Colorado, abbreviated CO and Col., is a state in the United States bordering Utah in the west, Wyoming in the north, Nebraska and Kansas in the east, and Oklahoma and New Mexico in the south. The name is after the Colorado River, ‘the red-colored river’, which flows through the state.
Colorado has a total area of approximately 269,600 km2, and has 5,607,154 residents (US Census, 2017). The capital and largest city is Denver.
Colorado is often referred to as the Centennial State because it was admitted as the 38th state in the United States on August 1, 1876, a hundred years after the union was created.
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Colorado is the highest state of the United States, with an average elevation of about 2,000 meters above sea level. The eastern part consists of a dry, grassy hillside, 1100-1500 meters above sea level, which slopes down towards the North American plain. West of the high plains lies a mountain landscape (Colorado Piedmont) where most of the population lives. The belt north and south of Denver, the “Front Range,”is a high-tech growth area in line with California’s Silicon Valley.
The western half of the state is dominated by the Rocky Mountains with 1500 peaks exceeding 3000 m, of which a number reaches over 4000 m. (50 are so-called “fourteeners”, peaks over 14,000 feet, ie 4267 meters. The highest is Mount Elbert in the Sawatch Range, 4401 meters. The most famous is Pikes Peak (4302 meters) in the eastern part of the state, known from the slogan “Pikes Peak or Bust”from the pioneer era on the Oregon Trail.
The population has risen rapidly. In 1860 it was 35,000, in 1880 195,000, in 1950 1.3 million, in 1990 3.3 million. In the period 1970–1980, population growth was 30.9 per cent, almost three times higher than the national average. In the decade 1980–1990 it was 14 per cent, in the years 1990–2000 30.6 per cent and from 2000 to 2010 the population increased by 16.9 per cent. This is largely due to relocation from other states, not least from press states such as California.
87.3 percent of residents are white, including 21.5 percent Hispanics, and 4.5 percent black (US Census, 2017). The population density is relatively low. More than 2 / 3 live in Piedmont; more than 86 percent live in densely populated areas. The largest cities are the capital Denver with 704,621 residents and Colorado Springs with 464,474 (US Census, 2017).
Colorado sends two senators and seven representatives to Congress.
Agriculture, which depends on irrigation, is of great importance to the economy. The main agricultural products are hay, wheat, maize and sugar beets. The animal husbandry (cattle, pigs, sheep) is considerable. Valuable minerals include coal, petroleum and molybdenum. Industry is by far the most important sector of the economy. Employment in manufacturing increased by 47 per cent in the period 1967–1977, compared with only 1.4 per cent nationwide. The Front Range east of Denver is a growing center of high technology, especially electronics and computer technology. Other production includes floating parts, foodstuffs, petroleum products, machinery, iron and steel. Denver and Puebloare leading industrial cities. Tourism is significant, especially winter tourism has shown strong growth in recent years.
Colorado has several universities, including the University of Colorado at Boulder, founded in 1861, the State University of Fort Collins, founded in 1870, and the University of Denver, founded in 1864, as well as the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, founded in 1955. Here also the command center for the air defense of North America (North American Aerospace command, NORAD).
The first Europeans to come to today’s Colorado were Spaniards from Mexico. The land east of the Rocky Mountains came under the United States during the Louisiana Purchase, the land west of the mountains was surrendered by Texas and Mexico in 1848. Only after the gold finds in 1858 did American immigration begin. The area was organized as territory in 1861 and occupied as the 38th state in the union in 1876.