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Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, it has also been part of the Imperial Spanishviceroyalty of New Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory. Among U.S. states, New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanics, at 44 percent (2008 estimate), including descendants of Spanish colonists and recent immigrants from Latin America. It also has the third-highest percentage of Native Americans, after Alaska and Oklahoma, and the fifth-highest total number of Native Americans after California, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Texas. The tribes in the state consist of mostly Navajo and Pueblo
peoples. As a result, the demographics and culture of the state are
unique for their strong Hispanic, Mexican, and Native American
influences. The flag of New Mexico is represented by the red and gold
colors, which represent Spain as well as the Zia symbol, an ancient Native American symbol for the sun.
The state's total area is 121,412 square miles (314,460 km2). The eastern border of New Mexico lies along 103° W longitude with the state of Oklahoma, and three miles (5 km) west of 103° W longitude with Texas. On the southern border, Texas makes up the eastern two-thirds, while the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora make up the western third, with Chihuahua making up about 90% of that. The western border with Arizona runs along the 109° 03' W longitude. The southwestern corner of the state is known as the Bootheel. The 37° Nlatitude parallel forms the northern boundary with Colorado. The states New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah come together at the Four Corners
in the northwestern corner of New Mexico. New Mexico, although a large
state, has little water. Its surface water area is about 250 square
miles (650 km2).
The New Mexican landscape ranges from wide, rose-colored deserts to broken mesas to high, snow-capped peaks. Despite New Mexico's arid image, heavily forested mountain wildernesses cover a significant portion of the state, especially towards the north. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost part of the Rocky Mountains, run roughly north-south along the east side of the Rio Grande in the rugged, pastoral north. The most important of New Mexico's rivers are the Rio Grande, Pecos, Canadian, San Juan, and Gila. The Rio Grande is the eighth longest river in the U.S.
The climate of New Mexico is generally semi-arid to arid, though
there are areas of continental and alpine climates, and its territory is
mostly covered by mountains, high plains, and desert. The Great Plains (High Plains) are located in the eastern portion of the state, similar to the Colorado
high plains in eastern Colorado. The two states share plenty
similarities in terrain, with both having plains, mountains, basins,
mesas, and desert lands. New Mexico's average precipitation rate is
13.9 inches (350 mm) a year. The average annual temperatures can
range from 64 °F (18 °C) in the southeast to less than
40 °F (4 °C) in the northern mountains.
During the summer months, daytime temperatures can often exceed
100 °F (38 °C) at elevations below 5,000 feet (1,500 m),
the average high temperature in July ranges from 97 °F (36 °C)
at the lower elevations to the upper 70s (°F, up to 26 °C) at the
higher elevations. Many cities in New Mexico can have temperature lows
in the 20's and into the teens as well. The highest temperature recorded
in New Mexico was 116 °F (47 °C) at Artesia on June 29, 1918. New Mexico also receives a decent amount of snow as well, and a lot of snow in its higher elevations in the mountains.
As of July 1, 2008, the United States Census Bureau estimated New Mexico's population at 1,984,356, which represents an increase of 165,315, or 9.1%, since the last census in 2000.
This includes a natural increase since the last census of 114,583
people (that is 235,551 births minus 120,968 deaths) and an increase due
to net migration of 59,499 people into the state.Immigration
from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 34,375
people, and migration within the country produced a net gain of 25,124
According to the Census Bureau, 1.5% of the population is
Multiracial/Mixed-Race, a population larger than both the Asian and NHPI
population groups. In 2008 New Mexico had the highest percentage (45%) of Hispanics (of any race) of any state, with 83% of these native-born and 17% foreign-born. The majority of Hispanics in New Mexico claim a Spanish
ancestry, especially in the northern part of the state. These people
are the descendants of Spanish colonists who arrived during the 16th,
17th, and 18th centuries. The state also has a large Native American population, second in percentage behind that of Alaska.
