foundations. The United States maintains an Indian School at Grand Junction.
History.—According as one regards the Louisiana purchase as including or not including Texas to the Rio Grande (in the territorial meaning of the state of Texas of 1845), one may say that all of Colorado east of the meridian of the head of the Rio Grande, or only that north of the Arkansas and east of the meridian of its head, passed to the United States in 1803. At all events the corner between the Rio Grande and the Arkansas was Spanish from 1819 to 1845, when it became American territory as a part of the state of Texas; and in 1850, by a boundary arrangement between that state and the federal government, was incorporated in the public domain. The territory west of the divide was included in the Mexican cession of 1848. Within Colorado there are pueblos and cave dwellings commemorative of the Indian period and culture of the south-west. Coronado may have entered Colorado in 1540; there are also meagre records of indisputable Spanish explorations in the south in the latter half of the 18th century (friars Escallante and Dominguez in 1776). In 1806 Zebulon M. Pike, mapping the Arkansas and Red rivers of the Louisiana Territory for the government of the United States, followed the Arkansas into Colorado, incidentally discovering the famous peak that bears his name. In 1819 Major S. H. Long explored the valleys of the South Platte and Arkansas, pronouncing them uninhabited and uncultivable (as he also did the valley of the Missouri, whence the idea of the “Great American Desert”). His work also is commemorated by a famous summit of the Rockies. There is nothing more of importance in Colorado annals until 1858. From 1804 to 1854 the whole or parts of Colorado were included, nominally, under some half-dozen territories carved successively out of the Trans-Mississippi country; but not one of these had any practical significance for an uninhabited land. In 1828 (to 1832) a fortified trading post was established near La Junta in the Arkansas valley on the Santa Fé trail; in 1834–1836 several private forts were erected on the Platte; in 1841 the first overland emigrants to the Pacific coast crossed the state, and in 1846–1847 the Mormons settled temporarily at the old Mexican town of Pueblo. John C. Frémont had explored the region in 1842–1843 (and unofficially in later years for railway routes), and gave juster reports of the country to the world than his predecessors. Commerce was tributary in these years to the (New) Mexican town of Taos.
Colorado was practically an unknown country when in 1858 gold was discovered in the plains, on the tributaries of the South Platte, near Denver. In 1859 various discoveries were made in the mountains. The history of Denver goes back to this time. Julesburg, in the extreme north-east corner, at the intersection of the Platte valley and the overland wagon route, became transiently important during the rush of settlers that followed. Emigration from the East was stimulated by the panic and hard times following 1857. During 1860, 1861 and 1862 there was a continuous stream of immigration. Denver (under its present name), Black Hawk, Golden, Central City, Mount Vernon and Nevada City were all founded in 1859; Breckenridge, Empire, Gold Hill, Georgetown and Mill City date from 1860 and 1861. The political development of the next few years was very complicated. “Arapahoe County,” including all Colorado, was organized as a part of Kansas Territory in 1858; but a delegate was also sent to Congress to work for the admission of an independent territory (called “Jefferson”). At the same time, early in 1860, a movement for statehood was inaugurated, a constitution being framed and submitted to the people, who rejected it, adopting later in the year a constitution of territorial government. Accordingly the Territory of Jefferson arose, assuming to rule over six degrees of latitude (37°-43°) and eight of longitude (102°-110°). Then there was the Kansas territorial government also, and under this a full county organization was maintained. Finally, peoples’ court, acting wholly without reference to Kansas, and with no more than suited them (some districts refusing taxes) to the local “provisional” legislature, secured justice in the mining country. The provisional legislature of the Territory of Jefferson maintained a wholly illegal but rather creditable existence somewhat precariously and ineffectively until 1861. Its acts, owing to the indifference of the settlers, had slight importance. Some, such as the first charter of Denver, were later re-enacted under the legal territorial government, organized by the United States in February 1861. Colorado City was the first capital, but was soon replaced by Golden, which was the capital from 1862 until 1868, when Denver was made the seat of government (in 1881 permanently, by vote of the people). In 1862 some Texas forces were defeated by Colorado forces in an attempt to occupy the territory for the Confederacy. From 1864 to 1870 there was trouble with the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians. A sanguinary attack on an Indian camp in Kiowa county in 1864 is known as the Sand Creek Massacre. In 1867 the Republican party had prepared for the admission of Colorado as a state, but the enabling act was vetoed by President Johnson, and statehood was not gained until 1876. Finally, under a congressional enabling act of the 3rd of March 1875, a constitution was framed by a convention at Denver (20th of December 1875 to 14th of March 1876) and adopted by the people on the 1st of July 1876. The admission of Colorado to the Union was thereupon proclaimed on the 1st of August 1876.
From this time on the history of the state was long largely that of her great mining camps. After 1890 industrial conditions were confused and temporarily set greatly backward by strikes and lockouts in the mines, particularly in 1894, 1896–1897 and 1903–1904, several times threatening civil war and necessitating the establishment of martial law. Questions of railways, of franchises, union scales and the recognition of the union in contracts, questions of sheep and cattle interests, politics, civic, legal and industrial questions, all entered into the economic troubles of these years. The Colorado “labour wars” were among the most important struggles between labour and capital, and afforded probably the most sensational episodes in the story of all labour troubles in the United States in these years. A state board of arbitration was created in 1896, but its usefulness was impaired by an opinion of the state attorney-general (in 1901) that it could not enforce subpoenas, compel testimony or enforce decisions. A law establishing an eight-hour day for underground miners and smelter employees (1899) was unanimously voided by the state supreme court, but in 1902 the people amended the constitution and ordered the general assembly to re-enact the law for labourers in mines, smelters and dangerous employments. Following the repeal of the Sherman Law and other acts and tendencies unfavourable to silver coinage in 1893 and thereafter, the silver question became the dominant issue in politics, resulting in the success of the Populist-Democratic fusion party in three successive elections, and permanently and greatly altering prior party organizations.
The governors of Colorado have been as follows:—
|W. Gilpin||1861||E. M. McCook||1869|
|J. Evans||1862||S. H. Elbert||1873|
|A. Cummings||1865||E. M. McCook||1874|
|A. C. Hunt||1867||J. L. Routt||1875|
|J. L. Routt||Republican||1876|
|F. W. Pitkin||,,||1879|
|J. B. Grant||Democrat||1883|
|B. H. Eaton||Republican||1885|
|J. A. Cooper||Republican||1890|
|J. L. Routt||,,||1891|
|D. H. Waite||Populist||1893|
|A. W. M‘Intire||Republican||1895|
|C. S. Thomas||,,||1899|
|J. B. Orman||,,||1901|
|J. H. Peabody||Republican||1903|
|Jesse F. M‘Donald||Republican||1905|
|Henry A. Buchtel||,,||1907|
|John H. Shafroth||Democrat||1909|
- Adams was inaugurated on the 10th of January, having been elected on the return of the vote, which had been notoriously corrupted in Denver and elsewhere. The Republican legislature, after investigating the election and upon receiving from Peabody a written promise that he would resign in twenty-four hours, declared on the 16th of March that Peabody was elected. His resignation on the 17th of March made Lieutenant-Governor M‘Donald governor of the state.