite complex compared to most of the United States. Unlike in other states, the southern Colorado is not necessarily warmer than the northern Colorado. Mountains and surrounding valleys greatly affect local climate. As a general rule, with an increase in elevation comes a decrease in temperature and an increase in precipitation. A main climatic division in Colorado occurs between the Rocky Mountains on the west and the plains on the east with the foothills forming a transitional zone between the two.[citation needed]
    [edit]Eastern Plains


    Center pivot irrigation of wheat growing in Yuma County.
    The climate of the Eastern Plains is a continental climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) of low humidity and moderate precipitation, usually from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually. The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool clear nights, which give this area the highest average diurnal temperature range in the United States[citation needed]. In summer, this area can have many days above 95 °F (35 °C) and sometimes 100 °F (38 °C)[13], although 105 °F (41 °C) is the maximum in the front range cities above 5,000 ft (1,500 m). In the plains, the winter extremes can be from 0 °F (−18 °C) to −10 °F (−23.3 °C) and −15 °F (−26.1 °C). The all time low in the area was −40 °F (−40.0 °C)[citation needed]. About 75% of the precipitation falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which are often severe, and from major snowstorms that occur most often in the early spring, late autumn, and sometimes winter. Otherwise, winters tend to be mostly dry and cold. In much of the region, March and April are the snowiest months. April and May are normally the rainiest months, while April is the wettest month overall. The Front Range cities closer to the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to chinook winds which warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures of 40 °F (4 °C) or higher in the winter.[13] The average July temperature is 55 °F (13 °C) in the morning and 80 °F (27 °C) in the afternoon. The average January temperature is 10 °F (−12 °C) in the morning and 30 °F (−1 °C) in the afternoon, although variation between consecutive days can be 40 °F (4 °C).
    [edit]West of the plains and foothills


    View of the Western Slope from Grand Junction.
    West of the plains and foothills, the weather of Colorado is much less uniform. Even places a few miles apart can experience entirely different weather depending on the topography of the area. Most valleys have a semi-arid climate, which becomes an alpine climate at higher elevations. Humid microclimates also exist in some areas. Generally, the wettest season in western Colorado is winter while June is the driest month. This is the opposite of precipitation patterns in the east. The mountains have cool summers with many days of high temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C), although frequent thunderstorms can cause sudden drops in temperature. Summer nights are cool or even cold at the highest elevations, which sometimes get snow even in the middle of the summer. The winters bring abundant, powdery snowfall to the mountains with abundant sunshine in between major storms. The western slope has high summer temperatures similar to those found on the plains, while the winters tend to be slightly cooler due to the lack of warming winds common to the plains and Front Range. Other areas in the west have their own unique climate. The San Luis Valley is generally dry with little rain or snow, although the snow that falls tends to stay on the ground all winter.[citation needed]
    [edit]Extreme weather


    Snow highlights the rugged mountains as well as the urban and agricultural landscapes of the Colorado plains.
    Extreme weather is a common occurrence in Colorado. Thunderstorms are common east of the Continental divide in the spring and summer, and Colorado is one of the leading states in deaths due to lightning. Hail is a common sight in the mountains east of the divide and in the northwest part of the state. The Eastern Plains have some of the biggest hail storms in North America.[10] Also the Eastern Plains are part of Tornado Alley and produce some of the deadliest U.S. tornadoes. Some damaging tornadoes in the Eastern Plains include the 1990 Limon F3 tornado and the 2008 Windsor EF3 tornado, which devastated the town.[14] The plains are also susceptible to floods, which are caused both by thunderstorms and by the rapid melting of snow in the mountains during warm weather. Denver's 1901 record for number of consecutive days above 90 °F (32 °C) was broken in the summer of 2008. The new record of twenty-four (24) consecutive days surpassed the previous record by almost a week.[15] Colorado is a relatively dry state averaging only 17 inches (430 mm) of rain per year and rarely experiences a time when some portion of the state is not in some degree of drought.[16] The lack of precipitation contributes to the severity of wildfires in the state such as the Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildfires in US history.
    [edit]Records
    The highest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was 118 °F (48 °C) on July 11, 1888, at Bennett, while the lowest was −61 °F (−51.7 °C) on February 1, 1985, at Maybell.[17][18]
    Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Colorado Cities (°F)
    City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Alamosa 33/-4 40/5 50/16 59/23 68/32 78/40 82/46 79/45 72/36 62/24 46/11 35/-1
    Colorado Springs 42/13 45/18 52/24 59/31 68/41 79/50 86/55 82/54 74/45 63/34 50/23 42/16
    Denver 43/15 47/19 54/25 61/34 70/44 82/53 88/59 86/57 77/47 66/36 52/24 44/16
    Grand Junction 37/16 45/23 56/31 64/38 74/46 87/55 96/61 92/60 83/50 67/39 50/26 39/18
    Pueblo 45/14 50/19 57/26 65/34 75/45 86/54 91/59 89/58 81/49 69/35 54/22 45/15
    [19]
    [edit]History

    Main articles: History of Colorado and Outline of Colorado history


    The ruins of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde as photographed by Gustaf Nordenskiöld in 1891.
    The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 13 millennia. The Lindenmeier Site in Larimer County contains artifacts dating from approximately 11200 BCE to 3000 BCE. The Ancient Pueblo Peoples lived in the valleys and mesas of the Colorado Plateau. The Ute Nation inhabited the mountain valleys of the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Western Rocky Mountains. The Arapaho Nation and the Cheyenne Nation moved west to hunt across the High Plains.
    The United States acquired a territorial claim to the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. The U.S. claim conflicted with Spain's claim that a huge region surrounding its colony of Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico was its sovereign trading zone. Zebulon Pike led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the disputed region in 1806. Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish cavalry in the San Luis Valley the following February, taken to Chihuahua, and expelled from México the following July.


    Bent's Old Fort along the Arkansas River operated from 1833 to 1849.
    The United States relinquished its claim to all land south and west of the Arkansas River as part of the U.S. purchase of Florida from Spain with the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. México finally won its independence from Spain in 1821, but it surrendered its northern territories to the United States after the Mexican-American War with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In 1849, the Mormons of Deseret (now Utah) organized the extralegal State of Deseret which claimed all land drained by the Green River and the Colorado River. The federal government refused to recognize the new government, and the Mormons declined to settle east of the Green River for more than 20 years. The United States divided the area of the future Colorado among the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah organized in 1850, and the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska organized in 1854.
    Most American settlers traveling west to Oregon, Deseret, or California avoided the rugged Rocky Mountains and instead followed the North Platte River and Sweetwater River through what is now Wyoming. On April 9, 1851, Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexico, settled the village of San Luis, then in the New Mexico Territory, but now Colorado's first permanent European settlement. Gold was discovered along the South Platte River in western Kansas Territory in July 1858, precipitating the Pike's Peak Gold Rush.[20] The placer gold deposits along the rivers and streams of the region rapidly played out, but miners soon discovered far more valuable seams of hard rock gold, silver, and other minerals in the nearby mountains.


    A lithograph of the Denver City mining camp in 1859.
    The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on August 24, 1859, but the new territory failed to secure federal sanction. The election of Abraham Lincoln for U.S. President on November 6, 1860, led to the secession of six slave states and the threat of civil war. Seeking to augment the political power of the free states, the Republican led U.S. Congress hurriedly admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of Kansas to the Union as the free State of Kansas on January 29, 1861, leaving the western portion of the territory, and its gold fields, unorganized.


    The Georgetown Loop of the Colorado Central Railroad as photographed by William H. Jackson in 1899.
    Thirty days later on February 28, 1861, outgoing U.S. President James Buchanan signed an act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado.[21] The original boundaries of Colorado remain unchanged today. The name Colorado was chosen because it was commonly believed that the Colorado River originated in the territory.[22] Early Spanish explorers named the river the Rio Colorado for the reddish-brown silt the river carried from the mountains.[23] In fact, the Colorado River did not flow through the State of Colorado until House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th United States Congress changed the name of the Grand River to the Colorado River on July 25, 1921.[24]


    Colorado state history plaque
    The United States Congress passed an enabling act on March 3, 1875, specifying the requirements for the Territory of Colorado to become a state.[7] On August 1, 1876 (28 days after the Centennial of the United States), U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting the State of Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and earning it the moniker "Centennial State".[25] The discovery of a major silver lode near Leadville in 1878, triggered the Colorado Silver Boom. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 envigorated silver mining, but the repeal of the act in 1893 led to a major collapse of the mining and agricultural economy of the state.
    Colorado women were granted the right to vote beginning on November 7, 1893, making Colorado the second U.S. state to grant universal suffrage and the first by popular vote. By the 1930 U.S. Census, the population of Colorado exceeded one million residents. The state suffered through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but a major wave of immigration following World War II boosted Colorado's fortune. Tourism became a mainstay of the state economy, and high technology became an important economic engine. Colorado's population exceeded 4.3 million at U.S. Census 2000.
    Three warships of the United States Navy have been named USS Colorado. The first USS Colorado was named for the Colorado River. The later two ships were named in honor of the landlocked state.
    [edit]Demographics

    Historical populations
    Census Pop. %±
    1860 34,277

    1870 39,864 16.3%
    1880 194,327 387.5%
    1890 413,249 112.7%
    1900 539,700 30.6%
    1910 799,024 48.0%
    1920 939,629 17.6%
    1930 1,035,791 10.2%
    1940 1,123,296 8.4%
    1950 1,325,089 18.0%
    1960 1,753,947 32.4%
    1970 2,207,259 25.8%
    1980 2,889,964 30.9%
    1990 3,294,394 14.0%
    2000 4,301,261 30.6%
    Est. 2008[26] 4,939,456 14.8%


    Colorado Population Density Map
    The state's most populous city, and capital, is Denver. The Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area, home to 2,927,911 people, contains more than two-thirds of the state's population. Residents of Colorado are properly referred to as Coloradans, although the term Coloradoans is still used.[2][27]
    As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus 147,770 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 159,957 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 47,740 people.
    The largest increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor, especially in the Denver metropolitan area. The state's fastest growing counties are Douglas and Weld.[28] Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from California, which led some locals to feel that their state was "Californicated" in the 1990s (esp. Denver resembled more of Los Angeles) when lower cost of living and a healthier economy drew in over 100,000 Californians at the time. The center of population of Colorado is located just north of the town of Critchell in Jefferson County.[29]
    Colorado has a high proportion of Hispanic citizens and Denver and some other areas have significant Mexican populations, while southern Colorado has a large number of Hispanos, the descendants of early New Mexican settlers of colonial Spanish origin. The 2000 U.S. Census reports that 10.52% of people aged 5 and over in Colorado speak Spanish at home.[30] Colorado, like New Mexico, is very rich in archaic Spanish idioms.[31]
    Colorado also has some African-Americans communities which are located in northeast Denver in the Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Park Hill and Colfax Park areas. The state has sizable numbers of Asian-Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Southeast Asian and Japanese descent. The Denver metropolitan area is considered more liberal and diverse than much of the state when it comes to political issues and environmental concerns.
    According to the 2000 Census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado are German (22%) including of Swiss and Austrian nationalities, Irish (12.2%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are the largest group in the state and are especially strong in the Front Range, the Rockies (west-central counties) and Eastern parts/High Plains.[32] Denver and nearby areas on the Front Range has sizable German, Scandinavian, Italian, Slavic and Jewish American communities, partly a legacy of gold rushes in the late 19th century (1861-1889).
    Demographics of Colorado (csv)
    By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
    2000 (total population) 92.23% 4.55% 1.91% 2.84% 0.25%
    2000 (Hispanic only) 16.20% 0.37% 0.64% 0.14% 0.05%
    2005 (total population) 91.91% 4.74% 1.83% 3.19% 0.26%
    2005 (Hispanic only) 18.46% 0.48% 0.61% 0.18% 0.06%
    Growth 2000–05 (total population) 8.09% 13.03% 3.85% 22.08% 15.47%
    Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 4.78% 10.67% 3.75% 21.14% 11.70%
    Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 23.60% 39.64% 4.05% 40.04% 29.23%
    * AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    There were a total of 70,331 births in Colorado in 2006. (Birth Rate of 14.6). In 2007, Non-Hispanic Whites constituted 73.5% of the population and accounted for 59.1% of all the births.[33] The first time in state history with the statistic of non-Hispanic whites have fewer babies. But 14.06% of the births happened to parents of different races (About two-thirds to White-Latino parents).[34] Westernmost counties where the majority of residents are adherents of Mormonism there's a slightly higher percentage of families with children and those of under age 18.
    Colorado has a higher number of younger persons in median age: 33, according to the 2000 Census report. Large numbers of married couples in professional careers with young children move to the state in a belief it's a better place to raise a family. Colorado is also a major retirement destination by senior citizens in search of a cooler climate, recreation activities and the higher altitude in most of Colorado is said to provide health benefits for those with respiratory diseases.
    [edit]Religion


    The Chapel on the Rock at Camp Saint Malo near Allenspark.


    The Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs.
    Colorado's most popular religion is Christianity, and its most popular denomination is Catholicism. Colorado, and specifically the city of Colorado Springs, serves as the headquarters of numerous Christian groups, many of them Evangelical. Focus on the Family is a major conservative Christian organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.
    Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:[35]
    Christian — 65%
    Protestant — 44%
    Evangelical — 23%
    Mainline — 19%
    Other Protestant — 2%
    Roman Catholic — 19%
    Orthodox — 1%
    Latter Day Saint / Mormon — 2%
    Jewish — 2%
    Muslim — 1%
    Other Religions — 5%
    Unaffiliated — 25%
    The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 752,505; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 92,326 (133,727 year-end 2007) ; and Baptist with 85,083.[36]
    [edit]Health
    Colorado also has a reputation for being a state of very active and athletic people. According to several studies, Coloradans have the lowest rates of obesity of any state in the US.[37] As of 2007 the 17.6% of the population was considered medically obese, and while the lowest in the nation, the percentage had increased from 16.9% from 2004. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter spoke that “As an avid fisherman and bike rider, I know first-hand that Colorado provides a great environment for active, healthy lifestyles,” although he did highlight the need for continued education and support to slow the growth of obesity in the state.[38]
    [edit]Culture

    Main article: Culture of Colorado
    [edit]Fine arts
    Main article: Fine arts in Colorado
    Music of Colorado
    Theater in Colorado
    [edit]Cuisine
    Main article: Cuisine of Colorado
    [edit]Economy



    The United States quarter dollar coin released 2006-06-14, in honor of the State of Colorado.


    Denver World Trade Center.
    The Denver financial district along 17th Street is known as the Wall Street of the West.


