Route 66 in New Mexico:
Route 66 passed through the state of New Mexico east-west
roughly along the path of what is now Interstate 40. In the
first several years of its existence, U.S. 66 followed a
somewhat non-direct route which took it through the capital,
Santa Fe. It was not until the 1930s that a more direct
route was built which bypassed Santa Fe and entered
Albuquerque from the east.
Santa Fe is the highest capital city in the United States at
7,000 feet above sea level.
The province that was once Spanish New Mexico included all
of present day New Mexico, most of Colorado and Arizona, and
slices of Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Wyoming. The
Original American Territory of New Mexico that congress
created in 1850 included all of New Mexico and Arizona plus
parts of Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. The boundaries of
present day New Mexico were drawn by congress in 1863 but
New Mexico didn't become a state until 1912.
Each October Albuquerque hosts the world's largest
international hot air balloon fiesta.
Las Cruces makes the world's largest enchilada the first
weekend in October at the "Whole Enchilada Fiesta".
Lakes and Rivers make up only .002% of the state's total
surface area. The lowest water-to-land ratio of all 50
states. Most of New Mexico's lakes are man-made reservoirs.
A dam on the Rio Grande formed the Elephant Butte Reservoir
the state's largest lake.
The Rio Grande is New Mexico's longest river and runs the
entire length of New Mexico.
The world's first Atomic Bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945
on the White Sands Testing Range near Alamogordo. North of
the impact point a small placard marks the area known as
Trinity Site. The bomb was designed & manufactured in Los
White Sands National Monument is a desert, not of sand, but
of gleaming white gypsum crystals.
Hatch is known as the "Green Chile capital of the world".
New Mexico is home of Philmont Scout Ranch located in
Grants was at one time known as the "Carrot capital of the
country" until the process of cellophane wrapping began and
California took over the title. More recently Grants has been
known as the "Uranium capital of the world" and produced the
bulk of the nation's uranium supply during the post-World
War II and Cold War era.
New Mexico is one of the four corner states. Bordering at
the same point with Colorado, Utah and Arizona.
The Palace of Governors in Santa Fe, built in 1610, is one
of the oldest public buildings in America.
More than 25,000 Anasazi sites have been identified in New
Mexico by archeologists. The Anasazi, an amazing
civilization who were the ancestors of the Pueblo, where
around for 1300 years. Their great classical period lasted
from 1100-1300 AD.
The state of New Mexico shares an international border with
the country of Mexico.
The leaves of the Yucca, New Mexico's state flower, can be
used to make rope, baskets and sandals.
1/4 of New Mexico is forested, and the state has 7 National
Forests - including the Nation's largest, the 3.3 million acre
Gila National Forest which includes the Gila Wilderness.
The largest fire in the state's history was ignited on May
4, 2000 in the National Park Service's Bandelier National
Monument, when a controlled burn meant to clear away dry
brush and prevent future wild fires leaped out of control
due to high winds. 25,000 people, including all the
residents of Los Alamos, were forced to evacuate their
In 1950 the little cub that was to become the National Fire
Safety symbol Smokey the Bear was found trapped in a tree
when his home in Lincoln National Forest was destroyed by
fire. In 1963, in Smokey's honor, the New Mexican
legislature chose the black bear to be the official state
The word "Pueblo" is used to describe a group of people, a
town, or an architectural style. There are 19 Pueblo groups
that speak 4 distinct languages. The Pueblo people of the
southwest have lived in the same location longer than any
other culture in the Nation.
The Navajo, the Nation's largest Native American Group, have
a reservation that covers 14 million Acres.
To a certain degree New Mexico's Indian Reservations
function as states within a state where tribal law may
supersede state law.
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.
In some isolated villages, such as Truchas, Chimayo', and
Coyote in north-central New Mexico, some descendants of
Spanish conquistadors still speak a form of 16th century
Spanish used no where else in the world today.
The Palace of Governors in Santa Fe is the oldest Government
Building in the United States.
At Lake Valley, miners discovered silver in veins so pure
that the metal could be sawn off in blocks, instead of
having to be dug out by traditional methods.
The father of modern rocketry Massachusetts scientist Robert
Goddard whom some called a crackpot, came to New Mexico in
1930 to test rocket-ship models. From those humble
beginnings the aerospace industry became one of New Mexico's
To test the latest rockets, White Sands Missile Range was
created on the same land where the first atom bomb had been
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.D.s than any other state.
