Long before the first Colorado explorers, was a prehistoric period, around 15,000 years ago. Before recorded history, man walked the area, along with mammoths and other prehistoric mammals.
Remains have been found substantiating this rare find. The first recorded people of Colorado were the Native Americans, who inhabited the area between 700 - 1000 A.D.
The first Colorado explorers were made up of men from the newly formed colonies of the U.S., as well as adventurers from other countries.
Spanish explorers sailed to Mexico to buy supplies and check on Spanish holdings.
Gold was always on their mind and they put together expeditions to search the surrounding mountains for the rich ore.
Their travels brought them into the Colorado territory long before it became a part of the U.S.
Colorado received its name from the Spanish, along with towns, rivers, mountains and valleys named in their language.
With France continuing to advance their holdings in America, French explorers were sent west to encourage trading with Native Americans.
And, as a side note, the French did not want to harm our Native American people. They frequently intermarried and became friends with the Indians.
Other countries, along with our own, did not observe this practice of friendship.
Then in the early 1800's the U.S. bought the Colorado territory from the French, who had bought it back from the Spanish, who....we'll get into that later.
With the Louis and Clark expedition, the west was opened up to a more rugged band of American explorers who arrived before and after the U.S. sent expeditions into the new west.
These men traveled all over the territory mapping out new trails, trading furs with the natives and building forts and outposts.
Most explorers were in search of a way to the Pacific Ocean, across country. Not only did they map the Colorado Territory, they continued on into Utah and beyond.
Let's take a look into the early explorers of our western territory and how Colorado was discovered.