New Mexico

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New Mexico
Capital Santa Fe
Nickname The Land of Enchantment
Official Language English, Spanish
Governor Susana Martinez, R
Senator Jeff Bingaman, D
(202) 224-5521
Senator Tom Udall, D
(202) 224-6621
Ratification of Constitution/or statehood January 6, 1912 (47th)
Flag of New Mexico Motto: Crescit eundo (It grows as it goes)

New Mexico became 47th state to join the union on January 6, 1912. It is the fifth largest of the United States, with a total land area of 121,412 square miles.[1] New Mexico has the largest Hispanic population, and second largest Native American population, percentage-wise, of any US State. The State has a bold history and colorful culture, the official state question is "red or green?" in reference to the State's unique chile pepper. Politically the State is very much as Independent swing state that usually votes for incumbents and, much like West Texas, the state also leans towards Libertarian political stances especially in Central and Western New Mexico. The capital of the state is Santa Fe, and its largest city is Albuquerque.

Despite popular opinion, New Mexico's name originates from long before it was a territory of Mexico or the United States. New Mexico was named by Spanish explorers who mistook the advanced Pueblo natives as being related to the Mexica (Aztecs). The full name of the colony, as well as the Mexican and American territories, was Santa Fe de Nuevo México (Holy Faith of New Mexico).

The state is bordered by Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Oklahoma and Texas. It also borders Mexico.

The current governor of New Mexico is conservative Republican Susana Martinez.


Native Americans

The Native American groups of New Mexico are the Pueblo, and the Athabaskan groups of the Apache and Navajo. The Navajo Nation also is present in Arizona and Utah. Prior to these modern peoples, the current area of New Mexico was the home of the Mogollon, Hohokam, and the ancestors to the modern Pueblo peoples called the Ancient Pueblo, commonly known as the Anasazi.

Ancient Pueblo

The Ancient Puebloans (commonly known by the Navajo name Anasazi), were great builders that built monolithic cities throughout the American Southwest, they were primarily centered around the current area of New Mexico. Some of the monolithic cities have stood the test of time, such as Sky City at the Acoma Pueblo and the ancient structures at Taos Pueblo; both of these Pueblos are widely believed to be longest continuously inhabited places in the United States. Some of their cities have long been abandoned, such as the ruins at Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. The government of the Pueblos was extremely similar to the Greek city-states, and they continue to run as city-states.

Santa Fe de Nuevo México (1598-1912)

The Spanish colony of Santa Fe de Nuevo México was started by Juan de Oñate in 1598, who initially believed that, similar to the Aztecs, the town dwelling Pueblo natives to be rich in Gold. He attempted to make the colony into a vice-royalty, but was unable to convince the leaders back in Europe. Instead the Spanish leadership from Europe made increasingly brutal laws against the Spanish colonists and the Pueblo natives. They banned Pueblo religious practices, and punished poorer colonists and Pueblos with forced labor and taxes.

Pueblo Revolt (1680)

The Pueblo first attempted to request more religious liberty, as the Pueblo religion was largely peaceful in nature, but Pueblo leaders that attempted the request were publicly executed. Popé, a Pueblo man from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo near Santa Fe, became a charismatic leader of the Pueblo groups. He lead the Pueblos in a unified revolt against the Spanish, this was the first successful revolt of Americans against oppressive European rule.[2] The Pueblos allowed the Spanish colonists to flee to El Paso.

Return of the colonists (1692)

The Pueblo continued to use and maintain the facilities in Santa Fe, the Palace of the Governors became a small place of government for the Pueblos, but since the Pueblos continued to be city-states nothing more came of it. The Pueblo also converted numerous Catholic churches into Pueblo kivas. Diego de Vargas lead the colonists back to New Mexico in 1692, in what was called the Bloodless Reconquest. The Spanish gave clemency to the Pueblos, and the Pueblo people agreed to peace under the agreement of greater representation and better religious freedoms. The Pueblo and Spanish still had several contentions, but relations between them was much better this time around, especially since forced labor and taxes were no longer enforced. They would often work together to stave off attacks from the Apache, Navajo, and Comanche. Eventually peace was also made with the Apache, Navajo, and Comanche.

Mexican territory (1821)

Mexico declared independence in 1821. Mexico's policies worsened relations with the Native Americans, and again caused the resurgence in raids upon Spanish and Pueblo towns. This was the beginning of the Wild West, which lasted through the Mexican and American territorial phases, New Mexico was a major part of the Wild West supplying major Western icons such as the cowboy, the Sheriff, Billy the Kid, old Spanish town squares, and the settings of deserts, prairies, and mountains. Troubles from the neighbors to the east also became an issue, Texas declared its own Independence from Mexico, and attempted to annex everything east of the Rio Grande. All the while, Mexico was taking land from the original settlers of New Mexico as well as American land-grantees.

American territory (1848)

The Mexican-American war resulted in New Mexico becoming an American territory, mostly due to the promise of the American government again repairing relations with the Apache, Navajo, and Comanche. U.S. Presidents Zachary Taylor and Abraham Lincoln both called for the immediate statehood of New Mexico, in order to side-step the impending Civil War, since New Mexico's law had already prohibited slavery since the Pueblo Revolt. Unfortunately, statehood did not come to New Mexico until 1912. The New Mexico Campaign during the Civil War was an important battlefield, the Confederacy attempted to capture Albuquerque but was only temporarily successful. This instead bolstered the American soldiers, consisting mostly of descendants of New Mexican Spanish and Pueblo, to chase the Texan Confederate soldiers to the largest Civil War battle in the American West at Glorieta Pass.

