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New Mexico

New Mexico

State of New Mexico

ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Spanish explorers in 1540 called the area "the new Mexico."

NICKNAME: Land of Enchantment.

CAPITAL: Santa Fe.

ENTERED UNION: 6 January 1912 (47th).

SONG: "O Fair New Mexico;" "Así es Nuevo México."

MOTTO: Crescit eundo (It grows as it goes).

FLAG: The sun symbol of the Zia Indians appears in red on a yellow field.

OFFICIAL SEAL: An American bald eagle with extended wings grasps three arrows in its talons and shields a smaller eagle grasping a snake in its beak and a cactus in its talons (the emblem of Mexico, and thus symbolic of the change in sovereignty over the state). Below the scene is the state motto. The words "Great Seal of the State of New Mexico 1912" surround the whole.

BIRD: Roadrunner (chaparral bird).

FISH: Cutthroat trout.

FLOWER: Yucca (Our Lords Candles).

TREE: Piñon pine.

GEM: Turquoise.

LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October; Veterans' Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; President's Day, day after Thanksgiving; Christmas Day, 25 December.

TIME: 5 am MST = noon GMT.


New Mexico is located in the southwestern United States. Smaller only than Montana of the eight Rocky Mountain states, it ranks fifth in size among the 50 states. The area of New Mexico is 121,593 sq mi (314,926 sq km), of which land comprises 121,335 sq mi (314,258 sq km) and inland water 258 sq mi (668 sq km). Almost square in shape except for its jagged southern border, New Mexico extends about 352 mi (566 km) e-w and 391 mi (629 km) n-s.

New Mexico is bordered on the n by Colorado; on the e by Oklahoma and Texas; on the s by Texas and the Mexican state of Chihuahua (with a small portion of the south-central border formed by the Rio Grande); and on the w by Arizona. The total boundary length of New Mexico is 1,434 mi (2,308 km).

The geographic center of the state is in Torrance County, 12 mi (19 km) ssw of Willard.


The Continental Divide extends from north to south through central New Mexico. The north-central part of the state lies within the Southern Rocky Mountains, and the northwest forms part of the Colorado Plateau. The eastern two-fifths of the state fall on the western fringes of the Great Plains.

Major mountain ranges include the Southern Rockies, the Chuska Mountains in the northwest, and the Caballo, San Andres, San Mateo, Sacramento, and Guadalupe ranges in the south and southwest. The highest point in the state is Wheeler Peak, at 13,161 ft (4,014 m); the lowest point, 2,842 ft (867 m), is at Red Bluff Reservoir. The mean elevation of the state is approximately 5,700 ft (1,739 m).

The Rio Grande traverses New Mexico from north to south and forms a small part of the state's southern border with Texas. Other major rivers include the Pecos, San Juan, Canadian, and Gila. The largest bodies of inland water are the Elephant Butte Reservoir and Conchas Reservoir, both created by dams.

The Carlsbad Caverns, the largest known subterranean labyrinth in the world, penetrate the foothills of the Guadalupes in the southeast. The caverns embrace more than 37 mi (60 km) of connecting chambers and corridors and are famed for their stalactite and stalagmite formations.


New Mexico's climate ranges from arid to semiarid, with a wide range of temperatures. Average January temperatures vary from about 35°f (2°c) in the north to about 55°f (13°c) in the southern and central regions. July temperatures range from about 78°f (26°c) at high elevations to around 92°f (33°c) at lower elevations. The record high temperature for the state is 122°f (50°c), set most recently on 27 July 1994 at Lakewood; the record low, 50°f (46°c), was set on 1 February 1951 at Gavilan.

Average annual precipitation is about 8.5 in (21 cm) in Albuquerque in the desert; at high elevations, annual precipitation averaged over 20 in (50 cm). Nearly one-half the annual rainfall comes during July and August, and thunderstorms are common in the summer. Snow is much more frequent in the north than in the south; Albuquerque gets about 11 in (28 cm) of snow per year, and the northern mountains receive up to 100 in (254 cm).


New Mexico is divided into the following six life zones: lower Sonoran, upper Sonoran, transition, Canadian, Hudsonian, and arctic-alpine.

Characteristic vegetation in each zone includes, respectively, desert shrubs and grasses; piñon/juniper woodland, sagebrush, and chaparral; ponderosa pine and oak woodlands; mixed conifer and aspen forests; spruce/fir forests and meadows; tundra wild flowers and riparian shrubs. The yucca has three varieties in New Mexico and is the state flower. Thirteen plant species were listed as threatened or endangered in 2006, including Sacramento prickly poppy, Moncos milk-vetch, and two species of cacti.

Indigenous animals include pronghorn antelope, javelina, and black-throated sparrow in the lower Sonoran zone; mule and white-tailed deer, ringtail, and brown towhee in the upper Sonoran zone; elk and wild turkey in the transition zone; black bear and hairy woodpecker in the Canadian zone; pine marten and blue grouse in the Hudsonian zone; and bighorn sheep, pika, ermine, and white-tailed ptarmigan in the arctic-alpine zone. Among notable desert insects are the tarantula, centipede, and vinegarroon. The coatimundi, Baird's sparrow, and brook stickleback are among rare animals. Twenty-eight New Mexican animal species (vertebrates and invertebrates) were classified as threatened or endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in April 2006, including two species of bat, whooping crane, bald eagle, southwestern willow flycatcher, Mexican spotted owl, three species of shiner, and razorback sucker.


Agencies concerned with the environment include the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), the Environmental Improvement Board, the Water Quality Control Commission, and the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. As the state's leading environmental agency, the NMED's mission is to preserve, protect, and perpetuate New Mexico's environment for present and future generations. The Department is comprised of four divisions, 14 bureaus, four districts, and 17 field offices. Each entity is responsible for different areas and functions of environmental protection (or administrative support) concerning air, water, and land resources. Under the authority of state/federal laws and regulations, the NMED fulfills its mission through the judicious application of statewide regulatory, technical assistance, planning, enforcement, educational, and related functions in the service of its citizens.

Wetlands cover about 482,000 acres (195,058 hectares) of the state and include such diverse areas as forested wetlands, marshes, alpine snow glades, and salt meadows. Conversion of land for agricultural and urban development are the primary threats to these lands, which lie primarily in the eastern and northern areas of the state.

In 2003, 17.9 million lb of toxic chemicals were released in the state. Also in 2003, New Mexico had 120 hazardous waste sites listed in the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) database, 12 of which were on the National Priorities List as of 2006. In 2005, the EPA spent over $3.2 million through the Superfund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. The same year, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $8.3 million for the drinking water state revolving fund and $6.8 million for improvements in municipal wastewater treatment programs.


New Mexico ranked 36th in population in the United States with an estimated total of 1,928,384 in 2005, an increase of 6% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, New Mexico's population grew from 1,515,069 to 1,819,046, an increase of 20.1%. The population is projected to reach 2 million by 2015 and 2.1 million by 2025. The population density in 2004 was 15.7 persons per sq mi. In 2004 the median age was 35.8. Persons under 18 years old accounted for 25.9% of the population while 12.1% was age 65 or older.

In 2004, an estimated 484,246 people lived in Albuquerque. An estimated 781,447 lived in the Albuquerque metropolitan area. The Santa Fe metropolitan area had 138,705 inhabitants.


New Mexico has two large minorities: Indians and Hispanics. In 2000, the estimated American Indian population was 173,483 (9.5% of the total populationthe second-highest percentage of any state). In 2004, 10.1% of the population was American Indian. Part of Arizona's great Navaho reservation extends across the border into New Mexico. New Mexico's Navaho population was recorded as 67,397 in 2000. There are 2 Apache reservations, 19 Pueblo villages (including one for the Zia in Sandoval County), and lands allotted to other tribes. Altogether, Indian lands cover 8,152,895 acres (3,299,477 hectares), 10.5% of New Mexico's area (second only to Arizona in proportion of Indian lands). In 2000 the Zuni lands had a population of 7,758, and the Acoma reservation had 2,802 residents.

The Hispanic population is an old one, descending from Spanish-speaking peoples who lived there before the territory was annexed by the United States. In 2000, Hispanics and Latinos (including a small number of immigrants from modern Mexico) numbered 765,386 or 42.1% of the total state population. That percentage had increased to 43.3% of the state population in 2004.

As of 2000, an estimated 19,255 Asians, 1,503 Pacific Islanders, and 34,343 black Americans lived in the state. In 2004, 2.4% of the state's population was black, 1.3% Asian, and 0.1% Pacific Islander. That year, 1.5% of the population reported origin of two or more races.


New Mexico has large Indian and Spanish-speaking populations. But just a few place-names, like Tucumcari and Mescalero, echo in English the presence of the Apache, Zuni, Navaho, and other tribes living there. Numerous Spanish borrowings include vigas (rafters) in the northern half, and canales (gutters) and acequia (irrigation ditch) in the Rio Grande Valley. New Mexico English is a mixture of dominant Midland, with some Northern features (such as sick to the stomach ) in the northeast, and Southern and South Midland features such as spoonbread and carry (escort) in the eastern agricultural fringe.

In 2000, 1,072,947 New Mexicans63.5% of the resident population five years of age and olderspoke only English at home, down slightly from 64.5% in 1990.

The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "Other Native North American languages" includes Apache, Cherokee, Choctaw, Dakota, Keres, Pima, and Yupik.

Population 5 years and over 1,689,911 100.0
  Speak only English 1,072,947 63.5
  Speak a language other than English 616,964 36.5
Speak a language other than English 616,964 36.5
  Spanish or Spanish Creole 485,681 28.7
  Navajo 68,788 4.1
  Other Native North American languages 26,880 1.6
  German 7,871 0.5
  French (incl. Patois, Cajun) 4,332 0.3
  Chinese 2,983 0.2
  Vietnamese 2,523 0.1
  Italian 1,931 0.1
  Tagalog 1,603 0.1
  Japanese 1,263 0.1
  Korean 1,197 0.1
  Arabic 980 0.1


The first religions in New Mexico were practiced by Pueblo and Navaho Indians. Franciscan missionaries arrived at the time of Coronado's conquest in 1540, and the first Roman Catholic church in the state was built in 1598. Roman Catholicism has long been the dominant religion, though from the mid-1800s there has also been a steady increase in the number of Protestants. The first Baptist missionaries arrived in 1849, the Methodists in 1850, and the Mormons in 1877.

The state's Roman Catholic churches had about 435,244 members in 2004. The next largest denomination is the Southern Baptist Convention, with 132,675 in 2000; 2,856 newly baptized members reported in 2002. In 2004, there were 39,865 United Methodists statewide. In 2000, there were 22,070 members of Assemblies of God, 18,985 members of Churches of Christ, and 13,224 Presbyterians (USA). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported about 61,862 members in 123 congregation in 2006; the state's first Mormon temple was dedicated in Albuquerque in 2000. The Jewish population was estimated at 10,500 in 2000 and the Muslim congregations had 2,604 adherents. The same year, about 761,218 people (about 41.8% of the population) were not counted as members of any religious organization.


Important early roads included El Camino Real, extending from Mexico City, Mexico, up to Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Trail, leading westward from Independence, Missouri. By 2004, New Mexico had 64,004 mi (103,046 km) of public roads and streets.

In 2004, some 1.539 million motor vehicles were registered in the state, of which around 681,000 were automobiles, approximately 820,000 were trucks of all types, some 36,000 were motorcycles, and about 2,000 were buses. In that same year, there were 1,271,365 licensed drivers in the state.

Rail service did not begin in New Mexico until 1879. New Mexico had 2,388 mi (3,844 km) of track in 2003, with Class I roads making up close to 94% of that total. The main rail lines serving the state are the Union Pacific and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe. As of 2006, Amtrak provided passenger service to five stations in New Mexico via its Chicago to Los Angeles Southwest Chief train and via its New Orleans to Los Angeles train the Sunset Limited.

In 2005, New Mexico had a total of 176 public and private-use aviation-related facilities. This included 150 airports, 25 heliports, and one seaplane base. Albuquerque International is the state's main airport. In 2004, the airport had 3,079,172 enplanements.


The earliest evidence of human occupation in what is now New Mexico, dating from about 20,000 years ago, has been found in Sandia Cave near Albuquerque. This so-called Sandia man was later joined by other nomadic huntersthe Clovis and Folsom people from the northern and eastern portions of the state, and the Cochise culture, which flourished in southwestern New Mexico from about 10,000 to 500 bc. The Mogollon people tilled small farms in the southwest from 300 bc to about 100 years before Columbus came to the New World. Also among the state's early inhabitants were the Basket Makers, a seminomadic people who eventually evolved into the Anasazi, or Cliff Dwellers. The Anasazi, who made their home in the Four Corners region (where present-day New Mexico meets Colorado, Arizona, and Utah), were the predecessors of the modern Pueblo Indians.

The Pueblo people lived along the upper Rio Grande, except for a desert group east of Albuquerque, who lived in the same kind of apartment-like villages as the river Pueblos. During the 13th century, the Navajo settled in the Four Corners area to become farmers, sheepherders, and occasional enemies of the Pueblos. The Apache, a more nomadic and warlike group who came at about the same time, later posed a threat to all the non-Indians who arrived in New Mexico during the Spanish, Mexican, and American periods.