    Maize growing in Larimer County


    Cattle ranching in Jackson County


    An oil well in western Colorado
    Main article: Economy of Colorado
    The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product in 2007 was $236 billion. Per capita personal income in 2007 was $41,192, ranking Colorado eleventh in the nation.[39] The state's economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.
    The federal government is also a major economic force in the state with many important federal facilities including NORAD, United States Air Force Academy and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs; NOAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder; U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood; the Denver Mint, Buckley Air Force Base, and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prison and other federal prisons near Cañon City. In addition to these and other federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four National Parks that contribute to federal ownership of 24,615,788 acres (99,617 km2) of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the state.[40] In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and service sectors have expanded greatly. The state's economy is diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research and high-technology industries. Other industries include food processing, transportation equipment, machinery, chemical products, minerals such as gold and molybdenum, and tourism. Colorado also produces the largest amount of beer of any state.[41] Denver is an important financial center.
    A number of nationally known brand names have originated in Colorado factories and laboratories. From Denver came the forerunner of telecommunications giant Qwest in 1879, Samsonite luggage in 1910, Gates belts and hoses in 1911, and Russell Stover Candies in 1923. Kuner canned vegetables began in Brighton in 1864. From Golden came Coors beer in 1873, CoorsTek industrial ceramics in 1920, and Jolly Rancher candy in 1949. CF&I railroad rails, wire, nails and pipe debuted in Pueblo in 1892. The present-day Swift packed meat of Greeley evolved from Monfort of Colorado, Inc., established in 1930. Estes model rockets were launched in Penrose in 1958. Fort Collins has been the home of Woodward Governor Company's motor controllers (governors) since 1870, and Waterpik dental water jets and showerheads since 1962. Celestial Seasonings herbal teas have been made in Boulder since 1969. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory made its first candy in Durango in 1981.
    Colorado has a flat 4.63% income tax, regardless of income level. Unlike most states, which calculate taxes based on federal adjusted gross income, Colorado taxes are based on taxable income - income after federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard) deductions.[42][43] Colorado's state sales tax is 2.9% on retail sales. When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, full-year Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and special district taxes that may apply.
    Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The state's senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break is scheduled to return for assessment year 2006, payable in 2007.
    [edit]Philanthropy
    Major philanthropic organizations based in Colorado, including the Daniels Fund, the Anschutz Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation, grant approximately $400 million[44] each year from approximately $7 billion[45] of assets.
    [edit]Energy
    Colorado has significant energy resources. According to the Energy Information Administration, Colorado hosts seven of the Nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields and two of its 100 largest oil fields. Conventional and unconventional natural gas output from several Colorado basins typically account for more than 5 percent of annual U.S. natural gas production. Substantial deposits of bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite coal are also found in the state. Colorado's high Rocky Mountain ridges and eastern plains offer wind power potential, and geologic activity in the mountain areas provides potential for geothermal power development. Much of the state is sunny and could produce solar power. Major rivers flowing from the Rocky Mountains offer hydroelectric power resources. Corn grown in the flat eastern part of the State offers potential resources for ethanol production. Notably, Colorado’s oil shale deposits hold an estimated 1 trillion barrels (160 km3) of oil – nearly as much oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. Oil production from those deposits, however, remains speculative.[46]
    [edit]Special tax districts
    Some of the special tax districts are:
    The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which affects the counties of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas Counties
    The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties
    It is a 0.1% retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10).
    According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history or cultural history.
    As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently divided into three "tiers" among which receipts are allocated by percentage.
    Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives 65.5%.
    Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives 21%.
    Tier III has over 280 local organizations such as small theaters, orchestras, art centers, and natural history, cultural history, and community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding to the county cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%.
    An eleven-member board of directors oversees the distributions in accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council) and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado.
    The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to pay for and help build the Denver Broncos' stadium INVESCO Field at Mile High
    Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of southeast Jefferson and Boulder counties
    Regional Transportation Districts (RTA) taxes at varying rates in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison County
    Occupational Privilege Taxes (OPT or Head Tax) Denver and Aurora both levy an OPT on Employers and Employees
    If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the Employee and Employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
    In Denver, the Employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and the Employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.
    In Aurora, both Employer and Employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.
    It is the Employer's responsibility to with hold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an Employer does not comply, they can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.
    [edit]Transportation



    Colorado state welcome sign


    Denver International Airport


    Union Station in Denver.
    Interstate and Federal Highway Routes in the State of Colorado
    Interstate 25
    Interstate 70
    Interstate 76
    Interstate 225
    Interstate 270
    U.S. Route 6
    U.S. Route 24
    U.S. Route 34
    U.S. Route 36
    U.S. Route 40
    U.S. Route 50
    U.S. Route 84
    U.S. Route 85
    U.S. Route 87
    U.S. Route 138
    U.S. Route 160
    U.S. Route 285
    U.S. Route 287
    U.S. Route 350
    U.S. Route 400
    U.S. Route 491
    U.S. Route 550
    Commercial Airports in the State of Colorado
    ALS - San Luis Valley Regional Airport
    ASE - Aspen-Pitkin County Airport
    CEZ - Cortez Municipal Airport
    COS - City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport
    DEN - Denver International Airport[47]
    DRO - Durango-La Plata County Airport
    EGE - Eagle County Regional Airport
    FNL - Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport
    GJT - Grand Junction Regional Airport
    GUC - Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport
    HDN - Yampa Valley Airport
    MTJ - Montrose Regional Airport
    PUB - Pueblo Memorial Airport
    TEX - Telluride Regional Airport
    Amtrak Passenger Railroad Routes through the State of Colorado
    California Zephyr: Chicago, Galesburg, Omaha, Fort Morgan, Denver, Winter Park, Granby, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Salt Lake City, Reno, Sacramento, and Emeryville
    Southwest Chief: Chicago, Galesburg, Kansas City, Topeka, Lamar, La Junta, Trinidad, Albuquerque, Gallup, Flagstaff, Needles, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles
    Communities in the State of Colorado with Regional Bus Service
    Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Brush, Colorado Springs, Delta, Denver, Durango, Englewood, Frisco, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Greeley, Lamar, Limon, Longmont, Montrose, Pueblo, Rocky Ford, Springfield, Sterling, Trinidad, Vail, and Walsenburg
    See also: Colorado Department of Transportation, List of Colorado state highways, List of airports in Colorado, and Amtrak
    [edit]Government and politics

    [edit]State government
    Gubernatorial election results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2006 40.16% 625,886 56.98% 888,096
    2002 62.62% 884,584 33.65% 475,373
    1998 49.06% 648,202 48.43% 639,905
    1994 38.70% 432,042 55.47% 619,205
    1990 35.43% 358,403 61.89% 626,032
    Main article: Law and Government of Colorado


    The Colorado State Capitol in Denver
    Like all U.S. states, Colorado's constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The governor heads the state's executive branch. The Colorado Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the state. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. Currently, Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly. The 2005 Colorado General Assembly was the first to be controlled by the Democrats in forty years. The incumbent governor is Democrat August William "Bill" Ritter, Jr..
    Most Coloradans are originally native to other states (nearly 60% according to the 2000 census[48]), and this is illustrated by the fact that the state did not have a native-born governor from 1975 (when John David Vanderhoof left office) until 2007, when Bill Ritter took office; his election the previous year marked the first electoral victory for a native-born Coloradan in a gubernatorial race since 1958 (Vanderhoof had ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon's administration in 1973).
    [edit]Federal politics
    Presidential elections results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2008 44.71% 1,073,584 53.66% 1,288,568
    2004 51.69% 1,101,255 47.02% 1,001,732
    2000 50.75% 883,745 42.39% 738,227
    1996 45.80% 691,848 44.43% 671,152
    1992 35.87% 562,850 40.13% 629,681
    1988 53.06% 728,177 45.28% 621,453
    Main article: Politics of Colorado
    Colorado is considered a swing state in both state and federal elections. Coloradans have elected 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans to the governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado supported Democrats Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008, and supported Republicans Robert J. Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The presidential outcome in 2008 was the second closest to the national popular vote, after Virginia.[49]
    Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and liberal cities such as Boulder. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins and Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a few western ski resort counties. The Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains, Colorado Springs, Greeley, some Denver suburbs, and the western half of the state (including Grand Junction). The fastest growing parts of the state particularly Douglas, Elbert, and Weld Counties, in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area, are somewhat Republican-leaning.he Denver-AColorado ( /kɒləˈrædoʊ/ (help·info) or /kɒləˈrɑːdoʊ/ (help·info))[6] is a U.S. state located in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States of America. It may also be considered to be part of the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. In rare cases Eastern Colorado is considered part of the Midwestern United States. Colorado entered statehood in 1876 and was nicknamed the “Centennial State”. It is bordered to the north by Wyoming, to the south by New Mexico and Oklahoma, at the southwest corner by Arizona, to the east by Nebraska and Kansas and to the west by Utah.
    The state is well known for its magnificent scenery of mountains, rivers, lakes, and plains. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 5,024,748 on July 1, 2009, a 16.82% increase since the U.S. Census 2000.[3] Denver is the capital of Colorado and the state's most populous city. Residents of Colorado are properly known as "Coloradans" although the archaic term "Coloradoan" is still used.[1][2]
    Contents [hide]
    1 Geography
    1.1 Climate
    1.1.1 Eastern Plains
    1.1.2 West of the plains and foothills
    1.1.3 Extreme weather
    1.1.4 Records
    2 History
    3 Demographics
    3.1 Religion
    3.2 Health
    4 Culture
    4.1 Fine arts
    4.2 Cuisine
    5 Economy
    5.1 Philanthropy
    5.2 Energy
    5.3 Special tax districts
    6 Transportation
    7 Government and politics
    7.1 State government
    7.2 Federal politics
    8 Cities and Towns
    9 Counties
    10 Education
    11 Metropolitan Areas
    12 Military Installations
    13 Protected areas
    14 Sports
    14.1 Professional sports teams
    14.1.1 Former professional sports teams
    15 State symbols
    16 Prominent Coloradans
    17 See also
    18 References
    19 Further reading
    20 External links
    [edit]Geography



    An enlargeable map of the State of Colorado
    Main article: Geography of Colorado
    The State of Colorado is defined as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian).[7] Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only three U.S. states that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries and that have no natural borders. When government surveyors established the border markers for the Territory of Colorado, minor surveying errors created several small kinks along the borders, most notably along the border with the Territory of Utah. The surveyors' benchmarks, once agreed upon by the interested parties, became the legal boundaries for the Colorado Territory.[8]


    Tenmile Range near Leadville, Colorado.
    The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation in Lake County is the state's highest point and the highest point in the entire Rocky Mountains.[4][5] Colorado has more than 100 mountain peaks that exceed 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) elevation. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in the State of Colorado at 3,315 feet (1,010 m) elevation. This crossing point holds the distinction of being the highest low point of any U.S. state.[4][9]
    Nearly a third of the state is flat or rolling in stark contrast to Colorado's rugged Rocky Mountains. East of the Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Colorado at elevations ranging from roughly 3,350 to 6,500 feet (1,020 to 1,980 m).[10] The states of Kansas and Nebraska border Colorado to the east. The Colorado plains are usually thought of as prairies, but actually have a handful of deciduous forests. Eastern Colorado is mainly covered in farmland as well as small farming communities. Precipitation is fair, averaging from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually.[10] The summers in the plains are usually hot and humid, whereas the winters are often bitter cold, snowy and icy. Corn, wheat, hay, soybeans and oats are all typical crops and most small towns in the region boast both a water tower and a grain elevator. As well as crop farming Eastern Colorado has livestock farming, such as cattle farming and hog farming. It also contains many dairy farms and poultry farms.
    Most of Colorado's population lives along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor. This region is partially protected from prevailing storms by the high mountains to the west.


    The Continental Divide dips down to 11,990 feet (3,655 m) at Loveland Pass.
    To the west lies the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains with notable peaks such as Longs Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg in the south. This area drains to the east, is forested, and partially urbanized. During the drought of 2002 devastating forest fires swept this area.
    Hinsdale County, with Lake City (population appx. 300) as its seat, has been judged the most remote county in the 48 contiguous states. It has only one incorporated town (Lake City). It is one of the only places within the continental United States that one can venture more than 10 miles (16 km) from any road.
    The Continental Divide stretches across the crest of the Rocky Mountains. To the west of the Continental Divide is the Western Slope. Water west of the Continental Divide drains west into the Sea of Cortez via the Colorado River.
    Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks or high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is North Park. North Park is drained by the North Platte River, which flows north into Wyoming. Just south but on the west side of the Continental Divide is Middle Park, drained by the Colorado River. South Park is the headwaters of the South Platte River. To the south lies the San Luis Valley, the headwaters of the Rio Grande, which drains into New Mexico. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San Luis Valley, lie along the Rio Grande Rift, a major geological formation, and its branches.
    The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 54 peaks that are 14,000 feet (4,267 m) or higher elevation, known as fourteeners.[11] The mountains are timbered with conifers and aspens to the tree line, at an elevation of about 12,140 feet (3,700 m) in southern Colorado to about 10,500 feet (3,200 m) in northern Colorado; above this only alpine vegetation grows. The Colorado Rockies are snow-covered year round; a lot of the snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few small glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan Mountains in the southwest to Boulder and Central City on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado.
    The Western Slope is generally drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Notable to the south are the San Juan Mountains, an extremely rugged mountain range, and to the west of the San Juans, the Colorado Plateau, a high semi-desert bordering Southern Utah. Grand Junction is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction is served by Interstate Highway I-70. To the southeast of Grand Junction is Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Further east are the ski resorts of Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs. The northwestern corner of Colorado bordering Northern Utah and Western Wyoming is mostly sparsely populated ranch and rangeland.
    From west to east, the state consists of semi-desert-like basins, turning into plateaus, then alpine mountains, and then the grassland and a few forests of the Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peak is just west of Colorado Springs. Its lone peak is visible from near the Kansas border on clear days.[12]
    Colorado is also one of only four states in the United States to share a common border (Four Corners), along with Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. At this intersection, it is possible to stand in four states at once.
    See also: Colorado cities and towns, Colorado counties, Colorado municipalities, Colorado rivers, and Four Corners Monument
    [edit]Climate

    This section needs additional citations for verification.
    Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2009)


    Spring melt at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
    The climate of Colorado is quite complex compared to most of the United States. Unlike in other states, the southern Colorado is not necessarily warmer than the northern Colorado. Mountains and surrounding valleys greatly affect local climate. As a general rule, with an increase in elevation comes a decrease in temperature and an increase in precipitation. A main climatic division in Colorado occurs between the Rocky Mountains on the west and the plains on the east with the foothills forming a transitional zone between the two.[citation needed]
    [edit]Eastern Plains


    Center pivot irrigation of wheat growing in Yuma County.
    The climate of the Eastern Plains is a continental climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) of low humidity and moderate precipitation, usually from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually. The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool clear nights, which give this area the highest average diurnal temperature range in the United States[citation needed]. In summer, this area can have many days above 95 °F (35 °C) and sometimes 100 °F (38 °C)[13], although 105 °F (41 °C) is the maximum in the front range cities above 5,000 ft (1,500 m). In the plains, the winter extremes can be from 0 °F (−18 °C) to −10 °F (−23.3 °C) and −15 °F (−26.1 °C). The all time low in the area was −40 °F (−40.0 °C)[citation needed]. About 75% of the precipitation falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which are often severe, and from major snowstorms that occur most often in the early spring, late autumn, and sometimes winter. Otherwise, winters tend to be mostly dry and cold. In much of the region, March and April are the snowiest months. April and May are normally the rainiest months, while April is the wettest month overall. The Front Range cities closer to the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to chinook winds which warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures of 40 °F (4 °C) or higher in the winter.[13] The average July temperature is 55 °F (13 °C) in the morning and 80 °F (27 °C) in the afternoon. The average January temperature is 10 °F (−12 °C) in the morning and 30 °F (−1 °C) in the afternoon, although variation between consecutive days can be 40 °F (4 °C).
    [edit]West of the plains and foothills


    View of the Western Slope from Grand Junction.
    West of the plains and foothills, the weather of Colorado is much less uniform. Even places a few miles apart can experience entirely different weather depending on the topography of the area. Most valleys have a semi-arid climate, which becomes an alpine climate at higher elevations. Humid microclimates also exist in some areas. Generally, the wettest season in western Colorado is winter while June is the driest month. This is the opposite of precipitation patterns in the east. The mountains have cool summers with many days of high temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C), although frequent thunderstorms can cause sudden drops in temperature. Summer nights are cool or even cold at the highest elevations, which sometimes get snow even in the middle of the summer. The winters bring abundant, powdery snowfall to the mountains with abundant sunshine in between major storms. The western slope has high summer temperatures similar to those found on the plains, while the winters tend to be slightly cooler due to the lack of warming winds common to the plains and Front Range. Other areas in the west have their own unique climate. The San Luis Valley is generally dry with little rain or snow, although the snow that falls tends to stay on the ground all winter.[citation needed]
    [edit]Extreme weather


    Snow highlights the rugged mountains as well as the urban and agricultural landscapes of the Colorado plains.
    Extreme weather is a common occurrence in Colorado. Thunderstorms are common east of the Continental divide in the spring and summer, and Colorado is one of the leading states in deaths due to lightning. Hail is a common sight in the mountains east of the divide and in the northwest part of the state. The Eastern Plains have some of the biggest hail storms in North America.[10] Also the Eastern Plains are part of Tornado Alley and produce some of the deadliest U.S. tornadoes. Some damaging tornadoes in the Eastern Plains include the 1990 Limon F3 tornado and the 2008 Windsor EF3 tornado, which devastated the town.[14] The plains are also susceptible to floods, which are caused both by thunderstorms and by the rapid melting of snow in the mountains during warm weather. Denver's 1901 record for number of consecutive days above 90 °F (32 °C) was broken in the summer of 2008. The new record of twenty-four (24) consecutive days surpassed the previous record by almost a week.[15] Colorado is a relatively dry state averaging only 17 inches (430 mm) of rain per year and rarely experiences a time when some portion of the state is not in some degree of drought.[16] The lack of precipitation contributes to the severity of wildfires in the state such as the Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildfires in US history.
    [edit]Records
    The highest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was 118 °F (48 °C) on July 11, 1888, at Bennett, while the lowest was −61 °F (−51.7 °C) on February 1, 1985, at Maybell.[17][18]
    Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Colorado Cities (°F)
    City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Alamosa 33/-4 40/5 50/16 59/23 68/32 78/40 82/46 79/45 72/36 62/24 46/11 35/-1
    Colorado Springs 42/13 45/18 52/24 59/31 68/41 79/50 86/55 82/54 74/45 63/34 50/23 42/16
    Denver 43/15 47/19 54/25 61/34 70/44 82/53 88/59 86/57 77/47 66/36 52/24 44/16
    Grand Junction 37/16 45/23 56/31 64/38 74/46 87/55 96/61 92/60 83/50 67/39 50/26 39/18
    Pueblo 45/14 50/19 57/26 65/34 75/45 86/54 91/59 89/58 81/49 69/35 54/22 45/15
    [19]
    [edit]History

    Main articles: History of Colorado and Outline of Colorado history


    The ruins of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde as photographed by Gustaf Nordenskiöld in 1891.
    The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 13 millennia. The Lindenmeier Site in Larimer County contains artifacts dating from approximately 11200 BCE to 3000 BCE. The Ancient Pueblo Peoples lived in the valleys and mesas of the Colorado Plateau. The Ute Nation inhabited the mountain valleys of the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Western Rocky Mountains. The Arapaho Nation and the Cheyenne Nation moved west to hunt across the High Plains.
    The United States acquired a territorial claim to the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. The U.S. claim conflicted with Spain's claim that a huge region surrounding its colony of Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico was its sovereign trading zone. Zebulon Pike led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the disputed region in 1806. Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish cavalry in the San Luis Valley the following February, taken to Chihuahua, and expelled from México the following July.


