New Mexico ranks fifth among the 50 U.S. states in terms of total area and is bounded by Colorado to the north, Oklahoma, and Texas to the east, Texas and the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora to the south, and Arizona to the west.
Its northwest corner touches Arizona, Utah, and Colorado, creating the only spot where four US states meet. From Albuquerque to Santa Fe, New Mexico’s culture makes it one of the most interesting states in the country. Why the nickname Land of Enchantment? Let’s go through these interesting facts about New Mexico and find out…
People came to the area that’s now New Mexico more than 12,000 years ago.
Thousands of years later Native American tribes including the Apache, Zuni, Navajo, and Pueblos lived on the land.
In 1540 Spanish explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado came to the area in search of cities made of gold. He didn’t discover treasure, but over the next century, the Spanish colonized the land.
The area that is New Mexico was claimed by Spain in the 16th century, became part of Mexico in 1821 and was ceded to the United States in 1848.
During the height of the so-called lawless era of the late 1800′ when Lew Wallace served as territorial Governor, he wrote the popular historical novel Ben-Hur.
Public education was almost non-existent in New Mexico until the end of the 19th As late as 1888 there was not a single public college or high school in the entire territory.
New Mexico became the 47th state of the union in 1912.
New Mexico’s State Constitution officially states that New Mexico is a bilingual State, and 1 out of 3 families in New Mexico speak Spanish at home.
The leaves of the Yucca, New Mexico’s state flower, can be used to make rope, baskets, and sandals.
The capital of New Mexico is Santa Fe.
Santa Fe, sits at 7,000 feet above sea level, making it the nation’s highest capital.
The highest peak in the state is Wheeler Peak soaring above the clouds at 13,000 feet.
The state can be divided into three regions. Across the east, the Great Plains region contains a high plateau with deep canyons. The area also features Carlsbad Caverns, which has more than 119 caves to explore.
The Rocky Mountain region is in the northern part of the state, and it has New Mexico’s highest point: Wheeler Peak.
In the central-southwest is the Basin and Range region. The river Rio Grande runs through the centre of this area, which is known for its mountainous ridges, flat deserts, and White Sands National Monument. That’s the world’s largest field of dunes made of the mineral gypsum.
New Mexico is home to black bears, bighorn sheep, cougars, coyotes, and what may be North America’s rarest mammal, the black-footed ferret.
The state has more livestock than people.
New Mexico olive, piñon pine, Rio Grande cottonwood, and desert willow are a few of the trees that grow throughout the region.
A number of the local wildflowers were named after the state, including the New Mexico thistle and New Mexico evening primrose.
New Mexico is the country’s top producer of perlite, a type of glass used in insulation and gardening.
The state also mines about three-quarters of the United States’ potash, a potassium compound used in fertilizer.
About half of the state’s income from natural resources comes from oil natural gas.
New Mexico is known for its turquoise. Today most mines have very little left, which is why a piece of turquoise can be worth thousands of dollars.
Nearly 75% of the roads in the state are dirt or caliche.
New Mexico is a great purveyor of wine with its origins dating back to the 1600s, making it the oldest wine-producing state in the nation.
By the 1900’s New Mexico was producing over a million gallons of wine each year, and is known for many award-winning wines produced by local winemakers.
The father of modern rocketry Massachusetts scientist Robert Goddard came to New Mexico in 1930 to test rocket-ship models. From those humble beginnings, the aerospace industry became one of New Mexico’s leading industries.
After WWII Los Alamos and Albuquerque had many new laboratories. Hundreds of highly educated scientists and engineers moved in the state. New Mexico soon had a higher percentage of people with Ph.Ds. than any other state.
On the 16th of July, 1945, at 5:29 a.m., the very first atomic bomb was detonated in the desert sands of the Jornada Del Muerto in south-central New Mexico and part of the Alamogordo Bombing Range. Known by its code name, Trinity, it was of the same design as the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, a few weeks later.
Today, Trinity Site is a National Historic Site that offers tours to the public twice a year.
The RoswellUFO Museum in New Mexico is located near a spot where some people claim a UFO crashed in 1947. The museum contains an extensive library and exhibits focused on the history of UFO encounters.
Moon Rocks can be found at the International Space hall of fame that is located in Alamogordo.
New Mexico is home to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, held every October and boasting over 500 hot air balloons.