Francisco Vásquez de Coronado led the earliest major expedition to New Mexico, beginning in 1540, 80 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. In 1598, Don Juan de Onate led an expedition up the Rio Grande, where, one year later, he established the settlement of San Gabriel, near present-day Espanola; in 1610, the Spanish moved their center of activity to Santa Fe. For more than two centuries, the Spaniards, who concentrated their settlements, farms, and ranches in the upper Rio Grande Valley, dominated New Mexico, except for a period from 1680 to about 1693, when the Pueblo Indians temporarily regained control of the region.

In 1821, Mexico gained its independence from Spain, and New Mexico came under the Mexican flag for 25 years. The unpopularity of government officials sent from Mexico City and the inability of the new republic to control the Apache led to the revolt of 1837, which was put down by a force from Albuquerque led by General Manuel Armijo. In 1841, as governor of the Mexican territory, Armijo defeated an invading force from the Republic of Texas, but he later made a highly controversial decision not to defend Apache Pass east of Santa Fe during the Mexican-American War, instead retreating and allowing US forces under the command of General Stephen Watts Kearny to enter the capital city unopposed on 18 August 1846.

Kearny, without authorization from Congress, immediately attempted to make New Mexico a US territory. He appointed the respected Indian trader Charles Bent, a founder of Bent's Fort on the Santa Fe Trail, as civil governor, and then led his army on to California. After Kearny's departure, a Mexican and Indian revolt in Taos resulted in Bent's death; the suppression of the Taos uprising by another US Army contingent secured American control over New Mexico, although the area did not officially become a part of the United States until the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ended the Mexican-American War in 1848.

New Mexico became a US territory as part of the Compromise of 1850, which also brought California into the Union as a free state. Territorial status did not bring about rapid or dramatic changes in the lives of those who were already in New Mexico. However, an increasing number of people traveling on the Santa Fe Trailwhich had been used since the early 1820s to carry goods between Independence, Mo., and Santa Fewere Americans seeking a new home in the Southwest. One issue that divided many of these new settlers from the original Spanish-speaking inhabitants was land. Native New Mexicans resisted, sometimes violently, the efforts of new Anglo residents and outside capital to take over lands that had been allocated during the earlier Spanish and Mexican periods. Anglo lawyers such as Thomas Benton Catron acquired unprecedented amounts of land from native grantees as payment of legal fees in the prolonged litigation that often accompanied these disputes. Eventually, a court of private land claims, established by the federal government, legally processed 33 million acres (13 million hectares) of disputed land from 1891 to 1904.

Land disputes were not the only cause of violence during the territorial period. In 1862, Confederate General Henry Hopkins Sibley led an army of Texans up the Rio Grande and occupied Santa Fe; he was defeated at Glorieta Pass in northern New Mexico by a hastily assembled army that included volunteers from Colorado and New Mexico and Union regulars, in a battle that has been labeled the Gettysburg of the West. The so-called Lincoln County War of 187881, a range war pitting cattlemen against merchants and involving, among other partisans, William H. Bonney (Billy the Kid), helped give the territory the image of a lawless region unfit for statehood.

Despite the tumult, New Mexico began to make substantial economic progress. In 1879, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad entered the territory. General Lew Wallace, who was appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes to settle the Lincoln County War, was the last territorial governor to enter New Mexico by stagecoach and the first to leave it by train.

By the end of the 19th century, the Indian threat that had plagued the Anglos, like the Spanish-speaking New Mexicans before them, had finally been resolved. New Mexicans won the respect of Theodore Roosevelt by enlisting in his Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War, and when he became president, he returned the favor by working for statehood. New Mexico finally became a state on 6 January 1912, under President William H. Taft.

In March 1916, irregulars of the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa crossed the international boundary into New Mexico, killing, robbing, and burning homes in Columbus. US troops under the command of General John J. Pershing were sent into Mexico on a long and unsuccessful expedition to capture Villa, while National Guardsmen remained on the alert in the Columbus area for almost a year.

The decade of the 1920s was characterized by the discovery and development of new resources. Potash salts were found near Carlsbad, and important petroleum reserves in the southeast and northwest were discovered and exploited. Oil development made possible another important industry, tourism, which began to flourish as gasoline became increasingly available. This period of prosperity ended, however, with the onset of the Great Depression.

World War II revived the economy, but at a price. In 1942, hundreds of New Mexicans stationed in the Philippines were among the US troops forced to make the cruel "Bataan march" to Japanese prison camps. Scientists working at Los Alamos ushered in the Atomic Age with the explosion of the first atomic bomb at White Sands Proving Ground in June 1945.

The remarkable growth that characterized the Sunbelt during the postwar era has been noticeable in New Mexico. Newcomers from many parts of the country moved to the state, a demographic shift with profound social, cultural, and political consequences. Spanish-speaking New Mexicans, once an overwhelming majority, became a minority. As of the 2000 census, Hispanics accounted for 42% of the state's population, and Native Americans accounted for 9.5% of the population.

Defense-related industries have been a mainstay of New Mexico's economy in the postwar period. Income from this sector declined in the early 1990s due to reductions in military spending following the end of the Cold War. However, this decline was offset by New Mexico's diversification into nonmilitary production, including such high-tech projects as Intel's Rio Rancho plant, which, in the mid-1990s, was the world's largest computer-chip factory. Tourism also played a major role in New Mexico's economy through the 1990s, and the state remains a leading center of space and nuclear research.

Today New Mexico's leaders struggle with two persistent problemspoverty and crime. In 1998, with 20.4% of its residents living below the poverty level (the highest percentage in the nation), the state's children were found to be suffering. More than one in four children in New Mexico was poor, posing the immediate problems of hunger and malnutrition, lack of education, and a strain on the public health system as well as the long-term challenge to the juvenile justice system. Government figures in 1998 showed the state ranked as the most violent in the nation, with 961 crimes per 100,000 residents. New Mexico was one of four states (Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas were the other three) with a poverty rate for 200204 (based on a three-year average) of over 17%. (New Mexico's rate was 17.5%.)

The state's public education system also posed a major issue in 2000, with the debate centering on proposed voucher legislation that would help parents pay for private schools. Opponents, including New Mexico's Democratic Party, argued in favor of legislation that would boost public schools insteadincreasing teacher pay, reducing class sizes, and improving early childhood education.

Democratic Governor Bill Richardson, elected in 2002 by the largest margin of any candidate since 1964, came to the job with a long list of political credentials: former US Representative, UN ambassador, and Energy Secretary. He has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize. By 2005 he had made progress on such target issues as tax cuts, school reform, job creation, water projects, and efforts to combat drunk driving.


The constitution of New Mexico was drafted in 1910, approved by the voters in 1911, and came into effect when statehood was achieved in 1912. A new constitution drawn up by a convention of elected delegates was rejected by the voters in 1969. By January 2005, the 1912 document had been amended 151 times.

The legislature consists of a 42-member Senate and a 70-member House of Representatives. Senators must be at least 25 years old, qualified voters, and residents of their districts; they serve four-year terms. House members must be 21 years old, qualified voters, and residents of their districts; they serve two-year terms. The legislature meets every year, for 60 calendar days in odd-numbered years and 30 calendar days in even-numbered years. The legislature may call special sessions, limited to 30 calendar days, by petition of three-fifths of the members of each house. Legislators do not receive a salary from the state.

The executive branch consists of the governor and lieutenant governor (elected jointly), secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, attorney general, and commissioner of public lands. They are elected for four-year terms; none may serve more than two successive terms. Candidates for governor must be 30 years old, US citizens, qualified voters, and residents of New Mexico for at least five years prior to election. As of December 2004, the governor's salary was $110,000. Three elected members of the Corporation Commission, which has various regulatory and revenue-raising responsibilities, serve six-year terms.

A bill passed by the legislature becomes law if signed by the governor, if left unsigned by the governor for three days while the legislature is in session, or if passed over the governor's veto by two-thirds of the members present in each house. If the governor does not act on a bill after the legislature adjourns, the bill dies after 20 days.

New Mexico Presidential Vote by Political Parties, 19482004
*Won US presidential election.
**IND. Candidate Ross Perot received 91,895 votes in 1992 and 32,257 votes in 1996.
***IND. candidate Ralph Nader received 4,053 votes in 2004.
1948 4 *Truman (D) 105,240 80,303 1,037
1952 4 *Eisenhower (R) 105,435 132,170 225
1956 4 *Eisenhower (R) 106,098 146,788 364
1960 4 *Kennedy (D) 156,027 153,733 570
1964 4 *Johnson (D) 194,015 132,838 1,217
1968 4 *Nixon (R) 130,081 169,692 25,737
1972 4 *Nixon (R) 141,084 235,606 8,767
1976 4 Ford (R) 201,148 211,419 2,462
1980 4 *Reagan (R) 167,826 250,779 4,365
1984 4 *Reagan (R) 201,769 307,101 4,459
1988 4 *Bush (R) 244,497 270,341 3,268
1992** 5 *Clinton (D) 261,617 212,824 1,615
1996** 5 *Clinton (D) 273,495 232,751 2,996
2000 5 Gore (D) 286,783 286,417 2,058
2004*** 5 *Bush, G. W. (R) 376,930 370,942 2,382

In general, constitutional amendments must be approved by majority vote in each house and by a majority of the electorate. Amendments dealing with voting rights, school lands, and linguistic requirements for education can be proposed only by three-fourths of each house, and subsequently must be approved by three-fourths of the total electorate and two-thirds of the electorate in each county.

In order to vote in state elections, a person must be 18 years old, a US citizen, and a state resident. Restrictions apply to convicted felons and those declared mentally incompetent by the court.


Although Democrats hold a very substantial edge in voter registration53% of registered voters to the Republicans' 33% as of 1998New Mexico has been a "swing state" in US presidential elections since it entered the Union. Between 1948 and 1992, New Mexicans voted for Democratic presidential candidates four times and Republican presidential candidates eight times, choosing in every election except 1976 and 1992 the candidate who was also the presidential choice of voters nationwide. In the 2000 presidential election, Democrat Al Gore beat Republican candidate George W. Bush by a mere 366 votes, out of approximately 615,000 cast statewide. In 2004, Bush won the state, with 50% of votes cast to 49% for Democratic challenger John Kerry. In 2004 there were 1,105,000 registered voters. The state had five electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election.

New Mexico's US senators in 2003 were Democrat Jeff Bingaman, elected in 2000 to his fourth term, and Republican Peter V. Domenici, who was elected to his sixth term in 2002. Following the 2004 elections, New Mexico's US House delegation consisted of two Republicans and one Democrat. As of mid-2005 there were 23 Democrats and 19 Republicans in the state Senate and 42 Democrats and 28 Republicans in the state House. Governor Bill Richardson, Democrat, was first elected in 2002. He had previously served as a US Representative, UN ambassador, and Energy Secretary under President Bill Clinton.


There were 33 counties in New Mexico as of 2005. Each is governed by commissioners elected for two-year terms. Other county officers include the clerk, assessor, treasurer, surveyor, sheriff, and probate judge. Municipalities are incorporated as cities, towns, or villages. As of 2005, there were 101 municipalities, 89 public school districts, and 628 special districts.

The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 reaffirmed the right of Indians to govern themselves, adopt constitutions, and form corporations to do business under federal law. Indians also retain the right to vote in state and federal elections. Pueblo Indians elect governors from each pueblo to form a coalition called the All-Indian Pueblo Council. The Apache elect a tribal council headed by a president and vice-president. The Navajoone-third of whom live in New Mexicoelect a chairman, vice-chairman, and council members from their reservation in New Mexico and Arizona.

In 2005, local government accounted for about 77,894 full-time (or equivalent) employment positions.


To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in New Mexico operates under executive order; a special assistant to the governor is designated as the state homeland security advisor.

The Department of Transportation (until 2003 the State Highway Commission) supervises the state transportation system; with it is included the Division of Aviation.

Welfare services are provided through the Human Services Department. A related service agency is the Department of Indian Affairs. Health services are provided by the Department of Health. The various public protection agencies include the divisions of consumer protection, criminal appeals, civil, litigation, prosecutions and investigations, violence against women, and Medicaid fraudall within the purview of the Attorney General's Office; the Department of Public Safety; the Department of Corrections; and the New Mexico State Police. Education is regulated by the Department of Education.

The state's natural resources are protected by the Department of Game and Fish, the Environment Department, the Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department, and the Tourism Department.


New Mexico's judicial branch consists of a supreme court, an appeals court, district courts, probate courts, magistrate courts, and other lesser courts as created by law.

The New Mexico Supreme Court is composed of a chief justice and four associate justices. The Appeals Court, created to take over some of the Supreme Court's caseload, is composed of 10 judges. All are elected for eight-year terms.

The state's 33 counties are divided into 13 judicial districts, served by 72 district judges, each elected for a six-year term. District courts have unlimited general jurisdiction and are commonly referred to as trial courts. They also serve as courts of review for decisions of lower courts and administrative agencies. Each county has a probate court, served by a probate judge who is elected from within the county for a two-year term.