    Bent's Old Fort along the Arkansas River operated from 1833 to 1849.
    The United States relinquished its claim to all land south and west of the Arkansas River as part of the U.S. purchase of Florida from Spain with the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. México finally won its independence from Spain in 1821, but it surrendered its northern territories to the United States after the Mexican-American War with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In 1849, the Mormons of Deseret (now Utah) organized the extralegal State of Deseret which claimed all land drained by the Green River and the Colorado River. The federal government refused to recognize the new government, and the Mormons declined to settle east of the Green River for more than 20 years. The United States divided the area of the future Colorado among the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah organized in 1850, and the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska organized in 1854.
    Most American settlers traveling west to Oregon, Deseret, or California avoided the rugged Rocky Mountains and instead followed the North Platte River and Sweetwater River through what is now Wyoming. On April 9, 1851, Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexico, settled the village of San Luis, then in the New Mexico Territory, but now Colorado's first permanent European settlement. Gold was discovered along the South Platte River in western Kansas Territory in July 1858, precipitating the Pike's Peak Gold Rush.[20] The placer gold deposits along the rivers and streams of the region rapidly played out, but miners soon discovered far more valuable seams of hard rock gold, silver, and other minerals in the nearby mountains.


    A lithograph of the Denver City mining camp in 1859.
    The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on August 24, 1859, but the new territory failed to secure federal sanction. The election of Abraham Lincoln for U.S. President on November 6, 1860, led to the secession of six slave states and the threat of civil war. Seeking to augment the political power of the free states, the Republican led U.S. Congress hurriedly admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of Kansas to the Union as the free State of Kansas on January 29, 1861, leaving the western portion of the territory, and its gold fields, unorganized.


    The Georgetown Loop of the Colorado Central Railroad as photographed by William H. Jackson in 1899.
    Thirty days later on February 28, 1861, outgoing U.S. President James Buchanan signed an act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado.[21] The original boundaries of Colorado remain unchanged today. The name Colorado was chosen because it was commonly believed that the Colorado River originated in the territory.[22] Early Spanish explorers named the river the Rio Colorado for the reddish-brown silt the river carried from the mountains.[23] In fact, the Colorado River did not flow through the State of Colorado until House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th United States Congress changed the name of the Grand River to the Colorado River on July 25, 1921.[24]


    Colorado state history plaque
    The United States Congress passed an enabling act on March 3, 1875, specifying the requirements for the Territory of Colorado to become a state.[7] On August 1, 1876 (28 days after the Centennial of the United States), U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting the State of Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and earning it the moniker "Centennial State".[25] The discovery of a major silver lode near Leadville in 1878, triggered the Colorado Silver Boom. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 envigorated silver mining, but the repeal of the act in 1893 led to a major collapse of the mining and agricultural economy of the state.
    Colorado women were granted the right to vote beginning on November 7, 1893, making Colorado the second U.S. state to grant universal suffrage and the first by popular vote. By the 1930 U.S. Census, the population of Colorado exceeded one million residents. The state suffered through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but a major wave of immigration following World War II boosted Colorado's fortune. Tourism became a mainstay of the state economy, and high technology became an important economic engine. Colorado's population exceeded 4.3 million at U.S. Census 2000.
    Three warships of the United States Navy have been named USS Colorado. The first USS Colorado was named for the Colorado River. The later two ships were named in honor of the landlocked state.
    [edit]Demographics

    Historical populations
    Census Pop. %±
    1860 34,277

    1870 39,864 16.3%
    1880 194,327 387.5%
    1890 413,249 112.7%
    1900 539,700 30.6%
    1910 799,024 48.0%
    1920 939,629 17.6%
    1930 1,035,791 10.2%
    1940 1,123,296 8.4%
    1950 1,325,089 18.0%
    1960 1,753,947 32.4%
    1970 2,207,259 25.8%
    1980 2,889,964 30.9%
    1990 3,294,394 14.0%
    2000 4,301,261 30.6%
    Est. 2008[26] 4,939,456 14.8%


    Colorado Population Density Map
    The state's most populous city, and capital, is Denver. The Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area, home to 2,927,911 people, contains more than two-thirds of the state's population. Residents of Colorado are properly referred to as Coloradans, although the term Coloradoans is still used.[2][27]
    As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus 147,770 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 159,957 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 47,740 people.
    The largest increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor, especially in the Denver metropolitan area. The state's fastest growing counties are Douglas and Weld.[28] Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from California, which led some locals to feel that their state was "Californicated" in the 1990s (esp. Denver resembled more of Los Angeles) when lower cost of living and a healthier economy drew in over 100,000 Californians at the time. The center of population of Colorado is located just north of the town of Critchell in Jefferson County.[29]
    Colorado has a high proportion of Hispanic citizens and Denver and some other areas have significant Mexican populations, while southern Colorado has a large number of Hispanos, the descendants of early New Mexican settlers of colonial Spanish origin. The 2000 U.S. Census reports that 10.52% of people aged 5 and over in Colorado speak Spanish at home.[30] Colorado, like New Mexico, is very rich in archaic Spanish idioms.[31]
    Colorado also has some African-Americans communities which are located in northeast Denver in the Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Park Hill and Colfax Park areas. The state has sizable numbers of Asian-Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Southeast Asian and Japanese descent. The Denver metropolitan area is considered more liberal and diverse than much of the state when it comes to political issues and environmental concerns.
    According to the 2000 Census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado are German (22%) including of Swiss and Austrian nationalities, Irish (12.2%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are the largest group in the state and are especially strong in the Front Range, the Rockies (west-central counties) and Eastern parts/High Plains.[32] Denver and nearby areas on the Front Range has sizable German, Scandinavian, Italian, Slavic and Jewish American communities, partly a legacy of gold rushes in the late 19th century (1861-1889).
    Demographics of Colorado (csv)
    By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
    2000 (total population) 92.23% 4.55% 1.91% 2.84% 0.25%
    2000 (Hispanic only) 16.20% 0.37% 0.64% 0.14% 0.05%
    2005 (total population) 91.91% 4.74% 1.83% 3.19% 0.26%
    2005 (Hispanic only) 18.46% 0.48% 0.61% 0.18% 0.06%
    Growth 2000–05 (total population) 8.09% 13.03% 3.85% 22.08% 15.47%
    Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 4.78% 10.67% 3.75% 21.14% 11.70%
    Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 23.60% 39.64% 4.05% 40.04% 29.23%
    * AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    There were a total of 70,331 births in Colorado in 2006. (Birth Rate of 14.6). In 2007, Non-Hispanic Whites constituted 73.5% of the population and accounted for 59.1% of all the births.[33] The first time in state history with the statistic of non-Hispanic whites have fewer babies. But 14.06% of the births happened to parents of different races (About two-thirds to White-Latino parents).[34] Westernmost counties where the majority of residents are adherents of Mormonism there's a slightly higher percentage of families with children and those of under age 18.
    Colorado has a higher number of younger persons in median age: 33, according to the 2000 Census report. Large numbers of married couples in professional careers with young children move to the state in a belief it's a better place to raise a family. Colorado is also a major retirement destination by senior citizens in search of a cooler climate, recreation activities and the higher altitude in most of Colorado is said to provide health benefits for those with respiratory diseases.
    [edit]Religion


    The Chapel on the Rock at Camp Saint Malo near Allenspark.


    The Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs.
    Colorado's most popular religion is Christianity, and its most popular denomination is Catholicism. Colorado, and specifically the city of Colorado Springs, serves as the headquarters of numerous Christian groups, many of them Evangelical. Focus on the Family is a major conservative Christian organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.
    Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:[35]
    Christian — 65%
    Protestant — 44%
    Evangelical — 23%
    Mainline — 19%
    Other Protestant — 2%
    Roman Catholic — 19%
    Orthodox — 1%
    Latter Day Saint / Mormon — 2%
    Jewish — 2%
    Muslim — 1%
    Other Religions — 5%
    Unaffiliated — 25%
    The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 752,505; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 92,326 (133,727 year-end 2007) ; and Baptist with 85,083.[36]
    [edit]Health
    Colorado also has a reputation for being a state of very active and athletic people. According to several studies, Coloradans have the lowest rates of obesity of any state in the US.[37] As of 2007 the 17.6% of the population was considered medically obese, and while the lowest in the nation, the percentage had increased from 16.9% from 2004. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter spoke that “As an avid fisherman and bike rider, I know first-hand that Colorado provides a great environment for active, healthy lifestyles,” although he did highlight the need for continued education and support to slow the growth of obesity in the state.[38]
    [edit]Culture

    Main article: Culture of Colorado
    [edit]Fine arts
    Main article: Fine arts in Colorado
    Music of Colorado
    Theater in Colorado
    [edit]Cuisine
    Main article: Cuisine of Colorado
    [edit]Economy



    The United States quarter dollar coin released 2006-06-14, in honor of the State of Colorado.


    Denver World Trade Center.
    The Denver financial district along 17th Street is known as the Wall Street of the West.


    Maize growing in Larimer County


    Cattle ranching in Jackson County


    An oil well in western Colorado
    Main article: Economy of Colorado
    The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product in 2007 was $236 billion. Per capita personal income in 2007 was $41,192, ranking Colorado eleventh in the nation.[39] The state's economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.
    The federal government is also a major economic force in the state with many important federal facilities including NORAD, United States Air Force Academy and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs; NOAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder; U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood; the Denver Mint, Buckley Air Force Base, and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prison and other federal prisons near Cañon City. In addition to these and other federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four National Parks that contribute to federal ownership of 24,615,788 acres (99,617 km2) of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the state.[40] In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and service sectors have expanded greatly. The state's economy is diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research and high-technology industries. Other industries include food processing, transportation equipment, machinery, chemical products, minerals such as gold and molybdenum, and tourism. Colorado also produces the largest amount of beer of any state.[41] Denver is an important financial center.
    A number of nationally known brand names have originated in Colorado factories and laboratories. From Denver came the forerunner of telecommunications giant Qwest in 1879, Samsonite luggage in 1910, Gates belts and hoses in 1911, and Russell Stover Candies in 1923. Kuner canned vegetables began in Brighton in 1864. From Golden came Coors beer in 1873, CoorsTek industrial ceramics in 1920, and Jolly Rancher candy in 1949. CF&I railroad rails, wire, nails and pipe debuted in Pueblo in 1892. The present-day Swift packed meat of Greeley evolved from Monfort of Colorado, Inc., established in 1930. Estes model rockets were launched in Penrose in 1958. Fort Collins has been the home of Woodward Governor Company's motor controllers (governors) since 1870, and Waterpik dental water jets and showerheads since 1962. Celestial Seasonings herbal teas have been made in Boulder since 1969. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory made its first candy in Durango in 1981.
    Colorado has a flat 4.63% income tax, regardless of income level. Unlike most states, which calculate taxes based on federal adjusted gross income, Colorado taxes are based on taxable income - income after federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard) deductions.[42][43] Colorado's state sales tax is 2.9% on retail sales. When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, full-year Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and special district taxes that may apply.
    Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The state's senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break is scheduled to return for assessment year 2006, payable in 2007.
    [edit]Philanthropy
    Major philanthropic organizations based in Colorado, including the Daniels Fund, the Anschutz Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation, grant approximately $400 million[44] each year from approximately $7 billion[45] of assets.
    [edit]Energy
    Colorado has significant energy resources. According to the Energy Information Administration, Colorado hosts seven of the Nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields and two of its 100 largest oil fields. Conventional and unconventional natural gas output from several Colorado basins typically account for more than 5 percent of annual U.S. natural gas production. Substantial deposits of bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite coal are also found in the state. Colorado's high Rocky Mountain ridges and eastern plains offer wind power potential, and geologic activity in the mountain areas provides potential for geothermal power development. Much of the state is sunny and could produce solar power. Major rivers flowing from the Rocky Mountains offer hydroelectric power resources. Corn grown in the flat eastern part of the State offers potential resources for ethanol production. Notably, Colorado’s oil shale deposits hold an estimated 1 trillion barrels (160 km3) of oil – nearly as much oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. Oil production from those deposits, however, remains speculative.[46]
    [edit]Special tax districts
    Some of the special tax districts are:
    The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which affects the counties of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas Counties
    The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties
    It is a 0.1% retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10).
    According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history or cultural history.
    As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently divided into three "tiers" among which receipts are allocated by percentage.
    Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives 65.5%.
    Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives 21%.
    Tier III has over 280 local organizations such as small theaters, orchestras, art centers, and natural history, cultural history, and community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding to the county cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%.
    An eleven-member board of directors oversees the distributions in accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council) and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado.
    The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to pay for and help build the Denver Broncos' stadium INVESCO Field at Mile High
    Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of southeast Jefferson and Boulder counties
    Regional Transportation Districts (RTA) taxes at varying rates in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison County
    Occupational Privilege Taxes (OPT or Head Tax) Denver and Aurora both levy an OPT on Employers and Employees
    If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the Employee and Employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
    In Denver, the Employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and the Employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.
    In Aurora, both Employer and Employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.
    It is the Employer's responsibility to with hold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an Employer does not comply, they can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.
    [edit]Transportation