The State of New Mexico (1912)

New Mexico became the 47th State of the Union in 1912. The Daughters of the American Revolution pushed for a State flag in 1920, and that call was answered in 1925 by Dr. Harry P. Mera. The flag consists of the Zia Pueblo sun symbol in Spanish red on a field of Spanish yellow, this design has won the North American Vexillological Association's best flag design for U.S. states, territories, or Canadian provinces numerous times.

I salute the flag of the state of New Mexico, the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures.
from the New Mexico Statutes and Court Rules, Section 12-3-3, to be said after the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

During World War II, New Mexico played a pivotal role as not only the namesake of the New Mexico-class battleship, but also as the birthplace of the Navajo Code Talkers who created the only uncracked code of WWII which saved countless lives in the Pacific Theatre, and more importantly as the primary place of research and technology at Los Alamos which housed some of the smartest men in the country including Albert Einstein, and the White Sands Military Testing Facility for testing the Nuclear bomb.

New Mexico has continued to be at the forefront of science, including Sandia Labs and the Los Alamos Laboratories. Technology by Ed Roberts' MITS, with their Altair computer kits, attracted both Paul Allen and Bill Gates to start Microsoft in Albuquerque; Intel has continued this trend by having a fabricating facility in Rio Rancho, near Albuquerque, where they build CPUs. Innovate ABQ, a free-market concept in Albuquerque, is currently under development as a "start-up for start-ups" that is set to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, in order to continue New Mexico's scientific and technological progress.

Elected Officials




The total population of 2,085,572 includes a high number of peoples of Hispanic origin and of Native American (Indian) descent.[3] The most populous group of Hispanic origin peoples are the descendants of the original settlers, those prior to the 1848 American territorial phase, they are referred to as Nuevomexicanos or Hispanos. The largest groups of Native American descent are the Pueblo, Navajo, and Apache.

The cities with the largest populations are:



The top five micropolitan areas, by population, are:

Other non-metropolitan population centers are; Silver City, Las Vegas, Taos, Grants, Deming, Ruidoso, Los Alamos, and Tucumcari.


New Mexico is often falsely assumed to be a bilingual state, however, it is officially known as an English Plus state. American English is considered the de-facto language, with New Mexican English being the dominant dialect. Citizens are encouraged to be multi-lingual, and/or to interact and familiarize themselves with other languages. According to the "English Plus Declaration" the reasoning was for the "economic and cultural benefit of our state and the nation." It could also be surmised that is was also for the preservation of New Mexican Spanish and the Native American languages of Jemez, Jicarilla, Keresan, Mescalero-Chiricahua, Navajo, Picuris, Southern, Tiwa, Taos, Tewa, and Zuni; as the resolution was urged by the New Mexico State Task Force on Modern and Classical Languages.

There was initially a movement to push for the state declaration of English as the official language of the state. This, instead, produced a counter-trend based on the "position of English in the United States needs no official legislation to support it." The state also recognized "the national interest since it promotes the concept that all members of our society have full access to opportunities to effectively learn English plus develop proficiency in a second or multiple languages." This decision proved beneficial to the United States during World War II, as the Navajo Code Talkers, by simply speaking Navajo, created the most effective code of the war which saved numerous allied troops.


The culture of New Mexico was nearly lost to history, during the Mexican and American American territorial phase, liberalism took hold throughout the major city centers within the state. Suppression and shunning of the native cultures almost left the state without an identity. Once Route 66 ran through the central cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe, travelers began to look for authentic New Mexican culture, which was nowhere to be found within the newer "downtown" areas; Native Americans, Nuevomexicanos, descendants of the Wild West including cowboys and buffalo soldiers, and the impoverished railroad working Asian Americans had moved to poorer parts of town referred to as "old towns". Travelers and tourists began visiting these old town areas looking for authentic New Mexican cuisine and culture. Thanks to the free market, these groups became wealthy enough to reinvigorate the old town areas, and expanded into buying land in the downtown areas.

The culture eventually became so pervasive within the state that the folk New Mexico music became a local popular music, and the New Mexican cuisine staple chile pepper can be found in everything from traditional New Mexican stews, enchiladas, and tamales to popular American foods such as french fries, hamburgers, and ranch dressing.


New Mexico's weather is usually sunny and dry, with little rainfall all year. [4]



The land was most prominently featured in Wild West films; deserts, prairies, forest, and several mountainous regions, being at the southern-most end of the Rocky Mountains including the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, the Jemez Mountains,[5] and the Sandia Mountains. One of the most prominent rivers west of the Mississippi, the Rio Grande, runs through the center of the State from north to south.

The highest point in New Mexico is Wheeler Peak at 13,161 feet above sea level, and the lowest point is at Red Bluff Reservoir, 2,842 feet above sea level. [6]

Agriculture and Mining

Agriculture is important to New Mexico, but the lack of irrigation hinders using much of the land for farming. Much of the farmed land is located around the two major rivers which flow through the state: the Rio Grande and Pecos River.

Much of the land is used for grazing livestock, especially sheep. More than two-thirds of New Mexico's farm income comes from livestock products. Another large industry in the state is mining, particularly copper, silver, and uranium. [7]


Interstate Highways 10, 25 and 40 traverse the state. New Mexico's largest commercial airport is Albuquerque's International Sunport. [8]

Places of Interest

The Rio Grande River running through Albuquerque.

Notable people associated with New Mexico

Bella Donna by Georgia O'Keeffe, 1939.


  2. New Mexico History on the New Mexico Cultural Encyclopedia, Lexicon, and News