State flower: Rocky Mountain Columbine
State tree: Colorado Blue Spruce
State bird: Lark Bunting
State animal: Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep
State gemstone: Aquamarine
State colors: Blue and white
State fossil: Stegosaurus
State song: “Where the Columbines Grow”
Motto: Nil sine Numine (Nothing without the Deity)
Statehood: Colorado became a United States Territory in 1861 and was admitted as the 38th state on August 1,1876.
Nickname: Colorado is nicknamed the Centennial State because at the time it was admitted to the Union, the U.S. was celebrating the Centennial of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
The name Colorado means “red” or “ruddy” in Spanish. One theory about the name is that it refers to the red sandstone found in many locations in Colorado, including the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs and Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Park outside Denver. Another theory is that it refers to the red silt carried down from the mountains by the Colorado River.
Colorado is famous for its beautiful and varied landscape. High plains, mountains, forests, meadows filled with wildflowers, lakes, canyons, deserts, sand dunes and rivers can all be found within its borders.
Colorado is on the western edge of the Great Plains. The Rocky Mountains run north to south through the state. The Continental Divide (the point where North American waters divide into those that drain into the Pacific Ocean and those that drain into the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico) runs through Colorado along the Rockies. You can even see the Continental Divide marked on the highway at Wolf Creek Pass in southwest Colorado.
The Front Range is part of the Southern Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The name is also used for the area of Colorado just east of the Rockies. Cities along the Front Range include Fort Collins, Greeley, Boulder, Metro Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo.
Colorado is bordered by New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. The borders of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet at the “Four Corners”, the only place in the U.S. where four states come together.
The estimated population of Colorado in 2015 was 5,456,574. The population of Colorado has consistently grown in each census, and Colorado now has the 22nd largest population among U.S. states.
Denver is the capital of Colorado and also the largest city in the state. Outside Metro Denver, the largest cities in Colorado are Fort Collins, Greeley, Longmont, Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo.
Photo: Rocky Mountain Columbine