    Colorado state welcome sign


    Denver International Airport


    Union Station in Denver.
    Interstate and Federal Highway Routes in the State of Colorado
    Interstate 25
    Interstate 70
    Interstate 76
    Interstate 225
    Interstate 270
    U.S. Route 6
    U.S. Route 24
    U.S. Route 34
    U.S. Route 36
    U.S. Route 40
    U.S. Route 50
    U.S. Route 84
    U.S. Route 85
    U.S. Route 87
    U.S. Route 138
    U.S. Route 160
    U.S. Route 285
    U.S. Route 287
    U.S. Route 350
    U.S. Route 400
    U.S. Route 491
    U.S. Route 550
    Commercial Airports in the State of Colorado
    ALS - San Luis Valley Regional Airport
    ASE - Aspen-Pitkin County Airport
    CEZ - Cortez Municipal Airport
    COS - City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport
    DEN - Denver International Airport[47]
    DRO - Durango-La Plata County Airport
    EGE - Eagle County Regional Airport
    FNL - Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport
    GJT - Grand Junction Regional Airport
    GUC - Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport
    HDN - Yampa Valley Airport
    MTJ - Montrose Regional Airport
    PUB - Pueblo Memorial Airport
    TEX - Telluride Regional Airport
    Amtrak Passenger Railroad Routes through the State of Colorado
    California Zephyr: Chicago, Galesburg, Omaha, Fort Morgan, Denver, Winter Park, Granby, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Salt Lake City, Reno, Sacramento, and Emeryville
    Southwest Chief: Chicago, Galesburg, Kansas City, Topeka, Lamar, La Junta, Trinidad, Albuquerque, Gallup, Flagstaff, Needles, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles
    Communities in the State of Colorado with Regional Bus Service
    Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Brush, Colorado Springs, Delta, Denver, Durango, Englewood, Frisco, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Greeley, Lamar, Limon, Longmont, Montrose, Pueblo, Rocky Ford, Springfield, Sterling, Trinidad, Vail, and Walsenburg
    See also: Colorado Department of Transportation, List of Colorado state highways, List of airports in Colorado, and Amtrak
    [edit]Government and politics

    [edit]State government
    Gubernatorial election results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2006 40.16% 625,886 56.98% 888,096
    2002 62.62% 884,584 33.65% 475,373
    1998 49.06% 648,202 48.43% 639,905
    1994 38.70% 432,042 55.47% 619,205
    1990 35.43% 358,403 61.89% 626,032
    Main article: Law and Government of Colorado


    The Colorado State Capitol in Denver
    Like all U.S. states, Colorado's constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The governor heads the state's executive branch. The Colorado Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the state. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. Currently, Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly. The 2005 Colorado General Assembly was the first to be controlled by the Democrats in forty years. The incumbent governor is Democrat August William "Bill" Ritter, Jr..
    Most Coloradans are originally native to other states (nearly 60% according to the 2000 census[48]), and this is illustrated by the fact that the state did not have a native-born governor from 1975 (when John David Vanderhoof left office) until 2007, when Bill Ritter took office; his election the previous year marked the first electoral victory for a native-born Coloradan in a gubernatorial race since 1958 (Vanderhoof had ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon's administration in 1973).
    [edit]Federal politics
    Presidential elections results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2008 44.71% 1,073,584 53.66% 1,288,568
    2004 51.69% 1,101,255 47.02% 1,001,732
    2000 50.75% 883,745 42.39% 738,227
    1996 45.80% 691,848 44.43% 671,152
    1992 35.87% 562,850 40.13% 629,681
    1988 53.06% 728,177 45.28% 621,453
    Main article: Politics of Colorado
    Colorado is considered a swing state in both state and federal elections. Coloradans have elected 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans to the governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado supported Democrats Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008, and supported Republicans Robert J. Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The presidential outcome in 2008 was the second closest to the national popular vote, after Virginia.[49]
    Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and liberal cities such as Boulder. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins and Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a few western ski resort counties. The Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains, Colorado Springs, Greeley, some Denver suburbs, and the western half of the state (including Grand Junction). The fastest growing parts of the state particularly Douglas, Elbert, and Weld Counties, in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area, are somewhat Republican-leaning.urora Metropolitan ArColorado ( /kɒləˈrædoʊ/ (help·info) or /kɒləˈrɑːdoʊ/ (help·info))[6] is a U.S. state located in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States of America. It may also be considered to be part of the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. In rare cases Eastern Colorado is considered part of the Midwestern United States. Colorado entered statehood in 1876 and was nicknamed the “Centennial State”. It is bordered to the north by Wyoming, to the south by New Mexico and Oklahoma, at the southwest corner by Arizona, to the east by Nebraska and Kansas and to the west by Utah.
    The state is well known for its magnificent scenery of mountains, rivers, lakes, and plains. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 5,024,748 on July 1, 2009, a 16.82% increase since the U.S. Census 2000.[3] Denver is the capital of Colorado and the state's most populous city. Residents of Colorado are properly known as "Coloradans" although the archaic term "Coloradoan" is still used.[1][2]
    Contents [hide]
    1 Geography
    1.1 Climate
    1.1.1 Eastern Plains
    1.1.2 West of the plains and foothills
    1.1.3 Extreme weather
    1.1.4 Records
    2 History
    3 Demographics
    3.1 Religion
    3.2 Health
    4 Culture
    4.1 Fine arts
    4.2 Cuisine
    5 Economy
    5.1 Philanthropy
    5.2 Energy
    5.3 Special tax districts
    6 Transportation
    7 Government and politics
    7.1 State government
    7.2 Federal politics
    8 Cities and Towns
    9 Counties
    10 Education
    11 Metropolitan Areas
    12 Military Installations
    13 Protected areas
    14 Sports
    14.1 Professional sports teams
    14.1.1 Former professional sports teams
    15 State symbols
    16 Prominent Coloradans
    17 See also
    18 References
    19 Further reading
    20 External links
    [edit]Geography



    An enlargeable map of the State of Colorado
    Main article: Geography of Colorado
    The State of Colorado is defined as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian).[7] Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only three U.S. states that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries and that have no natural borders. When government surveyors established the border markers for the Territory of Colorado, minor surveying errors created several small kinks along the borders, most notably along the border with the Territory of Utah. The surveyors' benchmarks, once agreed upon by the interested parties, became the legal boundaries for the Colorado Territory.[8]


    Tenmile Range near Leadville, Colorado.
    The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation in Lake County is the state's highest point and the highest point in the entire Rocky Mountains.[4][5] Colorado has more than 100 mountain peaks that exceed 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) elevation. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in the State of Colorado at 3,315 feet (1,010 m) elevation. This crossing point holds the distinction of being the highest low point of any U.S. state.[4][9]
    Nearly a third of the state is flat or rolling in stark contrast to Colorado's rugged Rocky Mountains. East of the Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Colorado at elevations ranging from roughly 3,350 to 6,500 feet (1,020 to 1,980 m).[10] The states of Kansas and Nebraska border Colorado to the east. The Colorado plains are usually thought of as prairies, but actually have a handful of deciduous forests. Eastern Colorado is mainly covered in farmland as well as small farming communities. Precipitation is fair, averaging from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually.[10] The summers in the plains are usually hot and humid, whereas the winters are often bitter cold, snowy and icy. Corn, wheat, hay, soybeans and oats are all typical crops and most small towns in the region boast both a water tower and a grain elevator. As well as crop farming Eastern Colorado has livestock farming, such as cattle farming and hog farming. It also contains many dairy farms and poultry farms.
    Most of Colorado's population lives along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor. This region is partially protected from prevailing storms by the high mountains to the west.


    The Continental Divide dips down to 11,990 feet (3,655 m) at Loveland Pass.
    To the west lies the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains with notable peaks such as Longs Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg in the south. This area drains to the east, is forested, and partially urbanized. During the drought of 2002 devastating forest fires swept this area.
    Hinsdale County, with Lake City (population appx. 300) as its seat, has been judged the most remote county in the 48 contiguous states. It has only one incorporated town (Lake City). It is one of the only places within the continental United States that one can venture more than 10 miles (16 km) from any road.
    The Continental Divide stretches across the crest of the Rocky Mountains. To the west of the Continental Divide is the Western Slope. Water west of the Continental Divide drains west into the Sea of Cortez via the Colorado River.
    Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks or high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is North Park. North Park is drained by the North Platte River, which flows north into Wyoming. Just south but on the west side of the Continental Divide is Middle Park, drained by the Colorado River. South Park is the headwaters of the South Platte River. To the south lies the San Luis Valley, the headwaters of the Rio Grande, which drains into New Mexico. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San Luis Valley, lie along the Rio Grande Rift, a major geological formation, and its branches.
    The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 54 peaks that are 14,000 feet (4,267 m) or higher elevation, known as fourteeners.[11] The mountains are timbered with conifers and aspens to the tree line, at an elevation of about 12,140 feet (3,700 m) in southern Colorado to about 10,500 feet (3,200 m) in northern Colorado; above this only alpine vegetation grows. The Colorado Rockies are snow-covered year round; a lot of the snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few small glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan Mountains in the southwest to Boulder and Central City on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado.
    The Western Slope is generally drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Notable to the south are the San Juan Mountains, an extremely rugged mountain range, and to the west of the San Juans, the Colorado Plateau, a high semi-desert bordering Southern Utah. Grand Junction is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction is served by Interstate Highway I-70. To the southeast of Grand Junction is Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Further east are the ski resorts of Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs. The northwestern corner of Colorado bordering Northern Utah and Western Wyoming is mostly sparsely populated ranch and rangeland.
    From west to east, the state consists of semi-desert-like basins, turning into plateaus, then alpine mountains, and then the grassland and a few forests of the Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peak is just west of Colorado Springs. Its lone peak is visible from near the Kansas border on clear days.[12]
    Colorado is also one of only four states in the United States to share a common border (Four Corners), along with Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. At this intersection, it is possible to stand in four states at once.
    See also: Colorado cities and towns, Colorado counties, Colorado municipalities, Colorado rivers, and Four Corners Monument
    [edit]Climate

    This section needs additional citations for verification.
    Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2009)


    Spring melt at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
    The climate of Colorado is quite complex compared to most of the United States. Unlike in other states, the southern Colorado is not necessarily warmer than the northern Colorado. Mountains and surrounding valleys greatly affect local climate. As a general rule, with an increase in elevation comes a decrease in temperature and an increase in precipitation. A main climatic division in Colorado occurs between the Rocky Mountains on the west and the plains on the east with the foothills forming a transitional zone between the two.[citation needed]
    [edit]Eastern Plains


    Center pivot irrigation of wheat growing in Yuma County.
    The climate of the Eastern Plains is a continental climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) of low humidity and moderate precipitation, usually from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually. The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool clear nights, which give this area the highest average diurnal temperature range in the United States[citation needed]. In summer, this area can have many days above 95 °F (35 °C) and sometimes 100 °F (38 °C)[13], although 105 °F (41 °C) is the maximum in the front range cities above 5,000 ft (1,500 m). In the plains, the winter extremes can be from 0 °F (−18 °C) to −10 °F (−23.3 °C) and −15 °F (−26.1 °C). The all time low in the area was −40 °F (−40.0 °C)[citation needed]. About 75% of the precipitation falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which are often severe, and from major snowstorms that occur most often in the early spring, late autumn, and sometimes winter. Otherwise, winters tend to be mostly dry and cold. In much of the region, March and April are the snowiest months. April and May are normally the rainiest months, while April is the wettest month overall. The Front Range cities closer to the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to chinook winds which warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures of 40 °F (4 °C) or higher in the winter.[13] The average July temperature is 55 °F (13 °C) in the morning and 80 °F (27 °C) in the afternoon. The average January temperature is 10 °F (−12 °C) in the morning and 30 °F (−1 °C) in the afternoon, although variation between consecutive days can be 40 °F (4 °C).
    [edit]West of the plains and foothills


    View of the Western Slope from Grand Junction.
    West of the plains and foothills, the weather of Colorado is much less uniform. Even places a few miles apart can experience entirely different weather depending on the topography of the area. Most valleys have a semi-arid climate, which becomes an alpine climate at higher elevations. Humid microclimates also exist in some areas. Generally, the wettest season in western Colorado is winter while June is the driest month. This is the opposite of precipitation patterns in the east. The mountains have cool summers with many days of high temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C), although frequent thunderstorms can cause sudden drops in temperature. Summer nights are cool or even cold at the highest elevations, which sometimes get snow even in the middle of the summer. The winters bring abundant, powdery snowfall to the mountains with abundant sunshine in between major storms. The western slope has high summer temperatures similar to those found on the plains, while the winters tend to be slightly cooler due to the lack of warming winds common to the plains and Front Range. Other areas in the west have their own unique climate. The San Luis Valley is generally dry with little rain or snow, although the snow that falls tends to stay on the ground all winter.[citation needed]
    [edit]Extreme weather


    Snow highlights the rugged mountains as well as the urban and agricultural landscapes of the Colorado plains.
    Extreme weather is a common occurrence in Colorado. Thunderstorms are common east of the Continental divide in the spring and summer, and Colorado is one of the leading states in deaths due to lightning. Hail is a common sight in the mountains east of the divide and in the northwest part of the state. The Eastern Plains have some of the biggest hail storms in North America.[10] Also the Eastern Plains are part of Tornado Alley and produce some of the deadliest U.S. tornadoes. Some damaging tornadoes in the Eastern Plains include the 1990 Limon F3 tornado and the 2008 Windsor EF3 tornado, which devastated the town.[14] The plains are also susceptible to floods, which are caused both by thunderstorms and by the rapid melting of snow in the mountains during warm weather. Denver's 1901 record for number of consecutive days above 90 °F (32 °C) was broken in the summer of 2008. The new record of twenty-four (24) consecutive days surpassed the previous record by almost a week.[15] Colorado is a relatively dry state averaging only 17 inches (430 mm) of rain per year and rarely experiences a time when some portion of the state is not in some degree of drought.[16] The lack of precipitation contributes to the severity of wildfires in the state such as the Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildfires in US history.
    [edit]Records
    The highest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was 118 °F (48 °C) on July 11, 1888, at Bennett, while the lowest was −61 °F (−51.7 °C) on February 1, 1985, at Maybell.[17][18]
    Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Colorado Cities (°F)
    City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Alamosa 33/-4 40/5 50/16 59/23 68/32 78/40 82/46 79/45 72/36 62/24 46/11 35/-1
    Colorado Springs 42/13 45/18 52/24 59/31 68/41 79/50 86/55 82/54 74/45 63/34 50/23 42/16
    Denver 43/15 47/19 54/25 61/34 70/44 82/53 88/59 86/57 77/47 66/36 52/24 44/16
    Grand Junction 37/16 45/23 56/31 64/38 74/46 87/55 96/61 92/60 83/50 67/39 50/26 39/18
    Pueblo 45/14 50/19 57/26 65/34 75/45 86/54 91/59 89/58 81/49 69/35 54/22 45/15
    [19]
    [edit]History

    Main articles: History of Colorado and Outline of Colorado history


    The ruins of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde as photographed by Gustaf Nordenskiöld in 1891.
    The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 13 millennia. The Lindenmeier Site in Larimer County contains artifacts dating from approximately 11200 BCE to 3000 BCE. The Ancient Pueblo Peoples lived in the valleys and mesas of the Colorado Plateau. The Ute Nation inhabited the mountain valleys of the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Western Rocky Mountains. The Arapaho Nation and the Cheyenne Nation moved west to hunt across the High Plains.
    The United States acquired a territorial claim to the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. The U.S. claim conflicted with Spain's claim that a huge region surrounding its colony of Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico was its sovereign trading zone. Zebulon Pike led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the disputed region in 1806. Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish cavalry in the San Luis Valley the following February, taken to Chihuahua, and expelled from México the following July.


    Bent's Old Fort along the Arkansas River operated from 1833 to 1849.
    The United States relinquished its claim to all land south and west of the Arkansas River as part of the U.S. purchase of Florida from Spain with the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. México finally won its independence from Spain in 1821, but it surrendered its northern territories to the United States after the Mexican-American War with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In 1849, the Mormons of Deseret (now Utah) organized the extralegal State of Deseret which claimed all land drained by the Green River and the Colorado River. The federal government refused to recognize the new government, and the Mormons declined to settle east of the Green River for more than 20 years. The United States divided the area of the future Colorado among the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah organized in 1850, and the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska organized in 1854.
    Most American settlers traveling west to Oregon, Deseret, or California avoided the rugged Rocky Mountains and instead followed the North Platte River and Sweetwater River through what is now Wyoming. On April 9, 1851, Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexico, settled the village of San Luis, then in the New Mexico Territory, but now Colorado's first permanent European settlement. Gold was discovered along the South Platte River in western Kansas Territory in July 1858, precipitating the Pike's Peak Gold Rush.[20] The placer gold deposits along the rivers and streams of the region rapidly played out, but miners soon discovered far more valuable seams of hard rock gold, silver, and other minerals in the nearby mountains.


