Colorado Day is celebrated annually on August 1. The holiday commemorates the admittance of Colorado as a state of the Union on August 1, 1876, thanks to an Act of Congress signed by President Ulysses S. Grant. Before the Spanish started settling in Colorado as far back as 1598, Native American tribes had inhabited the area for about 14,000 years. In March 1907, the state legislature officially passed a law designating August 1 as Colorado Day; thus, the holiday started holding on August 1, 1907.
History of Colorado Day
About 14,000 years ago, several Native American tribes, including the Ancestral Puebloans, Apache, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, Shoshone, and Ute nations, inhabited Colorado. The first European contact was by the Spanish conquistadors, one of whom — Juan de Onate — founded the Spanish province of ‘Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico’ on July 11, 1598. Eventually, Colorado became a part of this province, and the regular trade between the Spaniards and Native Americans who lived there became known as ‘Comercio Comanchero,’ meaning ‘Comanche Trade.’
In 1803, the United States made a territorial claim to the eastern part of the Rocky Mountains, which the Spanish, who claimed sovereignty over the territory, contested. In 1846, the U.S. went to war with Mexico, winning and claiming the Southern Rocky Mountains for American settlement. However, it wasn’t until a few years later that settlement began in earnest due to the ‘Pikes Peak Gold Rush.’ On June 22, 1850, a man called Lewis Ralston discovered gold in a stream flowing into Clear Creek; he immediately named the stream ‘Ralston’s Creek.’ In 1857, gold seekers began flooding the territory to search for gold — this led to the beginning of the “Pikes Peak Gold Rush.” Three years later, an estimated 100,000 people had come in search of gold, which caused a population boom. However, they settled for silver, hard rock gold, and other minerals when the gold eventually got exhausted.
On February 28, 1861, Colorado became a U.S. territory by an Act of Congress signed by President James Buchanan — this happened during the infamous secession of the Southern States that led to the American Civil War. On August 1, 1876, President Grant signed a proclamation admitting Colorado to the Union as the 38th State, 28 days after the Centennial Celebration of the United States, earning it the moniker “Centennial State.” ‘Colorado Day’ was first celebrated in 1907.
Colorado Day timeline
The Spanish conquistadors begin the first European settlement in Colorado.
Lewis Ralston discovers gold in Clear Creek.
The ‘Pike’s Peak Gold Rush’ begins.
Colorado is a U.S. territory after President James Buchanan signs an Act of Congress.
Colorado gets admitted as the 38th State of the Union by a signed proclamation of President Ulysses S. Grant.
Colorado Day FAQs
Who’s the current leader of Colorado's government?
The current governor of Colorado is Jared Polis, who has been in office since 2019.
What is the population of Colorado?
Colorado is home to approximately 5.8 million people.
What is Colorado known for?
Colorado is well known for its beautiful landscapes, wildlife, and various outdoor activities the state offers, such as mountain biking, horse riding, and skiing.
Colorado Day Activities
Say “Happy Colorado Day!”
Celebrate by wishing all Coloradans a ‘Happy Colorado Day!’ Send a goodwill message to all Coloradans you know or post a kind message online.
Study the U.S map
Study the map of the United States and try to locate Colorado. If you don’t have a physical map, tons are available online.
Learn more about Colorado
There’s so much rich and fascinating information about the state of Colorado. Conduct some research and even plan a future visit. Begin from our “facts” section and explore further!
5 Random Facts About Colorado
Colorado was ahead on women’s rights
On November 7, 1893, women won the right to vote in Colorado, becoming the first Union state to achieve this.
Four states meet in Colorado
Colorado borders Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, making it possible to be in all four states simultaneously!
Colorado holds a world record
At 1,002 feet deep, the Mother Spring aquifer is the world’s deepest hot spring.
Another world record!
Spanning several 100 square miles, the Grand Mesa in Colorado is the world’s largest flattop mountain.
Home to America’s highest suspension bridge
At 1,053 feet, the Royal Gorge Bridge is the country’s highest suspension bridge.
Why We Love Colorado Day
Colorado Day commemorates the state’s history
Colorado Day commemorates and reflects on the state’s history. It’s also an opportunity to educate those who know little about Colorado’s origins.
Colorado Day is for celebration
This day also allows Coloradans to celebrate their state — whether native Coloradans or foreign residents. Embracing our roots is vital!
Promotion of tourism
State days promote tourism, which boosts the local economy. Publicizing the beautiful attractions and natural sights in Colorado encourages more people to visit.
Colorado Day dates