Introduction of Colorado-Springs
City in central Colorado, S of Denver, at the foot ofPike's Peak. Founded in 1871 as Fountain Colony, itexpand ed following the Cripple Creek gold strikesof the 1890s. In 1917 it incorporated Colorado City,originally El Dorado, settled by miners in 1859.Today it is an important military center, near the U.S.Air Force base, the headquarters of the North AmericanAir Defense Command , and an Olympic trainingfacility. Once a wealthy spa, it is still famous for itsmineral waters.State in the W central United States, admitted to theUnion in 1876 as the 38th state. Colorado is a Spanishword for reddish.Its earliest inhabitants were the people known asBasket Makers, an early stage of the Anasazi culture.They lived here around the start of the Christian era.They were succeeded by cliff-dwelling Indians, theremains of whose homes can be seen in Mesa VerdeNational Park. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, inthe 16th century, was probably the first European inthe area. Spain claimed the territory in 1706 but madeno settlements. A search for gold brought Juan MariaRivera in 1765, while two Franciscans reached theregion in 1776. A portion of what is now Coloradowas also claimed by France as part of the Louisianaterritory. France ceded this region to Spain in 1763,but got it back in 1800, then sold it to the United Statesin 1803. The United States acquired the rest of the statefrom Mexico in 1848 after the Mexican War.American expeditions under Zebulon M. Pike in1806, Stephen H. Long in 1819-20, and John C. Fremontin 1842-43 and 1845 explored the region.Bent's Fort became the best-known western tradingpost, but there were few people in Colorado untilafter the discovery of gold in 1858 near Pike's Peakand at the site of present Denver. The next year goldwas also found at Central City. The region waspart of Kansas Territory, but in 1861 the ColoradoTerritory was established. A number of Indian tribeslived here, and from the 1840s on there was warfarebetween them and the settlers, including the IndianWars of 1861-69, the Buffalo War of 1873-74, and a final outbreak in 1879.The gold ran out, and most mining centers becameghost towns, but a railroad link to Cheyenne, Wyoming,in 1870 stimulated farming. Huge cattle rancheswere established, sheep raising became important, and some smelting was done. In the 1870s the discovery ofsilver at Leadville and in the early 1890s the findingof a new gold field at Cripple Creek brought anothermining boom. In 1893, however, the federal governmentstopped buying silver, and the market collapsed.Around the turn of the century there arose railroadfranchise disputes, war between sheep and cattle interests,and labor conflicts. A violent outbreak of laborunrest in 1903 in the Rockefeller-owned coal fieldswas crushed by federal troops. Ten years later a similarstrike led to more bloodshed.The establishment of national parks in the early20th century brought tourists, while in World War Ithe price of silver increased greatly. Both were factorsin Colorado's growing wealth. Such prosperity ended,however, with drought and the depression of the1930s. World War II renewed prosperity as thedemand for food, minerals, and metal products wasstimulated. The boom continued after the war whenmany Americans moved west. Colorado's populationincreased by 900,000 between 1950 and 1970. Withthe coming of the energy crisis of the early 1970s, theColorado economy prospered even more. Denver,now a city of skyscrapers, is western headquarters ofcompanies seeking oil and gas in the Rocky Mountainsregion.Eastern Colorado is part of the High Plains sectionof the Great Plains, while in the west are theRocky Mountains. The Colorado, North and SouthPlatte, and Arkansas Rivers, and the Rio Grand eall originate in the state. Colorado is an agriculturaland manufacturing state as well as a source of mineralwealth. Denver is the capital and largest city. TheUnited States Air Force Academy is at ColoradoSprings. Other cities include Boulder, Fort Collins,Pueblo, and Greeley.