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Land of Enchantment

New Mexico was organized as territory on September 9, 1850 and entered the union as the 47th state on Jan. 6, 1912 . It has 33 Counties.

New Mexico is bordered by Arizona (west), Colorado, Oklahoma (northeast), Texas (east), Utah (northwest). It has a has a land area of 121,593 square miles making it the 5th largest state. The capital is Santa Fe and the official state website is

New Mexico was named by the Spanish, in reference to Mexico. The nickname is "Land of Enchantment". The State Motto is " Crescit eundo" which means It grows as it goes.



Description of Picture.

Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, a Spanish explorer searching for gold, traveled the region that became New Mexico in 1540–1542. In 1598 the first Spanish settlement was established on the Rio Grande River by Juan de Onate; in 1610 Santa Fe was founded and made the capital of New Mexico.

The U.S. acquired most of New Mexico in 1848, as a result of the Mexican War, and the remainder in the 1853 Gadsden Purchase. Union troops captured the territory from the Confederates during the Civil War. With the surrender of Geronimo in 1886, the Apache Wars and most of the Indian conflicts in the area were ended.

Since 1945, New Mexico has been a leader in energy research and development with extensive experiments conducted at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and Sandia Laboratories in the nuclear, solar, and geothermal areas.
Francisco Vásquez de Coronado

Coronado, Francisco Vásquez de, c.1510–1554, Spanish explorer. He went to Mexico with Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza and in 1538 was made governor of Nueva Galicia. The viceroy, dazzled by the report of Fray Marcos de Niza of the great wealth of the Seven Cities of Cibola to the north, organized an elaborate expedition to explore by sea (see Alarcón, Hernando de) and by land. Coronado, made captain general, set out in 1540 from Compostela, crossed modern Sonora and SE Arizona, and reached Cibola itself—the Zuñi country of New Mexico. He found neither splendor nor wealth in the native pueblos. Nevertheless he sent out his lieutenants: Pedro de Tovar visited the Hopi villages in N Arizona, García López de Cárdenas discovered the Grand Canyon, and Hernando de Alvarado struck out eastward and visited Acoma and the pueblos of the Rio Grande and the Pecos. Alvarado came upon a Native American from a Plains tribe nicknamed the Turk, who told fanciful tales of the wealthy kingdom of Quivira to the east. Coronado, still hopeful, spent a winter on the Rio Grande not far from the modern Santa Fe, waged needless warfare with Native Americans, then set out in 1541 to find Quivira under the false guidance of the Turk. Just where the party went is not certain, but it is generally thought they journeyed in the Texas Panhandle, reached Palo Duro Canyon (near Canyon, Tex.), then turned N through Oklahoma and into Kansas. They reached Quivira, which turned out to be no more than indigenous villages (probably of the Wichita), innocently empty of gold, silver, and jewels. The Spanish turned back in disillusion and spent the winter of 1541–42 on the Rio Grande, then in 1542 left the northern country to go ingloriously back to Nueva Galicia and into the terrors of the Mixtón War. In 1544, Coronado was dismissed from his governorship and lived the rest of his life in peaceful obscurity in Mexico City. He had found no cities of gold, no El Dorado; yet his expedition had acquainted the Spanish with the Pueblo and had opened the Southwest. Subsidiary expeditions from Nueva Galicia to S Arizona and Lower California make the scope of Coronado's achievement even more astonishing.

See F. W. Hodge and T. H. Lewis, ed., Spanish Explorers in the Southern United States, Vol. II (1907); A. G. Day, Coronado's Quest (1940, repr. 1964).
Gadsden Purchase, strip of land purchased (1853) by the United States from Mexico. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) had described the U.S.-Mexico boundary vaguely, and President Pierce wanted to insure U.S. possession of the Mesilla Valley near the Rio Grande—the most practicable route for a southern railroad to the Pacific. James Gadsden negotiated the purchase, and the U.S. Senate ratified (1854) it by a narrow margin. The area of c.30,000 sq mi (77,700 sq km), purchased for $10 million, now forms extreme S New Mexico and Arizona S of the Gila.

See P. N. Garber, The Gadsden Treaty (1923, repr. 1959); O. B. Faulk, Too Far North, Too Far South (1967).

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