    A lithograph of the Denver City mining camp in 1859.
    The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on August 24, 1859, but the new territory failed to secure federal sanction. The election of Abraham Lincoln for U.S. President on November 6, 1860, led to the secession of six slave states and the threat of civil war. Seeking to augment the political power of the free states, the Republican led U.S. Congress hurriedly admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of Kansas to the Union as the free State of Kansas on January 29, 1861, leaving the western portion of the territory, and its gold fields, unorganized.


    The Georgetown Loop of the Colorado Central Railroad as photographed by William H. Jackson in 1899.
    Thirty days later on February 28, 1861, outgoing U.S. President James Buchanan signed an act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado.[21] The original boundaries of Colorado remain unchanged today. The name Colorado was chosen because it was commonly believed that the Colorado River originated in the territory.[22] Early Spanish explorers named the river the Rio Colorado for the reddish-brown silt the river carried from the mountains.[23] In fact, the Colorado River did not flow through the State of Colorado until House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th United States Congress changed the name of the Grand River to the Colorado River on July 25, 1921.[24]


    Colorado state history plaque
    The United States Congress passed an enabling act on March 3, 1875, specifying the requirements for the Territory of Colorado to become a state.[7] On August 1, 1876 (28 days after the Centennial of the United States), U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting the State of Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and earning it the moniker "Centennial State".[25] The discovery of a major silver lode near Leadville in 1878, triggered the Colorado Silver Boom. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 envigorated silver mining, but the repeal of the act in 1893 led to a major collapse of the mining and agricultural economy of the state.
    Colorado women were granted the right to vote beginning on November 7, 1893, making Colorado the second U.S. state to grant universal suffrage and the first by popular vote. By the 1930 U.S. Census, the population of Colorado exceeded one million residents. The state suffered through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but a major wave of immigration following World War II boosted Colorado's fortune. Tourism became a mainstay of the state economy, and high technology became an important economic engine. Colorado's population exceeded 4.3 million at U.S. Census 2000.
    Three warships of the United States Navy have been named USS Colorado. The first USS Colorado was named for the Colorado River. The later two ships were named in honor of the landlocked state.
    [edit]Demographics

    Historical populations
    Census Pop. %±
    1860 34,277

    1870 39,864 16.3%
    1880 194,327 387.5%
    1890 413,249 112.7%
    1900 539,700 30.6%
    1910 799,024 48.0%
    1920 939,629 17.6%
    1930 1,035,791 10.2%
    1940 1,123,296 8.4%
    1950 1,325,089 18.0%
    1960 1,753,947 32.4%
    1970 2,207,259 25.8%
    1980 2,889,964 30.9%
    1990 3,294,394 14.0%
    2000 4,301,261 30.6%
    Est. 2008[26] 4,939,456 14.8%


    Colorado Population Density Map
    The state's most populous city, and capital, is Denver. The Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area, home to 2,927,911 people, contains more than two-thirds of the state's population. Residents of Colorado are properly referred to as Coloradans, although the term Coloradoans is still used.[2][27]
    As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus 147,770 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 159,957 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 47,740 people.
    The largest increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor, especially in the Denver metropolitan area. The state's fastest growing counties are Douglas and Weld.[28] Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from California, which led some locals to feel that their state was "Californicated" in the 1990s (esp. Denver resembled more of Los Angeles) when lower cost of living and a healthier economy drew in over 100,000 Californians at the time. The center of population of Colorado is located just north of the town of Critchell in Jefferson County.[29]
    Colorado has a high proportion of Hispanic citizens and Denver and some other areas have significant Mexican populations, while southern Colorado has a large number of Hispanos, the descendants of early New Mexican settlers of colonial Spanish origin. The 2000 U.S. Census reports that 10.52% of people aged 5 and over in Colorado speak Spanish at home.[30] Colorado, like New Mexico, is very rich in archaic Spanish idioms.[31]
    Colorado also has some African-Americans communities which are located in northeast Denver in the Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Park Hill and Colfax Park areas. The state has sizable numbers of Asian-Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Southeast Asian and Japanese descent. The Denver metropolitan area is considered more liberal and diverse than much of the state when it comes to political issues and environmental concerns.
    According to the 2000 Census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado are German (22%) including of Swiss and Austrian nationalities, Irish (12.2%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are the largest group in the state and are especially strong in the Front Range, the Rockies (west-central counties) and Eastern parts/High Plains.[32] Denver and nearby areas on the Front Range has sizable German, Scandinavian, Italian, Slavic and Jewish American communities, partly a legacy of gold rushes in the late 19th century (1861-1889).
    Demographics of Colorado (csv)
    By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
    2000 (total population) 92.23% 4.55% 1.91% 2.84% 0.25%
    2000 (Hispanic only) 16.20% 0.37% 0.64% 0.14% 0.05%
    2005 (total population) 91.91% 4.74% 1.83% 3.19% 0.26%
    2005 (Hispanic only) 18.46% 0.48% 0.61% 0.18% 0.06%
    Growth 2000–05 (total population) 8.09% 13.03% 3.85% 22.08% 15.47%
    Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 4.78% 10.67% 3.75% 21.14% 11.70%
    Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 23.60% 39.64% 4.05% 40.04% 29.23%
    * AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    There were a total of 70,331 births in Colorado in 2006. (Birth Rate of 14.6). In 2007, Non-Hispanic Whites constituted 73.5% of the population and accounted for 59.1% of all the births.[33] The first time in state history with the statistic of non-Hispanic whites have fewer babies. But 14.06% of the births happened to parents of different races (About two-thirds to White-Latino parents).[34] Westernmost counties where the majority of residents are adherents of Mormonism there's a slightly higher percentage of families with children and those of under age 18.
    Colorado has a higher number of younger persons in median age: 33, according to the 2000 Census report. Large numbers of married couples in professional careers with young children move to the state in a belief it's a better place to raise a family. Colorado is also a major retirement destination by senior citizens in search of a cooler climate, recreation activities and the higher altitude in most of Colorado is said to provide health benefits for those with respiratory diseases.
    [edit]Religion


    The Chapel on the Rock at Camp Saint Malo near Allenspark.


    The Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs.
    Colorado's most popular religion is Christianity, and its most popular denomination is Catholicism. Colorado, and specifically the city of Colorado Springs, serves as the headquarters of numerous Christian groups, many of them Evangelical. Focus on the Family is a major conservative Christian organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.
    Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:[35]
    Christian — 65%
    Protestant — 44%
    Evangelical — 23%
    Mainline — 19%
    Other Protestant — 2%
    Roman Catholic — 19%
    Orthodox — 1%
    Latter Day Saint / Mormon — 2%
    Jewish — 2%
    Muslim — 1%
    Other Religions — 5%
    Unaffiliated — 25%
    The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 752,505; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 92,326 (133,727 year-end 2007) ; and Baptist with 85,083.[36]
    [edit]Health
    Colorado also has a reputation for being a state of very active and athletic people. According to several studies, Coloradans have the lowest rates of obesity of any state in the US.[37] As of 2007 the 17.6% of the population was considered medically obese, and while the lowest in the nation, the percentage had increased from 16.9% from 2004. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter spoke that “As an avid fisherman and bike rider, I know first-hand that Colorado provides a great environment for active, healthy lifestyles,” although he did highlight the need for continued education and support to slow the growth of obesity in the state.[38]
    [edit]Culture

    Main article: Culture of Colorado
    [edit]Fine arts
    Main article: Fine arts in Colorado
    Music of Colorado
    Theater in Colorado
    [edit]Cuisine
    Main article: Cuisine of Colorado
    [edit]Economy



    The United States quarter dollar coin released 2006-06-14, in honor of the State of Colorado.


    Denver World Trade Center.
    The Denver financial district along 17th Street is known as the Wall Street of the West.


    Maize growing in Larimer County


    Cattle ranching in Jackson County


    An oil well in western Colorado
    Main article: Economy of Colorado
    The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product in 2007 was $236 billion. Per capita personal income in 2007 was $41,192, ranking Colorado eleventh in the nation.[39] The state's economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.
    The federal government is also a major economic force in the state with many important federal facilities including NORAD, United States Air Force Academy and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs; NOAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder; U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood; the Denver Mint, Buckley Air Force Base, and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prison and other federal prisons near Cañon City. In addition to these and other federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four National Parks that contribute to federal ownership of 24,615,788 acres (99,617 km2) of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the state.[40] In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and service sectors have expanded greatly. The state's economy is diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research and high-technology industries. Other industries include food processing, transportation equipment, machinery, chemical products, minerals such as gold and molybdenum, and tourism. Colorado also produces the largest amount of beer of any state.[41] Denver is an important financial center.
    A number of nationally known brand names have originated in Colorado factories and laboratories. From Denver came the forerunner of telecommunications giant Qwest in 1879, Samsonite luggage in 1910, Gates belts and hoses in 1911, and Russell Stover Candies in 1923. Kuner canned vegetables began in Brighton in 1864. From Golden came Coors beer in 1873, CoorsTek industrial ceramics in 1920, and Jolly Rancher candy in 1949. CF&I railroad rails, wire, nails and pipe debuted in Pueblo in 1892. The present-day Swift packed meat of Greeley evolved from Monfort of Colorado, Inc., established in 1930. Estes model rockets were launched in Penrose in 1958. Fort Collins has been the home of Woodward Governor Company's motor controllers (governors) since 1870, and Waterpik dental water jets and showerheads since 1962. Celestial Seasonings herbal teas have been made in Boulder since 1969. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory made its first candy in Durango in 1981.
    Colorado has a flat 4.63% income tax, regardless of income level. Unlike most states, which calculate taxes based on federal adjusted gross income, Colorado taxes are based on taxable income - income after federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard) deductions.[42][43] Colorado's state sales tax is 2.9% on retail sales. When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, full-year Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and special district taxes that may apply.
    Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The state's senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break is scheduled to return for assessment year 2006, payable in 2007.
    [edit]Philanthropy
    Major philanthropic organizations based in Colorado, including the Daniels Fund, the Anschutz Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation, grant approximately $400 million[44] each year from approximately $7 billion[45] of assets.
    [edit]Energy
    Colorado has significant energy resources. According to the Energy Information Administration, Colorado hosts seven of the Nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields and two of its 100 largest oil fields. Conventional and unconventional natural gas output from several Colorado basins typically account for more than 5 percent of annual U.S. natural gas production. Substantial deposits of bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite coal are also found in the state. Colorado's high Rocky Mountain ridges and eastern plains offer wind power potential, and geologic activity in the mountain areas provides potential for geothermal power development. Much of the state is sunny and could produce solar power. Major rivers flowing from the Rocky Mountains offer hydroelectric power resources. Corn grown in the flat eastern part of the State offers potential resources for ethanol production. Notably, Colorado’s oil shale deposits hold an estimated 1 trillion barrels (160 km3) of oil – nearly as much oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. Oil production from those deposits, however, remains speculative.[46]
    [edit]Special tax districts
    Some of the special tax districts are:
    The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which affects the counties of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas Counties
    The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties
    It is a 0.1% retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10).
    According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history or cultural history.
    As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently divided into three "tiers" among which receipts are allocated by percentage.
    Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives 65.5%.
    Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives 21%.
    Tier III has over 280 local organizations such as small theaters, orchestras, art centers, and natural history, cultural history, and community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding to the county cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%.
    An eleven-member board of directors oversees the distributions in accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council) and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado.
    The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to pay for and help build the Denver Broncos' stadium INVESCO Field at Mile High
    Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of southeast Jefferson and Boulder counties
    Regional Transportation Districts (RTA) taxes at varying rates in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison County
    Occupational Privilege Taxes (OPT or Head Tax) Denver and Aurora both levy an OPT on Employers and Employees
    If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the Employee and Employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
    In Denver, the Employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and the Employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.
    In Aurora, both Employer and Employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.
    It is the Employer's responsibility to with hold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an Employer does not comply, they can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.
    [edit]Transportation



    Colorado state welcome sign


    Denver International Airport


    Union Station in Denver.
    Interstate and Federal Highway Routes in the State of Colorado
    Interstate 25
    Interstate 70
    Interstate 76
    Interstate 225
    Interstate 270
    U.S. Route 6
    U.S. Route 24
    U.S. Route 34
    U.S. Route 36
    U.S. Route 40
    U.S. Route 50
    U.S. Route 84
    U.S. Route 85
    U.S. Route 87
    U.S. Route 138
    U.S. Route 160
    U.S. Route 285
    U.S. Route 287
    U.S. Route 350
    U.S. Route 400
    U.S. Route 491
    U.S. Route 550
    Commercial Airports in the State of Colorado
    ALS - San Luis Valley Regional Airport
    ASE - Aspen-Pitkin County Airport
    CEZ - Cortez Municipal Airport
    COS - City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport
    DEN - Denver International Airport[47]
    DRO - Durango-La Plata County Airport
    EGE - Eagle County Regional Airport
    FNL - Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport
    GJT - Grand Junction Regional Airport
    GUC - Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport
    HDN - Yampa Valley Airport
    MTJ - Montrose Regional Airport
    PUB - Pueblo Memorial Airport
    TEX - Telluride Regional Airport
    Amtrak Passenger Railroad Routes through the State of Colorado
    California Zephyr: Chicago, Galesburg, Omaha, Fort Morgan, Denver, Winter Park, Granby, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Salt Lake City, Reno, Sacramento, and Emeryville
    Southwest Chief: Chicago, Galesburg, Kansas City, Topeka, Lamar, La Junta, Trinidad, Albuquerque, Gallup, Flagstaff, Needles, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles
    Communities in the State of Colorado with Regional Bus Service
    Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Brush, Colorado Springs, Delta, Denver, Durango, Englewood, Frisco, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Greeley, Lamar, Limon, Longmont, Montrose, Pueblo, Rocky Ford, Springfield, Sterling, Trinidad, Vail, and Walsenburg
    See also: Colorado Department of Transportation, List of Colorado state highways, List of airports in Colorado, and Amtrak
    [edit]Government and politics

    [edit]State government
    Gubernatorial election results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2006 40.16% 625,886 56.98% 888,096
    2002 62.62% 884,584 33.65% 475,373
    1998 49.06% 648,202 48.43% 639,905
    1994 38.70% 432,042 55.47% 619,205
    1990 35.43% 358,403 61.89% 626,032
    Main article: Law and Government of Colorado


    The Colorado State Capitol in Denver
    Like all U.S. states, Colorado's constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The governor heads the state's executive branch. The Colorado Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the state. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. Currently, Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly. The 2005 Colorado General Assembly was the first to be controlled by the Democrats in forty years. The incumbent governor is Democrat August William "Bill" Ritter, Jr..
    Most Coloradans are originally native to other states (nearly 60% according to the 2000 census[48]), and this is illustrated by the fact that the state did not have a native-born governor from 1975 (when John David Vanderhoof left office) until 2007, when Bill Ritter took office; his election the previous year marked the first electoral victory for a native-born Coloradan in a gubernatorial race since 1958 (Vanderhoof had ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon's administration in 1973).
    [edit]Federal politics
    Presidential elections results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2008 44.71% 1,073,584 53.66% 1,288,568
    2004 51.69% 1,101,255 47.02% 1,001,732
    2000 50.75% 883,745 42.39% 738,227
    1996 45.80% 691,848 44.43% 671,152
    1992 35.87% 562,850 40.13% 629,681
    1988 53.06% 728,177 45.28% 621,453
    Main article: Politics of Colorado
    Colorado is considered a swing state in both state and federal elections. Coloradans have elected 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans to the governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado supported Democrats Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008, and supported Republicans Robert J. Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The presidential outcome in 2008 was the second closest to the national popular vote, after Virginia.[49]
    Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and liberal cities such as Boulder. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins and Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a few western ski resort counties. The Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains, Colorado Springs, Greeley, some Denver suburbs, and the western half of the state (including Grand Junction). The fastest growing partColorado ( /kɒləˈrædoʊ/ (help·info) or /kɒləˈrɑːdoʊ/ (help·info))[6] is a U.S. state located in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States of America. It may also be considered to be part of the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. In rare cases Eastern Colorado is considered part of the Midwestern United States. Colorado entered statehood in 1876 and was nicknamed the “Centennial State”. It is bordered to the north by Wyoming, to the south by New Mexico and Oklahoma, at the southwest corner by Arizona, to the east by Nebraska and Kansas and to the west by Utah.
    The state is well known for its magnificent scenery of mountains, rivers, lakes, and plains. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 5,024,748 on July 1, 2009, a 16.82% increase since the U.S. Census 2000.[3] Denver is the capital of Colorado and the state's most populous city. Residents of Colorado are properly known as "Coloradans" although the archaic term "Coloradoan" is still used.[1][2]
    Contents [hide]
    1 Geography
    1.1 Climate
    1.1.1 Eastern Plains
    1.1.2 West of the plains and foothills
    1.1.3 Extreme weather
    1.1.4 Records
    2 History
    3 Demographics
    3.1 Religion
    3.2 Health
    4 Culture
    4.1 Fine arts
    4.2 Cuisine
    5 Economy
    5.1 Philanthropy
    5.2 Energy
    5.3 Special tax districts
    6 Transportation
    7 Government and politics
    7.1 State government
    7.2 Federal politics
    8 Cities and Towns
    9 Counties
    10 Education
    11 Metropolitan Areas
    12 Military Installations
    13 Protected areas
    14 Sports
    14.1 Professional sports teams
    14.1.1 Former professional sports teams
    15 State symbols
    16 Prominent Coloradans
    17 See also
    18 References
    19 Further reading
    20 External links
    [edit]Geography