As of 31 December 2004, a total of 6,379 prisoners were held in New Mexico's state and federal prisons, an increase from 6,223 of 2.5% from the previous year. As of year-end 2004, a total of 581 inmates were female, up from 576 or 0.9% from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), New Mexico had an incarceration rate of 318 per 100,000 population in 2004.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New Mexico in 2004, had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 687.3 reported incidents per 100,000 population, or a total of 13,081 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 79,895 reported incidents or 4,197.7 reported incidents per 100,000 people. New Mexico has a death penalty, of which lethal injection is the sole method of execution. From 1976 through 5 May 2006, the state has carried out only one execution, on November 6, 2001. As of 1 January 2006, New Mexico had only two inmates on death row.

In 2003, New Mexico spent $71,574,810 on homeland security, an average of $36 per state resident.


In 2004, there were 11,994 active-duty military personnel and 6,805 civilian personnel stationed in New Mexico, 6,523 of whom were in the Air Force. The major installations are Kirtland Air Force Base in the Albuquerque area, Holloman Air Force Base at Alamogordo, and White Sands Missile Range north of Las Cruces. Defense contract awards totaled more than $1.07 billion in 2004, and payroll outlays were $1.4 billion.

There were 180,172 veterans living in New Mexico in 2003. Of these, 22,349 served in World War II; 18,976 in the Korean conflict; 56,308 during the Vietnam era; and 28,154 served in the Persian Gulf War. For the fiscal year 2004, total Veterans Affairs expenditures in New Mexico amounted to $686 million.

As of 31 October 2004, the New Mexico State Police employed 565 full-time sworn officers.


Prior to statehood, the major influx of migrants came from Texas and Mexico; many of these immigrants spoke Spanish as their primary language.

Wartime prosperity during the 1940s brought a wave of Anglos into the state. New Mexico experienced a net gain through migration of 78,000 people during 194060, a net loss of 130,000 during the economic slump of the 1960s, and another net gain of 154,000 between 1970 and 1983. In the 1980s, New Mexico had a net gain from migration of 63,000 residents, accounting for 28% of the state's population increase during those years. Between 1990 and 1998, the state had net gains of 55,000 in domestic migration and 36,000 in international migration. In 1998, 2,199 foreign immigrants entered New Mexico. The state's overall population increased 14.6% between 1990 and 1998. In the period 200005, net international migration was 27,974 and net internal migration was 9,527, for a net gain of 37,501 people.


New Mexico participates in the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact; Interstate Compact for Juveniles; Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education; Western Interstate Corrections Compact; Western Interstate Nuclear Compact; compacts governing use of the Rio Grande and the Canadian, Costilla, Colorado, La Plata, and Pecos rivers; and other interstate agreements including the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad Compact. It is an associate member of the Interstate Mining Compact. In fiscal year 2005, New Mexico received $3.018 billion in federal grants, an estimated $3.070 billion in fiscal year 2006, and an estimated $3.142 billion in fiscal year 2007.


New Mexico was primarily an agricultural state until the 1940s, when military activities assumed major economic importance. Currently, major industries include manufacturing, petroleum, and food. Tourism also continues to flourish. Major employers range from Wal-Mart, Intel, Kirtland Air Force Base, to Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Honeywell Inc. New Mexico's economy had an unusually large public sector, accounting for over 18% of total state product in 2001, compared to the state average of 12%. The state was relatively unaffected by both the boom of the late 1990s and the bust of 2001. In 1998 and 1999, the state posted anemic growth rates of 1.4% and 1.5%, and although this picked up to a strong 6.8% in 2000, growth continued at 5.4% in the recession year of 2001. The basis for the improvementgrowth in general services, the government, transportation and utilities sector, and financial services offsetting steady losses in mining, manufacturing and constructioncontinued into 2002. As was true with the previous national recession in the early 1990s, New Mexico has not experienced net job losses.

New Mexico's gross state product (GSP) in 2004 was $61.012 billion, of which the real estate sector accounted for the largest share at $7.105 billion or 11.6% of GSP, followed by manufacturing (durable and nondurable goods) at $5.446 billion (8.9% of GSP), and health care and social assistance services at $4.107 billion (6.7% of GSP). In that same year, there were an estimated 143,909 small businesses in New Mexico. Of the 42,241 businesses that had employees, an estimated total of 40,611 or 96.1% were small companies. An estimated 5,683 new businesses were established in the state in 2004, up 3.2% from the year before. Business terminations that same year came to 5,592, down 3.1% from 2003. There were 727 business bankruptcies in 2004, down by 6.1% from the previous year. In 2005, the state's personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate was 485 filings per 100,000 people, ranking New Mexico as the 27th highest in the nation.


In 2005 New Mexico had a gross state product (GSP) of $69 billion which accounted for 0.6% of the nation's gross domestic product and placed the state at number 38 in highest GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 New Mexico had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $26,184. This ranked 48th in the United States and was 79% of the national average of $33,050. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 4.0%. New Mexico had a total personal income (TPI) of $49,827,505,000, which ranked 37th in the United States and reflected an increase of 6.5% from 2003. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 5.3%. Earnings of persons employed in New Mexico increased from $34,637,098,000 in 2003 to $37,209,628,000 in 2004, an increase of 7.4%. The 200304 national change was 6.3%.

The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 200204 in 2004 dollars was $37,587 compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 17.5% of the population was below the poverty line as compared to 12.4% nationwide.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006 the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in New Mexico numbered 958,000, with approximately 41,100 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 4.3%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 824,800. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in New Mexico was 9.9% in April 1983. The historical low was 4% in March 2006. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 6.9% of the labor force was employed in construction; 4.5% in manufacturing; 17.1% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 4.2% in financial activities; 11.4% in professional and business services; 13% in education and health services; 10.2% in leisure and hospitality services; and 24.7% in government.

The US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2005, a total of 63,000 of New Mexico's 777,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. This represented 8.1% of those so employed, up from 6.7% in 2004, but still below the national average of 12%. Overall in 2005, a total of 83,000 workers (10.7%) in New Mexico were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation. New Mexico is one of 28 states that does not have a right-to-work law.

As of 1 March 2006, New Mexico had a state-mandated minimum wage rate of $5.15 per hour. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 46.8% of the employed civilian labor force.


The first farmers of New Mexico were the Pueblo Indians, who raised corn, beans, and squash. Wheat and barley were introduced from Europe, and indigo and chiles came from Mexico.

In 2005, New Mexico's total farm marketings were $2.67 billion. About 25% came from crops and 75% from livestock products. Leading crops included hay and wheat. In 2004, hay production was 1,365,000 tons, valued at $163,900,000, and wheat production was 7,800,000 bushels, valued at $24,570,000. The state also produced 10,440,000 bushels of corn for grain, and 594,000 hundredweight of potatoes in 2004.


Meat animals, especially cattle, represent the bulk of New Mexico's agricultural income. In 2005, there were nearly 1.5 million cattle and calves, valued at $1.64 billion. In 2004, there were an estimat-ed 2,500 hogs and pigs, valued at $275,000 on New Mexico farms. During 2003, New Mexico farms and ranches produced around 7.6 million lb (3.4 million kg) of sheep and lambs which brought in a gross income of some $7.7 million. The main stock-raising regions are in the east, northeast, and northwest.


There is no commercial fishing in New Mexico. In 2004, the state issued 205,291 sport fishing licenses. The native cutthroat trout is prized by sport fishermen, however, and numerous species have been introduced into state lakes and reservoirs. The federal government sponsors two fish hatcheries and technology centers in New Mexico: in Dexter and Mora. The Dexter center is the only facility in the nation dedicated to studying and distributing endangered fish for restocking in waters where they naturally occur. The center works with 14 imperiled fish species including the razorback sucker, Colorado squawfish, Guzman beautiful shiner, bonytail chub, and the Yaqui catfish.


Lumber production was 111 million board feet in 2002. Although lumbering ranks low as a source of state income, the forests of New Mexico are of crucial importance because of the role they play in water conservation and recreation.

In 2004, 16,680,000 acres (670,000 hectares), or more than 20% of New Mexico's land area, was forestland. Of the state total, 9,522,000 acres (3,854,000 hectares) were federally owned or managed, and 825,000 acres (334,000 hectares) were owned by the state. Privately owned lands accounted for 6,331,000 acres (2,562,000 hectares). Seven national forests covered 9 million acres (3.7 million hectares) in 2005, the largest of which was Gila National Forest, at 2.7 million acres (1.1 million hectares).


According to preliminary data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the estimated value of nonfuel mineral production by New Mexico in 2003 was $533 million, a decrease from 2002 of about 5%. The USGS data ranked New Mexico as 25th among the 50 states by the total value of its nonfuel mineral production, accounting for almost 1.5% of total US output.

According to the preliminary data for 2003, potash and copper, followed by construction sand and gravel, cement (portland and masonry), and crushed stone were the state's top nonfuel minerals by value. Collectively, these five commodities accounted for around 90% of all nonfuel mineral output, by value. By volume, New Mexico in 2003, was the nation's leading producer of perlite, potash, and zeolites. The state also ranked third in copper, mica, and pumice output and fifth in molybdenum.

In 2003, preliminary data showed that New Mexico produced 85,000 metric tons of copper ore, valued at $153 million, and 14 million metric tons of construction sand and gravel valued at $68.6 million. Crushed stone output that same year totaled 3.9 million metric tons, with a value of $25.2 million.

According to the state, the vast majority of the potash finds its way as a soil amendment in agriculture; the remainder is used in industry for such things as manufacturing television tubes, chinaware, soaps, and synthetic rubber.


As of 2003, New Mexico had 34 electrical power service providers, of which eight were publicly owned and 21 were cooperatives. Of the remainder, four were investor owned, and one was federally operated. As of that same year there were 894,309 retail customers. Of that total, 624,777 received their power from investor-owned service providers. Cooperatives accounted for 189,781 customers, while publicly owned providers had 79,747 customers. There were four federal customers.

Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 6.289 million kW, with total production that same year at 32.735 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, 97.1% came from electric utilities, with the remainder coming from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 28.812 billion kWh (88%), came from coal-fired plants, with natural gas fueled plants in second place at 3.518 billion kWh (10.7%). Other renewable power sources accounted for 0.6% of all power generated, with hydroelectric generation and petroleum fired plants accounting for 0.5% and 0.2%, respectively.

New Mexico is a major producer of oil and natural gas, and has significant reserves of low-sulfur bituminous coal.

Most of New Mexico's natural gas and oil fields are located in the southeastern counties of Eddy, Lea, and Chaves, and in the northwestern counties of McKinley and San Juan. As of 2004, New Mexico had proven crude oil reserves of 669 million barrels, or 3% of all proven US reserves, while output that same year averaged 176,000 barrels per day. Including federal offshore domains, the state that year ranked fifth (fourth excluding federal offshore) in proven reserves and sixth (fifth excluding federal offshore) in production among the 31 producing states. In 2004 New Mexico had 27,389 producing oil wells and accounted for 3% of all US production. As of 2005, the state's Three refineries had a combined crude oil distillation capacity of 112,600 barrels per day.

In 2004, New Mexico had 38,574 producing natural gas and gas condensate wells. In that same year, marketed gas production (all gas produced excluding gas used for repressuring, vented and flared, and nonhydrocarbon gases removed) totaled 1,632.539 billion cu ft (46.36 billion cu m). As of 31 December 2004, proven reserves of dry or consumer-grade natural gas totaled 18,512 billion cu ft (525.7 billion cu m).

New Mexico in 2004, had four producing coal mines, three of which were surface operations. Coal production that year totaled 27,250,000 short tons, up from 26,389,000 short tons in 2003. Of the total produced in 2004, surface mines accounted for 19,565,000 short tons. Recoverable coal reserves in 2004 totaled 1.3 billion short tons. One short ton equals 2,000 lb (0.907 metric tons).


More than 50% of the manufacturing jobs in the state are located in and around Albuquerque, in Bernalillo County. Other counties with substantial manufacturing activity include Santa Fe, San Juan, Otero, McKinley, and Dona Ana.

According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, New Mexico's manufacturing sector covered some 12 product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $17.392 billion. Of that total, computer and electronic product manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $9.714 billion. It was followed by food manufacturing at $1.669 billion; miscellaneous manufacturing at $796.981 million; nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing at $437.260 million; and transportation equipment manufacturing at $416.578 million.

In 2004, a total of 32,927 people in New Mexico were employed in the state's manufacturing sector, according to the ASM. Of that total, 22,821 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the computer and electronic product manufacturing industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees at 9,352 with 5,410 actual production workers. It was followed by food manufacturing at 3,875 employees (3,011 actual production workers); miscellaneous manufacturing at 3,248 employees (2,229 actual production workers); and fabricated metal product manufacturing with 2,519 employees (1,825 actual production workers).

ASM data for 2004 showed that New Mexico's manufacturing sector paid $1.343 billion in wages. Of that amount, the computer and electronic product manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $512.917 million. It was followed by food manufacturing at $128.635 million; miscellaneous manufacturing at $90.758 million; fabricated metal product manufacturing at $83.089 million; and transportation equipment manufacturing at $79.082 million.


According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, New Mexico's wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $8.9 billion from 2,046 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 1,295 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 650 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 101 establishments. Sales by durable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $3.7 billion, while wholesalers of nondurable goods saw sales of $4.3 billion. Electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry had sales of $903.6 million.

