Montezuma County, Colorado

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Montezuma County is the southwesternmost of the 64 counties of the State of Colorado of the United States. The county population was 23,830 at U.S. Census 2000.[1] The county seat is Cortez.

Mesa Verde National Park, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, Yucca House National Monument, and Hovenweep National Monument preserve hundreds of ancient AmerIndian structures, including the famous cliff-dwellings, found in the county. Montezuma County is also home to most of the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation, home of the Weeminuche Band of the Ute Nation, known as the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, with its headquarters at Towaoc.

Contents

History

Montezuma County has been settled since approximately AD 600, and had an estimated population of approximately 100,000, four times its current population, in the 12th century. However, a series of events caused virtually all permanent settlements to be abandoned between 1200 and 1300, and the area was contested between nomadic Ute and Navajo bands until resettlement occurred in the 1870s. Montezuma County was created out of the western portion of La Plata County by the Colorado Legislature in April, 1889. It was named in honor of a famous chief of the Aztec Indians in Mexico, Moctezuma II. The building ruins in Mesa Verde National Park were thought to be of Aztec origin at the time.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,040 square miles (5,284 km²), of which 2,037 square miles (5,275 km²) is land and 3 square miles (9 km²) (0.16%) is water.

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