The thirty-fifth, in point of admission, of the United States of America. It lies between the 37th and 41st degrees of N. latitude and the 102nd and 109th degrees of W. longitude, the meridian lines making its shape a parallelogram as exact as the curvature of the earth will allow. When its original territorial limits were discussed it was suggested that the crest of the Rocky Mountains was a natural boundary, and it was on the reply of Colonel William Gilpin, who became its first governor, that railroads and political unity had superseded natural boundaries, that it was placed squarely across the divide and so has its mountain centre with a slope to either ocean.
After the Cliff-dwellers, its Indian tribes were the Utes and Arapahoes. It became part of French and Spanish America, and was covered by the Louisiana Purchase (1803), the Texas cession (1850), and the cession from Mexico by the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo (1848). Its area is 103,900 square miles.
The third of the State east of Denver is a part of the great plains, level and arid; The altitude at the base of the State capitol is exactly one mile; going east, it falls to about 4000 feet at the State line. Through the centre, north and south, runs the main Rocky Mountain range containing the highest peaks of these mountains, thirty-two of which exceed 14,000 feet and several so nearly the same height that it is a matter of dispute as to which is the highest, probably Mount Massive, 14,498 feet; On their western slope they form a plateau country. Between encircling ranges are natural parks (South, Middle, North, San Luis, Estes) at an altitude of about 9000 feet, which are notable stock-raising lands. The Rio Grande, Arkansas, and Platte Rivers all rise in this State, flowing south and east, and the Great Colorado River flowing west has its headwaters here. The Grand Cañon of the Arkansas, Mount of the Holy Cross, and the Garden of the Gods, are the principal scenic attractions.
The climate is exceptionally dry, healthful, and invigorating. The summers are cool and the winters moderate; There is an average of 181 clear days out of 365. Manitou, Glenwood, and Sulphur Springs are noted sanatoria. The annual rainfall is low, but so widely variant in localities that no intelligible average can be stated; Extremes are 12 and 29 inches.
By the census of 1900 the population was 539,700: whites, 529,046; negroes, 8570; Indians, 1437; Chinese, 599. The estimate by the State Board of Health for 1906 was 615,570. The greatest number of immigrants are from States on the same parallel. There are many native-born citizens of Spanish descent in the southern counties. Representatives from every country in Europe are included among the population, but none localized in colonies to any extent; 88 per cent of the population are native-born; 4 per cent are illiterate; Denver, the State capital and largest city, has a population approximating 200,000. Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Leadville, Trinidad, and Greeley are the larger cities.
Mining and agriculture are the principal industries. The manufacture of steel has been started, and commerce is incident to all other industries, hut the mine and ranch are the exploited features of the commonwealth; In both gold and silver, Colorado is the largest producer of any of the States. In 1906, gold to the value of $23,506,069, and 13,381,575 ounces of silver were mined. There was also a heavy production of lead, zinc, and iron. Coal underlies a very large area, much larger than in Pennsylvania ; the output for 1906 being 11,240,078 tons bituminous and 68,343 tons anthracite. Cripple Creek, Ouray, and Leadville are the most active mining camps, but the mineral belt covers every mountain county from Routt in the north-west corner to the New Mexico line. The Georgetown district claims to produce the highest grade of silver ore mined in the United States .
The average wheat yield is about twenty-one bushels to the acre. East of the foothills is a deep loam overlying a gravel subsoil, and wherever water can be got the land is very productive. The western slope, including the valleys between the mountain ranges, has an even richer soil, especially adapted to fruit production. All the grains and fruits of the temperate zone are produced, but those crops which seem best adapted to local conditions are wheat, apples, potatoes, cantaloupes, and the sugar-beet. The value of the output of agriculture, dairy, and poultry for 1906 was $72,600,000; fruit, $7,000,000. Until recently no land not under ditch was considered safe to farm, the annual rainfall not ensuring a crop. But such land is now cultivated under scientific methods called "dry farming", so that the value of this land in Eastern Colorado has doubled within the last three years. Nevertheless irrigation is the specific incident of Colorado farming; It has been studied to secure the most economic results, and ultimately no water will leave the State, all being caught and stored in reservoirs. In 1900 there were 7374 miles of main ditches covering by laterals 390 acres to the mile; The estimated value of the manufactures, outside of smelting, for 1906 is $15,000,000. Six railroad lines enter the State from the east and two cross its western boundary. Every town of any size in the State has railroad connexion. The railway mileage in 1905 was 5081.
