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New Mexico, US (Population: 1,954,599)

State Capitol: Santa Fe

Major Cities: Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, Roswell, Farmington, Alamogordo, Clovis, Hobbs, Carlsbad

State Nickname/Motto: Land of Enchantment – Crescit eundo: It Grows as it Goes

Statehood Granted: January 6, 1912

History: The first known inhabitants of New Mexico were members of the Clovis culture of Paleo-Indians. Indeed the culture is named for the New Mexico city where the first artifacts of this culture were discovered. Later inhabitants include American Indians to include the Anasazi and the Mogollon cultures. By the time of European contact in the 1500s, the region was settled by villages by people of the Pueblo groups of Navajo, Apache and Ute. Francisco Vasquez 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 Cabeza de Vaca who had just arrived from his eight-year ordeal traveling from Florida to Mexico. Coronado's men found several mud baked pueblos in 1541, but found no rich cities of gold. Further widespread expeditions found no fabulous cities anywhere in the Southwest or Great Plains. A dispirited and now poor Coronado and his men began their journey back to Mexico leaving New Mexico behind.

Geography: Highest point: Wheeler Peak 13,161 feet. The states New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah come together at the Four Corners in the northwestern corner of New Mexico. The landscape of New Mexico ranges from wide, rose-colored deserts to broken mesas to high, snow-capped peaks. Despite New Mexico's arid image, heavily forested mountain wildernesses cover a significant portion of the state, especially towards the north. The Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) Mountains, the southernmost part of the Rocky Mountains, run roughly north-south along the east side of the Rio Grande in the rugged, pastoral north.

Ethnic Diversity: One Race (96.8%), White (69.5%), Black or African American (1.9%), American Indian and Alaska Native (9.6%), Asian (7.3%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.1%), Some other race (14.5%), Two or more races (3.2%), Hispanic or Latino (43.6%)*

Famous State People:

  • William Hanna (1910 - 2001 ) Created “Yogi Bear” and “The Flintstones” cartoons; born in Melrose.
  • Conrad Hilton (1887 - 1979) Founded the Hilton hotel chain; born in San Antonio.
  • John Denver (1943 - 1997) Famous Singer/songwriter; born in Roswell.
  • William Bonney "Billy the Kid" (1859 - 1881) New Mexico's most infamous outlaw.
  • Michael Martin Murphey (1945 - ) Western singer; lives on a ranch in Taos.
  • Val Kilmer (1959 - ) Actor, famous for roles in The Saint, Top Gun and Tombstone.
  • Neil Patrick Harris (1973 - ) TV actor who played Doogie Howser, M.D; born in Albuquerque.
  • Ralph Bunche (1903 - 1971) Nobel Peace Prize winner; lived in Albuquerque.
  • Georgia O'Keeffe (1887 - 1984) Well-known artist; lived in Abiquiú.
  • Demi Moore (1962 - ) Famous Actress; born in Roswell.
  • Robert O. Anderson (1917 - ) Founder of ARCO Oil & Gas; lives in Roswell.

  • Major Colleges/Universities: Central New Mexico Community College, College of Santa Fe, College of the Southwest, Diné College, Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, New Mexico Highlands University, New Mexico Military Institute, New Mexico State University, San Juan College, St. John's College, Santa Fe, The Art Center Design College, Albuquerque, University of New Mexico, Western New Mexico University

    State and National Parks: Carlsbad Caverns National Park, White Sands National Monument, Petroglyph National Monument, National Atomic Museum, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Historic Lincoln, Ruidoso and Mescalero Apache Indian Reservations, Zuni Salt Lake, El Camino Real Heritage Center, Catwalk National Recreation Trail, The Lightning Field

    Misc: With an American Indian population of 181,064 in 2005, New Mexico ranks as an important center of American Indian culture. Both the Navajo and Apache share Athabaskan origin. The Apache and some Ute live on federal reservations within the state. With 16 million acres, mostly in neighboring Arizona, the reservation of the Navajo (Dine’) Nation ranks as the largest in the United States. The prehistorically agricultural Pueblo Indians live in pueblos scattered throughout the state, many older than any European settlement. More than one-third of New Mexicans claim Hispanic origin, the vast majority of whom descend from the original Spanish colonists in the northern portion of the state. Most of the considerably fewer recent Mexican immigrants reside in the southern part of the state. The presence of various indigenous American Indian communities, the long-established Spanish and Mexican influence, and the diversity of Anglo-American settlement in the region, ranging from pioneer farmers and ranchers in the territorial period to military families in later decades, make New Mexico a particularly heterogeneous state.

    *U.S. Census - 2005