In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, New Mexico was listed as having 7,227 retail establishments with sales of $18.3 billion. The leading types of retail businesses by number of establishments were: miscellaneous store retailers (1,085); gasoline stations tied with clothing and clothing accessories stores (958 each); motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers (851); and food and beverage stores (639). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers accounted for the largest share of retail sales at $4.7 billion, followed by general merchandise stores at $3.3 billion; gasoline stations at $2.09 billion; and food and beverage stores at $2.02 billion. A total of 89,413 people were employed by the retail sector in New Mexico that year.

New Mexico's foreign exports totaled $2.5 billion in 2005.


Consumer protection in New Mexico is the responsibility of the Office of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, which is authorized by the state's primary consumer law, the Unfair Practices Act, to provide a range of services designed to protect consumers and to resolve disputes between business and consumers. These services can involve the mediation of a dispute, educating the public on consumer issues, investigating suspicious business activities, the proposing of legislation, and through the Attorney General's Office, the initiation of litigation.

When dealing with consumer protection issues, the state's Attorney General's Office can initiate civil and criminal proceedings; represent the state before state and federal regulatory agencies; administer consumer protection and education programs; handle formal consumer complaints; and exercise broad subpoena powers. In antitrust actions, the Attorney General's Office can act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own; initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts; initiate criminal proceedings; and representing other governmental entities in recovering civil damages under state or federal law. However, neither the Attorney General's office nor the Consumer Protection Division are authorized to act in a private capacity for an individual citizen.

The offices of the Consumer Protection Division are located in Santa Fe.


New Mexico's first bank, the First National Bank of Santa Fe, was organized in 1870. After the turn of the century, banking establishments expanded rapidly in the state, mainly because of growth in the livestock industry.

As of June 2005, New Mexico had 57 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, plus 25 state-chartered and 28 federally chartered credit unions (CUs). Excluding the CUs, the Albuquerque market area accounted for the largest portion of the state's financial institutions and deposits in 2004, with 24 institutions and $8.645 billion in deposits. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for 21.8% of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $4.516 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 78.2% or $16.230 billion in assets held.

In 2004, the median percentage of past-due/nonaccrual loans to total loans was 1.23%, down from 1,58% in 2003. The median net interest margin (the difference between the lower rates offered savers and the higher rates charged on loans) was 4.65% in 2004, up from 4.50% in 2003.

Regulation of state-chartered banks and other financial institutions is the responsibility of the Financial Institutions Division.


In 2004, 679,000 individual life insurance policies were in force in the state, and their total value was about $52.7 billion; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was about $91.5 billion. The average coverage amount is $77,700 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled $297.2 million.

As of 2003, there were seven property and casualty and one life and health insurance company domiciled in the state. In 2004, direct premiums for property and casualty insurance totaled over $2.3 billion. That year, there were 12,655 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of $.4 billion. About $654 million of coverage was held through FAIR plans, which are designed to offer coverage for some natural circumstances, such as wind and hail, in high risk areas.

In 2004, 42% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 4% held individual policies, and 30% were covered under Medicare and Medicaid; 22% of residents were uninsured. New Mexico has the lowest percentage of employment-based insureds among the 50 states and the second-highest percentage of uninsured residents (following Texas). In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged at 18% for single coverage and 27% for family coverage. The state offers a six-month health benefits expansion program for small-firm employees in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.

In 2003, there were over 1.2 million auto insurance policies in effect for private passenger cars. Required minimum coverage includes bodily injury liability of up to $25,000 per individual and $50,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $10,000. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was $730.46.

The insurance industry is regulated by the State Insurance Board.


There are no securities exchanges in New Mexico. In 2005, there were 290 personal financial advisers employed in the state and 490 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. In 2004, there were over 23 publicly traded companies within the state, with over five NASDAQ companies and two NYSE listings. In 2006, the state had two Fortune 1,000 companies; PNM Resources (Albuquerque) ranked 785th in the nation with revenues of over $2 billion, followed by Thornburg Mortgage (Santa Fe) at 951st in the nations with $1.5 billion in revenues. Both companies are listed on the NYSE.


The governor of New Mexico submits a budget annually to the legislature for approval. The fiscal year (FY) runs 1 July-30 June.

Fiscal year 2006 general funds were estimated at $5.9 billion for resources and $5.3 billion for expenditures. In fiscal year 2004, federal government grants to New Mexico were $4.6 billion.

In the fiscal year 2007 federal budget, New Mexico was slated to receive: $52 million in State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) funds to help New Mexico provide health coverage to low-income, uninsured children who do not qualify for Medicaid. This funding is a 23% increase over fiscal year 2006; $11.7 million for the HOME Investment Partnership Program to help New Mexico fund a wide range of activities that build, buy, or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent or homeownership, or provide direct rental assistance to low-income people. This funding is an 11% increase over fiscal year 2006; and $2.6 million for the site acquisition and design of a new replacement border station in Columbus.


In 2005, New Mexico collected $4,471 million in tax revenues or $2,319 per capita, which placed it 20th among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Property taxes accounted for 0.9% of the total, sales taxes 34.8%, selective sales taxes 13.7%, individual income taxes 24.3%, corporate income taxes 5.4%, and other taxes 20.8%.

As of 1 January 2006, New Mexico had four individual income tax brackets ranging from 1.7% to 5.3%. The state taxes corporations at rates ranging from 4.8% to 7.6% depending on tax bracket.

In 2004, state and local property taxes amounted to $840,068,000 or $441 per capita. The per capita amount ranks the state third-lowest nationally. Local governments collected $786,994,000 of the total and the state government $52,779,000.

New Mexico taxes retail sales at a rate of 5%. In addition to the state tax, local taxes on retail sales can reach as much as 2.25%,

New MexicoState Government Finances
(Dollar amounts in thousands. Per capita amounts in dollars.)
Abbreviations and symbols: - zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable.
source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.
Total Revenue 11,809,742 6,205.85
  General revenue 9,798,429 5,148.94
    Intergovernmental revenue 3,546,494 1,863.63
    Taxes 4,001,780 2,102.88
      General sales 1,443,300 758.43
      Selective sales 595,140 312.74
      License taxes 169,805 89.23
      Individual income tax 1,007,248 529.29
      Corporate income tax 138,196 72.62
      Other taxes 648,091 340.56
    Current charges 758,043 398.34
    Miscellaneous general revenue 1,492,112 784.08
  Utility revenue - -
  Liquor store revenue - -
  Insurance trust revenue 2,011,313 1,056.92
Total expenditure 11,024,686 5,793.32
  Intergovernmental expenditure 3,031,473 1,593.00
  Direct expenditure 7,993,213 4,200.32
    Current operation 6,029,536 3,168.44
    Capital outlay 447,139 234.97
    Insurance benefits and repayments 1,011,307 531.43
    Assistance and subsidies 341,021 179.20
    Interest on debt 164,210 86.29
Exhibit: Salaries and wages 1,787,554 939.33
Total expenditure 11,024,686 5,793.32
  General expenditure 10,013,379 5,261.89
    Intergovernmental expenditure 3,031,473 1,593.00
    Direct expenditure 6,981,906 3,668.89
  General expenditures, by function:
    Education 3,813,208 2,003.79
    Public welfare 2,492,564 1,309.81
    Hospitals 487,280 256.06
    Health 240,706 126.49
    Highways 633,467 332.88
    Police protection 111,883 58.79
    Correction 254,639 133.81
    Natural resources 173,372 91.10
    Parks and recreation 59,457 31.24
    Government administration 391,194 205.57
    Interest on general debt 164,210 86.29
    Other and unallocable 1,191,399 626.06
  Utility expenditure - -
  Liquor store expenditure - -
  Insurance trust expenditure 1,011,307 531.43
Debt at end of fiscal year 5,411,287 2,843.56
Cash and security holdings 33,923,425 17,826.29

making for a potential total tax on retail sales of 7.25%. Food purchased for consumption off-premises is taxable. The tax on cigarettes is 91 cents per pack, which ranks 22nd among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. New Mexico taxes gasoline at 18.9 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.

According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, New Mexico citizens received $2.00 in federal spending, one of the highest rates in the nation.


The Economic Development Department (EDD) promotes industrial and community development through such measures as tax-free bonds for manufacturing facilities; tax credits for investment and for job training, venture capital funds; and community development block grants. The state also seeks export markets for New Mexico's products and encourages use of the state by the film industry. Total incentives to employ 100 workers in a rural area, exporting most of the product, and investing at least $15 million amounted to almost $4 billion in 2000. The Economic Development Partnership, the biggest part of the Economic Development Department, focuses on business and community development. Separate divisions include International Trade, the Film Office, the Office of Science and Technology, and the New Mexico Office for Space Commercialization (NMOSC). In 2006, New Mexico targeted the following areas for economic development: aerospace, biotechnology, film, food processing, manufacturing, maquila suppliers, renewable energy, and technology.


The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 5.8 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate in 2003 was 14.9 per 1,000 population. The abortion rate stood at 14.7 per 1,000 women in 2000. In 2003, about 68.9% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester, this was the lowest rate for prenatal care in the nation. In 2004, approximately 84% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three.

The crude death rate in 2003 was 7.9 deaths per 1,000 population. As of 2002, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were: heart disease, 181.1; cancer, 165.3; cerebrovascular diseases, 38.5; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 46.2; and diabetes, 31.4. The mortality rate from HIV infection was 1.9 per 100,000 population. In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 9.6 per 100,000 population. In 2002, about 54.4% of the population was considered overweight or obese. As of 2004, about 20.3% of state residents were smokers.

In 2003, New Mexico had 37 community hospitals with about 3,700 beds. There were about 166,000 patient admissions that year and 4.5 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 2,100 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $1,563. Also in 2003, there were about 81 certified nursing facilities in the state with 7,443 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 84.4%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 67.9% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year. New Mexico had 238 physicians per 100,000 resident population in 2004 and 579 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there were a total of 832 dentists in the state.

About 26% of state residents were enrolled in Medicaid programs in 2003; 13% were enrolled in Medicare programs in 2004. Approximately 22% of the state population was uninsured in 2004; this percentage ranked the state as second in the nation for uninsured residents, following Texas. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $2.4 million.


In 2004, about 32,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $220. For 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 240,637 persons (93,094 households); the average monthly benefit was about $87.07 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was about $251.4 million.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reauthorized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. New Mexico's TANF program is called NM Works. In 2004, the state program had 46,000 recipients; state and federal expenditures on this TANF program totaled $79 million in fiscal year 2003.

In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 303,610 New Mexico residents. This number included 180,860 retired workers, 29,700 widows and widowers, 42,150 disabled workers, 21,530 spouses, and 29,370 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 15.9% of the total state population and 89.6% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $892; widows and widowers, $825; disabled workers, $861; and spouses, $421. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $408 per month; children of deceased workers, $520; and children of disabled workers, $249. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments in December 2004 went to 51,656 New Mexico residents, averaging $377 a month. An additional $18,000 of state-administered supplemental payments were distributed to 177 residents.

The state maintains the Carrie Tingley Crippled Children's Hospital in Truth or Consequences, the Miners' Hospital of New Mexico in Raton, and the New Mexico School for the Visually Handicapped in Alamogordo.


In 2004, New Mexico had an estimated 825,540 housing units, 711,827 of which were occupied; 69.3% were owner-occupied. About 37.6% of all housing units in New Mexico were built from 1970 to 1989. About 62.5% of all units were single-family, detached homes; about 16% were mobile homes. Utility gas and electricity were the most common heating energy sources. It was estimated that 40,178 units lacked telephone service, 9,673 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 10, 186 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household had 2.62 members.

In 2004, 12,600 new privately owned units were authorized for construction. The median home value was $110,788. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $935. Renters paid a median of $546 per month. In September 2005, the state received grants of over $1.5 million from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for rural housing and economic development programs. For 2006, HUD allocated to the state over $14.2 million in community development block grants.


In 2004, 82.9% of New Mexicans age 25 and older were high school graduates. Some 25.1% had obtained a bachelor's degree or higher.

The total enrollment for fall 2002 in New Mexico's public schools stood at 320,000. Of these, 224,000 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 96,000 attended high school. Approximately 32.8% of the students were white, 2.4% were black, 52.5% were Hispanic, 1.2% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 11.2% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 318,000 in fall 2003 and expected to be 338,000 by fall 2014, an increase of 5.7% during the period 200214. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $2.8 billion. There were 22,416 students enrolled in 176 private schools in fall 2003. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005 eighth graders in New Mexico scored 263 out of 500 in mathematics compared with the national average of 278.

As of fall 2002, there were 120,997 students enrolled in institutions of higher education; minority students comprised 53.4% of total postsecondary enrollment. In 2005 New Mexico had 42 degree-granting institutions including, 7 public four-year institutions, 20 public two-year institutions, and 6 nonprofit, private four-year institutions. The leading public schools are the University of New Mexico, with its main campus at Albuquerque, and New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.


New Mexico Arts, the state arts commission, consists of 15 governor-appointed members and provides financial support for statewide art programs. In 2005, New Mexico Arts and other New Mexico arts organizations received 29 grants totaling $1,194,567 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). State and private sources also contribute funding to the state's arts programs. New Mexico Arts has contributed funding to promote multicultural arts programs that reflect the Spanish and American Indian cultural influences of the area. The New Mexico Humanities Council was founded in 1972. In 2005, the National Endowment for the Humanities contributed $1,640,966 for 13 state programs.