Public education with compulsory attendance is provided for the whole State, with a high school in every large town; The university, located at Boulder, is supported by an annual two-fifths of a mill State tax which gives it an ample foundation. It gives law, medical, engineering, and academic courses. In 1906 it had 840 students, besides 525 in the preparatory school. There are also the University of Denver (Methodist), Colorado College at Colorado Springs (secular), the Jesuit College of the Sacred Heart, and the Loretto Heights Academy at Denver. The State Normal School is at Greeley. Other schools are the Agricultural College at Fort Collins and the School of Mines at Golden, with special State institutions for the deaf and blind, The principal school support comes from the ownership of the 16th and 36th sections of each non-mineral township, the value of which is beyond accurate approximation, besides school district ownership of over $9,000,000. The total number of pupils enrolled in 1906 was 144,007. The teachers numbered 4600 and the schoolhouses 2010. The expenditure for that year was $4,486,226.78. The pupils attending parochial schools number 5905 students; in Catholic colleges, 261; girls in academies, 595; total youth under Catholic care 7574. There is a total of 537 sisters in charge of hospitals and schools.
Coronado probably crossed the south-east corner of the State in his celebrated expedition of 1541-2, and Francisco Escalante explored its southern border in 1776. The first immigration was Spanish from New Mexico, at Pueblo, Trinidad, and other places south of the Arkansas River. In 1806 Zebulon M. Pike crossed the plains on an official exploration and gave his name to Pike's Peak. Long's expedition was in 1819. John C. Fremont and Kit Carson explored the mountain passes in the forties. In 1858 gold was discovered in Cherry Creek, which led to the Pike's Peak excitement and immigration of 1859. That year is the date of the first real settlement of the country by English-speaking people. Colorado was organized as a Territory in 1861, and admitted as a State in 1876, with a constitution formed in that year. This explains its sentimental title of "The Centennial State". The State motto is Nil Sine Numine .
Colorado coming in as an organized territory just as the Civil War broke out, the question of loyalty or secession agitated the population, but the Union men were in overwhelming majority. The Territory contributed two regiments to the Union Army. Since 1876 the State has generally gone Republican, but being so large a producer of silver it supported the Democratic ticket so long as the double standard of money remained an issue. There have been two or three occasions since admission when the State has paid the price for encouraging innovations parading themselves as reforms. In 1894 Governor Davis H. Waite, elected as a Populist but really a Socialist, ordered out the State troops in opposition to the armed police of Denver ; cannon were trained on the City Hall and only his yielding at the last moment prevented what threatened to be a serious civil revolution. Under his administration the militia were ordered out in the interest of the striking miners at Cripple Creek, and later in 1904 they were ordered to the same district under Governor Peabody in support of the mine-owners. Drastic deportations and vigilance-committee violence were committed by the State authorities, excusable, as they alleged, owing to the extreme conditions. This led to an exciting election in the fall of that year, in which Alva Adams, the Democratic candidate for governor, was undoubtedly elected and received his certificate, but was allowed to hold office only until a recount by the legislature was decided against him and Jesse McDonald, the Republican candidate for lieutenant-governor, was given the seat.
Woman suffrage was adopted by popular vote in 1893. It has since been in full operation, but its results for good have been nil . Only during the first few sessions were one, two, and, at most, three women elected to the legislature out of its 100 members. No woman has been elected to any State office except to that of superintendent of public instruction. Instead of being represented in conventions by nearly half, women delegates now are scarcely seen in such bodies. As a political factor they have not made either of the great parties stronger or weaker.
