Cortez, Colorado

Encyclopedia Article


A city in southern Colorado located along the Dolores River. This city was named after the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, who conquered the Aztecs in Mexico. Many places in this area, including Montezuma Valley, Montezuma County, and Cortez itself, are named after people associated with the Aztecs, because the region was originally thought to have been inhabited by the Aztecs rather than the Ancestral Puebloans.

This city is the seat of Montezuma County. The modern city was founded in 1886 by the Montezuma Valley Company, who built a canal running from the Dolores River into the town to provide water for irrigation and livestock. Prior to modern settlement this area was inhabited by the Ancestral Puebloans, Ute, Arapaho, and the Navajo.

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"Cortez, Colorado, July 22, 2012" by Doug Kerr is licensed under CC BY-SA.

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