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The first European settlement in Colorado was made by the Spaniard Francisco Escalante in 1776. The first American to penetrate the area appears to have been James Pursley, a fur trader, in 1804. Part of Colorado came under United States control as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Some of it was added to Texas after it won independence from Mexico in 1836. The western part was ceded by Mexico in 1848. In 1858, gold prospecting began and a movement to form a territorial government was started. However, since jurisdiction over parts of the territory was claimed by Nebraska, Utah, New Mexico, Kansas and Dakota made the project too controversial. However, in February 1861, Congress gathered parts of Utah, New Mexico, Kansas, and Nebraska into a new territory that was called Colorado. It achieved statehood in 1876. The town of Lakewood received an economic boost in 1893, following the establishment of its first electric tramway. This tramway connected Lakewood with Golden and Denver. It became part of the Denver Tramway Corporation and was nicknamed "the Loop". The economy of Colorado was originally based primarily on mining. After gold deposits petered out, it was discovered that the deposits of carbonates that had been discarded by gold miners were sufficiently rich in silver and lead for commercial exploitation. Working conditions in the mines led to a number of the most notable labor confrontations in American history, and the military was called out to restore order in both 1904 and 1913. After coal was discovered at the Miller's Farm in 1884, mining began in 1887. In the following year, new homes began to sprinkle the landscape of what came to be known as Lafayette, which was named after Mary Miller's late husband Lafayette. Colorado has seen continued growth in recent decades due to the quality of life afforded its citizens.

See Colorado.