Otero County History
In ancient times this part of Southeastern Colorado was under water. In 1984 my family was in La Junta and found clam shells prints in linestone rock formations.
The First Americans to live in this area are the plains tribes that make up what we know as Native Americans.The History of the Comanche Part 2 give the history of this area including Bent's Fort and Santa Fe Trail. It mentions the Arkansas River.
The area that makes up this part of Southeastern Colorado was part of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1806 Stephen Long explored here in 1819-1820. John Fremeont explored in 1842-1843 and Zebulon Pike in 1860. All of these men was U.S. Army officers. This land was part of Mexico in 1848 and Texas land in 1850. The land made up what is now Otero County and neighboring counties.
Greenwood County was formed in 1870 and abolished and Bent County was created.
In 1889, Otero, Cheyenne, Kiowa and Powers was created mostly from Bent County and a small portion of Elbert County. Crowley County was formed in 1911 from Bent and Otero Counties.
The Santa Fe Trail runs through this portion of Colorado. Bent's Old Fort is located in Otero County.
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©Joyce Gregory 1998