After researching lots into the geography of Colorado, I used to be somewhat bit shocked to seek out out that there have been questions on the market concerning its standing as a Midwest state.
Initially, I assumed you’d need to be severely confused to even make that declare however then I began wanting into the geographic breakdowns and issues are somewhat bit extra fascinating than I assumed.
On this article, I’ll check out the considerably surprising query of whether or not or not Colorado might belong within the Midwest?
Is Colorado within the Midwest?
No, in keeping with the US census, Colorado shouldn’t be thought of to be a part of the Midwest.
America Census Bureau defines the Midwest as comprising 12 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Nevertheless, some elements of Colorado do share sturdy similarities with some states within the Midwest and I’ll speak about a few of these beneath.
What precisely is the Midwest?
The Midwest might be complicated to an outsider as a result of they might suppose it signifies a geographical location within the “center of the west” which Colorado definitely might match into.
However that’s not how its historically outlined.
In keeping with the US Census Bureau, the Midwest might be damaged down into two separate areas.
There may be the East North Central which has states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. That is what I imagine most individuals most likely consider once they hear the phrase “Midwest.”
However in addition they have a separate part referred to as the West North Central which has all the remaining states comparable to Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
You’ll discover that there is no such thing as a Colorado however there’s a Kansas.
And why is that vital? I’ll present you in a second.
While you first take into consideration Colorado the picture that conjures up in your head might be large Rocky Mountains, mining cities, gushing streams, and alpine lakes.
However that’s solely a part of the state.
The japanese portion of Colorado is a part of the Nice Plains, similar to Kansas. It’s made up of wide-open areas, prairies, and agricultural land. With out the Entrance Vary Mountains in view, you could possibly simply mistake some areas of Colorado for Kansas.
Simply check out the map beneath and see how a lot of the state is a part of the Nice Plains, which can also be made up of 4 different Midwest states.
Much more particularly, there may be overlap within the excessive plains area between Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska amongst different states.
However the connection goes deeper than simply related topographical or geographical areas.
A lot of this japanese area of Colorado was a part of Kansas Territory again within the mid-1800s.
The Kansas Territory was established in 1854 because of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which allowed settlers within the territory to determine whether or not to allow or prohibit slavery by common sovereignty.
As a part of the Kansas Territory, the area that may change into Colorado was topic to Kansas’ territorial authorities.
Finally, in 1859, “Pikes Peakers” based the city of Denver alongside the banks of the South Platte River, which was truly named after Kansas Governor James W. Denver.
The invention of gold within the area in the course of the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush accelerated migration, attracting 1000’s of fortune-seekers to the realm. Many of those settlers got here from Kansas and Nebraska, and their connections to those territories influenced Colorado’s early improvement.
Finally, the inflow of individuals and the necessity for native governance prompted the creation of a brand new territory.
On February 28, 1861, the US Congress created the Territory of Colorado by carving it out of elements of the Kansas, Nebraska (one other Midwest state), New Mexico, and Utah Territories.
With the formation of the Colorado Territory, the area gained its personal distinct political and administrative identification, separate from Kansas and finally Colorado was admitted to the Union because the thirty eighth state on August 1, 1876.
All of that’s to say that the historical past of Colorado is intertwined politically with states from the Midwest and a big portion of the state shares the identical geographic area as a number of Midwestern states. So there’s a Midwest connection.
So what’s Colorado?
With all of that stated, Colorado is certainly extra of a mountain west state, for my part. Its defining function — the Rocky Mountains — give it a sure really feel that overshadows all the state’s Midwestern similarities.
The state’s abundance of outside leisure alternatives, comparable to excessive elevation climbing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and mountain climbing, supply experiences vastly completely different from a lot of the Midwest and extra consistent with what you’ll discover north, west, and south of the state.
Additionally, the spirit of the Wild West and the frontier days nonetheless resonates all through the state, reflecting the legacy of early pioneers, Gold Rush miners, and settlers. You will get a way of this historical past in lots of locations just like the Buffalo Invoice Museum, one of many many gold mine excursions, or by popping into any of the mining museums.
There’s additionally a Hispanic and Native American presence present in Colorado (significantly within the southern a part of the state the place you may see it within the traditions, delicacies, structure, and many others.). That’s extra consistent with what you’d discover in Southwest states comparable to New Mexico and Arizona and even West Texas.
Some declare that there’s nonetheless an affect of Midwest tradition within the state, which appears onerous to disclaim within the japanese portion of the state. And whereas there was as soon as an inflow of individuals from the Midwest into Colorado, most transplants coming into Colorado immediately come from California, Texas, and Arizona, which might be why cities like Denver have such a melting pot really feel to them.
It’s value noting that Colorado is type of like Texas in that it’s an intersection of very completely different areas which makes pinning it down to at least one class a tough process. Additionally, not everybody agrees on the definition of “Midwest” which additional complicates the query.
Maybe a greater mind-set about Colorado is that it’s primarily a mountain west state with noticeable similarities with the Southwest, Midwest, and Inter-mountain West.
Colorado is formally excluded from the Midwest, and a few of its main distinguishing traits deviate from the standard options related to Midwestern states.
Nonetheless, Colorado does have sure connections to some states labeled as a part of the Midwest, resulting in comprehensible inquiries about its geographic identification.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founding father of UponArriving.com and creator of the bank card app, WalletFlo. He’s a former lawyer turned full-time bank card rewards/journey professional and has earned and redeemed tens of millions of miles to journey the globe. Since 2014, his content material has been featured in main publications comparable to Nationwide Geographic, Smithsonian Journal, Forbes, CNBC, US Information, and Enterprise Insider. Discover his full bio right here.