Territory of Colorado (California)

Territory of Colorado (California) was an 1859-60 attempt by Californios and pro-slavery Southerners to separate the southern counties of California into a separate Territory of the United States.

Californios (dissatisfied with inequitable taxes and land laws) and pro-slavery Southerners in the lightly populated “Cow Counties” of Southern California attempted three times in the 1850s to achieve a separate statehood or territorial status separate from Northern California. The last attempt, the Pico Act of 1859, was passed by the California State Legislature, and signed by the State governor John B. Weller. It was approved overwhelmingly by nearly 75% of voters in the proposed Territory of Colorado. This territory was to include all the counties up to the then much larger Tulare County (that included what is now Kings County and most of Kern, and part of Inyo Counties) and San Luis Obispo County. The proposal was sent to Washington, D.C. with a strong advocate in Senator Milton Latham. However the secession crisis following the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 led to the proposal never coming to a vote.

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