New Mexico is a state rich in Indian, Spanish, Mexican, and contemporary art. Major exhibits can be seen at the University of New Mexico Art Museum in Albuquerque, which as of 2006, holding close to 30,000 pieces was considered the largest fine art collection in the state. The city of Taos is an artists' colony of renown and is home to the Hardwood Museum of Art, established in 1923. The Hardwood Museum of Art's permanent collection focuses both on the multicultural heritage of the state as well as the city's influence on the development of American art.

The Santa Fe Opera, established in 1957, has become one of the nation's most distinguished regional opera companies. In 2006, the Sante Fe Opera celebrated its 50th anniversary with a Golden Anniversary Gala Weekend. The New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (also called the Albuquerque Symphony Orchestra, established in 1932) and the Orchestra Chorus present a variety of musical programs from classical to pops.

The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival began in 1972. After the 2005 season the Open Arts Foundation decided to end its annual Santa Fe Jazz and International Music Festival.


In June 2001, New Mexico had 80 public library systems, with a total of 101 libraries, of which 21 were branches. The systems in that same year, had a combined total of 4,132,000 volumes of books and serial publications, and a circulation of 7,716,000. The system also had 91,000 audio and 64,000 video items, 4,000 electronic format items (CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and disks), and three bookmobiles. The largest municipal library is the Albuquerque Public Library, with over 1,235,211 volumes. The largest university library is that of the University of New Mexico, with 1,882,136 volumes. There is a scientific library at Los Alamos and a law library at Santa Fe. In fiscal year 2001, operating income for the state's public library system totaled $28,885,000 and included $219,000 in federal grants and $506,000 in state grants.

New Mexico has 109 museums. Especially noteworthy are the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology at Albuquerque; the Museum of New Mexico, Museum of International Folk Art, and Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, all in Santa Fe; and several art galleries and museums in Taos. Historic sites include the Palace of the Governors (1610), the oldest US capitol and probably the nation's oldest public building, in Santa Fe; Aztec Ruins National Monument, near Aztec; and Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, 44 mi (71 km) north of Silver City. A state natural history museum, in Albuquerque, opened in 1985.


The first regular monthly mail service between New Mexico and the other US states began in 1849. In 2004, 91.4% of the state's occupied housing units had telephones. In addition, by June of that same year there were 939,091 mobile wireless telephone subscribers. In 2003, 53.9% of New Mexico households had a computer and 44.5% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 175,303 high-speed lines in New Mexico, 155,493 residential and 19,810 for business. In 2005 there were 5 major AM radio stations and 37 major FM stations. There were 9 major network television stations in 2005. The Albuquerque-Santa Fe area had 568,650 television households, 57% of which had cable in 1999. A total of 29,730 Internet domain names were registered in the state in 2000.


The first newspaper published in New Mexico was El Crep£sculo de la Libertad (Dawn of Liberty), a Spanish-language paper established at Santa Fe in 1834. The Santa Fe Republican, established in 1847, was the first English-language newspaper.

In 2005, there were 9 morning, 9 evening, and 13 Sunday newspapers in the state. The leading dailies include the Albuquerque Journal, with a morning circulation of 107,306 (151,146 on Sundays); and the Santa Fe New Mexican, with a morning circulation of 24,667 (26,812 on Sundays).

La Herencia, (est. 1994) and Tradición Revista are magazines devoted to regional Hispanic history, art, and culture.


In 2006, there were over 1,570 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 1,121 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious organizations. National organizations with headquarters in New Mexico include the National Association of Consumer Credit Administrators (Santa Fe), the American Indian Law Students Association, the American Holistic Medical Association, and Futures for Children, all located in Albuquerque.

The state is home to several organizations focusing on the rights and welfare of Native Americans. These include the National Indian Youth Council, the All Indian Pueblo Council, Gathering of Nations, the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial Association, and the National Tribal Environmental Council.

Art and cultural organizations include the El Paso Symphony Orchestra Association, the Indian Arts and Crafts Association, the Institute of American Indian Arts, the New Mexico Art League, the New Mexico Ballet Company, the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, and Spanish Colonial Arts Society. Special interest and hobbyist organizations based in New Mexico include the 3HO Foundation (yoga) and the American Amateur Baseball Congress.


The development of New Mexico's natural recreational resources has made tourism a leading economic activity. In May 2006, the governor declared a national tourism week to celebrate the achievement of $5 billion in tourism revenue. An estimated 80,000 people employed in tourism. In 2002, the state hosted some 11.5 million travelers. About 28.6% of all trips were instate travel by residents, with 53% of visitors traveling from five states: Texas, Colorado, California, Arizona, and Oklahoma. The most popular vacation area was the Albuquerque-Sante Fe region (with 22.9% of all visitors), followed by Taos. Shopping, outdoor activities, and historical sites were the most popular attractions.

Hunting, fishing, camping, boating, and skiing are among the many outdoor attractions. Sandia Mountain is a popular ski destination. The state has a national parkCarlsbad Cavernsand 13 national monuments, among them Aztec Ruins, Bandelier, Capulin Mountain, Chaco Canyon, El Morro (Inscription Rock), Fort Union, Gila Cliff Dwellings, Gran Quivira, Pecos, and White Sands. In 1984, the US House of Representatives designated 27,840 acres (11,266 hectares) of new wilderness preserves in New Mexico's San Juan basin, including a 2,720-acre (1,100-hectare) "fossil forest." New Mexico has an annual hot air balloon festival, a summer opera season, and the famous Indian Corn Mart outdoor art festival. Santa Fe is known for its many art galleries. Taos has skiing and also Indian sacred sites.


New Mexico has no major professional sports teams, though Albuquerque does have a minor league baseball team, the Isotopes, in the Class-AAA Pacific Coast League. Thoroughbred and quarter-horse racing with pari-mutuel betting is an important spectator sport. Sunland Park, south of Las Cruces, has a winterlong schedule. From May to August there is racing and betting at Ruidoso Downs, Sun Ray Park, and the Downs at Albuquerque.

The Lobos of the University of New Mexico compete in the Mountain West Conference, while the Aggies of New Mexico State University belong to the Big West Conference. New Mexico State finished third in the 1970 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament.

Other annual sporting events include the Great Overland Wind-sail Race in Lordsburg in June, the Silver City RPCA Wild, Wild West Rodeo Week in Gila in June, and the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque in October.


Among the earliest Europeans to explore New Mexico were Francisco Vasquez de Coronado (b.Spain, 151054) and Juan de Oñate (b.Mexico, 1549?1624?), the founder of New Mexico. Diego de Vargas (b.Spain, 16431704) reconquered New Mexico for the Spanish after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, which was led by Popé (d.1685?), a San Juan Pueblo medicine man. Later Indian leaders include Mangas Coloradas (1795?1863) and Victorio (1809?80), both of the Mimbreño Apache. Two prominent native New Mexicans during the brief period of Mexican rule were Manuel Armijo (1792?1853), governor at the time of the American conquest, and the Taos priest José Antonio Martinez (17931867).

Army scout and trapper Christopher Houston "Kit" Carson (b.Kentucky, 180968) made his home in Taos, as did Charles Bent (b.Virginia, 17991847), one of the builders of Bent's Fort, a famous landmark on the Santa Fe Trail. A pioneer of a different kind was Jean Baptiste Lamy (b.France, 181488), the first Roman Catholic bishop in the Southwest; his life inspired Willa Cather's novel Death Comes for the Archbishop. Among the more notorious of the frontier figures in New Mexico was Billy the Kid (William H. Bonney, b.New York, 185981); his killer was New Mexico lawman Patrick Floyd "Pat" Garrett (b.Alabama, 18501908).

Notable US senators from New Mexico were Thomas Benton Catron (b.Missouri, 18401921), a Republican who dominated New Mexico politics during the territorial period; Albert Bacon Fall (b.Kentucky, 18611944), who later, as secretary of the interior, gained notoriety for his role in the Teapot Dome scandal; Dennis Chavez (18881962), the most prominent and influential native New Mexican to serve in Washington; Carl A. Hatch (b.Kansas, 18891963), best known for the Hatch Act of 1939, which limited partisan political activities by federal employees; and Clinton P. Anderson (b.South Dakota, 18951975) who was also secretary of agriculture.

New Mexico has attracted many artists and writers. Painters Bert G. Phillips (b.New York, 18681956) and Ernest Leonard Blumenschein (b.Ohio 18741960) started the famous Taos art colony in 1898. Mabel Dodge Luhan (b.New York, 18791962) did much to lure the creative community to Taos through her writings; the most famous person to take up residence there was English novelist D. H. Lawrence (18851930). Peter Hurd (194084) was a muralist, portraitist, and book illustrator. New Mexico's best-known artist is Georgia O'Keeffe (b.Wisconsin, 18871986). Maria Povera Martinez (1887?1980) was known for her black-on-black pottery.

Other prominent persons who have made New Mexico their home include rocketry pioneer Robert H. Goddard (b.Massachusetts, 18821945), Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Bill Mauldin (19212003), novelist and popular historian Paul Horgan (b.New York, 190395), novelist N. Scott Momaday (b.Oklahoma, 1934), and golfer Nancy Lopez-Melton (b.California, 1957). Al Unser Sr., four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 29 May 1939.


Busby, Mark (ed.). The Southwest. Vol. 8 in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2004.

Council of State Governments. The Book of the States, 2006 Edition. Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 2006.

Enchanted Lifeways: The History, Museums, Arts & Festivals of New Mexico. Compiled by the New Mexico Office of Cultural Affairs. Santa Fe: New Mexico Magazine, 1995.

Parzybok, Tye W. Weather Extremes in the West. Missoula, Mont.: Mountain Press, 2005.

Preston, Christine, Douglas Preston, and José Antonio Esquibel. The Royal Road: El Camino Real from Mexico City to Santa Fe. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998.

Preston, Thomas. Rocky Mountains: Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, 2nd ed. Vol. 3 of The Double Eagle Guide to 1,000 Great Western Recreation Destinations. Billings, Mont.: Discovery Publications, 2003.

Rees, Amanda (ed.). The Great Plains Region. Vol. 1 in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2004.

Etulain, Richard W., and Ferenc M. Szasz (eds.). Religion in Modern New Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1997.

Reséndez, Andrés. Changing National Identities at the Frontier: Texas and New Mexico, 18001850. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Roberts, David. The Pueblo Revolt: The Secret Rebellion that Drove the Spaniards Out of the Southwest. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.

Samora, Julian, and Patricia Vandel Simon. A History of the Mexican-American People. Rev. ed. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1993.

Staats, Todd. New Mexico: Off the Beaten Path. Guilford, Conn.: Globe Pequot Press, 1999.

US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. New Mexico, 2000. Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics: 2000 Census of Population and Housing. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 2003.

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New Mexico


NEW MEXICO. Having encountered unfathomable wealth and high civilization among the Aztecs in the Valley of Mexico, Spaniards quickly turned their attention northward, hoping to find another Mexico. New Mexico acquired its name and its early European visitors and residents from this misplaced belief in its potential mineral wealth. The Europeans found a dry, mountainous land of few trees and even less water populated by indigenous descendants of Anasazi Indians, whom the Spaniards named "Pueblos" for their towns that occupied the best lands along the banks of the Rio Grande. Seminomadic Athapascan and Shoshonean peoples, the Apaches and the Navajos, also called the high desert plateau home. The descendants of all of these groups inhabit the "Land of Enchantment" in the twenty-first century. New Mexico's history revolves around the relationships, sometimes tense, sometimes violent, sometimes friendly, among these groups and the land.

Another Mexico

The miraculous return in 1536 of Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, the Moorish slave Esteban, and two others from the disastrous 1528 Florida expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez piqued the curiosity of Spaniards. Cabeza de Vaca and his compatriots did not return with glowing reports of northern wealth, just rumors of a populous country to the north with large houses and trade in turquoise and other valuable items. These rumors sparked wild speculation as to the existence of another Mexico. When Cabeza de Vaca refused Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza's offer to return to the north, Mendoza selected the Franciscan

Fray Marcos de Niza to lead the expedition to verify the presence of wealthy northern cities. He was accompanied by the experienced Esteban.

After departing from Culiacán in 1539, Esteban and his Native retinue ranged ahead of Fray Marcos. In accordance with their plans, Esteban sent to Fray Marcos crosses of varying sizes, depending on his findings. When Esteban heard of Cíbola, he sent a large cross to Fray Marcos. The friar instructed Esteban to wait but to no avail. Esteban forged ahead, arriving at one of the Zuni pueblos, Háwikuh, where the Zunis seized and killed Esteban. Horrified at his companion's fate and eager to return to Mexico City, the Franciscan friar caught a glimpse of the Zuni village from afar, declared it Cíbola, and returned to Mexico City.

