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General background about this state

Colorado Flag     Colorado Great Seal


  Colorado Springs
  Fort Collins

Colorado is a state in the west along the western edge of the Great Plains. It is bordered by Utah to the west, Wyoming and Nebraska to the north, Nebraska and Kansas to the east, with Oklahoma and New Mexico to the south. 

  • NICKNAME: The Centennial State
  • POPULATION: 5,268,367 (2013 est.)
  • CAPITAL: Denver
  • STATE BIRD: Lark Bunting
  • STATE FLOWER: Rocky Mountain Columbine
  • AREA: 104,094 sq. mi.
  • TIME ZONE: Mountain
  • ENTERED UNION: Aug. 1, 1876
  • ALTITUDE: High, 14,440 ft. Mount Elbert
  • CLIMATE: Generally hot sunny summers, cold winters.
    Light rainfall, varying at different altitudes.
    Heavy mountain snows.


Here is a land of superlatives. With 40 peaks rising more than 2 and a half miles above sea level, Colorado has the highest average altitude of all the mountain states. Here too originate more major rivers than in any other state-the North and South Platte, the Arkansas, the Colorado and the storied Rio Grande-all of them flowing easterly or westerly down the opposing slopes of the Continental Divide, which zigzags on a rough north-south line through Colorado's middle, marking the boundary of the two major drainage areas of the United States.

Ironically, Colorado is one of the driest states. West of the divide stretch the semi-arid uplands of the Colorado plateau, an area of stark beauty. Its spectacular gorge, abrupt escarpments and ancient cliff dwellings attract many thousands of tourists a year. but more important are the land's rich deposits of minerals, petroleum and natural gas.

Elk Mountain Colorado
Elk Mountain, Colorado

Colorado's central location, dry climate and long periods of cloudless days have made it a center of military installations. The U.S. Military operates 7 bases in Colorado; The Air Force Academy, Cheyenne Mountain (NORAD), Fort Carson, Peterson AFB, and Schriever AFB are all located near Colorado Springs; Buckley AFB is just outside Denver, while The Pueblo Chemical Depot is in southern Colorado.



  • Colorado means "colored red".
  • As protection against earthquakes or nuclear explosions, the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center of NORAD is mounted on more than 1,300 giant springs that allow it to sway up to 12 inches in any direction.
  • The longest continuous street in America is Colfax Avenue, the main east/west corridor that cuts through the state's capital city, Denver.
  • The 700-foot-high, wind-shaped sand dunes in Great Sand Dunes National Monument occupy an area that was covered by an ancient sea more than one million years ago.
  • The benefits of fluorides for healthy teeth were discovered when a study determined that fluoride in the drinking water of Colorado Springs caused residents to have fewer cavities.
  • The Unsinkable Molly (Margaret Tobin) Brown was a citizen of Leadville where her husband struck it rich when he found gold in 1893. She earned her nickname by helping women and children leave the Titanic before the luxury liner sank in 1912.


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