New Mexico Facts and History

Abbreviated as NM on, New Mexico is one of the states of the North American Confederation, in the mountain area; it has an area of ​​317,645 sq km. and borders Colorado to the north, Oklahoma and Texas to the east, Texas and Mexico to the south, Arizona to the west. Its limits are mathematical everywhere, given by parallels and meridians, with the exception of a small stretch on the Río Grande. The whole territory looks like a vast plateau sloping down from north to south, going from a maximum height of over 4000 m. (Truchas Peak, m. 4056) to a minimum of 863 m. to Red Blu in the southeastern section of the state. The plateau is intersected by numerous mountain chains and valleys, with the predominant direction of the meridians and has a decidedly arid climate. The state’s average annual temperature is around 12 °, with the lowest value being 9 °, 4 for Santa Fé (2104 msm) and a maximum of 15 °, 5 for Mesilla Park (1050 m). The absolute minimums and maximums are very accentuated, ranging from + 43 °, 3 to – 30 °, 5. Rainfall is scarce (Albuquerque, 180 mm. Per year; Fort Union, 455 mm.): Summer is the wettest period. The driest area is that of the Río Grande. New Mexico sends its waters to the Gulf of Mexico via the Canadian (Mississippi Basin), Grande and Pecos (Río Grande del Norte Basin) rivers and to the Pacific via the San Juan, Río Puerco, San Francisco, Gila rivers, all tributaries of the Río Colorado.

In the various agricultural, mining, industrial, commercial and professional activities, 29,361 people were employed in 1870; older than 10 years, that is 44.2% of the total population above that age; in 1930 the number rose to 142,607 (45.4%). As for the number of employees, agriculture is in first place (41.3%) but for climatic and morphological reasons, agricultural areas are restricted.

The number of farms rose from 12,311 in 1900 to 31,404 in 1930. The area of ​​these compared to that of the state was 39.3% in 1930. Irrigation has taken on great importance: the number of farms irrigated salt from 3,085 in 1890 to 14,347 in 1930; the surface of them from just over 37,000 hectares rose to 213,300 in 1930, equal to 0.7% of the total area of ​​the state. The largest irrigated areas are found in the direct basin of the Río Grande, the Pecos River, that of the Mora River (Canadian River), etc. The main agricultural productions concern cereals (corn, wheat, oats), potatoes, fruit growing (especially apples), viticulture, etc. The vast pastures of the region lend themselves very well to breeding, for which there are currently 125,000 horses, 21,000 mules, 1,167,000 cattle (of which 87,000 are dairy, continuously increasing), 2,820,000 sheep, 78,000 pigs. But the state is especially important for mineral resources: in 1929, 7522 individuals worked in the quarries and mines. extraction of coal (Colfax County), with a production of 2.4 million metric tons per year in the period 1926-1930, and of copper, whose very rich deposits of the Santa Rita district began to be exploited from 1912, of zinc, of tin, precious metals. There is also considerable oil production.

The industries appear to be underdeveloped (4476 workers employed in 1929; 2842 in 1931). Those relating to mechanical constructions and repairs of railway vehicles and above all the wood industry prevail. The railways have a very sensitive development, since they are 1220 km long. in 1880 it rises to 4830 in 1931; about half of the network belongs to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fé Railroad. Numerous transcontinental lines are identified, leading from the Mississippi basin to the Californian centers of the Pacific.

The network of rural roads currently measures 76,500 km; the state one about 15,000. The number of motor vehicles rose from 1898 in 1913 to 76,767 in 1932.

Higher education is taught at the University of New Mexico, located in Albuquerque; in the State School of Mines in Socorro; in the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts at Las Cruces in the fertile Mesilla Valley; in New Mexico Normal University in Las Vegas, etc.


