New Mexico
(In Detail) (Full size)
State nickname: Land of Enchantment

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 External Links


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 United States took control of the land from Mexico as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo at the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848. New Mexico was admitted to the Union as the 47th state on January 6, 1912.

The first atomic bomb was detonated at the Trinity site in the desert on the Alamagordo 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 snow-capped mountains. Despite New Mexio's arid image, forests cover a significant portion of the state.

New Mexico has several areas of geographical and scenic interest such as White Sands National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the Gila Wilderness.


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 agricultral 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, stone, glass, and clay products, and tourism.

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 related 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 American settlement in the region, ranging from pioneer farmers and ranchers in the territorial period to military families in later decades, makes New Mexico a particularly heterogeneous state.

Important Cities and Towns

The largest city in New Mexico is Albuquerque. Its major cities and towns are:


Colleges and Universities

Miscellaneous Information

Bird: Roadrunner
Flower: Yucca flower
Tree: Piñon pine

Further Reading

  • The Great Taos Bank Robbery and other Indian Country Affairs, Tony Hillerman, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1973, trade paperback, 147 pages, (ISBN 0-8263-0530-X)
  • Great River, The Rio Grande in North American History, Paul Horgan, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, reprint, 1977, in one hardback volume, (ISBN 0-03-029305-7)

External Links