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The Territory of Colorado
Colorado
was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from February 28, 1861, until August 1, 1876, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Colorado. The territory was organized in the wake of the Pike's Peak Gold Rush of 1858–1861 which brought the first large concentration of white settlement to the region. The organic act creating the territory was passed by Congress and signed by President James Buchanan
James Buchanan
on February 28, 1861, during the secessions by Southern states that precipitated the American Civil War. The boundaries of the Colorado
Colorado
Territory were identical with those of the current State of Colorado. The organization of the territory helped solidify Union control over a mineral-rich area of the Rocky Mountains. Statehood was regarded as fairly imminent, but territorial ambitions for statehood were thwarted at the end of 1865 by a veto by President Andrew Johnson. Statehood for the territory was a recurring issue during the Ulysses Grant administration, with Grant advocating statehood against a less willing Congress during Reconstruction. The Colorado
Colorado
Territory ceased to exist when the State of Colorado
Colorado
was admitted to the Union in 1876. East of the divide, the new territory included the western portion of the Kansas Territory, as well as some of the southwestern Nebraska Territory, and a small parcel of the northeastern New Mexico Territory. On the western side of the divide, the territory included much of the eastern Utah Territory, all of which was strongly controlled by the Ute and Shoshoni. The Eastern Plains
Eastern Plains
were held much more loosely by the intermixed Cheyenne
Cheyenne
and Arapaho, as well as by the Pawnee, Comanche
Comanche
and Kiowa. In 1861, ten days before the establishment of the territory, the Arapaho
Arapaho
and Cheyenne
Cheyenne
agreed with the U.S. to give up most their areas of the plains to white settlement but were allowed to live in their larger traditional areas, so long as they could tolerate homesteaders near their camps. By the end of the American Civil War
American Civil War
in 1865, the Native American presence had been largely eliminated from the High Plains.

Contents

1 History

1.1 Indigenous populations 1.2 Exploration by non-native peoples 1.3 Early settlements, trade, and gold mining 1.4 Territorial aspirations 1.5 Civil War years 1.6 Colorado
Colorado
War between the U.S. and the Indians of Cheyenne
Cheyenne
and Arapaho 1.7 The movement for statehood

