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In the early 19th century, Colorado was a state considered having little resources that could have attracted people to settle there. However, her economic, political and social prospects changed when huge deposits of minerals were discovered in the mid 1850s. This discovery made a lot of people migrate to this state hoping to secure employments in the mining sites.

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Mining, minerals and miners influence in shaping the history of Colorado through 2013

Within a short period, thousands of people had moved in and established settlements in the mining areas. For example in 1885, Montana City was established although it faded quickly because the minerals around it were not commercially viable. As a result, some of the settlers and the structures were relocated to the north where new settlements called ST Charles were formed. This location was preferred because it was accessible due to the existence of trails that had previously been the site of seasonal encampment. It is during this period that Denver City was created as a mining settlement because it was near where gold prospectors panned gold from the sands of River Platte. According to Lucas, prospecting companies built roads to facilitate the transportation of products from the mines to the market. He has also suggested that road construction was meant to boost the growth of the city where new immigrants would settle.

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The availability of gold and other valuable minerals such as diamond and silver played an important role in encouraging thousands of people to migrate to this state especially to the west where these mines were located. However, as Dallas has noted, not all people who settled in Colorado were interested in securing employment in the mines; there were ranchers, business persons and farmers. After successful years of gold mining, the citizens of this state united and demanded to break away from the federal government although this move was futile. Mining was an important economic activity since it helped maintain the sound of dollar during the war and created the Arizona territory.

According to Saxon, competition for businesses emerged in Aurania and Denver, which catered for the new immigrants of these two areas. The early business activities undertaken were saloon, smithery and carpentry. He had observed that mining remained a great engine of the Colorado economy until the early 20th century, when other sectors such as tourism became important players in the growth of the economy. This industry has contributed to significant technological advancement in the Colorado and the United States of America at large. In both 19th and 20th centuries, technological advancement combined with research activities carried out led to improvement in the mining industry globally.

For over one hundred years, Leadville was the main United States mining district. It provided high income tax to the state because most of the people had secured permanent jobs. The fundamentals of Leadville mine cannot be under-estimated because it led to improvement of services and increased employment to the local community. It also attracted many investors, prospectors and laborers. The effective demand for goods and services increased rapidly because of the increased population. In addition, 1879 Silver Rush led to the establishment of more institutions of higher learning where students were trained on various mining techniques. According to Klucas, Colorado had for many years been the state that produced the most qualified personnel to deal with mining activities. This contributed to an influx of students from other states who wanted to learn this course. In the modern day world, Colorado is regarded as a state with the highest levels of security when it comes to mining. Only the most qualified people are allowed to supervise and coordinate mining activities in this state. This means that the success in the mining sector today can be attributed to the availability of minerals from the mid 19th century that has enabled safe and secure mining to be conducted. The achievements have been brought about by the formulation of policies that have regulated mining since the first minerals especially gold and silver were discovered. In the contemporary Colorado, the state government has to permit minerals prospecting and mining. As a result, it has been perceived to have the most comprehensive rules governing the mining sector because this sector has been active since 19th century.

The presence of mines stimulated the growth of other businesses such as hotels and restaurants to provide food for the miners. This ensured that more people were employed and hence improved the state via payment of income taxes. Today, Colorado has some of the oldest hotel and restaurants where some can trace their roots to the first restaurants to be set up during the 19th century.

Klucas is of the view that the difference between mining during 19th and 20th centuries is that in the 20th century, there was the use of advanced technology that helped in the realization of more mining locations in the state. However, in 19th century, mining was concentrated in gold placer deposit along the streams and rivers. Nevertheless, the pioneers of mining during the 1870s have been blamed for not being bold enough to face the present threat of Indian attack within the region.

The presence of minerals especially gold has helped her economy continue to thrive in spite of hard economic times. According to Smith most of her infrastructure has developed over the years as a result of mining. He has claimed that Colorado was among the first states in the United States to have a railroad connection. In 1867 for instance, the Union Pacific Railroad was completed to ease the transportation of minerals from the mining sites to factories and then to the markets. Furthermore, the Kansas Pacific Railroad was completed the same year. As a result, the western and the eastern parts of Colorado were connected. This ensured that people and goods were transported with ease in the State.

These early developments laid the foundations of the modern day Colorado. Dallas is of the view that Colorado has one of the most developed rail connection in the country a fact which can be attributed to the early mining. In addition, this state is still the home of the largest producer of gold in the world. As a result, she is able to determine the prices of gold and other minerals in the world market by way of regulating the amount of gold to be availed in the market. This has worked to her advantage because the prices of gold have remained high compared to other minerals currently in the market.

However, during the World War II, this state took another dimension as the government established its facilities in Colorado due to fear of attacks. Several government facilities were transferred to this locality including the federal government offices and almost all the administrative jurisdiction beyond its borders. In 1958, the U.S Air force academy was relocated from Denver to Colorado Springs. Newcomers embraced the capacity of the state to develop a ski resort and additional outdoor sports facilities. The development and diversification of Colorado State led to the improvement of its economic situations thereby attracting more newcomers. By the end of 1980s, majority of the states populations were newcomers. In this respect, tourism becomes the economic backbone. Therefore, the state formulated policies and infrastructural development to support tourism. It also revived fallen mining industries such as diamond and uranium mining industries.

The increased productivity in Colorado as war gained momentum increased demand for labor causing infusion of foreign populations. The government provided a big investment contract to both small and large firms with the motive of increasing their productivity as well as increasing their returns. According to Saxon, miners in Colorado perceived World War as beneficial since they found job opportunities increasing as the war progressed.


Mining industry has been credited for being the force behind the improved social and economic state of Colorado. Taxes levied on mining companies has enabled the State develop an efficient and effective transport network to facilitate the transportation of minerals to the markets. From ancient, the mainstay of Colorado economy was derived from mining. Investors and miners from Midwest form the largest populace in this region. With the use of modern technology, the mining processes are expected to boost the economy even in the future through generation of foreign income and facilitating employment processes in the state. The mining activities have benefited both the local and foreign laborers who have been employed in the mines. The most important thing is that the state should formulate rules to make mining efficient, so that death related accidents are minimized so that it can generate maximum benefit to the economy. On the other hand, minerals are non-renewable and therefore, the government should try to focus on other ways of generating income once the minerals are exhausted in the future.

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