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In 1876 Colorado became the 38th state in the United States. Located in the Rocky Mountains, its capital is Denver. The state was named after the color of the soil, as Colorado is Spanish for “red colored,” and its motto, Nil sine Numine, means “Nothing without the Deity.” The first Europeans there were the Spanish conquistadors in the late 1500s and became part of Mexico. It was ceded to the United States after the Mexican-American War, which was fought from 1846 to 1846, as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. In the summer of 1849, a wagon train bringing prospectors to California stopped at a creek and one of the prospectors, Lewis Ralston, panned almost $5.00 worth of gold. He continued on to California and returned to Colorado eight years later, precipitating the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush in 1958. In 1879, silver was discovered nearby, touching off the Colorado Silver Boom, and coal mining took off a few years later. Colorado history is rich in mining strike violence, with the Cripple Creek strike of 1894, triggered by the Cripple Creek mine owners lengthened the work day from eight hours a day to ten hours but keeping the wage at $3.00 per day. When the miners began to protest, the owners agreed to keep the eight-hour day but lowered the daily wage to $2.50. Numerous mines in the region joined the strike. Strikebreakers were brought in, and with them rising tensions. Violence broke out and two days later, a group of armed striking miners ambushed six sheriff’s deputies. The mine owners brought in hundreds of non-union workers and then raised a private army. When all was said and done, the miners won, and soon the success of the strike had spawned 54 local unions. In 1972, the state of Colorado became the only state to ever reject an offer to host the Olympics when they turned down the International Olympic Committee’s invitation to host the 1976 Winter Olympics because voters were opposed to using state tax revenue to finance the Games.

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