    An enlargeable map of the State of Colorado
    Main article: Geography of Colorado
    The State of Colorado is defined as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian).[7] Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only three U.S. states that have only lines of latitude and longitude for boundaries and that have no natural borders. When government surveyors established the border markers for the Territory of Colorado, minor surveying errors created several small kinks along the borders, most notably along the border with the Territory of Utah. The surveyors' benchmarks, once agreed upon by the interested parties, became the legal boundaries for the Colorado Territory.[8]


    Tenmile Range near Leadville, Colorado.
    The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation in Lake County is the state's highest point and the highest point in the entire Rocky Mountains.[4][5] Colorado has more than 100 mountain peaks that exceed 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) elevation. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in the State of Colorado at 3,315 feet (1,010 m) elevation. This crossing point holds the distinction of being the highest low point of any U.S. state.[4][9]
    Nearly a third of the state is flat or rolling in stark contrast to Colorado's rugged Rocky Mountains. East of the Rocky Mountains are the Colorado Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains within Colorado at elevations ranging from roughly 3,350 to 6,500 feet (1,020 to 1,980 m).[10] The states of Kansas and Nebraska border Colorado to the east. The Colorado plains are usually thought of as prairies, but actually have a handful of deciduous forests. Eastern Colorado is mainly covered in farmland as well as small farming communities. Precipitation is fair, averaging from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually.[10] The summers in the plains are usually hot and humid, whereas the winters are often bitter cold, snowy and icy. Corn, wheat, hay, soybeans and oats are all typical crops and most small towns in the region boast both a water tower and a grain elevator. As well as crop farming Eastern Colorado has livestock farming, such as cattle farming and hog farming. It also contains many dairy farms and poultry farms.
    Most of Colorado's population lives along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor. This region is partially protected from prevailing storms by the high mountains to the west.


    The Continental Divide dips down to 11,990 feet (3,655 m) at Loveland Pass.
    To the west lies the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains with notable peaks such as Longs Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks near Walsenburg in the south. This area drains to the east, is forested, and partially urbanized. During the drought of 2002 devastating forest fires swept this area.
    Hinsdale County, with Lake City (population appx. 300) as its seat, has been judged the most remote county in the 48 contiguous states. It has only one incorporated town (Lake City). It is one of the only places within the continental United States that one can venture more than 10 miles (16 km) from any road.
    The Continental Divide stretches across the crest of the Rocky Mountains. To the west of the Continental Divide is the Western Slope. Water west of the Continental Divide drains west into the Sea of Cortez via the Colorado River.
    Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks or high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental Divide is North Park. North Park is drained by the North Platte River, which flows north into Wyoming. Just south but on the west side of the Continental Divide is Middle Park, drained by the Colorado River. South Park is the headwaters of the South Platte River. To the south lies the San Luis Valley, the headwaters of the Rio Grande, which drains into New Mexico. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San Luis Valley, lie along the Rio Grande Rift, a major geological formation, and its branches.
    The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 54 peaks that are 14,000 feet (4,267 m) or higher elevation, known as fourteeners.[11] The mountains are timbered with conifers and aspens to the tree line, at an elevation of about 12,140 feet (3,700 m) in southern Colorado to about 10,500 feet (3,200 m) in northern Colorado; above this only alpine vegetation grows. The Colorado Rockies are snow-covered year round; a lot of the snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few small glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan Mountains in the southwest to Boulder and Central City on the front range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts of Colorado.
    The Western Slope is generally drained by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Notable to the south are the San Juan Mountains, an extremely rugged mountain range, and to the west of the San Juans, the Colorado Plateau, a high semi-desert bordering Southern Utah. Grand Junction is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction is served by Interstate Highway I-70. To the southeast of Grand Junction is Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Further east are the ski resorts of Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs. The northwestern corner of Colorado bordering Northern Utah and Western Wyoming is mostly sparsely populated ranch and rangeland.
    From west to east, the state consists of semi-desert-like basins, turning into plateaus, then alpine mountains, and then the grassland and a few forests of the Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peak is just west of Colorado Springs. Its lone peak is visible from near the Kansas border on clear days.[12]
    Colorado is also one of only four states in the United States to share a common border (Four Corners), along with Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. At this intersection, it is possible to stand in four states at once.
    See also: Colorado cities and towns, Colorado counties, Colorado municipalities, Colorado rivers, and Four Corners Monument
    [edit]Climate

    This section needs additional citations for verification.
    Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2009)


    Spring melt at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
    The climate of Colorado is quite complex compared to most of the United States. Unlike in other states, the southern Colorado is not necessarily warmer than the northern Colorado. Mountains and surrounding valleys greatly affect local climate. As a general rule, with an increase in elevation comes a decrease in temperature and an increase in precipitation. A main climatic division in Colorado occurs between the Rocky Mountains on the west and the plains on the east with the foothills forming a transitional zone between the two.[citation needed]
    [edit]Eastern Plains


    Center pivot irrigation of wheat growing in Yuma County.
    The climate of the Eastern Plains is a continental climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) of low humidity and moderate precipitation, usually from 15 to 25 inches (380 to 630 mm) annually. The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool clear nights, which give this area the highest average diurnal temperature range in the United States[citation needed]. In summer, this area can have many days above 95 °F (35 °C) and sometimes 100 °F (38 °C)[13], although 105 °F (41 °C) is the maximum in the front range cities above 5,000 ft (1,500 m). In the plains, the winter extremes can be from 0 °F (−18 °C) to −10 °F (−23.3 °C) and −15 °F (−26.1 °C). The all time low in the area was −40 °F (−40.0 °C)[citation needed]. About 75% of the precipitation falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes from thunderstorms, which are often severe, and from major snowstorms that occur most often in the early spring, late autumn, and sometimes winter. Otherwise, winters tend to be mostly dry and cold. In much of the region, March and April are the snowiest months. April and May are normally the rainiest months, while April is the wettest month overall. The Front Range cities closer to the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to chinook winds which warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures of 40 °F (4 °C) or higher in the winter.[13] The average July temperature is 55 °F (13 °C) in the morning and 80 °F (27 °C) in the afternoon. The average January temperature is 10 °F (−12 °C) in the morning and 30 °F (−1 °C) in the afternoon, although variation between consecutive days can be 40 °F (4 °C).
    [edit]West of the plains and foothills


    View of the Western Slope from Grand Junction.
    West of the plains and foothills, the weather of Colorado is much less uniform. Even places a few miles apart can experience entirely different weather depending on the topography of the area. Most valleys have a semi-arid climate, which becomes an alpine climate at higher elevations. Humid microclimates also exist in some areas. Generally, the wettest season in western Colorado is winter while June is the driest month. This is the opposite of precipitation patterns in the east. The mountains have cool summers with many days of high temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) to 70 °F (21 °C), although frequent thunderstorms can cause sudden drops in temperature. Summer nights are cool or even cold at the highest elevations, which sometimes get snow even in the middle of the summer. The winters bring abundant, powdery snowfall to the mountains with abundant sunshine in between major storms. The western slope has high summer temperatures similar to those found on the plains, while the winters tend to be slightly cooler due to the lack of warming winds common to the plains and Front Range. Other areas in the west have their own unique climate. The San Luis Valley is generally dry with little rain or snow, although the snow that falls tends to stay on the ground all winter.[citation needed]
    [edit]Extreme weather


    Snow highlights the rugged mountains as well as the urban and agricultural landscapes of the Colorado plains.
    Extreme weather is a common occurrence in Colorado. Thunderstorms are common east of the Continental divide in the spring and summer, and Colorado is one of the leading states in deaths due to lightning. Hail is a common sight in the mountains east of the divide and in the northwest part of the state. The Eastern Plains have some of the biggest hail storms in North America.[10] Also the Eastern Plains are part of Tornado Alley and produce some of the deadliest U.S. tornadoes. Some damaging tornadoes in the Eastern Plains include the 1990 Limon F3 tornado and the 2008 Windsor EF3 tornado, which devastated the town.[14] The plains are also susceptible to floods, which are caused both by thunderstorms and by the rapid melting of snow in the mountains during warm weather. Denver's 1901 record for number of consecutive days above 90 °F (32 °C) was broken in the summer of 2008. The new record of twenty-four (24) consecutive days surpassed the previous record by almost a week.[15] Colorado is a relatively dry state averaging only 17 inches (430 mm) of rain per year and rarely experiences a time when some portion of the state is not in some degree of drought.[16] The lack of precipitation contributes to the severity of wildfires in the state such as the Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildfires in US history.
    [edit]Records
    The highest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was 118 °F (48 °C) on July 11, 1888, at Bennett, while the lowest was −61 °F (−51.7 °C) on February 1, 1985, at Maybell.[17][18]
    Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Colorado Cities (°F)
    City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Alamosa 33/-4 40/5 50/16 59/23 68/32 78/40 82/46 79/45 72/36 62/24 46/11 35/-1
    Colorado Springs 42/13 45/18 52/24 59/31 68/41 79/50 86/55 82/54 74/45 63/34 50/23 42/16
    Denver 43/15 47/19 54/25 61/34 70/44 82/53 88/59 86/57 77/47 66/36 52/24 44/16
    Grand Junction 37/16 45/23 56/31 64/38 74/46 87/55 96/61 92/60 83/50 67/39 50/26 39/18
    Pueblo 45/14 50/19 57/26 65/34 75/45 86/54 91/59 89/58 81/49 69/35 54/22 45/15
    [19]
    [edit]History

    Main articles: History of Colorado and Outline of Colorado history


    The ruins of the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde as photographed by Gustaf Nordenskiöld in 1891.
    The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by Native Americans for more than 13 millennia. The Lindenmeier Site in Larimer County contains artifacts dating from approximately 11200 BCE to 3000 BCE. The Ancient Pueblo Peoples lived in the valleys and mesas of the Colorado Plateau. The Ute Nation inhabited the mountain valleys of the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Western Rocky Mountains. The Arapaho Nation and the Cheyenne Nation moved west to hunt across the High Plains.
    The United States acquired a territorial claim to the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. The U.S. claim conflicted with Spain's claim that a huge region surrounding its colony of Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico was its sovereign trading zone. Zebulon Pike led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the disputed region in 1806. Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish cavalry in the San Luis Valley the following February, taken to Chihuahua, and expelled from México the following July.


    Bent's Old Fort along the Arkansas River operated from 1833 to 1849.
    The United States relinquished its claim to all land south and west of the Arkansas River as part of the U.S. purchase of Florida from Spain with the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. México finally won its independence from Spain in 1821, but it surrendered its northern territories to the United States after the Mexican-American War with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In 1849, the Mormons of Deseret (now Utah) organized the extralegal State of Deseret which claimed all land drained by the Green River and the Colorado River. The federal government refused to recognize the new government, and the Mormons declined to settle east of the Green River for more than 20 years. The United States divided the area of the future Colorado among the Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah organized in 1850, and the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska organized in 1854.
    Most American settlers traveling west to Oregon, Deseret, or California avoided the rugged Rocky Mountains and instead followed the North Platte River and Sweetwater River through what is now Wyoming. On April 9, 1851, Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexico, settled the village of San Luis, then in the New Mexico Territory, but now Colorado's first permanent European settlement. Gold was discovered along the South Platte River in western Kansas Territory in July 1858, precipitating the Pike's Peak Gold Rush.[20] The placer gold deposits along the rivers and streams of the region rapidly played out, but miners soon discovered far more valuable seams of hard rock gold, silver, and other minerals in the nearby mountains.


    A lithograph of the Denver City mining camp in 1859.
    The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized on August 24, 1859, but the new territory failed to secure federal sanction. The election of Abraham Lincoln for U.S. President on November 6, 1860, led to the secession of six slave states and the threat of civil war. Seeking to augment the political power of the free states, the Republican led U.S. Congress hurriedly admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of Kansas to the Union as the free State of Kansas on January 29, 1861, leaving the western portion of the territory, and its gold fields, unorganized.


    The Georgetown Loop of the Colorado Central Railroad as photographed by William H. Jackson in 1899.
    Thirty days later on February 28, 1861, outgoing U.S. President James Buchanan signed an act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado.[21] The original boundaries of Colorado remain unchanged today. The name Colorado was chosen because it was commonly believed that the Colorado River originated in the territory.[22] Early Spanish explorers named the river the Rio Colorado for the reddish-brown silt the river carried from the mountains.[23] In fact, the Colorado River did not flow through the State of Colorado until House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th United States Congress changed the name of the Grand River to the Colorado River on July 25, 1921.[24]


    Colorado state history plaque
    The United States Congress passed an enabling act on March 3, 1875, specifying the requirements for the Territory of Colorado to become a state.[7] On August 1, 1876 (28 days after the Centennial of the United States), U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting the State of Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and earning it the moniker "Centennial State".[25] The discovery of a major silver lode near Leadville in 1878, triggered the Colorado Silver Boom. The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 envigorated silver mining, but the repeal of the act in 1893 led to a major collapse of the mining and agricultural economy of the state.
    Colorado women were granted the right to vote beginning on November 7, 1893, making Colorado the second U.S. state to grant universal suffrage and the first by popular vote. By the 1930 U.S. Census, the population of Colorado exceeded one million residents. The state suffered through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but a major wave of immigration following World War II boosted Colorado's fortune. Tourism became a mainstay of the state economy, and high technology became an important economic engine. Colorado's population exceeded 4.3 million at U.S. Census 2000.
    Three warships of the United States Navy have been named USS Colorado. The first USS Colorado was named for the Colorado River. The later two ships were named in honor of the landlocked state.
    [edit]Demographics

    Historical populations
    Census Pop. %±
    1860 34,277

    1870 39,864 16.3%
    1880 194,327 387.5%
    1890 413,249 112.7%
    1900 539,700 30.6%
    1910 799,024 48.0%
    1920 939,629 17.6%
    1930 1,035,791 10.2%
    1940 1,123,296 8.4%
    1950 1,325,089 18.0%
    1960 1,753,947 32.4%
    1970 2,207,259 25.8%
    1980 2,889,964 30.9%
    1990 3,294,394 14.0%
    2000 4,301,261 30.6%
    Est. 2008[26] 4,939,456 14.8%


