New Mexico Geography, Population, Business and History

New Mexico is a state southwest of the United States, located at the upper reaches of the Rio Grande, and borders north to Colorado, northeast to Oklahoma, east and southeast to Texas, south to Mexico (Chihuahua Province), and west to Arizona. In the northwest, New Mexico also borders Utah in the so-called Four Corners, the only place in the United States four states have a common border point.

New Mexico has a total area of ​​approximately 315,000 square miles (the fifth largest state in the United States), and has 2,088,070 residents (U.S. Census, 2017). New Mexico became the 47th state of the United States on January 6, 1912. The capital is Santa Fe, and the largest city is Albuquerque.

The name New Mexico (New Mexico) was given by Spaniards in Mexico who in the 16th century claimed lands north and west of the Rio Grande.

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New Mexico is entirely 860 meters above sea level and has a very varied topography. The western third belongs to the Colorado Plateau, with an altitude of 1500–2150 meters above sea level. A number of isolated volcanic cones and residual mountain (butted / mesas) rises from 300 to 900 meters above the plateau. In the southwest, there are border-lined horsters with valleys and partially drainless pools in between. The middle third is dominated by north-south outcrops of the Rocky Mountains (Southern Rocky Mountains), with altitudes well over 3000 meters above sea level. The highest are Wheeler Peak (4011 meters above sea level) and Truchas Peak (3993 meters above sea level), both in the north. The eastern part belongs to the Great Plains area and is a flat prairie landwhich is cut by the valleys of the Pecos River and Arkansas ‘ Canadian River. The height decreases from approximately 1500 meters in the north to 1000 meters in the south.

New Mexico has a precipitation-poor climate, and over half of the state receives less than 500 millimeters of rainfall a year, mainly as summer rain (June-August). The natural vegetation is grassland in the east, coniferous forest in the mountains and other grass and bush. 26 percent of the area is wooded.


Before European colonization, New Mexico was populated by American Indigenous peoples. Puebloan peoples lived mainly as resident farmers, while the Navajo and Apache, who immigrated from the north around the 1400s, originally nomadic hunter-gatherers. Gradually some of them took up farming, and after the arrival of the Europeans also sheep and cattle farming.

The first Spanish mission was built in 1610, and many Spaniards settled in the area during the 18th century. Like other states in the so-called “Sun Belt”, the New Mexico has experienced strong population growth, and since 1930 the state has been among the fastest growing in the United States. In the period 1990–2000, the population increased by about 20 per cent, and from 2000 to 2014 by about 15 per cent.

48.8 percent of the population is considered Hispanic / Latino, 37.5 percent are white and 2.5 percent African American (US Census, 2017). About 11 per cent of the population are indigenous people, most of whom live in reserves. New Mexico was the first state in the United States to introduce English as a public language, but also allows the use of Spanish in the state administration.

About three-quarters of the population lives in cities. The largest cities are Albuquerque with 558,545 residents, Las Cruces with 101,712 residents, Rio Rancho with 96,159 residents and the capital Santa Fe with 83,776 residents (US Census, 2017). Both Rio Rancho and Santa Fe are part of the metropolitan area around Albuquerque.

New Mexico sends two senators and three representatives to Congress.


Since World War II, major federal military and research installations have replaced agriculture and mining as the main source of income. There are a number of facilities for testing, testing and manufacturing of weapons (including nuclear weapons in Los Alamos), parts for the aerospace industry and advanced electronics.

Other industries include oil refining, metallurgical industry and food production. New Mexico has major deposits of uranium, copper and pot ash, oil and natural gas, lead, zinc, beryllium and molybdenum.

In dry farming and irrigation in the river valleys of cultivated grains, vegetables, fruits, and cotton, but livestock is more important than arable farming. Especially in the north there are large cattle farms (approximately 1.2 million cattle in 2007). With a pleasant climate, outstanding natural attractions, mineral springs and numerous indigenous reserves, New Mexico attracts many tourists.

There are several higher education institutions, including the State University of Las Cruces (founded in 1888) and the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque (1889). The Santa Fe Opera Festival is a popular annual event.


New Mexico was explored by the Spaniards in the first half of the 16th century. The first colonization took place in 1598, and the city of Santa Fe was founded in the years 1609-1610.

There were long disputes between the indigenous people and the Europeans. After the Pueblo rebellion in 1680, the Spaniards had to withdraw completely from the area for a period. During the period 1821-1848 it was under Mexican control. In 1850, New Mexico organized as American (USA) territory, along with Arizona and part of Colorado. The Apaches in the territory revolted in 1879 and 1885.

New Mexico was listed as the United States’ 47th state in 1912. Outside Los Alamos, the world’s first nuclear bomb exploded on July 16, 1945.

New Mexico Population 2019

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