2 Territorial capitals

2.1 Governmental buildings

3 See also 4 References 5 External links

History[edit] The land which ultimately became the Colorado
Colorado
Territory had first come under the jurisdiction of the United States in three stages: the 1803 Louisiana Purchase
Louisiana Purchase
as adjusted by the 1819 Adams–Onis Treaty, the 1845 Annexation of Texas, and the 1848 Mexican Cession. The land claims of Texas
Texas
were, at first, controversial. The border between the USA and Mexico was redefined by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
at the end of the Mexican–American War
Mexican–American War
in 1848, and the final boundaries of the state of Texas
Texas
were established by the Congressional Compromise of 1850. Indigenous populations[edit] Originally, the lands that comprised the Colorado
Colorado
Territory were inhabited primarily by the Ute from Western Colorado
Colorado
out onto the eastern high plains, and Anasazi in southwestern, southern, and part of southeastern Colorado. The Comanche
Comanche
and Jicarilla Apache
Jicarilla Apache
also formally ruled over the southeastern portions of the state. Arapaho and Cheyenne
Cheyenne
also hunted, warred, and sometimes lived in the far eastern and northeastern portion of the state as well. Exploration by non-native peoples[edit] The earliest explorers of European extraction to visit the area were Spanish explorers such as Coronado, although the Coronado expedition of 1540–42 only skirted the future border of the Colorado
Colorado
Territory to the south and southeast. In 1776, Francisco Atanasio Domínguez
Francisco Atanasio Domínguez
and Silvestre Vélez de Escalante
Silvestre Vélez de Escalante
explored southern Colorado
Colorado
in the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition. Other notable explorations included the Pike expedition
Pike expedition
of 1806–07 by Zebulon Pike, the journey along the north bank of the Platte River in 1820 by Stephen H. Long to what came to be called Longs Peak, the John C. Frémont
John C. Frémont
expedition in 1845–46, and the Powell Geographic Expedition of 1869 by John Wesley Powell. Early settlements, trade, and gold mining[edit] In 1779, Governor
Governor
de Anza of New Mexico fought and defeated the Comanches under Cuerno Verde
Cuerno Verde
in southwestern Colorado. In 1786, de Anza made peace with the Comanches, creating an alliance against the Apaches. A group of Cherokee
Cherokee
crossed the South Platte and Cache la Poudre River valleys on their way to California
California
in 1848 during the California
California
Gold Rush. They reported finding trace amounts of gold in the South Platte and its tributaries as they passed along the mountains. In the south, in the San Luis Valley, early Mexican families established themselves in large land grants (later contested by the U.S.) from the Mexican government. In the early 19th century, the upper South Platte River
South Platte River
valley had been infiltrated by fur traders, but had not been the site of permanent settlement. The first movement of permanent U.S. settlers in the area began with the Kansas-Nebraska Act
Kansas-Nebraska Act
of 1854, which allowed private land claims to be filed. Among the first settlers to establish claims were former fur traders who returned to the lands they once trapped, including Antoine Janis
Antoine Janis
and other trappers from Fort Laramie, who established a town near Laporte along the Cache la Poudre in 1858. In 1858, Green Russell and a party of Georgians, having heard the story of the gold in the South Platte from Cherokee
Cherokee
after they returned from California, set out to mine the area they described. That summer they founded a mining camp Auraria (named for a gold mining camp in Georgia) at the confluence of the South Platte and Cherry Creek. The Georgians left for their home state the following winter. At Bent's Fort
Bent's Fort
along the Arkansas River, Russell told William Larimer, Jr., a Kansas land speculator, about the placer gold they had found. Larimer, realizing the opportunity to capitalize on it, hurried to Auraria. In November 1858, he laid claim to an area across Cherry Creek from Auraria and named it " Denver
Denver
City" in honor of James W. Denver, the current governor of the Kansas Territory. Larimer did not intend to mine gold himself; he wanted to promote the new town and sell real estate to eager miners. Larimer's plan to promote his new town worked almost immediately, and by the following spring the western Kansas Territory
Kansas Territory
along the South Platte was swarming with miners digging in river bottoms in what became known as the Colorado
Colorado
Gold Rush. Early arrivals moved upstream into the mountains quickly, seeking the lode source of the placer gold, and founded mining camps at Black Hawk and Central City. A rival group of civic individuals, including William A.H. Loveland, established the town of Golden at the base of the mountains west of Denver, with the intention of supplying the increasing tide of miners with necessary goods. Territorial aspirations[edit] The movement to create a territory within the present boundaries of Colorado
Colorado
followed nearly immediately. Citizens of Denver
Denver
and Golden pushed for territorial status of the newly settled region within a year of the founding of the towns. The movement was promoted by William Byers, publisher of the Rocky Mountain News, and by Larimer, who aspired to be the first territorial governor. In 1859, settlers established the Territory of Jefferson, and held elections, but the United States Congress
United States Congress
