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Flag of City of Denver, Colorado
Official seal of City of Denver, Colorado
Location of Denver in Colorado
Location of Denver in Colorado
Location of Colorado in the United States
Location of Colorado in the United States
Country United States
State Colorado
City-County Denver (coextensive)
Founded November 22 1858
Incorporated November 7 1861
 • Type Strong Mayor/Weak Council
 • Mayor Michael Hancock (D)
 • City 154.9 sq mi (401 km2)
 • Land 153.3 sq mi (397 km2)
 • Water 1.6 sq mi (4 km2)  1.03%
 • Metro
8,414.4 sq mi (21,793 km2)
5,280 ft (1,610 m)
 • City 566,974
 • Density 3,642/sq mi (1,406/km2)
 • Metro
 • Metro density 286/sq mi (110/km2)

Denver is the capital and largest city in the U.S. state of Colorado. It is located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains on the South Platte River, and was founded in 1858. A nickname for Denver is The Mile High City, because Denver is very high above sea level. It is at least 5,280 feet (or 1,609 meters) above sea level at a point in the city's state capitol building. The dome at the top of the capitol building is covered in gold.[1]

Former Kansas Territorial Governor James W. Denver visited his namesake city in 1875 and in 1882.
Panorama print of Denver, 1898
Colorado State Capitol

Denver City was founded in November 1858 during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush as a mining town in western Kansas Territory.[2] That summer, a group of gold prospectors from Lawrence, Kansas, started a settlement on the banks of the South Platte River. They called it Montana City. This was the first settlement in what was later to become the city of Denver. The settlement faded quickly. By the summer of 1859 it was abandoned in favor of Auraria (named after the gold mining town of Auraria, Georgia), and St. Charles City.

The "Broncho Buster", a variation of Frederic Remington's "Bronco Buster" western sculpture at the Denver capitol grounds, a gift from J.K. Mullen in 1920

The Colorado Territory was created on February 28, 1861,[3] Arapahoe County was formed on November 1, 1861,[3] and Denver City was incorporated on November 7, 1861.[4] Denver City served as the Arapahoe County Seat from 1861 until consolidation in 1902.[5] In 1867, Denver City became the Territorial Capital. With its new-found importance, Denver City shortened its name to just Denver.[5] On August 1, 1876, Colorado was admitted to the Union.

Sports teams in Denver

Denver is the home of the Denver Broncos football team, the Denver Nuggets basketball team, the Colorado Rockies baseball team, and the Colorado Avalanche hockey team.


  1. "Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver". Retrieved June 23, 2010.
  2. "Denver: The Rocky Mountain metropolis time line". The City and County of Denver. January 1, 2006. Retrieved August 30, 2006.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "State Government History". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. April 18, 2001. Retrieved November 28, 2006.
  4. "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. December 1, 2004. Retrieved November 28, 2006.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Thomas J. Noel. "Denver History: The Golden Gamble". City and County of Denver. Retrieved April 3, 2007.