Fray Marcos, attracted by the story of A. Núñez Cabeza de Vaca who claimed to have found the fabulous Seven Cities, embarked on a journey of exploration in 1539 on behalf of the Viceroy of Mexico, and was the first European to visit the territory that today form New Mexico. He saw one of the Zuñi villages and took it for one of the Seven Cities, and the legend that grew out of it remained so stubborn that after the financial crash of 1929 hundreds of unemployed Americans rushed there to discover the legendary treasure. Later Vázquez de Coronado followed in the footsteps of Marcos, always in search of the imaginary land of Quivira. Near the end of the century. XVI another Franciscan explored the Río Grande, calling the land San Felice; and shortly afterwards Antonio de Espejo gave it the name of Nueva Andalucía; but the Spaniards of Mexico called it Nueva México, and settled in San Gabriel and Santa Fé, a city that has always been the capital ever since. In 1680 an Indian rebellion broke out in protest against Spanish severity and fanaticism, which ended with the massacre and flight of the Whites. Only in 1692 Diego de Vargas Zapata managed to take Santa Fé and then the other localities back with the persuasion. La Nueva México remained a province until its merger with Chihuahua and Durango in 1824 to form the Inner Estado del Norte, but it was soon detached from it and became a territory and in 1836 a department, until it was sold in 1848 with California. Superior and almost all of today’s Nevada, to the United States, which had already occupied it since 1846, after the conquest by General Kearny. Following the insurrection of January 1847 there was a military government until March 1851; in August 1850 New Mexico had been admitted to the Union as a territory, which then also included much of what now forms Arizona and a part of Colorado, which were detached from it, this one in 1861, and that in 1863 Instead in 1853 the “Gadsden Compera” increased the territory by 45,535 square miles. In May-June 1850 the Santa Fe convention formulated a statute prohibiting slavery, but New Mexico had been admitted without federal provisions in this regard. The legislation of the territory then theoretically admitted it, but, despite all the efforts of the slaveholders, in 1861 there were only 22 slaves in the whole territory. (The peonage of Indian prisoners, however, persisted there until its prohibition in 1867). New Mexico could never really become a slaveholder; this was sensed by the Southerners who in February 1861, on the eve of the war of secession, did not want to accept in the Crittenden compromise that New Mexico was admitted to the Union as a state. A Texas border issue was resolved in 1850 with the Clay Compromise, after a threat of civil war with Texas; this received 10 million dollars in compensation for the ceded territory. During the Civil War, New Mexico remained loyal to the Union, and in 1862 it suffered an invasion of the Confederates. There were several unsuccessful votes to get him to join the Union as a state: in 1872; in 1889 with the name of “Lincoln”; and in 1906, together with the Arizona and with the name of this; he was finally admitted in 1910.

New Mexico Facts and History

Santa Fe

According to, Santa Fe is a city of the USA (71,831 residents In 2008), capital of New Mexico, at 2118 m asl, on the southern slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It is in the center of an agricultural and mining region (zinc, lead, gold, silver, coal). It is also a tourist center due to its proximity to important national parks.

After Saint Augustine (in Florida), it is the oldest city in the United States. Following the exploration linked to the expedition (1598-1608) of Juan de Oñate, it was founded in 1610 with the name of Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis by the governor of the New Mexico Pedro de Peralta and soon became the seat of government. Occupied by the Pueblo Indians from 1680 to 1692, when Diego de Vergas managed to subdue them, it returned to the Spaniards. In the 18th century. important center for trade with the Chihuahuas, with the independence of Mexico it had intense commercial relations with the United States. Shortly after the outbreak of hostilities between Mexico and the United States, it was occupied by the Americans (1846). However, it remained a city with a Mexican character until the last decades of the century, when the railway arrived there (1880); moreover, it was now out of the main lines of commerce and was losing its importance. In 1912 it was made the capital of New Mexico.

The city retains examples of European buildings, but built on the type of pueblos, with characteristic windows, walls of clay bricks baked in the sun (adobe) and the typical projecting beams from flat roofs: in the Barrio de Analco district one of these houses would be the oldest in the United States, primacy held in the field of public buildings by the former Governor’s Palace (1610-14), which since 1910 has housed the Museum of New Mexico. The oldest ecclesiastical building is the church of S. Michele (early 17th century); from 1610 is the church of S. Francesco; from 1869-84 is the current cathedral.

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