History of New Mexico

The first Europeans to explore New Mexico were the Spaniards, attracted by the legends about the mythical Seven Cities of Cibola. The beginning of the Spanish interest in these lands has to do with the saga of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca who first set foot on the lands of New Mexico. After surviving the sinking of the Narvaez expedition near Galveston, he was taken prisoner by the Indians. Shortly thereafter, in 1535, Cabeza de Vaca, along with Andres Dorantes, Alonso del Castillo and the slave Esteban marched west, and traveled the Llano Estacado (natural region of the southwestern United States). When he managed to return to the city from Mexico, Cabeza de Vaca signaled the wealth of these regions, but in the face of his refusal to lead an expedition that confirmed his news, the viceroy Antonio de Mendoza sent Friar Marcos de Niza at the head of the militia led by the slave Esteban. Later, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, governor of New Galicia, began colonizing the territory that today occupies the state of New Mexico in 1539. In 1598, the Spanish Juan de Onate founded San Juan de los Caballeros. This city became the center of the region. In 1610, the capital was moved to Santa Fe, the current state capital of New Mexico.

Relations between the Spanish colonists and the Indians were especially difficult during the 17th century. The Viceroyalty of New Spain made an enormous effort to obtain the conversion of the Indians, for which he invested between 1609 and 1680 more than a million pesos, a considerable sum for that time. In 1706 the city of Albuquerque was founded. When Mexico became independent of Spain in 1821, the territory of the current state of New Mexico became a province of the new country. From the time of independence, trade relations between the US territory of Missouri and New Mexico intensified through the route known as the Santa Fe Trail, which connected St.

The settlement of American settlers and the assaults directed by Mirabeau B. Lamar, governor of Texas in 1842, when Texas was an independent state, were the harbingers of a major assault. In fact, this happened during the war between the United States and Mexico (1846-1848), when the territory of New Mexico was occupied by the troops of the American general Stephen Watts Kearny in August 1845. In 1848, New Mexico passed in US hands with the Guadalupe-Hidalgo Treaty. In 1853, the territory of New Mexico expanded again thanks to the Gadsden Purchase, a strip south of the Gila River that was bought by Mexico for ten million dollars.

New Mexico during the Civil War (1861-1865) was occupied by the troops of the two armies. Confederate forces from Texas occupied the territory of New Mexico and came to take the city of Santa Fe. The attempt to control the American Southwest failed when Confederate troops were later defeated at Glorieta Pass by the Colorado Union troops. After the civil war, New Mexico experienced a great economic growth as its territory was crossed by the railway lines that connected the east with the west. The railway companies of Topeka, Atchison and Santa Fe, worked at this time to unite the different regions of New Mexico, for the exploration of agricultural, mineral and wood resources, mainly. During the nineteenth century, New Mexico represented the image of the “wild west” which it transmitted to literature and cinema. In fact, in this territory acted in real life Kit Carson, Pat Garret, Billy the Kid and the Indian Jeronimo rose against the federal government. After joining the Union which took place in 1912, New Mexico was the base of Pancho Villa’s operations during the Mexican Revolution in 1919.

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New Mexico based its economy on agricultural and livestock activities, which means that during the decade of the 1920s and 1930s, after the economic boom caused by the First World War, the state suffered a serious crisis. The discovery of oil and potash mines partly mitigated this crisis, although New Mexico never reached the development levels of most states in the Union. During the Second World War, nuclear research was carried out in the center of Los Alamos as part of the Manhattan project which developed the atomic bomb whose first explosion took place near Alamogordo, in 1943. Military and strategic research,

New Mexico: what to see

Taos – A magical place, Taos is also inextricably linked to the spell of its surroundings. Snow-capped peaks rise behind the city, while a sage-colored plateau extends west before plunging into the Rio Grande gorge.

Taos Pueblo, north of the city is a marvel of adobe architecture and is perhaps the oldest settlement in the United States. During the 20th century, this small town became a haunt for artists, writers and thinkers, such as DH Lawrence and Dennis Hopper. The Spanish Plaza in the heart of Taos allows you to enjoy a walk under the trees, among classic mud brick buildings, excellent cafes and restaurants.

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Albuquerque– The real attraction of Albuquerque is the Old Town with the Plaza from 1780, its old trees and its Spanish charm. Around the square there are interesting adobe buildings, first of all the church of San Felipe de Neri (1706). If you are interested in the evolution of the city, do not miss the Albuquerque Museum, with a rich collection of objects from the Spanish colonial period. Just opposite is the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, focusing instead on the natural history of the Southwest from the earliest times to the present. Absolutely to visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, dedicated to the history of the Pueblo Indians and where typical objects of their crafts are preserved. Evening dance shows are often organized in the central courtyard. If you are interested in the Anasazi and their descendants, then the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology is the place for you. Finally, do not miss the opportunity to climb the Sandia Mountains with the Aerial Tramway, the cable car that will take you up to 3163 m of altitude. An unforgettable panorama opens up from the top station.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park – This park holds one of the largest caves in the world. Native American pictograms near the Natural Entrance indicate that these people knew the caves. Concrete paths and electric lights have been laid out in the underground tunnel of limestone caves.

Roswell – This rural town has become synonymous with “aliens” since the night of July 4, 1947, when an unidentified flying object crashed in the area. The International UFO Museum and Research Center has a collection of newspaper clippings and photos of the crash site and a video with 400 interviews with people connected to this incident. The town’s Museum and Art Center has numerous historical objects from the West.

White Sands National Monument – The dunes of White Sands National Monument rise from the Tularosa Basin at the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert. It is the largest set of gypsum dunes in the world. You can see White Sands by car from Dunes Drive, a 26km circular road.

Cultural Tourist Spots – The most important cultural institutions in New Mexico are the Museum of the American Indian Institute of Arts, Santa Fe, the University of New Mexico Museum of Art, the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, the National Atomic Museum, of Albuquerque, the Roswell Center and Museum of Art and the Navajo Ceremonial Art Museum, of Santa Fe. In addition, the United States Indian Arts and Crafts Commission sought to develop and maintain the manifestations of these indigenous peoples.

Other places of historical and cultural interest are the village of Acoma, the villages of Taos, the caves of Carlsbadand the national monument of El Morro, where there are some prehistoric paintings, the Kit Carson House-Museum, in Taos.

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