Colorado ( (listen), other variants) is a state of the Western United States encompassing most of the southern Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains. It is the 8th most extensive and 21st most populous U.S. state. The estimated population of Colorado was 5,695,564 on July 1, 2018, an increase of 13.25% since the 2010 United States Census.
The state was named for the Colorado River, which early Spanish explorers named the Río Colorado for the ruddy silt the river carried from the mountains. The Territory of Colorado was organized on February 28, 1861, and on August 1, 1876, U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed Proclamation 230 admitting Colorado to the Union as the 38th state. Colorado is nicknamed the "Centennial State" because it became a state one century after the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence.
Colorado is bordered by Wyoming to the north, Nebraska to the northeast, Kansas to the east, Oklahoma to the southeast, New Mexico to the south, Utah to the west, and touches Arizona to the southwest at the Four Corners. Colorado is noted for its vivid landscape of mountains, forests, high plains, mesas, canyons, plateaus, rivers and desert lands. Colorado is part of the western and southwestern United States, and is one of the Mountain States.
Denver is the capital and most populous city of Colorado. Residents of the state are known as Coloradans, although the antiquated term "Coloradoan" is occasionally used.
While Colorado has a strong western identity, it tends to be more socially liberal than neighboring states. Same-sex marriage in Colorado has been legal since 2014, and it was the first state in the U.S. to legalize recreational cannabis, and one of the first jurisdictions on Earth to do so by popular referendum. The state is known for its progressive views on abortion and assisted suicide; Coloradans rejected a 2008 referendum that would have criminalized abortion, and approved a measure in 2016 that legalized assisted suicide in the state, and remains one of six states (along with the District of Columbia) to have legalized assisted suicide. Colorado became the first U.S. state to elect an openly gay governor, Jared Polis, in the 2018 gubernatorial election.