According to estimates from the United States Census Bureau's 2006-2008 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimate, New Mexico's population was 1,962,226. The number of New Mexicans of different single races were: White, 1,375,334 (70.1%); Black, 43,931 (2.2%); American Indian
or Alaskan Native, 182,136 (9.3%); Asian, 26,767 (1.4%), Native
Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 854 (0.1%), and 273,778 (14.0%) of some
other race. There were 59,415 (3.0%) of two or more races. There were
873,171 (44.5%) Hispanics or Latino (of any race).
New Mexico is commonly thought to have Spanish as an official language alongside English,
due to the widespread usage of Spanish in the state. Although the
original state constitution of 1912 provided for a temporarily bilingual
government, New Mexico has no official language. Nevertheless, the
state government publishes a driver's manual as well as ballots in both
languages (though it is required to publish ballots in Spanish by
federal law).
The constitution provided that, for the following twenty years, all
laws passed by the legislature be published in both Spanish and English,
and thereafter as the legislature should provide.
Prior to 1967, notices of statewide and county elections were
required to be printed in English and "may be printed in Spanish."
Additionally, many legal notices today are required to be published in
both English and Spanish.
San Miguel Chapel in Santa Fe is the oldest standing church structure in the United States. The adobe walls were constructed around A.D. 1610.
The Santa Cruz Church one of the oldest churches in the state built in 1733, located in Santa Cruz, New Mexico near Española. The Spanish name for the church is "La Iglesia de Santa Cruz de la Canada".
Oil and gas production, tourism, and federal government spending are
important drivers of the state economy. State government has an
elaborate system of tax credits and technical assistance to promote job
growth and business investment, especially in new technologies.
In 2007 New Mexico's Gross Domestic Product was $76.178 billion (preliminary figure). In 2007 the per capita personal income was $31,474 (rank 43rd in the nation). In 2005 the percentage of persons below the poverty level was 18.4%.
The New Mexico Tourism Department estimates that in Fiscal Year 2006
the travel industry in New Mexico generated expenditures of $6.5
As of November 2010, the state's unemployment rate is 8.5%.
Federal government spending is a major driver of the New Mexico
economy. In 2005 the federal government spent $2.03 on New Mexico for
every dollar of tax revenue collected from the state. This rate of
return is higher than any other state in the Union.
New Mexico provides a number of economic incentives to businesses
operating in the state, including various types of tax credits and tax
exemptions. Most of the incentives are based on job creation.
New Mexico law allows governments to provide land, buildings, and
infrastructure to businesses to promote job creation. Several
municipalities have imposed an Economic Development Gross Receipts Tax
(a form of Municipal Infrastructure GRT) that is used to pay for these
infrastructure improvements and for marketing their areas.
The state provides financial incentives for film production.
The New Mexico Film Office estimated at the end of 2007 that the
incentive program had brought more than 85 film projects to the state
since 2003 and had added $1.2 billion to the economy.
Beginning in 2008, personal income tax rates for New Mexico range from 1.7% to 4.9%, within four income brackets. Beginning in 2007, active-duty military salaries are exempt from the state income tax.
New Mexico imposes a Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) on many transactions, which many even include some governmental receipts. This resembles a sales tax
but unlike the sales taxes in many states it applies to services as
well as tangible goods. Normally, the provider or seller passes the tax
on to the purchaser, however legal incidence and burden apply to the
business, as an excise tax. GRT is imposed by the state and there may an
additional locality component to produce a total tax rate. As of July 1, 2008 the combined tax rate ranged from 5.125% to 8.4375%.
is imposed on real property by the state, by counties, and by school
districts. In general, personal-use personal property is not subject to
property taxation. On the other hand, property tax is levied on most
business-use personalty. The taxable value of property is 1/3 of the
assessed value. A tax rate of about 30 mills
is applied to the taxable value, resulting in an effective tax rate of
about 1%. In the 2005 tax year the average millage was about 26.47 for
residential property and 29.80 for non-residential property. Assessed
values of residences cannot be increased by more than 3% per year unless
the residence is remodeled or sold.
