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Colorado Counties
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Colorado Counties

Colorado currently has sixty-four counties. In February 1866, the first new county, Las Animas, was created. Alamosa was created in 1913, and in 2001, Broomfield was recognized as a city-county, bringing a total of 64 counties.

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Arapahoe County, Colorado

Arapahoe County Education, Geography, and HistoryArapahoe County, Colorado Courthouse

Arapahoe County is one of the 64 counties in the state of Colorado. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 572,003, making it the third-most populous county in Colorado. The county seat is Littleton, and the most populous city is Aurora. Arapahoe County was created on November 1, 1861. The county is named for the Arapaho Native American tribe who once lived in the region.

Arapahoe County is part of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area. Arapahoe County calls itself "Colorado's First County" since its origins predate the Pike's Peak Gold Rush.

Etymology - Origin of Arapahoe County Name

Arapahoe County is named for its predecessor county, Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory, which in turn was named for the Arapaho Native American tribe.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Arapahoe County History

The county was created as one of the 17 original counties of the Territory of Colorado. Renamed South Arapahoe County for five months from  November 15,1902  to April 11, 1903.

Arapahoe County was named for the Arapaho Indians, one of the larger tribes of plains Indians, who along with the Cheyenne occupied Arapahoe County east of the foothills running into what is now western Kansas. Arapahoe County is Colorado's first county, since almost half of the entire area now Colorado was Arapahoe County of the Kansas territory. In 1861, when Kansas was made a state, Colorado was made a territory with Arapahoe County as one of the 17 original counties.

The original Arapahoe County was 30 miles wide and extended from Sheridan Boulevard, the present western boundary of Denver, Adams and Arapahoe counties to the Kansas border. This odd shape was due to the practice of giving counties with large amounts of plains territory at least some of the foothill territory where there was water for mining and irrigation. Even though Arapahoe County did not reach the foothills, the streams running from the mountains supplied water. As settlers came in and took up lands on the eastern portions of the state, new counties were created and cut down to their present size.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 805 square miles (2,086 km2), of which, 803 square miles (2,080 km2) of it is land and 2 square miles (6 km2) of it (0.28%) is water. The county measures 72 miles (116 kilometers) east to west and 4 to 12 miles (6 to 19 kilometers) south to north.

Arapahoe county is located in northeast Colorado. The County spans 850 square miles and is a land of differences. The western part of the county is mostly urban with residential, retail, office and industrial areas, while the eastern portion is relatively rural. Arapahoe County has one of the lowest mill levies in the Front Range. Two portions of Arapahoe County remain entirely surrounded by the City and County of Denver. The City of Glendale occupies one portion.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Adams County
  • Northeast: Washington County
  • Southeast: Lincoln County; Elbert County
  • Southwest: Douglas County
  • West: Jefferson County
  • Northwest: Denver city & county


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