did not recognize the territory, and it never gained legal status. Congressional grant of territorial status for the region was delayed by the slavery issue, and a deadlock between Democrats, who controlled the Senate, and the antislavery Republicans, who gained control of the House of Representatives in 1859. The deadlock was broken only by the Civil War. In early 1861, enough Democratic senators from seceding states resigned from the U.S. Senate to give control of both houses to the Republicans, clearing the way for admission of new territories. Three new territories were created in as many days: Colorado
Colorado
(February 28), Nevada (March 1), and Dakota (March 2). Colorado
Colorado
Territory was officially organized by Act of Congress on February 28, 1861, out of lands previously part of the Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, and New Mexico territories. Technically the territory was open to slavery under the Dred Scott Decision
Dred Scott Decision
of 1857, but the question was rendered moot by the impending American Civil War
American Civil War
and the majority pro-Union sentiment in the territory. The name "Colorado" was chosen for the territory. It had been previously suggested in 1850 by Senator Henry S. Foote
Henry S. Foote
as a name for a state to have been created out of present-day California
California
south of 35° 45'. To the dismay of Denverites, the town of Colorado
Colorado
City was designated the first territorial capital, quickly succeeded by Golden. Denver
Denver
eventually became the temporary territorial capital, but was not designated the permanent capital until 1881, five years after Colorado
Colorado
became a state. Civil War years[edit] During the Civil War, the tide of new miners into the territory slowed to a trickle, and many left for the East to fight. The Missourians who stayed formed two volunteer regiments, as well as home guard. Although seemingly stationed at the periphery of the war theaters, the Colorado regiments found themselves in a crucial position in 1862 after the Confederate invasion of the New Mexico Territory
New Mexico Territory
by General Henry Sibley and a force of Texans. Sibley's New Mexico campaign was intended as a prelude to an invasion of the Colorado
Colorado
Territory northward to Fort Laramie, cutting the supply lines between California and the rest of the Union. The Coloradans, led by General Edward Canby and John M. Chivington, defeated Sibley's force at the Battle of Glorieta Pass, thwarting the Confederate strategy. Colorado
Colorado
War between the U.S. and the Indians of Cheyenne
Cheyenne
and Arapaho[edit] Main article: Colorado
Colorado
War In 1851, by the Treaty of Fort Laramie, the United States promised the Cheyenne
Cheyenne
and Arapaho
Arapaho
tribes control, in the Colorado
Colorado
area, of the Eastern Plains
Eastern Plains
between North Platte River
North Platte River
and Arkansas River
Arkansas River
eastward from the Rocky Mountains. The Fort Laramie
Fort Laramie
Treaty, in Article 4 of the treaty, did allow U.S. citizens to lawfully reside in or pass through the newly created Indian territories. Since this treaty was enacted before the railroads had come and before the finding of gold in the region, few whites had ventured to settle in what is now Colorado. By the 1860s, as a result of the Colorado
Colorado
Gold Rush and homesteaders encroaching westward into Indian terrain, relations between U.S. Americans and the Native American people deteriorated. On February 18, 1861, in the Treaty of Fort Wise, several chiefs of Cheyenne
Cheyenne
and Arapaho
Arapaho
agreed with U.S. representatives to cede most of the lands, ten years earlier designated to their tribes, for white settlement, keeping only a fragment of the original reserve, located between Arkansas River
Arkansas River
and Sand Creek. This new fragment was assigned in severalty to the individual members of the respective tribes with each member receiving 40 acres (160,000 m2) of land. The United States, by the Fort Wise Treaty, wished to have the Indians settle the new reservation as farmers. The U.S. agreed to pay the tribes a combined total of $30,000 per year for 15 years and in addition to provide a lumber mill, one or more mechanic shops, dwelling houses for an interpreter, and a miller engineer. See Article 5 of the Fort Wise Treaty. A good part of their co-nationals repudiated the treaty, declared the chiefs not empowered to sign, or bribed to sign, ignored the agreement, and became even more belligerent over the 'whites' encroaching on their hunting grounds. Tensions mounted when Colorado territorial governor John Evans in 1862 created a home guard of regiments of Colorado
Colorado
Volunteers returning from the Civil War and took a hard line against Indians accused of theft. On August 21, 1864, a band of 30 Indians attacked four members of the Colorado
Colorado
Cavalry as they were rounding up stray cattle. Three of the members made it back to the stockade at Franktown, Colorado
Colorado
but the fourth man failed to return. This man, Conrad Moschel, was found a few days later having been shot with a firearm and pierced with an arrow, and had been scalped in the manner of the Cheyenne. This offensive action by the warring Cheyenne
Cheyenne
further enraged the U.S. people of Colorado. After several minor incidents in what would later come to be designated as the Colorado
Colorado
War, in November 1864 a force of 800 troops of the Colorado
Colorado
home guard, after heavy drinking, attacked an encampment of Cheyenne
Cheyenne
and Arapaho
Arapaho
at Sand Creek, murdering between 150 and 200 Indians, mostly elderly men, women and children. This Sand Creek Massacre or 'Massacre of Cheyenne
Cheyenne
Indians' led to official hearings[1] by the United States Congress
United States Congress
Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War in March and April 1865. After the hearings, the Congress Joint Committee in their report on May 4, 1865, described the actions of Colonel John Chivington
John Chivington
and his Volunteers as "foul, dastardly, brutal, cowardly" and:

