Colorado Emigration and Immigration
Since the 1840s, when the first Mexican land grants were made in southeastern Colorado, there has been a Hispanic population in the state. Settlers from the older Spanish colonies of New Mexico were in the San Luis Valley as early as 1851.
Most pre-statehood settlers of Colorado began arriving at the time of the gold rush of 1858. They came from the northeastern and midwestern states, especially New York, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Some came from the New Mexico Territory, and a few settlers came from the southern states, the Pacific Coast, and from other countries including England, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Scotland, and Wales. Latter-day Saint settlements were made in the San Luis Valley in the 1870s and 1880s.
By 1910 residents not born in Colorado came primarily from Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, and Nebraska. About 16 percent of the 1910 population was from overseas, chiefly from Germany, Italy, England, Russia, Sweden, and Austria. Many of those from Russia were actually of German origin. Foreign immigration declined after 1910 except for a major immigration from Mexico in the 1920s and 1930s.
The Plains Indians of Colorado, including the Arapaho, the Cheyenne, the Kiowa, and the Comanche, had largely been removed to Indian Territory in Oklahoma by 1870. The Ute Indians living in western Colorado did not give up their lands to white settlement until after 1880, when most of them were moved to reservations in Utah.
There is no predominant port of immigration for Colorado's foreign population, although many came through New York and other east coast ports. More detailed information on immigration sources is in the
A helpful published source on immigration and ethnic groups in Colorado is Colin B. Goodykoontz, The People of Colorado, in:
Hafen, LeRoy Revised Edition. Colorado and Its People: A Narrative and Topical History of the Centennial State. Volume 2, pp. 77-120. New York, NY: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1948. (FHL book 978.8 H2h; film 1000143.)
Records of a few ethnic groups, such as Blacks, Germans, and Jews, are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under COLORADO - MINORITIES. Some records of American Indians are listed under the same heading and under COLORADO - NATIVE RACES. Other American Indian records are listed in the Subject Search of the Family History Library Catalog under the name of the tribe.