The State constitutes one diocese, with its see at Denver. Citizens of Spanish descent, about 20,000, are practically all Catholics, and there are 8,000 to 10,000 Catholic Austrians and Poles at Trinidad, Denver, and Pueblo. The Catholic population is estimated (1908) at about 100,000. Among the Catholics prominent in the development of Colorado may be mentioned Gen. Bela M. Hughes. the Democratic candidate for governor at the first State election; Casimiro Barela and James T. Smith. both in the legislature or executive departments of the State Government for over thirty years; Peter W. Breene and Francis Carney, who held the lieutenant-governorship; Senator H. A. W. Tabor, Hon. Bernard J. O'Connell of Georgetown, Martin Currigan, and John K. Mullen of Denver. John H. Reddin, an attorney of Denver, was the organizer of the Knights of Columbus in this State. The Catholic Church numerically exceeds any one of the Protestant denominations. The next in numbers is the Methodist, and then comes the Presbyterian. Although the State adjoins Utah there are very few Mormons.
Absolute freedom of worship is guaranteed by the Constitution, and there is apparently no disposition to infringe this law. In no State is there better feeling between the Church and non-Catholic denominations. The common law of Sunday prevails with no specific statutory change. In the cities the matter is left to local ordinance. Stores in all towns large and small are generally closed. In nearly all the cities liquor is sold under licence. In Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Greeley it is prohibited. In 1907 a local option law was passed allowing any city, ward, or precinct to prohibit all sales of liquor except by druggists on prescription. Little or no attempt is made in the large cities and the mountain towns to enforce the Sunday liquor law ; but the reverse is the rule in most of the smaller towns in Eastern Colorado.
A statutory form of oath is prescribed: the affiant shall with his or her hand uplifted swear "by the ever living God ". It has been unchanged since the first revision of the statutes. Any person having conscientious scruples against taking an oath is allowed to solemnly affirm. Interrupting religious meetings by profane swearing is made a misdemeanour by statute. The use of profane language is everywhere prohibited by city or town ordinance.
The State Penitentiary is at Cañon City. Each county has its jail for confinement of persons held for trial or convicted of misdemeanours. There is a State School of Reform for boys and another for girls. The latter was created by an Act providing substantially that all its officers must be women, and has been as conspicuous for mismanagement as the school for boys has been for successful results. The legislature in 1907 created a Juvenile Court for the care of neglected children.
Charitable Institutions of any sort may be incorporated under the Acts relating to corporations not organized for profit. Barring the question whether the old English statutes of mortmain would be held in force under a Colorado statute adopting, with limitations, the common law and Acts of the British Parliament prior to the fourth year of James I (1607), which point has never been decided in this State, there is no limitation on the power of such institutions to take property by deed or will and no limitations on the power of a testator to bequeath his property to them, except that neither husband nor wife can by will deprive the survivor of one half of his or her estate.
Any church organization may incorporate under provisions relating to religious societies (Rev. Stats. of 1908, §§ 1018 to 1033); but title to Catholic Church property as a rule is held by the bishop and the parishes have ordinarily no need to organize under these laws. Churches, schools, hospitals, and cemeteries not organized for profit are exempt from taxation. Public aid to any sectarian purpose is prohibited by the Constitution. Clergymen are not in terms exempt from jury duty, but are always excused as a matter of custom ; They are specifically exempt from military duty ; Each branch of the legislature selects a chaplain who opens sessions with prayer ; Christmas is a legal holiday; Good Friday is not; Confessions made to any clergyman or priest are protected against disclosure.
Marriage is a civil contract but may be performed by a clergyman of any denomination; The law of divorce is extremely loose. It may be granted for any of the usual statutory reasons, but the greatest abuse of the law is under the phrase called the sentimental cruelty clause, where the statute says it may be granted where either party has been guilty of acts of cruelty and that "such acts of cruelty may consist as well in the infliction of mental suffering as of bodily violence ". Under this clause any discontented man or wife can frame a complaint which will state a case for divorce. The number of divorces has greatly increased since the adoption of woman suffrage. No one thing has done more to strengthen the moral influence of the Catholic Church in this State and command respect and gather converts from the denominations than its firm stand against divorce.
The ratio of deaths by suicide in 1900 was one in every 84, or 1.18 per cent, and the statistics of the State Board of Health do not indicate any notable increase since 1900.
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