• 12,000 B.C. First inhabitants include Folsom Man.
  • 3000 B.C. Prehistoric farming communities appear.
  • A.D. 1000 Ancestral Puebloan cliff-dweller culture peaks in Four Corners region.
  • Late 1500s Spanish explore upper Rio Grande Valley; colonize Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico; and make forays into what is now southern Colorado.
  • 1803 The Louisiana Purchase includes most of modern Colorado.
  • 1805 The Lewis and Clark expedition sights the Rocky Mountains.
  • 1806–07 Capt. Zebulon Pike leads first U.S. expedition into the Colorado Rockies.
  • 1822 William Becknell establishes the Santa Fe Trail.
  • 1842–44 Lt. John C. Frémont and Kit Carson explore Colorado and American West.
  • 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends Mexican War, adds American Southwest to the United States.
  • 1858 Gold discovered in modern Denver.
  • 1859 General William Larimer founds Denver. Major gold strikes in nearby Rockies.
  • 1861 Colorado Territory proclaimed.
  • 1862 Colorado cavalry wins major Civil War battle at Glorietta Pass, New Mexico. Homestead Act is passed.
  • 1863–68 Ute tribe obtains treaties guaranteeing 16 million acres of western Colorado land.
  • 1864 Hundreds of Cheyenne killed in Sand Creek Massacre. University of Denver becomes Colorado’s first institution of higher education.
  • 1870 Kansas City–Denver rail line completed. Agricultural commune of Greeley established by Nathan Meeker. Colorado State University opens in Fort Collins.
  • 1871 General William Palmer founds Colorado Springs.
  • 1876 Colorado becomes 38th state.
  • 1877 University of Colorado opens in Boulder.
  • 1878 Little Pittsburg silver strike launches Leadville mining boom, Colorado’s greatest.
  • 1879 Milk Creek Massacre by Ute warriors leads to tribe’s removal to reservations.
  • 1890 Sherman Silver Purchase Act boosts price of silver. Gold discovered at Cripple Creek, leading to state’s biggest gold rush.
  • 1893 Women win right to vote. Silver industry collapses following repeal of Sherman Silver Purchase Act.
  • 1901–07 President Theodore Roosevelt sets aside 16 million acres of national forest land in Colorado.
  • 1906 U.S. Mint built in Denver.
  • 1913 Wolf Creek Pass highway is first to cross Continental Divide in Colorado.
  • 1915 Rocky Mountain National Park established.
  • 1934 Direct Denver–San Francisco rail travel begins. Taylor Grazing Act ends homesteading.
  • 1941–45 World War II establishes Colorado as military center.
  • 1947 Aspen’s first chairlift begins operation.
  • 1948–58 Uranium “rush” sweeps western slope.
  • 1955 Environmentalists prevent construction of Echo Park Dam in Dinosaur National Monument.
  • 1967 Colorado legalizes medically necessary abortions.
  • 1988 Sen. Gary Hart, a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, withdraws from race after a scandal.
  • 1992 Colorado voters approve a controversial state constitutional amendment barring any measures to protect homosexuals from discrimination.
  • 1993 Denver becomes 15th U.S. city with three major professional sports teams by adding the Rockies, a new Major League Baseball franchise.
  • 1995 The $4.2-billion state-of-the-art Denver International Airport opens, as does the $2.2-million Coors Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Rockies. Denver gets its fourth major professional sports team, the Avalanche of the National Hockey League.
  • 1996 The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Colorado’s 1992 constitutional amendment, stating that it could prevent homosexuals from enjoying basic constitutional rights granted to all Americans.
  • 1996 The Avalanche win the Stanley Cup, giving Colorado its first championship in any major league.
  • 1997 Weather wreaks havoc across the state. First, a summer rainstorm turns a small creek that runs through Fort Collins into a roaring river. Then, in late October, a 24-hour blizzard, the worst October storm in Denver since 1923, virtually shuts down I-25 from Wyoming to New Mexico and strands thousands at Denver International Airport.
  • 1997 Gary Lee Davis, convicted of the 1986 abduction and murder of a Colorado farm wife, is executed by lethal injection, the state’s first execution in 30 years.
  • 1998 The Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl, defeating the Green Bay Packers. The stunning victory saves the Broncos the indignity of becoming the first team to lose five Super Bowls.
  • 1999 The Broncos win the Super Bowl again, this time defeating the Atlanta Falcons.
  • 1999 The worst school shooting in United States history takes place in suburban Denver inside Columbine High School, leaving 15 dead.
  • 2002 One of the worst wildfire seasons in history hits Colorado, with about 1,000 fires burning some 364,000 acres across the state. The biggest fire, southwest of Denver, burns 138,000 acres and destroys 133 homes.
  • 2003 Wynkoop Brewing Company owner John Hickenlooper elected mayor of Denver.
  • 2006 T-REX, the biggest road and light-rail project in Denver history, is completed.
  • 2008 Denver hosts the 2008 Democratic National Convention; Barack Obama accepts the party's nomination at Invesco Field at Mile High.
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    2009 Falcon Heene, aka “Balloon Boy,” momentarily captivates the nation as he was thought to be floating above the Front Range.

  • 2010 Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper runs for Colorado governor.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.