Bent County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,499. The county seat and only incorporated municipality is Las Animas. The county is named in honor of frontier trader William Bent.
As Colorado experienced population growth following the American Civil War, government had to be closer to the people for commerce and justice to be better served in growing communities. Territorial Bent County was created in February 1870, followed by Greenwood County the following month. The June 1, 1870, Federal Census was several months away and there were plans to apply for statehood. On February 2, 1874, Grand County and Elbert County were formed. On February 6, 1874, Greenwood County was dissolved and divided between Bent and Elbert counties. At the time of this annexation, Bent County included a large portion of southeastern Colorado. In 1889, Bent County acquired its current borders when it was partitioned to create Cheyenne, Lincoln, Kiowa, Otero, and Prowers counties.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,541 square miles (3,990 km²), of which 1,513 square miles (3,920 km²) is land and 28 square miles (73 km²) (1.8%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,998 people, 2,003 households, and 1,388 families residing in the county. The population density was 4 people per square mile (2/km²). There were 2,366 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 79.53% White, 3.65% Black or African American, 2.23% Native American, 0.57% Asian, 10.25% from other races, and 3.77% from two or more races. 30.24% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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