The first documented discovery of gold in Colorado was in 1858, when a group of prospectors found gold near present-day Denver. This discovery led to the Pike's Peak Gold Rush and a population boom in the area.
Bent County, located in southeastern Colorado, has a rich and distinctive history that dates back thousands of years. The region was originally home to various Native American tribes, including the Plains Indians such as the Comanche and Kiowa. Their presence in the area can be traced back to archaeological sites that have revealed evidence of their settlements and hunting grounds.

In the early 19th century, Bent County played a significant role in the westward expansion of the United States. It was named after Charles Bent, a trader and statesman who established Bent's Fort in 1833 as a trading post along the Santa Fe Trail. The fort quickly became a vital hub for fur trade and a meeting point for trappers, traders, and Native American tribes.

During the mid-1800s, the area experienced the gold rush, which brought an influx of miners seeking their fortunes. This led to the establishment of several mining towns in Bent County, such as Caddoa and Timpas, as well as the growth of agriculture and ranching in the region.

Throughout its history, Bent County has also been a significant center for transportation and infrastructure development. The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway reached the county in the late 19th century, opening up new opportunities for trade and economic growth. Highways like US Route 50 and US Route 287 now pass through the area, connecting it to neighboring counties and the rest of the state.

Today, Bent County continues to preserve its cultural heritage and historical landmarks, including Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site. Its unique blend of Native American, frontier, and agricultural influences serve as a testament to its storied past and contribute to the county's identity.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Bent County, Colorado.

  • 1835 - Bent County is established as part of the Mexican Territory of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico.
  • 1848 - As a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Bent County becomes part of the United States, forming part of the New Mexico Territory.
  • 1861 - Bent County is included in the Territory of Colorado, which is separated from the New Mexico Territory.
  • 1870 - The county seat is moved from Boggsville to Las Animas.
  • 1889 - The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad is completed, providing rail service to Bent County.
  • 1909 - The county suffers a severe drought, leading to a decline in agriculture and economic hardship.
  • 1952 - The John Martin Reservoir is completed, providing a much-needed water supply for irrigation and recreation.
  • 1987 - The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site is established in remembrance of the tragic event that occurred in 1864.
  • 2010 - The population of Bent County is 6,499, a significant decline from its peak in the early 20th century.