“ It is difficult to believe that beings in the form of men, and disgracing the uniform of United States soldiers and officers, could commit or countenance the commission of such acts of cruelty and barbarity as are detailed in the testimony, but which your committee will not specify in their report. ”

Nevertheless, justice was never served on those responsible for the massacre; and nonetheless, the continuation of this Colorado
Colorado
War led to expulsion of the last Arapaho, Cheyenne, Kiowa
Kiowa
and Comanche
Comanche
out of Colorado
Colorado
Territory into Oklahoma. The movement for statehood[edit] Following the end of the American Civil War, a movement was made for statehood, and the United State Congress passed the Admission Act for the territory in late 1865, but it was vetoed by President Andrew Johnson. For the next eleven years, the movement for territorial admission was stalled, with several close calls. President Grant advocated statehood for the territory in 1870, but Congress did not act. In the meantime, the territory found itself threatened by lack of railroads. By the late 1860s, many in Denver
Denver
had sold their businesses and moved northward to the Dakota Territory
Dakota Territory
communities of Laramie and Cheyenne, which had sprung up along the transcontinental railroad. Faced with the possible dwindling of the town and its eclipse by the new towns to the north, Denverites pooled their capital and built the Denver Pacific Railroad northward to Cheyenne
Cheyenne
to bring the rail network to Denver. The Kansas Pacific Railway
Railway
was completed to Denver two months later. The move cemented the role of Denver
Denver
as the future regional metropolis. The territory was finally admitted to the Union in 1876. Territorial capitals[edit] Three of Colorado's earliest communities had the honor of serving as capital of Colorado
Colorado
Territory:

Colorado
Colorado
City (1861–63) Golden City (1863–69) Denver
Denver
City (1869–76)

Governmental buildings[edit] For much if not all of its existence the Colorado
Colorado
Territorial government did not actually own its houses of government, instead renting available buildings for governmental purposes. Today two buildings which served the Territorial government remain: the historic log building in Colorado
Colorado
City, and the Loveland Block in downtown Golden (housing the complete legislature, Territorial Library and possibly Supreme Court from 1866–67 with library remaining to 1868). Others which served include the original Loveland Building (1859–1933, 1107 Washington Avenue in Golden, housing the Territorial House from 1862–66); the Overland Hotel (1859–1910, 1117 Washington Avenue in Golden, housing the Territorial Council from 1862–66); and the Territorial Executive Building (unknown dates, approximately 14th and Arapahoe Streets in Golden, housing the executive branch of the government from 1866–67). See also[edit]

Colorado
Colorado
portal History portal

American Civil War

Colorado
Colorado
in the American Civil War

Battle of Glorieta Pass, 1862

Colorado
Colorado
War

Sand Creek Massacre, 1864

Comanche
Comanche
Campaign

Battle of Beecher Island, 1868

Compromise of 1850 Delegates to the United States House of Representatives from the Territory of Colorado Governors of the Territory of Colorado High Plains Historic regions of the United States History of Colorado Mexican-American War, 1846–1848

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 1848

Pike's Peak Country

Pike's Peak Gold Rush, 1858–1861

Rocky Mountains Territorial evolution of the United States

Territories of Spain that encompassed land that would later become part of the Territory of Colorado:

Las Californias, 1768–1804 Alta California, 1804–1821 Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico, 1598–1821 Luisiana, 1764–1803

Territory of France that encompassed land that would later become part of the Territory of Colorado:

Louisiane, 1682–1764 and 1803

Territories of Mexico that encompassed land that would later become part of the Territory of Colorado:

Alta California, 1821–1848 Santa Fé de Nuevo México, 1821–1848

Territorial claim of the Republic of Texas, 1836–1845 U.S. territories
U.S. territories
that encompassed land that would later become part of the Territory of Colorado:

Louisiana Purchase, 1803–1804 District of Louisiana, 1804–1805 Territory of Louisiana, 1805–1812 Territory of Missouri, 1812–1821

Adams-Onís Treaty, 1819

Former territorial claim of the Republic of Texas, 1845–1850 Mexican Cession, 1848 State of Deseret, 1849–1850 (extralegal) Territory of Utah, 1850–1896 Territory of New Mexico, 1850–1912 Territory of Kansas, 1854–1861 Territory of Nebraska, 1854–1867 Territory of Jefferson, 1859–1861 (extralegal)

U.S. state
U.S. state
created from the Territory of Colorado:

State of Colorado, 1876

References[edit]

^ " United States Congress
United States Congress
Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, 1865 (testimonies and report)". University of Michigan
University of Michigan
Digital Library Production Service. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 

External links[edit]

Report of the United States Congress
United States Congress
Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, 1865 at University of Michigan
University of Michigan
Digital Library Production Service, University of Michigan  Hawes, J. W. (1879). "Colorado, a territory of the United States". The American Cyclopædia. 

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