    Colorado Population Density Map
    The state's most populous city, and capital, is Denver. The Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area, home to 2,927,911 people, contains more than two-thirds of the state's population. Residents of Colorado are properly referred to as Coloradans, although the term Coloradoans is still used.[2][27]
    As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of 363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus 147,770 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 159,957 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country produced a net increase of 47,740 people.
    The largest increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor, especially in the Denver metropolitan area. The state's fastest growing counties are Douglas and Weld.[28] Large numbers of new residents in the state originate from California, which led some locals to feel that their state was "Californicated" in the 1990s (esp. Denver resembled more of Los Angeles) when lower cost of living and a healthier economy drew in over 100,000 Californians at the time. The center of population of Colorado is located just north of the town of Critchell in Jefferson County.[29]
    Colorado has a high proportion of Hispanic citizens and Denver and some other areas have significant Mexican populations, while southern Colorado has a large number of Hispanos, the descendants of early New Mexican settlers of colonial Spanish origin. The 2000 U.S. Census reports that 10.52% of people aged 5 and over in Colorado speak Spanish at home.[30] Colorado, like New Mexico, is very rich in archaic Spanish idioms.[31]
    Colorado also has some African-Americans communities which are located in northeast Denver in the Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Park Hill and Colfax Park areas. The state has sizable numbers of Asian-Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Southeast Asian and Japanese descent. The Denver metropolitan area is considered more liberal and diverse than much of the state when it comes to political issues and environmental concerns.
    According to the 2000 Census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado are German (22%) including of Swiss and Austrian nationalities, Irish (12.2%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are the largest group in the state and are especially strong in the Front Range, the Rockies (west-central counties) and Eastern parts/High Plains.[32] Denver and nearby areas on the Front Range has sizable German, Scandinavian, Italian, Slavic and Jewish American communities, partly a legacy of gold rushes in the late 19th century (1861-1889).
    Demographics of Colorado (csv)
    By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
    2000 (total population) 92.23% 4.55% 1.91% 2.84% 0.25%
    2000 (Hispanic only) 16.20% 0.37% 0.64% 0.14% 0.05%
    2005 (total population) 91.91% 4.74% 1.83% 3.19% 0.26%
    2005 (Hispanic only) 18.46% 0.48% 0.61% 0.18% 0.06%
    Growth 2000–05 (total population) 8.09% 13.03% 3.85% 22.08% 15.47%
    Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 4.78% 10.67% 3.75% 21.14% 11.70%
    Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 23.60% 39.64% 4.05% 40.04% 29.23%
    * AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
    There were a total of 70,331 births in Colorado in 2006. (Birth Rate of 14.6). In 2007, Non-Hispanic Whites constituted 73.5% of the population and accounted for 59.1% of all the births.[33] The first time in state history with the statistic of non-Hispanic whites have fewer babies. But 14.06% of the births happened to parents of different races (About two-thirds to White-Latino parents).[34] Westernmost counties where the majority of residents are adherents of Mormonism there's a slightly higher percentage of families with children and those of under age 18.
    Colorado has a higher number of younger persons in median age: 33, according to the 2000 Census report. Large numbers of married couples in professional careers with young children move to the state in a belief it's a better place to raise a family. Colorado is also a major retirement destination by senior citizens in search of a cooler climate, recreation activities and the higher altitude in most of Colorado is said to provide health benefits for those with respiratory diseases.
    [edit]Religion


    The Chapel on the Rock at Camp Saint Malo near Allenspark.


    The Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs.
    Colorado's most popular religion is Christianity, and its most popular denomination is Catholicism. Colorado, and specifically the city of Colorado Springs, serves as the headquarters of numerous Christian groups, many of them Evangelical. Focus on the Family is a major conservative Christian organization headquartered in Colorado Springs.
    Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:[35]
    Christian — 65%
    Protestant — 44%
    Evangelical — 23%
    Mainline — 19%
    Other Protestant — 2%
    Roman Catholic — 19%
    Orthodox — 1%
    Latter Day Saint / Mormon — 2%
    Jewish — 2%
    Muslim — 1%
    Other Religions — 5%
    Unaffiliated — 25%
    The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 752,505; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 92,326 (133,727 year-end 2007) ; and Baptist with 85,083.[36]
    [edit]Health
    Colorado also has a reputation for being a state of very active and athletic people. According to several studies, Coloradans have the lowest rates of obesity of any state in the US.[37] As of 2007 the 17.6% of the population was considered medically obese, and while the lowest in the nation, the percentage had increased from 16.9% from 2004. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter spoke that “As an avid fisherman and bike rider, I know first-hand that Colorado provides a great environment for active, healthy lifestyles,” although he did highlight the need for continued education and support to slow the growth of obesity in the state.[38]
    [edit]Culture

    Main article: Culture of Colorado
    [edit]Fine arts
    Main article: Fine arts in Colorado
    Music of Colorado
    Theater in Colorado
    [edit]Cuisine
    Main article: Cuisine of Colorado
    [edit]Economy



    The United States quarter dollar coin released 2006-06-14, in honor of the State of Colorado.


    Denver World Trade Center.
    The Denver financial district along 17th Street is known as the Wall Street of the West.


    Maize growing in Larimer County


    Cattle ranching in Jackson County


    An oil well in western Colorado
    Main article: Economy of Colorado
    The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product in 2007 was $236 billion. Per capita personal income in 2007 was $41,192, ranking Colorado eleventh in the nation.[39] The state's economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.
    The federal government is also a major economic force in the state with many important federal facilities including NORAD, United States Air Force Academy and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs; NOAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder; U.S. Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood; the Denver Mint, Buckley Air Force Base, and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prison and other federal prisons near Cañon City. In addition to these and other federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four National Parks that contribute to federal ownership of 24,615,788 acres (99,617 km2) of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the state.[40] In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and service sectors have expanded greatly. The state's economy is diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research and high-technology industries. Other industries include food processing, transportation equipment, machinery, chemical products, minerals such as gold and molybdenum, and tourism. Colorado also produces the largest amount of beer of any state.[41] Denver is an important financial center.
    A number of nationally known brand names have originated in Colorado factories and laboratories. From Denver came the forerunner of telecommunications giant Qwest in 1879, Samsonite luggage in 1910, Gates belts and hoses in 1911, and Russell Stover Candies in 1923. Kuner canned vegetables began in Brighton in 1864. From Golden came Coors beer in 1873, CoorsTek industrial ceramics in 1920, and Jolly Rancher candy in 1949. CF&I railroad rails, wire, nails and pipe debuted in Pueblo in 1892. The present-day Swift packed meat of Greeley evolved from Monfort of Colorado, Inc., established in 1930. Estes model rockets were launched in Penrose in 1958. Fort Collins has been the home of Woodward Governor Company's motor controllers (governors) since 1870, and Waterpik dental water jets and showerheads since 1962. Celestial Seasonings herbal teas have been made in Boulder since 1969. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory made its first candy in Durango in 1981.
    Colorado has a flat 4.63% income tax, regardless of income level. Unlike most states, which calculate taxes based on federal adjusted gross income, Colorado taxes are based on taxable income - income after federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard) deductions.[42][43] Colorado's state sales tax is 2.9% on retail sales. When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, full-year Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and special district taxes that may apply.
    Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The state's senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break is scheduled to return for assessment year 2006, payable in 2007.
    [edit]Philanthropy
    Major philanthropic organizations based in Colorado, including the Daniels Fund, the Anschutz Family Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, the El Pomar Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation, grant approximately $400 million[44] each year from approximately $7 billion[45] of assets.
    [edit]Energy
    Colorado has significant energy resources. According to the Energy Information Administration, Colorado hosts seven of the Nation’s 100 largest natural gas fields and two of its 100 largest oil fields. Conventional and unconventional natural gas output from several Colorado basins typically account for more than 5 percent of annual U.S. natural gas production. Substantial deposits of bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite coal are also found in the state. Colorado's high Rocky Mountain ridges and eastern plains offer wind power potential, and geologic activity in the mountain areas provides potential for geothermal power development. Much of the state is sunny and could produce solar power. Major rivers flowing from the Rocky Mountains offer hydroelectric power resources. Corn grown in the flat eastern part of the State offers potential resources for ethanol production. Notably, Colorado’s oil shale deposits hold an estimated 1 trillion barrels (160 km3) of oil – nearly as much oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. Oil production from those deposits, however, remains speculative.[46]
    [edit]Special tax districts
    Some of the special tax districts are:
    The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which affects the counties of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, and Douglas Counties
    The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson Counties
    It is a 0.1% retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10).
    According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history or cultural history.
    As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently divided into three "tiers" among which receipts are allocated by percentage.
    Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives 65.5%.
    Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives 21%.
    Tier III has over 280 local organizations such as small theaters, orchestras, art centers, and natural history, cultural history, and community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding to the county cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%.
    An eleven-member board of directors oversees the distributions in accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council) and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado.
    The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to pay for and help build the Denver Broncos' stadium INVESCO Field at Mile High
    Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of southeast Jefferson and Boulder counties
    Regional Transportation Districts (RTA) taxes at varying rates in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison County
    Occupational Privilege Taxes (OPT or Head Tax) Denver and Aurora both levy an OPT on Employers and Employees
    If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the Employee and Employer are both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is located or headquartered.
    In Denver, the Employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and the Employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.
    In Aurora, both Employer and Employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.
    It is the Employer's responsibility to with hold, remit, and file the OPT returns. If an Employer does not comply, they can be held liable for both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.
    [edit]Transportation



    Colorado state welcome sign


    Denver International Airport


    Union Station in Denver.
    Interstate and Federal Highway Routes in the State of Colorado
    Interstate 25
    Interstate 70
    Interstate 76
    Interstate 225
    Interstate 270
    U.S. Route 6
    U.S. Route 24
    U.S. Route 34
    U.S. Route 36
    U.S. Route 40
    U.S. Route 50
    U.S. Route 84
    U.S. Route 85
    U.S. Route 87
    U.S. Route 138
    U.S. Route 160
    U.S. Route 285
    U.S. Route 287
    U.S. Route 350
    U.S. Route 400
    U.S. Route 491
    U.S. Route 550
    Commercial Airports in the State of Colorado
    ALS - San Luis Valley Regional Airport
    ASE - Aspen-Pitkin County Airport
    CEZ - Cortez Municipal Airport
    COS - City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport
    DEN - Denver International Airport[47]
    DRO - Durango-La Plata County Airport
    EGE - Eagle County Regional Airport
    FNL - Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport
    GJT - Grand Junction Regional Airport
    GUC - Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport
    HDN - Yampa Valley Airport
    MTJ - Montrose Regional Airport
    PUB - Pueblo Memorial Airport
    TEX - Telluride Regional Airport
    Amtrak Passenger Railroad Routes through the State of Colorado
    California Zephyr: Chicago, Galesburg, Omaha, Fort Morgan, Denver, Winter Park, Granby, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Salt Lake City, Reno, Sacramento, and Emeryville
    Southwest Chief: Chicago, Galesburg, Kansas City, Topeka, Lamar, La Junta, Trinidad, Albuquerque, Gallup, Flagstaff, Needles, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles
    Communities in the State of Colorado with Regional Bus Service
    Alamosa, Aurora, Boulder, Brush, Colorado Springs, Delta, Denver, Durango, Englewood, Frisco, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Greeley, Lamar, Limon, Longmont, Montrose, Pueblo, Rocky Ford, Springfield, Sterling, Trinidad, Vail, and Walsenburg
    See also: Colorado Department of Transportation, List of Colorado state highways, List of airports in Colorado, and Amtrak
    [edit]Government and politics

    [edit]State government
    Gubernatorial election results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2006 40.16% 625,886 56.98% 888,096
    2002 62.62% 884,584 33.65% 475,373
    1998 49.06% 648,202 48.43% 639,905
    1994 38.70% 432,042 55.47% 619,205
    1990 35.43% 358,403 61.89% 626,032
    Main article: Law and Government of Colorado


    The Colorado State Capitol in Denver
    Like all U.S. states, Colorado's constitution provides for three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The governor heads the state's executive branch. The Colorado Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the state. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. Currently, Democrats control both chambers of the General Assembly. The 2005 Colorado General Assembly was the first to be controlled by the Democrats in forty years. The incumbent governor is Democrat August William "Bill" Ritter, Jr..
    Most Coloradans are originally native to other states (nearly 60% according to the 2000 census[48]), and this is illustrated by the fact that the state did not have a native-born governor from 1975 (when John David Vanderhoof left office) until 2007, when Bill Ritter took office; his election the previous year marked the first electoral victory for a native-born Coloradan in a gubernatorial race since 1958 (Vanderhoof had ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon's administration in 1973).
    [edit]Federal politics
    Presidential elections results
    Year Republican Democratic
    2008 44.71% 1,073,584 53.66% 1,288,568
    2004 51.69% 1,101,255 47.02% 1,001,732
    2000 50.75% 883,745 42.39% 738,227
    1996 45.80% 691,848 44.43% 671,152
    1992 35.87% 562,850 40.13% 629,681
    1988 53.06% 728,177 45.28% 621,453
    Main article: Politics of Colorado
    Colorado is considered a swing state in both state and federal elections. Coloradans have elected 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans to the governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado supported Democrats Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008, and supported Republicans Robert J. Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The presidential outcome in 2008 was the second closest to the national popular vote, after Virginia.[49]
    Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as Colorado Springs and liberal cities such as Boulder. Democrats are strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins and Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a few western ski resort counties. The Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains, Colorado Springs, Greeley, some Denver suburbs, and the western half of the state (including Grand Junction). The fastest growing parts of the state particularly Douglas, Elbert, and Weld Counties, in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area, are somewhat Republican-leaning.s of the state particularly Douglas, Elbert, and Weld Counties, in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area, are somewhat Republican-leaning.ea, are somewhat Republican-leaning.
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    Simón Bolívar was born in Caracas, Captaincy General of Venezuela (now the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela). The Bolívar aristocratic bloodline derives from a small village in the Basque Country (Spain, Europe), called La Puebla de Bolívar, which is the origin of the surname.[1] His father descended remotely from King Fernando III of Castile and Count Amedeo IV of Savoy, and came from the male line of the de Ardanza family.[2] The Bolívars settled in Venezuela in the sixteenth century.
    His distant ancestor was Simón de Bolívar (or Simon de Bolibar, the spelling was not settled until the nineteenth century), who had lived in Santo Domingo from 1550 to 1570 and worked for its governor. When the governor of Santo Domingo was reassigned to Venezuela in 1589, Bolívar went along with him. As an early settler in Caracas Province, he achieved a prominent position in the local society, and he and his descendants acquired estates, encomiendas and positions in the Caracas cabildo. The position of the family is illustrated by the fact that when the Caracas Cathedral was built in 1594, the Bolívar family had one of the first dedicated side chapels. The majority of the wealth of his descendants came from these estates, the most important of which was a sugar plantation in San Mateo, which came with an encomienda that provided the labor needed to run the estate.[3] In later centuries, slave and free black labor would have replaced most of the encomienda labor. A portion of their wealth also came from the silver, gold and, more importantly, copper mines in Venezuela. In 1632, small gold deposits were first mined in Venezuela, leading to further discoveries of much more extensive copper deposits. From his mother's family the Palacioses, Simón Bolívar inherited the copper mines at Cocorote. Slaves provided the majority of the labor in these mines. Towards the end of the seventeenth century copper exploitation became so prominent in Venezuela that it became known as Cobre Caracas ("Caracas copper"). Many of the mines became the property of the Bolívar family. Bolívar's grandfather, Juan de Bolívar y Martínez de Villegas, paid 22,000 ducats to the monastery at Santa Maria de Montserrat in 1728 for a title of nobility that had been granted by the king for its maintenance. The Crown never issued the patent of nobility, and so the purchase became the subject of lawsuits that were still going in Simón Bolívar's lifetime, when independence made the point moot. (If successful, Bolívar's older brother, Juan Vicente, would have become the Marqués de San Luis and Vizconde de Cocorote.) Simón Bolívar used his family's immense wealth to finance his revolutionary efforts.
    Following the early deaths of his father Juan Vicente Bolívar y Ponte (died 1786), and his mother María de la Concepción Palacios y Blanco (died 1792), he went to Spain in 1799 at age sixteen to complete his education. There he married María Teresa Rodríguez del Toro y Alaysa, related to the family of the Marqués del Toro of Caracas, in 1802, but, eight months after moving to Venezuela with her new husband, she succumbed to yellow fever. Bolívar returned to Europe in 1804, where he lived in Napoleonic France for a while and undertook the Grand Tour[4] During this time in Europe, it was rumored that he met Alexander Humboldt in Paris. Humboldt wrote in 1804 of having met a young man in Paris and Humboldt had noticed how the young man loved liberty and made for some lively conversation, but he left Humboldt unimpressed.
    [edit] El Libertador: The Liberator


