History of Colorado

The U.S. State of Colorado (CO) was admitted as the 38th state of the Union on August 1st, 1876.  CO encompasses most of the southern Rocky Mountains and parts of the Great Plains.  The territory was home to primarily indigenous tribes of Native Americans for nearly 13,000 years.  After several territorial disagreements between Spain and the United States, CO remained mostly an unorganized territory until 1861, when President Buchanan signed an Act of Congress that established CO as a formal territory.  With its boundaries remaining virtually unaltered, it was formally admitted to the union as the State of CO 15 years later, the 100-year centennial of signing the Declaration of Independence.  From there on out, CO gained its nickname, “The Centennial State.”


Currently, CO is the 8th geographically largest state making up the 48 contiguous United States.  It ranks as the 21st most populated state, with its most recent estimation by the United States Census Bureau set at 5,540,545.  CO is notorious for its diverse and vivid landscape.  While it encompasses most of the southern Rocky Mountains, the landscape offers stunning plateaus, mesas, and canyons, along with dense forests and wide-open plains.

Denver, CO, stands as the capital and most populated city of CO.  Denver is home to four major league sports franchises, the Denver Broncos, the Denver Nuggets, the Colorado Avalanche, and the CO Rockies.

In 2010, CBNC recognized CO as the third-best state in the nation for business.  The federal government also maintains a presence in CO’s economics with the establishment of NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), the United States Air Force Academy, Schriever Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base, the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

In recent years, CO became a strong proponent of recreational marijuana legalization.  In 2012, CO became the first state to vote for the legalization of recreational marijuana and, in the subsequent years, establish regulations and a production industry throughout the state.  The first recreational marijuana dispensaries in the United States opened in 2014 in CO.  This new industry has contributed greatly to Colorado’s economy in addition to its robust technology and science industry.  Most recently, CO rose to the top of the list in domestic beer production.

CO features a large number of universities and higher education institutions and many military bases and installations, all contributing to the employment of CO citizens.  Also contributing are CO’s four national parks, eight national monuments, 11 national forests, various national historic sites, trails, recreation and conservation areas, and state parks.


CO’s current Democratic Governor, John Hickenlooper, has been in office since 2011.  CO’s two-state Senators come from both the Republican and Democratic parties.  The seven representatives currently sitting in the United States House of Representatives come from political parties, Republicans and Democrats.  CO has often been considered a “swing state” in federal elections due to its diverse population and constituency.