New Mexico has long been an important corridor for trade and migration. The builders of the ruins at Chaco Canyon also created a radiating network of roads from the mysterious settlement. Chaco Canyon's trade function shifted to Casas Grandes in the present-day Mexican state of Chihuahua, however, north-south trade continued. The pre-Columbian trade with Mesoamerican cultures
included northbound exotic birds, seashells and copper. Turquoise,
pottery, and salt were some of the goods transported south along the Rio Grande.
Present-day New Mexico's pre-Columbian trade is especially remarkable
for being undertaken on foot. The north-south trade route later became a
path for colonists with horses arriving from New Spain as well as trade and communication. The route was called El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro.
The Santa Fe Trail was the 19th century US territory's vital commercial and military highway link to the Eastern United States. All with termini in Northern New Mexico, the Camino Real, the Santa Fe Trail and the Old Spanish Trail are all recognized as National Historic Trails. New Mexico's latitude and low passes made it an attractive east-west transportation corridor. As a territory, the Gadsden Purchase increased New Mexico's land area for the purpose of the construction of a southern transcontinental railroad, that of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Another transcontinental railroad was completed by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. The railroads essentially replaced the earlier trails but brought on a population boom. Early transcontinental auto trails later crossed the state bringing more migrants. Railroads were later supplemented or replaced by a system of highways and airports. Today, New Mexico's Interstate Highways approximate the earlier land routes of the Camino Real, the Santa Fe Trail and the transcontinental railroads.
New Mexico has had a problem with drunk driving, but that has
lessened. According to the Los Angeles Times, for years the state was
the country's worst in alcohol-related crash rates, but ranked 25th in
alcohol-related fatal crash rates, as of July 2009.
New Mexico had 59,927 route miles of highway as of the year 2000, of which 7,037 receive federal-aid. In that same year there were 1,003 miles (1,614 km) of freeways, of which 1000 were the route miles of Interstate Highways 10, 25 and 40. The former number has increased with the upgrading of roads near Pojoaque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces
to freeways. The highway traffic fatality rate was 1.9 fatalities per
million miles traveled in 2000, the 13th highest rate among U.S. states. Notable bridges include the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge near Taos. As of 2001, 703 highway bridges, or one percent, were declared "structurally deficient" or "structurally obsolete".
There were 2,354 route miles of railroads in the year 2000, this number increases with the opening of the Rail Runner's extension to Santa Fe. In addition to local railroads and other tourist lines, the state jointly owns and operates a heritage narrow-gauge steam railroad, the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railway, with the state of Colorado. Narrow gauge railroads once connected many communities in the northern part of the state, from Farmington to Santa Fe.:110 No fewer than 100 railroads of various names and lineage have operated in the jurisdiction at some point.:8
New Mexico's rail transportation system reached its height in terms of
length following admission as a state; in 1914 eleven railroads operated
3124 route miles.:10
Passenger train service once connected nine of New Mexico's present ten most populous cities (the exception is Rio Rancho), while today passenger train service connects two: Albuquerque and Santa Fe. With the decline of most intercity rail
service in the United States in the late 1960s, New Mexico was left
with minimal services. No less than six daily long-distance roundtrip
trains supplemented by many branch line and local trains served New
Mexico in the early 1960s. Declines in passenger revenue, but not
necessarily ridership, prompted many railroads to turn over their
passenger services in truncated form to Amtrak,
a state owned enterprise. Amtrak, also known as the National Passenger
Railroad Corporation, began operating the two extant long-distance
routes in May 1971. Resurrection of passenger rail service from Denver to El Paso, a route once plied in part by the ATSF's El Pasoan:37, has been proposed over the years. As early as the 1980s former Governor Toney Anaya proposed building a high-speed rail line connecting the two cities with New Mexico's major cities.Front Range Commuter Rail is a project to connect Wyoming and New Mexico with high-speed rail.