    Bolívar´s message to the Congress of Angostura, February 1819


    Main article: Military career of Simón Bolívar
    Bolívar returned to Venezuela in 1807, It was during this period that Bolívar wrote his Manifiesto de Cartagena.
    In 1813 he acquired a military command in Tunja, New Granada (today Colombia), under the direction of the Congress of United Provinces of New Granada, which had formed out of the juntas established in 1810. From New Granada Bolívar began an invasion of Venezuela on May 14. This was the beginning of the famous Admirable Campaign. He entered Mérida on May 23, where he was proclaimed as El Libertador[5], following the occupation of Trujillo on June 9. Six days later, on June 15, he dictated his famous Decree of War to the Death. Caracas was retaken on August 6, 1813, and Bolívar was ratified as "El Libertador", thus proclaiming the restoration of the Venezuelan republic. Due to the rebellion of José Tomás Boves in 1814 and the fall of the republic, he returned to New Granada, where he then commanded a force for the United Provinces and entered Bogotá in 1814, recapturing the city from the dissenting republican forces of Cundinamarca. He intended to march into Cartagena and enlist the aid of local forces in order to capture Royalist Santa Marta. However, after a number of political and military disputes with the government of Cartagena, Bolívar fled, in 1815, first to Jamaica, where he was denied support and an attempt was made on his life, then to Haiti, where he was granted sanctuary and protection. He befriended Alexandre Pétion, the leader of the newly independent country, and petitioned him for aid.[5]

    Bolívar and Francisco de Paula Santander during the Congress of Cúcuta, October 1821


    In 1817, with Haitian soldiers and vital material support (on the condition that he abolish slavery), Bolívar landed in Venezuela and captured Angostura (now Ciudad Bolívar). However, Venezuela remained mostly a territory of Spain, and Bolivar decided to fight first for the independence of New Granada (which was a vice royalty) in order to consolidate after the independence of other less politically important territories for the Spanish crown, like Venezuela (which was a captaincy).
    The campaign for the independence of New Granada was consolidated with the victory at the Battle of Boyacá in 1819, and with the new consolidated power in New Granada, Bolivar launched definitive independence campaigns in Venezuela and Ecuador, sealed with the victories at the Battle of Carabobo in 1821 and the Battle of Pichincha in 1822. On September 7, 1821 the Gran Colombia (a nation covering much of modern Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador) was created, with Bolívar as president and Francisco de Paula Santander as vice president.
    After a meeting in Guayaquil, on July 26 and July 27, 1822, with Argentine General José de San Martín, who had received the title of Protector of Peruvian Freedom, in August 1821, after having partially liberated Peru from the Spanish, Bolívar took over the task of fully liberating Peru. The Peruvian congress named him dictator of Peru, on February 10, 1824, which allowed Bolívar to completely reorganize the political and military administration. Bolívar, assisted by Antonio José de Sucre, decisively defeated the Spanish cavalry, on August 6, 1824, at the Battle of Junín. Sucre destroyed the still numerically superior remnants of the Spanish forces at Ayacucho on December 9.
    On August 6, 1825, at the Congress of Upper Peru, the Republic of Bolivia was created. Bolívar is thus one of the few men to have a country named after him. The constitution reflected the influence of the French and Scottish Enlightenment on Bolívar's political thought, as well as that of classical Greek and Roman authors.

    Battle of Carabobo, June 24, 1821



    Battle of Junín, 1824


    Bolívar had great difficulties maintaining control of the vast Gran Colombia. During 1826, internal divisions had sparked dissent throughout the nation and regional uprisings erupted in Venezuela, thus the new South American union revealed its fragility and appeared to be on the verge of collapse. To preserve the union, an amnesty was declared and an arrangement was reached with the Venezuelan rebels, but political dissent in neighboring New Granada grew as a consequence of this. In an attempt to keep the nation together as a single entity, Bolívar called for a constitutional convention at Ocaña during April 1828.
    He had seen his dream of eventually engendering an American Revolution-style federation between all the newly independent republics, with a government ideally set-up solely to recognize and uphold individual rights, succumb to the pressures of particular interests throughout the region, which rejected that model and had little or no allegiance to liberal principles. For this reason, and to prevent a break-up, Bolívar wanted to implement in Gran Colombia a more centralist model of government, including some or all of the elements of the Bolivian constitution he had written, which included a lifetime presidency with the ability to select a successor (though this presidency was theoretically held in check by an intricate system of balances).
    This move was considered controversial in New Granada and was one of the reasons the deliberations in favor of such a constitution met with strong opposition at the Convention of Ocaña, which met from April 9 to June 10, 1828. The convention almost ended up drafting a document which would have implemented a radically federalist form of government, which would have greatly reduced the powers of the central administration. Unhappy with what would be the ensuing result, pro-Bolívar delegates withdrew from the convention, leaving it moribund. After the failure of this congress to write a new constitution, Bolívar proclaimed himself dictator on August 27, 1828 through the Organic Decree of Dictatorship. He considered this as a temporary measure, as a means to reestablish his authority and save the republic, though it increased dissatisfaction and anger among his political opponents. An assassination attempt on September 25, 1828 failed, in part thanks to the help of his lover, Manuela Sáenz, according to popular belief. Although Bolívar emerged physically intact from the event, this nevertheless greatly affected him. Dissent continued, and uprisings occurred in New Granada, Venezuela and Ecuador during the next two years.
    [edit] Death


    Bolívar's death by Venezuelan painter Antonio Herrera Toro



    Simón Bolívar Memorial Monument, standing in Santa Marta (Colombia) at the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino


    Saying "All who served the Revolution have plowed the sea", Bolívar finally resigned his presidency on April 27, 1830, intending to leave the country for exile in Europe, possibly in France. He had already sent several crates (containing his belongings and writings, which he had selected) ahead of him to Europe.[6].
    He died before setting sail, after a painful battle with tuberculosis on December 17, 1830, in the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino in Santa Marta, Gran Colombia (now Colombia), at the age of 47. On his deathbed, Bolívar asked his aide-de-camp, General Daniel F. O'Leary to burn the remaining, extensive archive of his writings, letters, and speeches. O'Leary disobeyed the order and his writings survived, providing historians with a vast wealth of information about Bolívar's liberal philosophy and thought, as well as details of his personal life, such as his longstanding love affair with Manuela Sáenz, who augmented this collection when she turned over her letters from Bolívar to O'Leary shortly before her own death in 1856.[6]
    His remains were buried in the cathedral of Santa Marta. At the request of President José Antonio Páez they were moved from Santa Marta to Caracas in 1842, where a monument was set up for their interment in the Panteón Nacional. The 'Quinta' near Santa Marta has been preserved as a museum with numerous references to his life.[7]
    [edit] Political beliefs

    Bolívar described himself in his many letters as a "liberal" who believed in a "free market." He was an admirer of the American Revolution and a great critic of the French Revolution. He considered Thomas Jefferson so important that he sent his nephew to the University of Virginia. However, Bolivar differed in political philosophy from the leaders of the Revolution in the United States on two important matters: First of all, he was staunchly anti-slavery, despite coming from an area of Spanish America that relied heavily on slave labour.
    Second and perhaps more notably, while he was an admirer of the United States, he did not believe that its system could function in the Latin America.[8] Bolivar felt that the United States, compared to his new nation, was established in a land that was much better suited for democracy, a land and people that could survive in a much looser, more liberal government.
    By contrast, he referred to Spanish America as having been subject to the "Triple yoke of ignorance, tyranny, and vice." If a republic could be established in such a land, in his mind, it would have to make some concessions in terms of liberty. This is shown when Bolivar blames the fall of the first republic on his subordinates trying to imitate "some ethereal republic, [the United States]" and in the process, not paying attention to the gritty political reality of South America.
    Among the books he traveled with were Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations;" Voltaire's "Letters," and when he wrote the Bolivian Constitution, Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws.[9] His Bolivian Constitution placed him within the camp of what would become Latin American conservatism in the later nineteenth century. The Bolivian Constitution had a lifelong presidency and a hereditary senate, essentially recreating the British unwritten constitution, as it existed at the time, without formally establishing a monarchy. It was his attempts to implement a similar constitution in Gran Colombia that led to his downfall and rejection by 1830.
    In regards to his immigration policy for Colombia, he viewed the immigration of North-Americans and Europeans as necessary for improving the country's economy, art and sciences[10], following the steps of the Latin-American criollo elites who accepted without questions many of the evolutionist, social and racial theories of their time.
    [edit] Legacy

    [edit] Relatives

    Simón Bolívar has no direct descendants. His closest living relatives descend from his sisters and brother. His sister Juana Bolívar y Palacios married their maternal uncle Dionisio Palacios y Blanco and had two children: Guillermo and Benigna.
    Guillermo Palacios died fighting alongside his uncle Simón in the battle of La Hogaza on December 2, 1817. Benigna had two marriages, the first one to Pedro Breceño Méndez and the second to Pedro Amestoy.[11] Their great-grandchildren, Bolívar's closest living relatives, Pedro, and Eduardo Mendoza Goiticoa lived in Caracas, as of 2000.
    His eldest sister, María Antonia married Pablo Clemente Francia and had four children: Josefa, Anacleto, Valentina and Pablo. María Antonia became Bolívar's agent to deal with his properties while he served as president of Gran Colombia and she was an executor of his will. She retired to Bolívar's estate in Macarao, which she inherited from him.[12]
    His older brother, Juan Vicente, who died in 1811 on a diplomatic mission to the United States, had three children born out of wedlock whom he recognized: Juan, Fernando Simón and Felicia Bolívar Tinoco. Simón Bolívar saw to their and their mother's well-being after his brother's death. Bolívar was especially close to Fernando and in 1822 sent him to study in the United States, where he attended the University of Virginia. In his long life, he had minor participation in some of the major political events of Venezuelan history and also traveled and lived extensively throughout Europe. He had three children, Benjamín Bolívar Gauthier, Santiago Hernández Bolívar and Claudio Bolívar Taraja. Fernando died in 1898 at the age of 88.[13]
    [edit] Political legacy


    Simón Bolívar lends his name and image to the Venezuelan Bolívar coin


    Simón Bolívar's political legacy has been massive and he is a very important figure in South American political history. Claims to the mantle of Simón Bolívar began in the 1840s and have continued throughout modern times. The 'Bolivarianism' of the last two decades, is simply one of the latest manifestations of this phenomenon.
    It took more than a decade to rehabilitate his image in South America. By the 1840s the memory of Bolívar proved useful for the construction of a sense of nationhood. In Venezuela, in particular, the state sponsored a type of a 'cult' to Bolívar, first under the President José Antonio Páez and most dramatically under President Antonio Guzmán Blanco. Because the image of Bolívar became central to the national identities of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, his mantle is claimed by nearly all politicians from all parts of the political spectrum.[14] And thus, Bolivia and Venezuela (the Bolívarian Republic of Venezuela) are both named after Bolívar.
    [edit] Honors

    See also: List of places and things named after Simon Bolivar

    Bolívar´s Apotheosis by Tito Salas


    Statues of the Liberator can be found in many parts of the world. There is a five meter tall equestrian statue in San Salvador, El Salvador, in a square also called "Plaza Bolívar". Another equestrian statue stands between the Alexandre III bridge and the Petit Palais in Paris, France, being a joint gift to the City of Paris from the "five Bolivarian republics" of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Another equestrian statue stands in the Piaza le Simone Bolivar in front of the British School, in Rome, where it faces an equestrian statue of Jose de San Martin. A statue in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. A statue in San Juan de Puerto Rico, a statue signifying the friendship between Canada and South America in Ottawa (which caused some controversy at the time of its erection), and also a bust in Sydney, Australia, a bust in Montreal, Canada, and an equestrian statue in Quebec City, in the Parc de l'Amérique Latine.

    Simon Bolivar's statue in Washington DC, USA


    A statue in Bolivar, Missouri, which was presented by President Rómulo Gallegos of Venezuela and dedicated by U.S. President Harry S. Truman. A central avenue in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, bears his name. Bolivar, West Virginia, bears his name and displays his bust, and Frankfurt, Germany, also has a bust of the general. A monument to him stands in Washington DC. There is a statue in heart of Cairo, Egypt next to the Intercontinental Hotel (Semiramis)[15]. These are only a few of the examples.
    In Santiago (Chile) a monument celebrating Latin American Freedom, was erected in 1836 at the main square (Plaza de Armas),one of the panels was dedicated to Simón Bolívar. Around 1836-40 a full size equestrian statue was erected in his honour located at a square at the beginning of the avenue that bear his name.
    Furthermore, every city and town in Venezuela and Colombia (in this one each capital city but Pasto) has a main square known as Plaza Bolívar, that usually has a bust or a statue of Bolívar.[citation needed] The most famous of these[who?] Plaza Bolívar are the ones in Bogotá and Caracas. The central avenue of Caracas is called Avenida Bolívar, and at its end there is a twin tower complex named Centro Simón Bolívar built during the 1950s that holds several governmental offices. One of the main parks in Guayaquil Ecuador is named after Bolivar, El parque Bolivar. Streets, provinces, and several schools have been named after Simon Bolivar in Ecuador.
  8. King Syn
    January 3rd, 2010 05:51 PM
    King Syn
    *Dodges*

    Uppercuts*
  9. King Syn
    January 3rd, 2010 04:49 PM
    King Syn
    I am NOT a cat

    *Pimpslaps*
  10. King Syn
    January 3rd, 2010 04:43 PM
    King Syn
    Oh noes, im hungry.
  11. King Syn
    January 3rd, 2010 04:21 PM
    King Syn
    Rofl lol

    GET YOUR BUICK FROM.....HUEY?
  12. King Syn
    January 3rd, 2010 04:02 PM
    King Syn
    WE GOT THE BEST HONDA'S AT YOLANDA'S
  13. King Syn
    January 3rd, 2010 03:55 PM
    King Syn
    COME ON DOWN IM STAN THE CAR MAN
  14. King Syn
    January 3rd, 2010 03:32 PM
    King Syn
    WE GOT THE CHEAPEST F 150'S THIS SIDE OF THE REAL DEALERSHIP
  15. Ayselipera
    January 3rd, 2010 08:54 AM
    Ayselipera
    Pretty good! Although today is the last day of vacation so that's kind of saddening. Still, I had a really good Christmas so I can't complain. It was time off well spent.

    How about yourself?

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Posted July 8th, 2010 at 07:30 PM by Samme! Comments 5
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So I'm going to California next month with my mom, and we're going to up LA for a few days yet we don't know what there is to do. o_o We already have tickets to go to the Getty, but that's about it. :<

Anybody have any suggestions of what to do? C:

Posted June 17th, 2010 at 08:24 PM by Samme! Comments 4
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I haven't blogged in two months ):

Posted April 18th, 2010 at 03:09 PM by Samme! Comments 9
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• I haven't blogged in a while
• It's too cold for April
• I need a hug
• My hair is wet and I don't like it >:<
• Red Badge of Courage is like death on paper
• My birthday is next week
• I have writing PSSA's for the next three days: kill me.
• I bought lip balm last night and it's been working really well
• kbye.

Posted March 28th, 2010 at 10:37 AM by Samme! Comments 8
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I don't see the point in why you have to beat Red first to re-battle the E4 with their better teams that are extremely lower than yours as you've just beaten the trainer with the highest levels in the whole Pokemon series. Idk, just my opinion. There seems to be a whole lot level hypocrisy in this game :/

Posted March 24th, 2010 at 06:43 AM by Samme! Comments 8
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So after having Heart Gold for a little more than a week, and countless hours of trying to find heart scales training, I finally beat the Elite Four last night. With all of my Pokemon on my team fully evolved and all of their levels around 47, I decided to tackle to Elite pair of trainers once more, as I just wasn't able to knock them out fully before with my lower levels.

When I first got to Will, I was confident that I could knock out his whole team and I did just that, as I also...
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wtf lol halarious. *no...
Posted August 10th, 2011 at 06:33 PM by inkstarx inkstarx is offline
Th Getty was FANTASTIC!...
Posted July 10th, 2010 at 08:08 AM by EmeraldSerenade EmeraldSerenade is offline
Correct, the Getty Museum....
Posted July 9th, 2010 at 05:16 PM by Samme! Samme! is offline
What part of LA?...
Posted July 9th, 2010 at 04:30 AM by Eucliffe Eucliffe is offline
Put iron pants on~
Posted July 9th, 2010 at 01:49 AM by NiKaNoRoU NiKaNoRoU is offline

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