New Mexico 2012

The first known inhabitants of New Mexico were members of the Clovis culture of Paleo-Indians. Later inhabitants include American Indians of the Mogollon and Ancestral Pueblo peoples cultures. By the time of European contact in the 16th century, the region was settled by the villages of the Pueblo peoples and groups of NavajoApache and Ute.

Francisco Vázquez de Coronado assembled an enormous expedition at Compostela in 1540–1542 to explore and find the mystical Seven Golden Cities of Cibola as described by Fray Marcos de Niza. The name Nuevo México was first used by a seeker of gold mines named Francisco de Ibarra who explored far to the north of Mexico in 1563 and reported his findings as being in “a New Mexico”. Juan de Oñate officially established the name when he was appointed the first governor of the new Province of New Mexico in 1598. The same year he founded the San Juan de los Caballeros colony, the first permanent European settlement in the future state of New Mexico, on the Rio Grande near Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. Oñate extended El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, “Royal Road of the Interior,” by 700 miles (1,100 km) from Santa Bárbara, Chihuahua to his remote colony.

The settlement of Santa Fe was established at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains, around 1608. The city, along with most of the settled areas of the state, was abandoned by the Spanish for 12 years (1680–1692) as a result of the successful Pueblo Revolt. After the death of the Pueblo leader PopéDiego de Vargas restored the area to Spanish rule. While developing Santa Fe as a trade center, the returning settlers founded Albuquerque in 1706 from existing surrounding communities, naming it for the viceroy of New Spain, Francisco Fernández de la Cueva, 10th Duke of Alburquerque.

As a part of New Spain, the claims for the province of New Mexico passed to independent Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. The Republic of Texas claimed the portion east of the Rio Grande when it seceded from Mexico in 1836. Texas was separated from New Mexico by the Comancheria and its only attempt to establish a presence or control in the claimed territory was the failed Texas Santa Fe Expedition. The extreme northeastern part of New Mexico was originally ruled by France, and sold to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. By 1800 the Spanish population had reached 25,000, but Apache and Comanche raids on Hispanic settlers were common until well into the period of U.S. occupation.

Following the Mexican-American War, from 1846–1848 and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, Mexico ceded its mostly unsettled northern holdings, today known as the American Southwest and California, to the United States of America. In the Compromise of 1850 Texas ceded its claims to the area lying east of the Rio Grande in exchange for ten million dollars and the US government established the New Mexico Territory on September 9, 1850, including most of the present-day states of Arizona and New Mexico, and part of Colorado. The United States acquired the southwestern boot heel of the state and southern Arizona below the Gila river in the mostly desert Gadsden Purcha0se of 1853, which was related to the construction by the US of a transcontinental railroad.

New Mexico played a role in the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War. Both Confederate and Union governments claimed ownership and territorial rights over New Mexico Territory. In 1861 the Confederacy claimed the southern tract as its own Arizona Territory and waged the ambitious New Mexico Campaign in an attempt to control the American Southwest and open up access to Union California. Confederate power in the New Mexico Territory was effectively broken after the Battle of Glorieta Pass in 1862. However, the Confederate territorial government continued to operate out of Texas, and Confederate troops marched under the Arizona flag until the end of the war. Additionally, over 8,000 troops from New Mexico Territory served the Union.

Congress admitted New Mexico as the 47th state in the Union on January 6, 1912.

During World War II, the first atomic bombs were designed and manufactured at Los Alamos and the first was tested at Trinity site in the desert on the White Sands Proving Grounds between Socorro and Alamogordo.

New Mexico has benefited from federal government spending. It is home to three Air Force bases, White Sands Missile Range, and the federal research laboratories Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories. The state’s population grew rapidly after World War II, going from 531,818 in 1940 to 1,819,046 in 2000. Employment growth areas in New Mexico include microelectronicscall centers, and Indian casinos.

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