Amtrak's Southwest Chief passes through daily at stations in Gallup, Albuquerque, Lamy, Las Vegas, and Raton, offering connections to Los Angeles, Chicago and intermediate points. The Southwest Chief
is the fastest Amtrak long distance train, being permitted a maximum
speed of 90 mph (140 km/h) in various places on the tracks of the BNSF Railway. It also operates on New Mexico Rail Runner Express trackage. The Southwest Chief is the successor to the Super Chief and El Capitan.:115 The streamlinerSuper Chief,
a favorite of early Hollywood stars, was one of the most famous named
trains in the United States and one of the most esteemed for its luxury
and exoticness—train cars were named for regional Native American tribes
and outfitted with the artwork of many local artists—but also for its
speed: as few as 39 hours 45 minutes westbound.
A sign in Southern New Mexico indicating "The Future site of the New Mexico Spaceport".
The Constitution of 1912, as amended, dictates the form of government in the state.
On March 18, 2009, the Governor signed the law abolishing the death penalty
(although the repeal is not retroactive to capital crimes committed
before it took effect) in New Mexico after the assembly and senate vote
the week before, thus becoming the 15th U.S. state to abolish the
Governor Susana Martinez and Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez,
both Republicans, were elected in 2010. Their terms expire in January
2015. Governors serve a term of four years and may seek re-election for
one additional term (limit of two terms). New Mexico has had more
governors than any other state in the United States. Juan de Oñate was appointed by the Spanish crown as the first governor of New Mexico in 1598. Since then, New Mexico has had Spanish, Mexican, and American governors, therefore New Mexico has seen more governors then any other U.S state. For a list of past governors, see List of New Mexico Governors.
The Capitol of New Mexico in 1900, Today the building is the Bataan Memorial Building.
New Mexico is considered a swing state, whose population has favored both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates in the past. The current governor is Susana Martinez (R), who succeeded Bill Richardson (D) on January 1, 2011 after he served two terms as governor from 2003 to 2011. Prior to Richardson, Gary E. Johnson (R) served as governor from 1995 to 2003. In previous presidential elections, Al Gore carried the state in 2000; George W. Bush won New Mexico's five electoral votes in 2004, and the state's electoral votes were won by Barack Obama in 2008.
Democratic strongholds in the state include the Santa Fe Area, the west and south sides of the Albuquerque Metro Area, Northern and West Central New Mexico, and most of the Native American
reservations, particularly the Navajo Nation. Republicans have
traditionally had their strongholds in the eastern and southern parts of
the state (Little Texas), Rio Rancho, and Albuquerque's Northeast Heights.
With a Native American population of 134,000 in 1990, New Mexico still ranks as an important center of Native American culture. Both the Navajo and Apache share Athabaskan origin. The Apache and some Ute live on federal reservations within the state. With 16 million acres (6,500,000 ha), mostly in neighboring Arizona, the reservation of the Navajo Nation ranks as the largest in the United States. The prehistorically agricultural Pueblo Indians live in pueblos scattered throughout the state.
More than one-third of New Mexicans claim Hispanic origin, many are
descendants of colonial settlers, and converted Sephardic Jews. They
settled in the northern portion of the state. Most of the Mexican
immigrants reside in the southern part of the state.
There are many New Mexicans who also speak a unique dialect of Spanish. New Mexican Spanish
has vocabulary often unknown to other Spanish speakers. Because of the
historical isolation of New Mexico from other speakers of the Spanish
language, the local dialect preserves some late medieval Castilian
vocabulary considered archaic elsewhere, adopts numerous Native
American words for local features, and contains much Anglicized
vocabulary for American concepts and modern inventions.
A large artistic community thrives in Santa Fe, and has included such people as Bruce Nauman, Richard Tuttle, John Connell and Steina Vasulka.
The capital city has museums of Spanish colonial, international folk,
Navajo ceremonial, modern Native American, and other modern art. Another
museum honors late resident Georgia O'Keeffe. Colonies for artists and writers thrive, and the small city teems with art galleries. In August, the city hosts the annual Santa Fe Indian Market, which is the oldest and largest juried Native American art showcase in the world.
The interior of the Crosby Theater at the Santa Fe Opera; viewed from the mezzanine.
Silver City, in the southwestern mountains of the state, was
originally a mining town, and at least one nearby mine still operates.