Fray Marcos's report of the golden glories of the north prompted Viceroy Mendoza to appoint his protégé Francisco Vásquez de Coronado to lead an expedition northward. The expedition seemed a mobile colony, including 350 Spaniards outfitted in armor and weaponry, 1,000 Native Mexican auxiliaries, six Franciscans, and hundreds of support staff. In July 1540 the expedition's vanguard arrived at the Zuni villages Fray Marcos had identified as the legendary Seven Cities of Cíbola, a rival to the wealth and size of Mexico City. Coronado and his forces discovered an adobe pueblo of some one hundred families. Disgusted with the friar's apparent lies, Coronado sent him back to Mexico City. The expedition settled down at Zuni for five months, where Coronado entertained delegations from other pueblos. The delegation from Pecos Pueblo told him all about the Great Plains, prompting Coronado to send Captain Hernando de Alvarado to return to Pecos with the delegation. At Pecos, a citadel of some two thousand people on the western edge of the Plains, Alvarado learned from an Indian slave called "the Turk" of a rich kingdom known as Quivira out on the Plains.

Alvarado brought the Turk to Coronado, who had relocated to Tiguex Pueblo. The expedition settled into a pueblo vacated for them north of present-day Albuquerque, where they spent the severe winter of 1540–1541. When spring finally arrived, almost the entire expedition headed for the Plains in search of Quivira, which proved elusive. Coronado, at the behest of the Turk, took thirty Spaniards and support persons deep into the Plains of central Kansas. Although other Indians claimed the Turk was lying, Coronado pushed onward. At last he located Quivira, not a rich kingdom but a village of grass lodges. In league with Pecos Pueblo, the Turk had hoped the Spaniards would be enveloped by the Plains and never return to New Mexico. For his treachery the Turk was garroted. Now convinced that no kingdom or city filled with riches lay hidden in the north, Coronado returned to Mexico in the spring of 1542. Although Coronado took no gold or riches back with him, his expedition mapped out much of the American Southwest, transforming the region from a mystery into an area ripe for permanent European settlement.

European Settlement

The scion of a silver-rich Zacatecas family, don Juan de Oñate received royal permission to colonize New Mexico in 1595. He spent three years organizing the privately funded expedition and recruiting colonists. After six months of travel, Oñate and his colonists arrived at San Juan Pueblo on the banks of the Rio Grande in northern New Mexico. The San Juans graciously shared their food and homes with their new neighbors, who soon founded their first capital at San Gabriel. Oñate and his colonists hoped New Mexico would prove rich in mineral wealth, and to that end the governor made several early forays into the New Mexican wilderness. While Oñate was out on one such journey in the late fall of 1598, his nephew Juan de Zaldivar, who was second-in-command, was killed in a battle with the Acomans at the summit of their sky city fortress. In retaliation Oñate launched a successful war party against Acoma. Determined to send a message to would be rebels among the Pueblos, Oñate passed harsh punishments onto the Acomans, the severity of which set the stage for rebellion against the Spaniards.

Finding no mineral wealth, Oñate's colony failed, leading the Spanish government to take it over in 1608. No longer proprietary, New Mexico became a royal colony maintained to secure the thousands of indigenous souls Franciscan friars had baptized during Oñate's tenure. Spain also found it prudent to maintain New Mexico as a buffer zone against foreign encroachment on the profitable mining areas of northern New Spain. The royal governor Pedro de Peralta replaced Oñate in 1608 as a symbol of Spain's takeover of the colony. In 1610 Peralta removed the San Gabriel settlement to a site further from Pueblo settlements and renamed it Santa Fe.

Franciscans established missions along the Rio Grande in or near existing Pueblo Indian communities. In addition the Franciscans launched a harsh campaign of eradication against the Pueblo religion, particularly against Native priests, which angered the Pueblos. Peralta almost immediately clashed with religious authorities in New Mexico, inaugurating a competition for authority that endured until the 1680 Pueblo revolt. Civil and religious leaders argued over which group held control of and authority over Pueblos and their tributes. In essence the contest between the two groups was over control of New Mexico itself. Such squabbles revealed to Pueblo Indians the weaknesses of the sparsely populated northern colony of less than two thousand Europeans.

Pueblo Revolt

In one of their first acts of unity, most of the Rio Grande and western Pueblos (Tanos, Tewas, and Keres), with the exception of Socorro, which did not get the word of revolt in time, and Isleta, which was hampered by the presence of too many Spaniards, organized to drive the Spaniards out of New Mexico. Plans were to revolt on 11 August 1680. The New Mexico governor Antonio de Otermín found out about the plan, however, so the revolt was moved up one day to 10 August. On that day Pueblos rose up against everyone and everything Spanish, killing twenty-two Franciscan missionaries and some four hundred Spanish settlers and destroying mission churches as the most hated symbols of Spanish domination. The Pueblo Indian Popé directed the rebellion, allegedly hiding from the Spanish in a Taos Pueblo kiva. The revolt was largely successful. The Spanish survivors, many of them female heads of households, accompanied by some Isleta and Socorro Pueblos, spent twelve years in exile in the El Paso area.

In 1692 don Diego de Vargas arrived in El Paso as New Mexico's new governor and led a "bloodless" and largely symbolic reconquest of New Mexico. The Pueblos had lost their unity, and some sought to ally themselves with the Spanish. Vargas's bloodless reconquest had to be followed by force, including a room-by-room siege of Pueblo-held Santa Fe. The Spanish victory in Santa Fe provided Vargas with a stronghold, from which he conducted a difficult military campaign against the Pueblos throughout 1694. The Pueblos answered his campaign with another revolt in 1696, during which they killed five Franciscan priests and twenty-one other Spaniards and burned churches and convents. Determined to subdue the Pueblos, Vargas launched a war of attrition that lasted six months, targeting food supplies as well as rebellious Natives. By the war's end all but the three western pueblos (Acoma, Zuni, and Hopi) were subdued. The resumption of trade in European goods beckoned the rest of the Pueblos, and they fell in line.


New Mexico after Vargas was largely a different place from what it had been in the seventeenth century. The eighteenth century ushered in more accommodation between Spanish settlers and Pueblos, ending the "mainly missions" atmosphere of the seventeenth century and the religious intolerance of the Franciscans. The two groups intermingled on a daily basis, sometimes intimately. Most New Mexicans eked out a meager existence, combining agriculture with raising small livestock. Merchants, soldiers, and government officials fared better, often employing a retinue of servants to tend their fields and care for their families. Roman Catholicism provided a central focus for many New Mexicans, including the Pueblo Indians, who practiced a form of Catholicism that left much of their Native religion intact.

In the eighteenth century raids by Comanche and Apache Indians and foreign encroachment from the French, British, and later the upstart Americans posed the largest threats to New Mexico. In 1786 Governor Juan Bautista de Anza engineered a "Comanche peace" by defeating the Comanche leader Cuerno Verde. Spaniards learned from the French that "peace by purchase" was far cheaper in the long run than continual raids and protracted battles. Anza convinced the Comanches to join with the Spanish against their common enemy the Apaches. The joint forces were successful in ending the Apache raids that had impoverished New Mexico's Spanish and Pueblo communities. The independence-oriented turmoil in Mexico in the 1810s and 1820s brought an end to "peace by purchase" payments to the two tribes and therefore an end to the peace.

Although Spanish officials frowned upon foreign trade, a few tenacious foreign souls attempted to reach Santa Fe and its markets prior to Mexican independence in 1821. In the late 1730s the French traders Pierre Mallet and Paul Mallet embarked on a mission to establisha trade route from New France (the modern-day upper Midwest) to Santa Fe. En route to New Mexico in 1739 they lost their six tons of trade goods in the Saline River in Kansas. Spanish authorities in Mexico denied the Mallet brothers' request for a trade license, but the brothers made a private agreement to trade with Santa Feans despite the government's decision.

Over the next few decades dozens of French traders from the Illinois country carried implements, cloth, and manufactured goods to Santa Fe in exchange for furs, gold, and silver. The international trade made Santa Fe a thriving town, and by the advent of the Missouri–Santa Fe highway, Santa Fe boasted nearly two thousand inhabitants. A few intrepid Americans, such as Zebulon Pike, rediscovered the trail to Santa Fe in the early 1800s. The trade remained the same as with the French, furs and silver in exchange for textiles, cutlery, and utensils.

The American purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1803 put New Mexico on the defensive. Spanish officials justifiably feared invasion, as American explorers and traders kept appearing along the border and even in Santa Fe. But Spain, weak and on the verge of collapse, was in no position to guard New Mexico from the Americans. Mexican independence from Spain in 1821 brought looser trade policies to New Mexico, but Mexico had as much difficulty protecting its northern frontier from foreign intrusion as had Spain.

Santa Fe Trail

Thanks to the fortune of good timing, William Becknell, an Indian trader from Missouri, first broke open the Santa Fe trade. In so doing Becknell paved the way for American traders to tap into the pent-up consumer desires of New Mexicans. In the autumn of 1821 Becknell followed the Arkansas River west from Franklin, Missouri, with twenty men and a pack train of horses loaded with trade goods. As Becknell's group crossed Raton Pass north of Santa Fe to trade with Indians, they by chance encountered Mexican soldiers, who told them of Mexican independence and predicted that Santa Feans would gladly welcome the Missouri traders. To Becknell's delight the Mexican soldiers were correct. From trading with the New Mexicans, Becknell earned a healthy profit in silver. New Mexicans were pleased as well, for Becknell sold them higher-quality goods than what they received from the Chihuahua, Mexico, merchants, who had been their only legitimate source of trade goods prior to Becknell's visit to Santa Fe.

Becknell returned to Santa Fe in June 1822 with even more goods and men, including three wagons loaded with trade items worth$5,000. Seeking a shorter and easier route for wagon travel than the long and arduous trip across Raton Pass, Becknell forged the alternate Cimarron route, crossing the Cimarron River west of modern Dodge City, Kansas. This route, despite its heat and lack of water, became the Santa Fe Trail. By 1824 a well-established highway marked the route between Independence, Missouri, and Santa Fe.

Under Mexican Rule

American fur trappers also made their way into New Mexico in the 1820s, and Taos became the focus of the western American fur trade. By 1826 more than one hundred mountain men trapped beaver along the Rio Grande and the Gila. While Mexican authorities saw these mountain men as a threat, presciently recognizing them as the advance wave of American movement into the Southwest, they were not willing to interrupt the lucrative trade the trappers ushered into New Mexico. For the most part Mexican authorities left New Mexico to its own devices. Accustomed to benign neglect, New Mexicans reacted strongly to Mexican dictator Antonio López de Santa Anna's attempts to centralize Mexico. Heavy-handed attempts at imposing order on the province by Governor Albino Pérez, the only nonlocal governor of New Mexico during the Mexican period, ended in chaos in 1837 as rebellion swept through the province. The fleeing Pérez lost his life to a rabble and was replaced by the native New Mexican Manuel Armijo, who restored order. In 1844 Governor Armijo successfully warded off attempts by land-hungry Texans to claim all the land east of the Rio Grande to its source, an episode that engendered a long-held antipathy toward Texans.

The U.S.–Mexican War

Texas's bid to join the United States launched a war between Mexico and the United States in 1846. U.S. general Stephen Kearney took New Mexico without a fight. Rather than organizing a defense, Governor Armijo departed for Chihuahua after meeting with the trader James Magoffin, who somehow negotiated a peaceful conquest, although no one knows for certain what happened. All did not remain peaceful, however. Discontented New Mexicans planned an uprising for 24 December 1846, but rumors reached officials, who managed to squelch the opposition's plans. On 19 January 1847 a rebel mob scalped the appointed U.S. governor Charles Bent and twelve others sympathetic to the American cause. Rebellion spread throughout northern New Mexico. In February 1847 Colonel Sterling Price marched on Taos Pueblo, where the rebels had gathered. After a bloody battle the ringleaders were hanged, bringing an end to the armed resistance to the American occupation of New Mexico.

In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which officially ended the war in 1848, New Mexico became part of the United States, and its people became American citizens. New Mexico had the necessary population for statehood, sixty-one thousand Hispanics and thirty thousand Indians in the 1850 census, and the support of Presidents James K. Polk and Zachary Taylor, but circumstances changed as gold was discovered in California. The Compromise of 1850 declared New Mexico a territory without restrictions on the issue of slavery and adjusted the long-contested boundary between New Mexico and Texas. New Mexico lost its bid for statehood to the politics of slavery and remained a territory for sixty-two years, until 1912.

The Civil War

During the 1850s the U.S. military built an elaborate defense system in New Mexico consisting of six military posts designed to keep hostile Indian tribes under control. The military thereby became the mainstay of the territory's economy and allowed the population to spread out from the Rio Grande valley. In 1861, however, Federal troops returned home to fight the Civil War, abandoning the defense system protecting those settlers and disrupting the orderly development of New Mexico. The territory sided with the Union, mostly out of hatred for the Confederate Texans. The few Civil War battles, including Valverde and Glorieta Pass (1862), that took place in New Mexico were more a reassertion of Texas imperialism than an integral part of Confederate strategy. Indeed most of the fighting in New Mexico during the Civil War years was against Indians. Colonel James H. Carleton ordered Colonel Christopher "Kit" Carson, a former mountain man, to campaign against the Mescalero Apaches (1863) and then the Navajos (1864). Carson prevailed against both tribes. Survivors were marched to Bosque Redondo, the first experiment in Indian reservations, which failed utterly. An 1868 treaty allowed the Navajos to return to their much-reduced homeland. The U.S. military confronted the Comanches and the Apaches in the 1870s and 1880s and confined both groups to reservations by the end of the 1880s.

