Jefferson Territory


JEFFERSON TERRITORY was the region roughly comprising the present state of Colorado. It was established as a territory by its inhabitants in 1859 but not recognized by Congress as an official territory.

Settlers in the northwest part of the Kansas Territory, dissatisfied at being so far from the seat of government, held conventions in Denver in 1859 to organize their own independent territory. A constitution ratified on Oct. 24, 1859, created the “Territory of Jefferson,” an area larger than present-day Colorado, extending from 37° to 43° north latitude and from 102° to 110° west longitude. A provisional government was formed, and an elected legislature met for two sessions, but Congress did not recognize the new government because it was concentrating on the controversy over slavery. When Congress recognized the new territory in 1861, it was given the name Colorado.

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