1 out of 4 workers in New Mexico work directly for the
Federal Government. State and local governments are also
Public education was almost non-existent in New Mexico until
the end of the 19th century. As late as 1888 there was not a
single public college or high school in the entire
Two important aspects of New Mexico's economy are scientific
research such as the nuclear energy research carried out at Sandia National Laboratories and mining of natural resources
such as oil, natural gas, uranium, potash, copper, coal,
zinc, gold and silver.
New Mexico has far more sheep and cattle than people. There
are only about 12 people per square mile.
Since New Mexico's climate is so dry 3/4 of the roads are
left unpaved. The roads don't wash away.
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. First published
in 1880, it was made into a movie in 1959 starring Charleton
Saint Paul's United Methodist church in Las Cruces has 7
The world famous Santa Fe Opera has an open-air (outdoor)
theater situated dramatically outside of the capital city in
the foothills of the Sangre de Christo Mountains.
The town of Deming is known for its annual duck races.
Cimarron was once known as the "Cowboy capital of the
world". Some of the old west's most famous names, such
as Kit Carson and "Buffalo Bill" Cody lived there. A quote
from the Las Vegas Gazette illustrates how lawless Cimarron
was: "Everything is quiet in Cimarron. Nobody has been killed in
Roswell the states 4th largest city was founded in 1869 when
a professional gambler established a lone store on the
Moon Rocks can be found at the International Space hall of
fame that is located in Alamogordo.
Tens of thousands of bats live in the Carlsbad Caverns. The
largest chamber of Carlsbad Caverns is more than 10 football
fields long and about 22 stories high.
Taos Pueblo is located 2 miles north of the city of Taos. It
is one of the oldest continuously occupied communities in
the United States. People still live in some of its 900 year
New Mexico's largest city Albuquerque was founded in 1706 as
a Spanish farming community. It was named after a province
New Mexico's capital city Santa Fe is the ending point of
the 800 mile Santa Fe Trail.
The City of Truth or Consequences was once called Hot
Springs. In 1950 the town changed its name to the title of a
popular radio quiz program.
The town of Gallup calls itself the "Indian Capital of the
World" and serves as a trading center for more than 20
different Indian groups. Every August it is the site of the
Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial.
New Mexico was named by 16th century Spanish explorers who
hoped to find gold and wealth equal to Mexico's Aztec
Native Americans have been living in New Mexico for some
twenty thousand years. The Pueblo, Apache, Comanche, Navajo,
and Ute peoples were in the New Mexico region when Spanish
settlers arrived in the 1600s.
On the same desert grounds where today's space age missiles
are tested, ten-thousand-year-old arrowheads have been
found. New Mexican history has ranged from arrows to atoms
and has embraced Indian, Spanish and Anglo cultures. Few
states can claim such a distinctive past.
47th state in the USA; it became a state on January
State Capital - Santa Fe
Largest City - Albuquerque
Area - 121,593 square miles [New Mexico is the 5th
biggest state in the USA]
Population - 1,819,046 (as of 2000) [New Mexico is
the 36th most populous state in the USA]
Name for Residents - New Mexicans
Major Industries - mining (potash, copper, silver,
uranium), oil, natural gas, tourism.
Major Rivers - Rio Grande, Pecos River
Major Lakes - Elephant Butte Reservoir, Conchas Lake,
Highest Point - Wheeler Peak - 13,161 feet (4,011 m)
above sea level
Lowest Point - Red Bluff Lake - 2,817 feet (859 m)
above sea level
Bordering States - Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma,
Bordering Country - Mexico
Origin of the Name New Mexico - Named by the Spanish,
in reference to Mexico
State Nickname - Land of Enchantment
State Motto - "Crescit eundo" - It grows as it goes
State Song - O, Fair New Mexico
The official state flag of New Mexico was chosen from a flag
competition in 1920 (the competition was held to replace
an older New Mexico flag). The winner was Dr. Harry Mera,
a doctor and archeologist from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dr.
Mera's design is an interpretation of an ancient Sun symbol
called a Zia (this symbol was found on a water jar made
in the late 1800's in Zia Pueblo). Since four is a
sacred number for the Zia, there are four rays coming from
each side of the stylized Sun. The colors red and yellow are
used because they were the colors of the flag of the Spanish
conquistadors who went to New Mexico in the early 1500's.
State Fish: New Mexico cutthroat trout
Tarantula hawk wasp
Coelophysis - a meat-eating dinosaur
Pinon (Pinus edulis)
Blue gramma grass
Chile and frijoles
Red and Yellow
Bizcochito (also called biscochito)
Information From 50states.com and EnchantedLearning.com