The Civil War was a watershed in New Mexico history, bending the territory toward the United States and away from Mexico. After the war New Mexico shared much of the history of the rest of the American West, range wars, mining booms, railroad construction, Indian wars, nationalized forests, and military bases. As Anglo-Americans moved into the territory, Hispanic New Mexicans found it more difficult to hold onto their ancestral lands. The 1878–1879 Lincoln County War reflected the tensions among New Mexico's various populations, especially Hispanic sheepherders and Anglo cattle ranchers.


New Mexico finally achieved statehood in 1912, beginning a new era. Statehood meant that a satisfactory level of Americanization had been reached, and participation in the twentieth century's major military efforts continued the process. Some 50,000 New Mexicans served their country in World War II, including Navajo Code Talkers. The state had the highest volunteer rate of any state. Many of these volunteers died in the Bataan death march. Northern New Mexico's mountains hid the secret Los Alamos labs and the Manhattan Project during World War II, and the first atomic bomb was detonated at the Trinity Test Site at White Sands on 16 July 1945, establishing the state as a major location for federal defense projects. Investments reached $100 billion by the end of the Cold War. Military defense continued to boost New

Mexico's economy in the early twenty-first century along with tourism and some manufacturing. The legendary Route 66 bisected the state, passing through Albuquerque and bringing tourists who sampled the state's blend of cultures and drank in the romanticized Spanish and Indian past provided by boosters.

Indians maintained a significant presence in New Mexico. Unlike most Native Americans, the Pueblos, Navajos, and Apaches remained on a portion of their ancestral homelands, while many other Native Americans settled in Albuquerque. India agent John Collier and the General Federation of Women's Clubs helped New Mexican Pueblos successfully overturn the 1922 Bursum bill, which would have given squatters land ownership and water rights in traditional Pueblo lands. The Pueblo Lands Act of 1924 protected Pueblo lands from squatters and recognized the land rights Pueblos had enjoyed under Spanish and Mexican rule. In recent years, Indian gaming brought an influx of cash to some of New Mexico's tribes and added punch to their political presence.

After 1848 Hispanics sought redress for the loss of their ancestral lands, mostly through the U.S. court system. In the last half of the twentieth century the issue of land grants generated some isolated violence, namely the July 1967 takeover of the county courthouse at Tierra Amarilla by the activist Reies Lopes Tijerina and his followers. New Mexican Indians also fought the loss of their lands, particularly sacred sites such as Taos Pueblo's Blue Lake, which had been swallowed by the Carson National Forest. President Richard M. Nixon returned Blue Lake to them in the 1970s. The twentieth century also put New Mexico on the map as a center for the arts. Early in the century Taos became an arts colony, attracting artists, writers, and other intellectuals. In 1914, artists Ernest L. Blumenschein and Bert Philips founded the Taos Society of Artists, prompting the development of a distinctive New Mexican style. Santa Fe, the state capital, also draws artists and the tourists who support them. The mix of three cultures, Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo, makes the forty-seventh state a vibrant laboratory for race relations.


Boyle, Susan Calafate. Los Capitalistas: Hispano Merchants and the Santa Fe Trade. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1997.

DeBuys, William. Enchantment and Exploitation: The Life and Hard Times of a New Mexico Mountain Range. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1985.

DeMark, Judith Boyce, ed. Essays in Twentieth-Century New Mexico History. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994.

Deutsch, Sarah. No Separate Refuge: Culture, Class, and Gender on an Anglo-Hispanic Frontier in the American Southwest, 1880–1940. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

Gutiérrez, Ramón A. When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500–1846. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1991.

Jensen, Joan M., and Darlis A. Miller, eds. New Mexico Women: Intercultural Perspectives. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1986.

Kessell, John L. Kiva, Cross, and Crown: The Pecos Indians and New Mexico, 1540–1840. Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1979.

Simmons, Marc. New Mexico: An Interpretive History. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1988.

Szasz, Ferenc Morton. The Day the Sun Rose Twice: The Story of the Trinity Site Nuclear Explosion, July 16, 1945. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1984.

Vargas, Diego de. Remote beyond Compare: Letters of Don Diego de Vargas to His Family from New Spain and New Mexico, 1675–1706. Edited by John L. Kessell. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1989.

Weber, David J. The Mexican Frontier, 1821–1846: The American Southwest under Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982.

———. The Spanish Frontier in North America. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1992.

Dedra S.McDonald

See alsoExploration and Expeditions: Spanish ; Mexican War ; Mexico, Relations with ; andvol. 9:Glimpse of New Mexico .

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New Mexico

New Mexico, state in the SW United States. At its northwestern corner are the so-called Four Corners, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet at right angles; New Mexico is also bordered by Oklahoma (NE), Texas (E, S), and Mexico (S).

Facts and Figures

Area, 121,666 sq mi (315,115 sq km). Pop. (2010) 2,059,179, a 13.2% increase since the 2000 census. Capital, Santa Fe. Largest city, Albuquerque. Statehood, Jan. 6, 1912 (47th state). Highest pt., Wheeler Peak, 13,161 ft (4,014 m); lowest pt., Red Bluff Reservoir, 2,817 ft (859 m). Nickname, Land of Enchantment. Motto,Crescit Eundo [It Grows as It Goes], State bird, chaparral ( "roadrunner" ). State flower, yucca. State tree, piñon. Abbr., N.Mex.; NM


New Mexico is roughly bisected by the Rio Grande and has an approximate mean altitude of 5,700 ft (1,737 m). The topography of the state is marked by broken mesas, wide deserts, heavily forested mountain wildernesses, and high, bare peaks. The mountain ranges, part of the Rocky Mts., rising to their greatest height (more than 13,000 ft/3,962 m) in the Sangre de Cristo Mts., are in broken groups, running north to south through central New Mexico and flanking the Rio Grande. In the southwest is the Gila Wilderness.

Broad, semiarid plains, particularly prominent in S New Mexico, are covered with cactus, yucca, creosote bush, sagebrush, and desert grasses. Water is rare in these regions, and the scanty rainfall is subject to rapid evaporation. The two notable rivers besides the Rio Grande—the Pecos and the San Juan—are used for some irrigation; the Carlsbad and Fort Sumner reclamation projects are on the Pecos, and the Tucumcari project is nearby. Other projects utilize the Colorado River basin; however, the Rio Grande, harnessed by the Elephant Butte Dam, remains the major irrigation source for the area of most extensive farming. The capital of New Mexico is Santa Fe, and the largest city is Albuquerque.


Because irrigation opportunities are few, most of the arable land is given over to grazing. There are many large ranches, with cattle and sheep on the open range year round. In the dry farming regions, the major crops are hay and sorghum grains. Onions, potatoes, and dairy products are also important. In addition, piñon nuts, pinto beans, and chilis are crops particularly characteristic of New Mexico. Pinewood is the chief commercial wood.

Much of the state's income is derived from its considerable mineral wealth. New Mexico is a leading producer of uranium ore, manganese ore, potash, salt, perlite, copper ore, natural gas, beryllium, and tin concentrates. Petroleum and coal are also found in smaller quantities. Silver and turquoise have been used in making jewelry since long before European exploration.

The federal government is the largest employer in the state, accounting for over one quarter of New Mexico's jobs. A large percentage of government jobs in the state are related to the military; there are several air force bases, along with national observatories and the Los Alamos and Sandia laboratories. Climate and increasing population have aided New Mexico's effort to attract new industries; manufacturing, centered especially around Albuquerque, includes food and mineral processing and the production of chemicals, electrical equipment, and ordnance. High-technology manufacturing is increasingly important, much of it in the defense industry.

Millions of acres of the wild and beautiful country of New Mexico are under federal control as national forests and monuments and help to make tourism a chief source of income. Best known of the state's attractions are the Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the Aztec Ruins National Monument. Thousands of tourists annually visit the White Sands, Bandelier, Capulin Volcano, El Morro, Fort Union, Gila Cliff Dwellings, Río Grande del Norte, and Salinas Pueblo Missions national monuments and Chaco Culture National Historical Park (see National Parks and Monuments, table). Several of New Mexico's surviving native pueblos are also much visited.

Government and Higher Education

New Mexico is governed under the constitution of 1912. The legislature has a senate of 42 members and a house of representatives with 70 members. The governor is elected for four years and may be reelected. The state elects two U.S. senators and three representatives and has five electoral votes. New Mexico has been generally Democratic in politics, although it joined the national trend toward conservatism in the 1980s. Gary Johnson, a Republican, was elected governor in 1994 and reelected in 1998, but a Democrat, Bill Richardson, won the governorship in 2002 and 2006. In 2010 Republican Susana Martinez was elected to the post. Reelected in 2014, she was the first woman to serve in the office.

The most prominent educational institutions in the state are the Univ. of New Mexico, at Albuquerque; New Mexico State Univ., at Las Cruces; New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, at Socorro, and St. John's College, at Santa Fe.


Native Americans and the Spanish

Use of the land and minerals of New Mexico goes back to the prehistoric time of the early cultures in the Southwest that long preceded the flourishing sedentary civilization of the Pueblos that the Spanish found along the Rio Grande and its tributaries. Many of the Native American pueblos exist today much as they were in the 13th cent. Word of the pueblos reached the Spanish through Cabeza de Vaca, who may have wandered across S New Mexico between 1528 and 1536; they were enthusiastically identified by Fray Marcos de Niza as the fabulously rich Seven Cities of Cibola.

A full-scale expedition (1540–42) to find the cities was dispatched from New Spain, under the leadership of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado. The treatment of the Pueblo people by Coronado and his men led to the long-standing hostility between the Native Americans and the Spanish and slowed Spanish conquest. The first regular colony at San Juan was founded by Juan de Oñate in 1598. The Native Americans of Acoma revolted against the Spanish encroachment and were severely suppressed.

In 1609 Pedro de Peralta was made governor of the "Kingdom and Provinces of New Mexico," and a year later he founded his capital at Santa Fe. The little colony did not prosper greatly, although some of the missions flourished and haciendas were founded. The subjection of Native Americans to forced labor and attempts by missionaries to convert them resulted in violent revolt by the Apache in 1676 and the Pueblo in 1680. These uprisings drove the Spanish entirely out of New Mexico.

The Spanish did not return until the campaign of Diego de Vargas Zapata reestablished their control in 1692. In the 18th cent. the development of ranching and of some farming and mining was more thorough, laying the foundations for the Spanish culture in New Mexico that still persists. Over one third of the population today is of Hispanic origin (and few are recent immigrants from Mexico) and roughly the same percentage speak Spanish fluently.

When Mexico achieved its independence from Spain in 1821, New Mexico became a province of Mexico, and trade was opened with the United States. By the following year the Santa Fe Trail was being traveled by the wagon trains of American traders. In 1841 a group of Texans embarked on an expedition to assert Texan claims to part of New Mexico and were captured.

The Anglo Influence

The Mexican War marked the coming of the Anglo-American culture to New Mexico. Stephen W. Kearny entered (1846) Santa Fe without opposition, and two years later the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ceded New Mexico to the United States. The territory, which included Arizona and other territories, was enlarged by the Gadsden Purchase (1853).

A bid for statehood with an antislavery constitution was halted by the Compromise of 1850, which settled the Texas boundary question in New Mexico's favor and organized New Mexico as a territory without restriction on slavery. In the Civil War, New Mexico was at first occupied by Confederate troops from Texas, but was taken over by Union forces early in 1862. After the war and the withdrawal of the troops, the territory was plagued by conflict with the Apache and Navajo. The surrender of Apache chief Geronimo in 1886 ended conflict in New Mexico and Arizona (which had been made a separate territory in 1863). However, there were local troubles even after that time.

Already the ranchers had taken over much of the grasslands. The coming of the Santa Fe RR in 1879 encouraged the great cattle boom of the 80s. There were typical cow towns, feuds among cattlemen as well as between cattlemen and the authorities (notably the Lincoln County War), and the activities of such outlaws as Billy the Kid. The cattlemen were unable to keep out the sheepherders and were overwhelmed by the homesteaders and squatters, who fenced in and plowed under the "sea of grass." Land claims gave rise to bitter quarrels among the homesteaders, the ranchers, and the old Spanish families, who made claims under the original grants. Despite overgrazing and reduction of lands, ranching survived and continues to be important together with the limited but scientifically controlled irrigated and dry farming. Statehood was granted in 1912.

Modern New Mexico

In 1943 the U.S. government built Los Alamos as a center for atomic research. The first atom bomb was exploded at the White Sands Proving Grounds in July, 1945. The growth and use of military and nuclear facilities continued after World War II. High-altitude experiments were apparently responsible for a 1947 incident near Roswell that led to persistent claims that the government was concealing captured extraterrestrial corpses and equipment. In the 1990s the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, deep in salt formations near Carlsbad, was readied for storage of nuclear wastes, amid controversy.

