Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
New Mexico
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

New Mexico

New Mexico
                      Nuevo México
(In Detail) (In Detail)
State nickname: Land of Enchantment, The Spanish state

Other U.S. States
CapitalSanta Fe
Largest City Albuquerque
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water
 - % water
Ranked 5th
315,194 km²
314,590 km²
607 km²
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 36th
Admittance into Union
 - Order
 - Date

January 6, 1912
Time zoneMountain: UTC-7/-6
31°20'N to 37°N
103°W to 109°W
550 km
595 km
4,011 meters
1735 meters
866 meters
ISO 3166-2:US-NM

New Mexico is a state in the southwestern United States and its U.S. postal abbreviation is NM. Nuevo México was the Spanish name for the territory north and west of the Rio Grande.

USS New Mexico was named in honor of this state.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Law and government
3 Geography
4 Economy
5 Demographics
6 Important cities and towns
7 Education
8 Miscellaneous information
9 Some fauna
10 Further reading
11 External link


New Mexico is centered on the Rio Grande valley, the historical center of Spanish settlement and conquest of the Pueblo people, Native American tribes who lived in small towns along the Rio Grande and nearby as at Acoma. In 1540, the Spanish conquistador Coronado trekked through the area known today as New Mexico in search of the fabled seven cities of gold.

The incorporation of the modern-day state's territory into the United States was a gradual process. The northeastern corner was ceded by France in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The remainder of what is now New Mexico was then wholly claimed by the Spanish colony of New Spain and its successor state (after 1810), the Republic of Mexico. The incorporation of this territory into the USA came in three stages: the portion to the east of the Rio Grande was claimed by the breakaway Republic of Texas when it seceded from Mexico in 1836; this territory was transferred to the federal government by Texas in 1850. Most of the western portion of the state (to the west of the river) was surrendered by Mexico under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo at the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848. Finally, the southwestern corner of the state (the "boot heel") was ceded by Mexico under the 1853 Gadsden Purchase. The Territory of New Mexico was established on September 9 1850; under the terms of the Missouri Compromise, slavery was legal in the territory, but does not appear to have taken significant hold there. The eastern half of the territory became the State of New Mexico, which was admitted to the Union as its 47th member on January 6, 1912, the western half being admitted separately as the 48th state of Arizona on February 14, 1912.

New Mexico is home to two national laboratories, Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The first atomic bomb was detonated at the Trinity site in the desert on the Alamogordo Test Range on July 16, 1945.

Law and government

The capital of New Mexico is Santa Fe and its governor is Bill Richardson. Its two U.S. senators are Jeff Bingaman (Democrat) and Pete V. Domenici (Republican). List of New Mexico Governors.


See: List of New Mexico counties

It has a southern border with Mexico, an eastern border with Texas (103°) and Oklahoma, and a western border with Arizona (109°). The 37th parallel forms the northern boundary with Colorado. The spot where New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah come together is called the Four Corners. The landscape ranges from rose-colored deserts to mountains that are snow-capped most of the year. Despite New Mexico's arid image, forests cover a significant portion of the state.

New Mexico's areas of geographical and scenic interest include White Sands National Monument, Capulin Volcano National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, the Valles Caldera National Preserve and the Gila wilderness.

Interstate highways

United States highways

North-south routesEast-west routes


New Mexico's 1999 total gross state product was $51 billion, placing it 38th in the nation. Its 2000 Per Capita Personal Income was $22,203, 48th in the nation. The state's main agricultural outputs are cattle, dairy products, hay, nursery stock, and chilies. Its industrial outputs are electric equipment; petroleum and coal products; food processing; printing and publishing; and stone, glass, and clay products. Tourism is an important source of service jobs.

Access to water is a chronic problem in the southwest; to address this problem, the Elephant Butte Dam and Reservoir impounds the waters of Rio Grande, north of Las Cruces.

New Mexico's economy is heavily tied to government and military spending, with federal properties such as the nuclear laboratories at Los Alamos and the missile and spacecraft proving grounds at White Sands adding greatly to local economies.

Despite the impact of these facilities, many communities in New Mexico, particularly in heavily Native American and Hispanic rural areas, are economically underdeveloped.


As of the 2000 census, the population of New Mexico is 1,819,046. Its population grew 20.1% (303,977) from its 1990 levels. According to the 2000 census, 66.8% (1,214,253) identified themselves as White, 42.1% (765,386) as Hispanic or Latino, 9.5% (173,483) as American Indian or Alaska Native, 1.9% (34,343) as black, 1.1% (19,255) as Asian, 0.1% (1,503) as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 17% (309,882) as other, and 3.6% (66,327) identified themselves as belonging to two or more races.

7.2% of its population were reported as under 5, 28% under 18, and 11.7% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 50.8% of the population.

In many communities of Northern New Mexico, the Hispanic population consists of the descendants of Spanish colonizers who settled the region in the 17th century and 18th century. In the southern region of the state, the Hispanic population is mostly derived from Mexican immigration during the 20th century. The Native American population consists of Pueblo Indians, some living in communities dating from before European settlement, and the Navajo and Apache, both of Athapascan origin.

The presence of various ancient Native American communities, the long-established Spanish and Mexican influence, and the diversity of Anglo-American settlement in the region, ranging from pioneer farmers and ranchers in the territorial period to military families in later decades, make New Mexico a particularly heterogeneous state.

Important cities and towns

The largest (by far) city in New Mexico is Albuquerque. Each city or urbanized area named in bold has a population at least 100,000.


Colleges and universities

Miscellaneous information

State Bird: Roadrunner
State Flower: Yucca flower
State Insect: Tarantula hawk wasp
State Fish: Cutthroat trout
State Vegetables: Chile pepper and pinto bean

Some fauna

Further reading

External link

[ Edit {}] Political divisions of the United States
States Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming
Federal district; District of Columbia
Insular areas; American Samoa | Baker Island | Guam | Howland Island | Jarvis Island | Johnston Atoll | Kingman Reef | Midway Atoll | Navassa Island | Northern Mariana Islands | Palmyra Atoll | Puerto Rico | Virgin Islands | Wake Island