The History of Mexico and Colorado

El Chubbys

The History of Mexico and ColoradoThanks to the history of Mexico and Colorado, El Chubby’s sees a strong cultural influence here in Denver and across our state. From the names of our cities and towns, to art and architecture, and of course, the delicious authentic Mexican food you can find at our Aurora location.

According to a Voyages Photos article, the land of Colorado used to belong to Spain. In 1821, when Mexico got its independence from Spain, it also got ownership of western and southern Colorado. In fact, in an attempt to keep control over that vast frontier, the Mexican government gave large amounts of land to Mexican citizens if they would live and create colonies in the San Luis Valley and other border areas. Not too many people were willing to move there, however.

Mexican-American War

Reported in a History Colorado article, after the two-year Mexican-American War in 1848 ended, Mexico was forced to give those territories including Colorado, to the United States. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo gave nearly 950,000 square miles, which was about half of its territory, to the United States. The U.S. also gave Mexico $15 million to pay for damages caused by the war.

This Mexican territory given to the United States is now the American Southwest. This Mexican land became Colorado, New Mexico, California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.

Land Grants

The U.S. government recognized the original Mexican land grants, and Spanish and Mexican people began to settle in the San Luis Valley during the 1850s. Almost 80,000 Mexican citizens lived in this area, and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided for their protection. But Congress has some problems with ratifying some parts of the treaty that guaranteed the property and civil rights of former Mexican citizens.

The History Colorado report explains how traditional land sharing was the biggest issue. Many Mexicans living were living in the areas of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado on communal land grants given to them by Spain, Mexico, or the governor of New Mexico. These grants included individual plots of land for families, but it also gave them communal grazing, hunting, and gathering lands that they all shared. Spanish and Mexican land law recognized these communal uses, but American land law did not.

Many of these land grants were broken up in the late nineteenth century. Their communal lands were lost. This often impoverished the communities and families that depended on them.

In the 1960s and 1970s, activists in New Mexico and southern Colorado fought for access to these communal lands and to restore the land grants. In 2002, they got back some of those communal lands in the San Luis Valley.

Gold Rush

The article also describes how gold was found in 1858 by a group of prospectors led by William Green Russell in what is now Cherry Creek. Soon after, mining camps began to spring up in the Denver area. When word got out about the gold prospectors made their way to Colorado.

By 1859 the Colorado gold rush was booming. Another gold strike at Clear Creek made Central City a boomtown. Fairplay, Georgetown, Gold Hill, and Breckenridge also soon grew into mining camps. But after about three years from when it began, the gold rush was over and many miners left Colorado.

Colorado Statehood

At the start of the gold rush, most of the eastern section of Colorado was a part of the Kansas Territory. Congress created the Colorado Territory in 1861. Denver became the permanent capital in 1867. Colorado became the 38th state to join the Union on August 1, 1876.

The history of Mexico and Colorado shows how the Mexican culture contributed to our state with the Mexican settlers and their way of life. Come celebrate that heritage at El Chubby’s in Aurora where we serve real Mexican cuisine. One of our specialties is carne asada, which is thin strips of steak grilled to perfection with jalapeños, onions, and tomatoes. It’s really delicious.

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