Native Americans and original settlers can take the credit for giving names to most of the states in the country. It's easy to tell why certain states were given their names, but others are more of a mystery. And some states almost wound up with entirely different names than what we know them to be today.

Colorado is one of those places.

Before being called Colorado, the state was almost known as Idaho. Some people say that Idaho was a Kiowa word meaning "enemy" but even after hundreds of years, historians and linguists haven't been able to confirm that for a fact.

In 1860, congress began discussing names for the new places popping up in the west, citing "difficulty about the selection of a name for Pike’s Peak Territory." Members of the senate quickly turned down calling the new territory "Jefferson" claiming that there cannot be states enough to name after all the presidents. Other names that were presented to the committee included ‘Tampa,’ meaning bear; ‘‘Nemara;’ ‘Colorado;’ ‘San Juan;’ ‘Lula,’ which is interpreted as mountain fairy; ‘Weapollah;’ and  ‘Arapahoe,’ in honor of the Indian tribe inhabiting the Pike’s Peak region. 'Tahosa,’ was also an option, which means dwellers on the mountain tops.

Colorado joined the Union in 1876. According to, it was after this that its name was officially chosen.

Our home state was likely named after the river which bears the same name. The ironic part of that though, is that only tributaries of the Colorado River flow through the Centennial State. Similar theories claim that Colorado's name is derived from the Spanish word meaning "rad" or "ruddy," which described the color of the stream in various places or the red earth found in regions of the state.

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In 1890 Idaho ended up achieving its own statehood and got to use the name. Some speculate that it translates to "gem of the mountains," which would make sense given the territory was settled by Americans for mining purposes.

Idaho Springs eventually became a town in Colorado too, but that was not its first name.

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