New Mexico is the 47th state of the United States. The demonym of New Mexico is New Mexican. The state was admitted to the Union on January 6, 1912. The capital of the state is Santa Fe and the biggest city is Albuquerque. The state covers a total area of 121,589 sq miles and it is the 5th largest state in the country. Read inspiring facts and trivia about New Mexico to enrich your knowledge.
Official LanguagesEnglish and Spanish ( Spoken : English 64%, Spanish 28%, Navajo 4% )
Time ZoneEastern Time Zone (UTC-5)
Lt. GovernorJohn Sanchez
U.S. SenatorTom Udall, Martin Heinrich
Joined the UnionJanuary 6, 1912
NicknameLand of Enchantment
Highest PointWheeler Peak
Lowest PointRed Bluff Reservoir on Texas border
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Location and Geography: New Mexico is a desert state located in the American Southwest, directly to the west of Texas. It occupies the southeastern position of the “Four Corners” states. New Mexico’s climate varies with altitude, but it is generally warm and arid. Like neighboring Arizona, the state is known for its wild beauty.
Counties and Regions: New Mexico is divided into 33 counties. Much of its land is federally protected wilderness, as the state is home to some of the country’s most unique landscapes and ancient ruins. Some of these are as follows:
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Bandelier National Monument
Capulin Volcano National Monument
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carson National Forest
Cibola National Forest
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail
El Malpais National Monument
El Morro National Monument
Fort Union National Monument
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Gila National Forest
Lincoln National Forest
Old Spanish National Historic Trail
Pecos National Historical Park
Petroglyph National Monument
Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument
Santa Fe National Historic Trail
White Sands National Monument
Population: New Mexico is still a rather sparsely populated state, although its population has been growing somewhat over the last century. Currently, more than two million people live there.
Major Cities: Albuquerque is New Mexico’s largest city, with a population of more than half a million. It is the only city in the state with a population greater than one hundred thousand people. The state capital, Santa Fe, is home to about seventy-five thousand people.
Story Behind the Name: New Mexico’s name simply comes from the early Spanish explorers and prospectors who were the first to arrive there. When they eventually returned to the territory of Mexico in New Spain, they spoke of “a New Mexico” that lay to the north.
History and Colonization: The area of New Mexico has a long history with the people of Spain. Spanish explorers looking for the legendary Cities of Gold first came to the region in the early sixteenth century, and instead they encountered the Pueblo peoples who lived there. Numerous missions were built over the subsequent centuries, and Spanish attempts to forcibly convert some of the natives led to the Pueblo Revolt, an uprising by several of the Pueblo tribes. Spain managed to retake the province and continued to develop towns and trade there. Beginning in the nineteenth century, French fur trappers and other European settlers also began to arrive.
The Province of New Mexico (or Santa Fe de Nuevo México, as it was called in Spanish) became a part of the newly freed nation of Mexico in 1821. Even though the territory itself was a sparsely populated area composed mostly of Native Americans and Hispanic settlers, it proved to be a major point of contention for various nations during the mid-nineteenth century. During its short time as a sovereign nation, Texas claimed more than half of what is now modern-day New Mexico, but had trouble enforcing control in the region. Once Texas was annexed to the United States, the U.S. occupied the entire territory during the ensuing war with Mexico. Ultimately, the land was handed over to the U.S. through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and was called the Territory of New Mexico (which at the time included the area that makes up present-day Arizona).
The question over whether the New Mexico Territory would allow slavery proved to be extremely divisive in American politics. Once the Civil War broke out, both the Union and the Confederacy made claims to ownership of the territory. This was not settled until after the Confederacy’s defeat, and New Mexico was finally admitted to the Union as the 47th state in the year of 1912.
In the twentieth century, New Mexico found a new identity as a major area of military operations during World War II and the Cold War. Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is still operational today, developed the first nuclear weapon and tested it at the White Sands Proving Grounds, deep in New Mexico’s deserts. Growth in the science and tourism industries provided an influx of population in the second half of the twentieth century. Today, New Mexico has a thriving tourist economy centered around its Pueblo reservations and stark desert beauty, as well as several skiing resorts in the northern mountains.
More New Mexico Facts & Trivia
1) The nickname of New Mexico is "The Land of Enchantment". It is also known as The Spanish State and the Colorful State.
2) Prior to gaining statehood, NM was called as the New Mexico Territory. It was admitted to the Union on January 6, 1912 as the 47th state of the U.S.
3) The capital city of NM is Santa Fe and the largest city is Albuquerque.
4) New Mexico is bordered by Oklahoma, Colorado, Mexico, Texas, and Arizona.
5) The official motto is "It grows as it goes".
6) The official flower is the Yucca.
7) The official gemstone is the Turquoise.
8) Hatch is nicknamed as the "Green Chilli Capital of the World".
9) The most extensive river in the state is the Rio Grande and it covers the whole length of New Mexico.
10) Santa Fe is famous for being the capital city with the highest altitude. It is situated at an elevation of 7,000 feet.
11) The official reptile is the Whiptail Lizard.
12) Famous natives of the state of New Mexico include Judy Blume, Bill Daily, Greer Garson, John Denver, Demi Moore, Neil Patrick Harris, and Jim Morrison.
13) Albuquerque is famous for hosting the biggest hot air balloon fair in the world.
14) The official bird is the Greater Roadrunner.
15) Major industries of the state include manufacturing and tourism.
16) The official anthem is the "O Fair New Mexico".
17) New Mexico is one of the Four Corner States of the U.S. The other three states are Arizona, Utah, and Colorado.
18) With an elevation of 13,161 feet, the Wheeler Peak is the tallest point in New Mexico.
19) The official mammal is the Black Bear and the official fish is the Cutthroat Trout.
20) In 1863, the frontiers of contemporary New Mexico were sketched by the Congress. Nevertheless, it was not incorporated into the United States until 1912.