New Mexico's climate, tranquillity, and startling panoramas have made the state a place of winter or year-round residence for those seeking health or a place of retirement. Many writers and artists have made their homes in communities such as Taos and Santa Fe, including D. H. Lawrence and Georgia O'Keeffe. The Apache, Navajo, and Pueblo, and some Ute, live on federal reservations within the state—the Navajo Nation, with over 16 million acres (6.5 million hectares), is the largest in the country—and the Pueblo, a settled agricultural people, live in pueblos scattered throughout the state. At the beginning of the 1990s the Native American population of New Mexico was more than 134,000.


See W. A. Beck, New Mexico: A History of Four Centuries (1962, repr. 1982); A. K. Gregg, New Mexico in the Nineteenth Century (1968); R. W. Larson, New Mexico's Quest for Statehood (1968); W. W. Davis, El Gringo: New Mexico and Her People (1982); R. V. Jackson, New Mexico Historical and Biographical Index (1984); J. L. Williams, ed., New Mexico in Maps (2d ed. 1986); N. H. Warren, Villages of Hispanic New Mexico (1987).

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New Mexico

New Mexico


Spanish Conquest. Nowhere is the Spanish colonial cultural legacy more visible than in New Mexico, the first area of the southwestern United States colonized by the Spanish. Although the conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado claimed the territory for the Spanish monarchy in 1542, permanent settlements were only established there after persistent indigenous resistance to colonization. The first Spanish explorers arrived in 1540, led by Coronado, followed by another Spanish expedition in 1581 and a third in 1582. Finding little mineral wealth, these explorers quickly abandoned the desolate area.

Oñates Expedition. The Spanish king, Philip II, officially authorized settlement of New Mexico in 1583. He was interested in establishing missions to convert the Indians and in protecting Mexicos northern mines. He chose Juan de Oñate as the official leader and financier of the colonizing expedition. Oñates group, including ten Franciscan missionary friars, left Zacatecas, Mexico, in 1598. On 30 April, Oñate officially took possession of New Mexico at modern-day El Paso. In that same year Oñate chose San Gabriel (today Chamita), the second permanent European settlement in North America, as New Mexicos capital. Jn the course of the seventeenth century, between two and three thousand Spaniards arrived to settle New Mexico. The region, however, proved difficult to colonize due to harsh conditions. In 1609 Oñates successor as governor, Pedro de Peralta, founded a new capital, La Villa Real de la Santa Fe (The Royal City of the Holy Faith), present-day Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Early Missions. The Franciscan friars immediately began converting the native population to Catholicism. During the initial period of 1598 to 1609 the missionaries built temporary, provisional churches. In 1609, however, King Philip III made New Mexico a royal colony and henceforth the pace of mission building accelerated. The self-taught architect-friars directed the building projects, utilizing Native American labor. By 1617 friars and Native Americans had built eleven churches which purportedly served fourteen thousand new Catholic converts in New Mexico. The missionaries also directed native production of Catholic works of art. These artworks combined native techniques and styles with European content and form, resulting in hybrid or syncretic works of art. Like these works of art and architecture, Pueblo Catholicism was also syncretic. Many Pueblo Indians even today combine Catholic beliefs with traditional native practices. Undoubtedly many of the initial conversions were nominal at best, for during the Pueblo Revolt of 16801692 the Pueblos eagerly returned to their original native religion.

Permanent Missions. The period from 1620 to 1680 witnessed the building of larger, more monumental

churches. These missions extended from old El Paso (now Ciudad Juárez in Mexico) north to Taos, New Mexico, and from Pecos in the east to Zuñi in the west. Although located on the fringes of the Spanish Empire, these churches demonstrate innovative plans, window arrangements, and roofing designs. In addition, the architecture displays a unique Indo-Christian style which features Pueblo Indian influence. This style was distinctive from Spanish colonial architecture in New Spain (Mexico), California, Texas, Arizona, or Florida. Mission development came to an end with the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, the most successful native uprising in North America.

Mexican Mission Precedents

During the age of exploration the Spanish destroyed countless indigenous temples in order to build thousands of Catholic missions throughout the Spanish empire. The purpose of this vast building program was to create a new Christian utopia in the New World. Most Spanish missions followed the pattern established by Mexicos first viceroy, Antonio de Mendoza, in the sixteenth century. Thus all missions included a church, friary, atrium, and some type of outdoor chapel. Often missions were intentionally constructed on top of preexisting native religious structures.

The Franciscan mission of St. Michael the Archangel at Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico, is typical. Built in the 1550s by Native Americans under the direction of friar-architects, it defines the fortress church type. Fortress churches tower over the landscape in order to impress the native population with the power of Christianity. They may have also served as refuges in the event of attack. Fortress churches may have additionally contributed to the friars notions of themselves as soldiers of Christ in a spiritual conquest in the Americas. These monumental churches, with their massive, bare walls, platformlike roofs, towers, high windows, and powerful buttresses, seem more like fortresses than churches.

Sources: James Early, The Colonial Architecture of Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994);

George Kubler, Mexican Architecture of the Sixteenth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948);

Kubler and Martin Soria, Art and Architecture in Spain and Portugal and Their American Dominions, 1500 to 1800 (London & Baltimore: Penguin, 1959).


Bainbridge Bunting, Early Architecture in New Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1976);

Mary Grizzard, Spanish Colonial Art and Architecture of Mexico and the U.S. Southwest (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1986);

George Kubler, The Religious Architecture of New Mexico in the Colonial Period and since the American Occupation (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1990);

Trent Elwood Sanford, The Architecture of the Southwest: Indian, Spanish, American (New York: Norton, 1950);

David J. Weber, The Spanish Frontier in North America (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1992).

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New Mexico


Albuquerque . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 423

Las Cruces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 435

Santa Fe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 447

The State in Brief

Nickname: Land of Enchantment

Motto: Crescit eundo (It grows as it goes)

Flower: Yucca

Bird: Roadrunner

Area: 121,589 square miles (2000; U.S. rank: 5th)

Elevation: Ranges from 2,842 feet to 13,161 feet above sea level

Climate: Semi arid and sunny, with temperatures varying according to elevation

Admitted to Union: January 6, 1912

Capital: Santa Fe

Head Official: Governor Bill Richardson (D) (until 2007)


1980: 1,302,894

1990: 1,515,069

2000: 1,819,046

2004 estimate: 1,903,289

Percent change, 19902000: 20.1%

U.S. rank in 2004: 36th

Percent of residents born in state: 51.5% (2000)

Density: 15.0 people per square mile (2000)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 94,196

Racial and Ethnic Characteristics (2000)

White: 1,214,253

Black or African American: 34,343

American Indian and Alaska Native: 173,483

Asian: 19,255

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 1,503

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 765,386

Other: 309,882

Age Characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 130,628

Population 5 to 19 years old: 434,231

Percent of population 65 years and over: 11.7%

Median age: 34.6 years (2000)

Vital Statistics

Total number of births (2003): 27,672

Total number of deaths (2003): 14,636 (infant deaths, 157)

AIDS cases reported through 2003: 1,182


Major industries: Government; manufacturing; services; finance, insurance, and real estate; trade

Unemployment rate: 5.6% (February 2005)

Per capita income: $25,502 (2003; U.S. rank: 47th)

Median household income: $35,265 (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Percentage of persons below poverty level: 18.4% (1999)

Income tax rate: Ranges from 1.7% to 6.8%

Sales tax rate: 5.0%

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New Mexico

New Mexico State in sw USA, on the Mexican border; the capital is Santa Fe. The largest city is Albuquerque. The Spanish established the first permanent settlement at Santa Fe in 1610. The USA acquired the region in 1848, at the end of the Mexican War. In 1912, it entered the Union as the 47th state. The first atomic bomb exploded at Alamogordo in 1945. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the n flank the Rio Grande, which runs n to s through the state. The terrain includes desert, forested mountains, and stark mesa. In the s and sw are semi-arid plains. The s Pecos and Rio Grande rivers irrigate cotton crops; hay, wheat, dairy produce and chilli peppers are also important. A large proportion of the state's wealth comes from mineral deposits, including uranium, manganese, copper, silver, turquoise, oil, coal, and natural gas. Area: 314,334sq km (121,335sq mi). Pop. (2000) 1,819,406.

Statehood :

January 16, 1912

Nickname :

The Land of Enchantment

State bird :


State flower :

Yucca flower

State tree :

Pine nut

State motto :

It grows as it goes

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New Mexico


In 1803 when President Thomas Jefferson (18011809) purchased the Louisiana Territory from France, New Mexico had been under Spanish rule for nearly 250 years. After the real estate deal with Napoleon Bonaparte was completed, New Mexico had a new U.S. neighbor.

In 1821 Mexico won its independence from Spain and New Mexico became a province of Mexico. Until then, the Spanish had been very careful about allowing foreigners into Mexican territory. But the new Mexican government was eager to allow New Mexico to deal with U.S. traders. Missourian William Becknell entered Santa Fe and sold U.S. goods such as cloth, pans, and tools to residents there. In exchange he received furs, gold, and silver. He made such a profit that his success created a rush of other businessmen to Mexico who traveled along an 800-mile pathway between Independence, Missouri and Santa Fe, known as the Santa Fe Trail.

America's bid to extend its boundaries to the Pacific Ocean involved the conquest of New Mexico. In 1846 war broke out between the United States and Mexico. When the war ended in 1848, the red, white and blue American flag flew over Santa Fe. Mexico was forced to give up California and New Mexico to the United States. Soon after settlers from eastern and southern states began migrating to New Mexico in the early 1850s to ranch or search for gold and silver.

In 1862 the United States began a campaign against the Native Americans in New Mexico to drive them to a reservation on the Pecos River. Christopher "Kit" Carson, a mountain man and military officer, led the charge against the Apaches and Navajos. As the Native Americans resisted, Carson and his men burned the Native Americans' cornfields and pumpkin patches. Two million pounds of grain were destroyed the first year, causing starvation among the Navajos.

At the same time settlers were fighting among themselves. Cattle ranchers fought against merchants for control of Lincoln County. The Lincoln County War, as it came to be known, involved William H. Bonney, or Billy the Kid, and helped give the territory the image of lawlessness.

In the late 1870s the development of railroad lines across the landscape of New Mexico changed the territory forever. Railroads connected cities in the west and the Southern Pacific line became the first transcontinental track to cross southern New Mexico. Prospectors and equipment for mining were brought to New Mexico by train. Several silver mines were established and towns sprang up. Cattle ranching spread to New Mexico from the southeast region of Texas.

In 1876 statehood for New Mexico was opposed by mining companies, railroads and cattle ranchers who anticipated higher taxes as a result. In addition, New Mexico's diverse population, which included Native American, Spanish, and Mexican cultures, rather than bringing about cultural interchange and amalgamation, fueled the fires of bigotry and racism. However, in 1912 Congress proclaimed New Mexico a state.

Soon after, New Mexico became a haven for talented artists attracting painters, poets and novelists from the East and Midwest. In 1930 a scientist and visionary named Robert Goddard moved to New Mexico to test rocket models. Eventually aerospace became one of New Mexico's major industries.

As the Great Depression rocked the country in the 1930s, New Mexico was devastated as mines closed and railroads and cattle ranches laid off workers. Economic recovery in the state began after the start of World War II (19391945). A steady stream of newcomers were going to a New Mexican ranch called Los Alamos. The ranch had been turned into a secret laboratory for the Manhattan Project, a plan to build the most dangerous war weapon ever.

In 1945 the first atomic bomb test took place in a desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico. Subsequently, the war ended shortly after atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. New Mexico was instrumental in bringing the war to an end and the world into the nuclear age.

After the war the federal government turned Los Alamos into a huge nuclear laboratory. Nuclear research was conducted at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. The government created the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, a test site for rockets. In addition, in 1950 uranium, a metal used in nuclear bombs and nuclear power plants, was discovered in northwest New Mexico. Thus New Mexico became a leading uranium-mining state.

Many scientists, researchers, engineers and their families moved to New Mexico to work at the sites. The state's population doubled in size between 1950 and 1960 and Albuquerque's population quadrupled. So many people were coming from other parts of the country that Spanish-speaking New Mexicans, who once were the majority, became a minority. In the 1990 census, Hispanics accounted for 38 percent of the state's population.

Over the next three decades the state's nuclear and hightech industries flourished. In 1987 New Mexican companies were awarded $1.8 million to build the SDI or "Star Wars" missile defense system. Even though the government reduced military spending and income from the nuclear industry decreased in the 1990s, New Mexico's high tech industry offset those losses with Intel's Rio Rancho plant which was the world's largest computer chip factory in the mid-1990s.

Tourism played a major role in the state's economy in the mid1990s and the state continued to be a leader in space and nuclear research. However, poverty affects a significant number of New Mexico's residents. In the early 1990s the government instituted job training programs to address unemployment issues. In addition, in 1993 a border crossing opened across from Juarez, Mexico to encourage trade between New Mexico and Mexico. In 1995 the median household income was $25,991 and 25.3 percent of New Mexicans lived below the poverty level.

See also: Santa Fe, Santa Fe Trial


Early, Theresa S. New Mexico, Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 1993.

Jenkins, Myra E. A Brief History of New Mexico, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1974.

Simmons, Marc. New Mexico: A Bicentennial History, New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1977.

Thompson, Kathleen. New Mexico. In Portrait of America. Austin, Texas: SteckVaughn Publishers, 1996.

Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States. Detroit: Gale Research, 1998, s.v. "New Mexico."

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