It is perhaps better known now as the home of and/or exhibition center
for large numbers of artists, visual and otherwise.
^ abMurphy, Dan (2000). New Mexico, the distant land: an illustrated history. photo research by John O. Baxter (2000 ed.). Sun Valley, CA: American Historical Press. ISBN9781892724090.
^ abcdefghijklSimmons, Marc (1988). New Mexico: An Interpretive History (New ed.). Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN0826311105.
^Stewart, George (2008) . Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States. New York: NYRB Classics. pp. 23–24. ISBN9781590172735.
"There was Francisco de Ibarra, a great seeker after gold mines. In
1563 he went far to the north...when he returned south, Ibarra boasted
that he had discovered a New Mexico. Doubtless, like others, he
stretched the tale, and certainly the land of which he told was well
south of the one now so called. Yet men remembered the name Nuevo
México, though not at first as that of the region which Coronado had
^ abSimmons, Mark (1991). The Last Conquistador: Juan De Oñate and the Settling of the Far Southwest. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN0806123680.
^Resistance and Accommodation in New Mexico.
Source: C. W. Hackett, ed., Historical Documents relating to New
Mexico, Nueva Vizcaya, and Approaches Thereto, to 1773, vol. III
[Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1937] pp. 327–35.
Beck, Warren. Historical Atlas of New Mexico 1969.
Chavez, Thomas E. An Illustrated History of New Mexico, 267 pages, University of New Mexico Press 2002, ISBN 0-8263-3051-7
Bullis, Don. New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary, 1540–1980, 2 vol, (Los Ranchos de Albuquerque: Rio Grande, 2008) 393 pp. isbn 978-1-890689-17-9
Gonzales-Berry, Erlinda, David R. Maciel, eds. The Contested Homeland: A Chicano History of New Mexico, 314 pages – University of New Mexico Press 2000, ISBN 0-8263-2199-2
Gutiérrez; Ramón A. When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500–1846 (1991)
Hain; Paul L., F. Chris Garcia, Gilbert K. St. Clair; New Mexico Government 3rd ed. (1994)
Horgan, Paul, Great River, The Rio Grande in North American History, 1038 pages, Wesleyan University Press 1991, 4th Reprint, ISBN 0585380147, Pulitzer Prize 1955
Larson, Robert W. New Mexico's Quest for Statehood, 1846–1912 (1968)
Nieto-Phillips, John M. The Language of Blood: The Making of Spanish-American Identity in New Mexico, 1880s–1930s, University of New Mexico Press 2004, ISBN 08236324231
Simmons, Marc. New Mexico: An Interpretive History, 221 pages, University of New Mexico Press 1988, ISBN 0-8263-1110-5, good introduction
Szasz; Ferenc M., and Richard W. Etulain, eds. Religion in Modern New Mexico (1997)
Trujillo, Michael L. Land of Disenchantment: Latina/o Identities and Transformations in Northern New Mexico
(2010) 265 pages; An experimental ethnography that contrasts life in
the Espanola Valley with the state's commercial image as the "land of
Weber; David J. Foreigners in Their Native Land: Historical Roots of the Mexican Americans (1973), primary sources to 1912
Alamogordo Albuquerque Anthony Artesia Aztec Belen Bernalillo Bloomfield Carlsbad Chaparral Clovis Corrales Deming Espanola Farmington Gallup Grants Hobbs Kirtland Las Cruces Las Vegas Los Alamos Los Lunas Lovington North Valley Portales Raton Rio Rancho Roswell Ruidoso Santa Fe Shiprock Silver City Socorro South Valley Sunland Park Truth or Consequences White Rock Zuni Pueblo
Bernalillo County Catron County Chaves County Cibola County Colfax County Curry County De Baca County Dona Ana County Eddy County Grant County Guadalupe County Harding County Hidalgo County Lea County Lincoln County Los Alamos County Luna County McKinley County Mora County Otero County Quay County Rio Arriba County Roosevelt County San Juan County San Miguel County Sandoval County Santa Fe County Sierra County Socorro County Taos County Torrance County Union County Valencia County