History of Colorado

Kiowa Indian

This illustrated article provides interesting facts, information and a history timeline of the Native American Indians of Colorado. The climate, land, history, environment and natural resources that were available to the indigenous Indian tribes in Colorado resulted in the adoption of the Southwest culture and some adopted the Great Plains Indians culture.

Discover the history, interesting facts and information about the way of life of the Colorado Indians before the arrival of the white European settlers and colonists.

History of Native Americans
Native Indian Tribes Index

History of Colorado Indians
Factors that contributed to the history of the state are detailed in the History Timeline. The history timeline shows the impact of the new comers to the state.

Stone Age History of Colorado
The American Native Indians who lived in what is now the present state of Colorado led a Stone Age lifestyle - they only had stone tools and weapons, had never seen a horse and had no knowledge of the wheel. The history of the Colorado Indians are detailed in this article.

Map of Colorado
The map of Colorado provides a bird's eye view of the location of the tribal territories and homelands of the Colorado Indians in relation to the present day United States of America. The map indicates the location of the State and the American Native Indians of Colorado.


State Map of Colorado

State Map showing location of Colorado

State Map showing location of Colorado Indians


Names of the Colorado Indian Tribes
Colorado is a a state in west central United States in the Rocky Mountains - both Plains and Southwest Native American cultures. The Southwest cultures were adopted by the Apache, Pueblo, Zuni and Navajo. The Plains culture was adopted by the Apache, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Ute, Shoshone tribe, Comanche, Pawnee and Kiowa.

Fast Facts about the History of Colorado Indians
The way of life and history of Colorado Indians was dictated by the natural raw materials available in the State of Colorado. The natural resources and materials available provided the food, clothing and houses of the Colorado Indians. Fast facts about the history, culture and life of the State of Colorado Indians. Discover facts and information about the history of the State of Colorado Indians.

  • Name of State: Colorado
  • Meaning of State name: The name is the Spanish word for "red" in reference to the color of the water of the Colorado River.
  • Geography, Environment and Characteristics of the State of Colorado: Eastern dry high plains; hilly to mountainous central plateau; western Rocky Mountains of high ranges alternating with broad valleys and deep narrow canyons.
  • Culture adopted by Colorado Indians: Southwest Cultural Group and some adopted the Great Plains. In the West Colorado area some adopted the Great Basin culture 
  • Languages: Southern Athabaskan (Apachean) language, Shoshonean or Uto-Aztecan
  • Way of Life (Lifestyle): Farmers and some Nomadic hunters
  • Types of housing, homes or shelters: Farmers lived in Adobe (pueblo) houses. Hunters lived in Hogans, tepees, brush shelters or wickiups

History Timeline of the Colorado Indians
The history and the way of life of Colorado Indians was profoundly affected by newcomers to the area. The indigenous people had occupied the land thousands of years before the first European explorers arrived. The Europeans brought with them new ideas, customs, religions, weapons, transport (the horse and the wheel), livestock (cattle and sheep) and disease which profoundly affected the history of the Native Indians. For a comprehensive History timeline regarding the early settlers and colonists refer to the
Colonial America Time Period. The history of the State and of its Native American Indians is detailed in a simple History Timeline. This Colorado Indian History Timeline provides a list detailing dates of conflicts, wars and battles involving Colorado Indians and their history. We have also detailed major events in US history which impacted the history of the Colorado Indians.

Colorado History Timeline

History Timeline of the Native Indians of Colorado

10,000 BC: The first indigenous people were of the Paleo-Indian culture who lived in caves or were Nomadic Hunters

7000 BC: Archaic Period in which people built basic shelters and made stone weapons and stone tools

2500 BC: Gulf Formational Period with development of ceramics and pottery

1000 AD: Woodland period with permanent houses and farming

1300: Mississippian culture period of Mound Builders

1500: Colorado is the homeland of the Ute Indian tribe

1682: French Explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, claims Colorado for France

1765: The Spanish led by Juan Maria Rivera search for gold and silver

1775: 1775 - 1783 - The American Revolution.

1776: July 4, 1776 - United States Declaration of Independence

1803: The United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France for 15 million dollars for the land

1812: 1812 - 1815: The War of 1812 between U.S. and Great Britain, ended in a stalemate but confirmed America's Independence

1830: Indian Removal Act

1832: Department of Indian Affairs established

1848: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo - Mexico cedes its land in Colorado to the United States

1860: Kiowa and Comanche expedition, Indian Territory. To remove the Kiowa and Comanche from the area of the Arkansas River.

1861: Congress establishes Colorado Territory

1861: 1861 - 1865: The American Civil War.

1863: Conflicts erupt between the white settlers and Plains Indians

1864: Sand Creek Massacre - Colonel John Chivington and his Colorado Volunteers massacred Cheyenne and Arapaho men, women, and children.

1862: U.S. Congress passes Homestead Act opening the Great Plains to settlers

1863: 1863-1869 War against the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa and Comanche Indians in Kansas, Nebraska (Territory), Colorado (Territory) and Oklahoma Indian Territory

1865: The surrender of Robert E. Lee on April 9 1865 signalled the end of the Confederacy

1865: Indian attacks intensify in Colorado

1868: Battle of Beecher Island, also known as the Battle of Arikaree Fork, was a conflict between the United States Army and several of the Plains native American tribes, including the Cheyenne Indians

1869: Battle of Summit Springs was the final military engagement between whites and plains Indians in Colorado

1876: Sioux and the Cheyenne joined forces and fought in the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 against General George Armstrong Custer on June 25, 1876

1881: Ute tribes are removed from Colorado onto Indian reservations

1887: Dawes General Allotment Act passed by Congress leads to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and the sale of Indian lands to white settlers

1915: The Bluff War, aka Posey War or the Polk and Posse War, Ute and Paiute and the US army. Location: San Juan County, Utah and Montezuma County, Colorado

1969: All Indians declared citizens of U.S.

1979: American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed

History Timeline of the Native Indians of Colorado

State of Colorado History Timeline

History of Colorado Indians - Destruction and Decline
The history of the European invasion brought epidemic diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, influenza, measles and smallpox. The Native Indians of Colorado had not developed immunities against these diseases resulting in huge losses in population. Exploitation including the leverage of taxes, enforced labor and enslavement were part of their history, taking their toll on the Colorado Indians.


  • History of Colorado Indians
  • Interesting Facts and information about the Colorado Culture and History
  • Names of indigenous Colorado tribes of Indians
  • Fast Facts, History Timeline and info
  • Map of Colorado
  • History Timeline of the Colorado Indians

State of Colorado Indians - Additional Pictures and Videos
State of Colorado Indian History. Discover the vast selection of pictures and videos of Native Americans. The pictures show the clothing, weapons and decorations of various Native American tribes that can be used as an educational history resource for kids and children. We hope that this article on the History of Colorado Indians  will assist in your studies or homework and that you will enjoy watching the videos featuring many pictures of the Native Americans. A great historical educational resource for kids on the subject of the History of Colorado Indians..


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