The Colorado River is a significant river in the American southwest and northern Mexico. It flows for 1450 miles from the Rocky Mountains to the Sonoran Desert, where it evaporates. Until 1998, the Colorado River reached the Sea of Cortez, but it is now possible that it will dry up along the way due to the fact that it is one of the most controlled rivers in the world and that its water is used as a source for millions of people and industry. The Colorado River is thought to be at least 5 million years old, with Paleo Indians settling along its banks around 12,000 years ago. The watershed of the Colorado River (the area of land drained by the river) is approximately 246,000 square miles in size.
This river was known by several names before being named the Colorado River, including Xakxwet, Aha Kwahwat, Ha Tay G’am Sil Gsvgov, Hakhwata, Rio del Tizon, and Rio Colorado.
Francisco de Ulloa was the first recorded explorer to reach the Colorado River in 1536.
The arrival of Europeans in the 1600s brought about significant changes in the way of life of the Native Americans who relied on the Colorado River. Their water rights were ignored in the 1800s and 1900s, and today there are only ten tribes with water rights or fighting for water rights on the Colorado River.
In 1540, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado embarked on an expedition in search of a fabled gold city. Some of his men were led to the Colorado River as part of this expedition. Melchior Diaz named the river Rio del Tizon, which remained in use until nearly 200 years later, when it was renamed the Red Colorado. The Spanish word for red is Colorado.
The first thorough exploration of the Colorado River did not take place until the 1870s. This expedition was led by John Wesley Powell.
Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, Baja California, and Sonora are all states where the Colorado River flows.
The Colorado River also receives water from tributaries in Wyoming and New Mexico.
The Fraser River, Blue River, Eagle River, Roaring Fork River, Gunnison River, Dolores River, San Juan River, Little Colorado River, Bill Williams River, Gila River, Green River, Dirty Devil River, Escalante River, Kanab River, and Virgin River are the major tributaries of the Colorado River.
Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Moab, Page, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City, Yuma, and San Luis Rio Colorado are among the major cities through which the Colorado River flows.
The Colorado River forms part of the border between the United States and Mexico.
Wildlife species found along the Colorado River include elk, bobcat, deer, mountain lions and sheep, coyote, and a wide variety of birds.
The Colorado River was red until 1963. The red silt was removed during the construction of the Hoover Dam, and the water no longer had a red color.
The Colorado River is home to 11 national parks.
The Grand Canyon, Westwater Canyon, and Cataract Canyon are among the most well-known canyons of the Colorado River.
Along the Colorado River, there are several dams, including the famous Hoover Dam, which was built in 1935.