In Chapter 4 of "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" by Dee Brown, why did whites begin settling in Colorado in large numbers?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Pike's Peak Gold Rush of 1858 was the catalyst that first brought whites to Colorado in large numbers.  White miners "by the thousands (came) to dig yellow metal out of the Indians' earth".  When they first began to arrive, the miners "built little wooden villages everywhere, and in 1859 they built a big village which they called Denver City".  Little Raven, an Arapahoe chief, visited Denver and befriended the miners.  His hope was that "after they found all the yellow metal they needed", the miners would be on their way.

Unfortunately, the miners did not leave.  Not only did they stay on in Colorado, but "thousands more of them came" as well.  Soon the Platte Valley, which according to a treaty signed in 1851 was Indian land, was filled "with settlers staking out ranches and land claims on territory assigned by the Laramie treaty to Southern Cheyennes, and Arapahos".  Only ten years after the signing of that treaty, the "Great Council in Washington created the Territory of Colorado...and politicians began maneuvering for a land cession from the Indians" (Chapter 4).

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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

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