Named for Bent's Fort (now in Otero County), Bent County (1874) is a nearly perfect rectangle of rolling, open land. Thanks to the Arkansas River and the huge John Martin Reservoir (1948), irrigated farming is the mainstay, with some ranching and oil production. Recent restorations have resurrected Boggsville, the pioneer settlement and original county seat. A dozen other towns have disappeared, leaving Las Animas as the only sizable town. The 1990 population of about 5,000 is the lowest since 1910 in this parched and sparsely settled agricultural county.
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