Please email or share this article!

New Mexico History Facts

New Mexico is a state in the Southwestern region of the United States of America. The state capital of New Mexico is Santa Fe.

New Mexico is one of the “Mountain States.”

New Mexico borders Texas, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora.

Seal Of New Mexico

It is the 36th biggest U.S. state in terms of the amount of people who live there.

It is the 5th largest state by area. This means it is one of the least densely populated (sixth-least) states.

Chaco Canyon Hungo Pavi Ruins Staircase Nps

New Mexico has a very varied climate.

In the north and east, New Mexico is colder, while western and southern New Mexico has a warm, dry, climate.

Related: New Mexico State Facts

Early populations

New Mexico has a very, very, long history of human settlement.

Geronimo Camp

We know about this long history through archaeological evidence. This evidence shows that New Mexico has been inhabited since around 9,200 BC.

11,000 years ago, the Clovis Culture – who were hunter gatherers – lived in the region.

The Ancestral Puebloans lived in the region too. Like their descendants, the Pueblos, who lived in the area when the Spanish arrived in the 1600s, the Ancestral Puebloans built houses of stone or bricks.

Kachina Doll

The Pueblo culture began in the 13th century A.D. in the valley of the River Rio Grande. The Pueblo are famous for building multi-story apartments in cliffs.

There were lots of myths about these cities being ‘cities of gold.”

They became very famous and attracted a lot of attention, especially from Spanish explorers. A huge Spanish expedition set out to find them in 1540-1542.

They found lots of impressive Pueblos (towns) in 1541 but did not find any cities of gold.


The first Spanish settlement

In 1598, a man called Jian de Onate came from the Valley of Mexico with 500 Spanish settlers and soldiers and 7,000 livestock, and the first settlement was founded.

They called this San Juan de Los Caballeros, “Saint John of the Knights.”

This first settlement was being repeatedly attacked by the neighboring Apache, so they moved it to near the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and called it Sante Fe.

New Mexico San Juan Pueblo Donjuan De Onate First Govenor Of New Spain

Sante Fe is the oldest capital in the United States.

Pueblo Revolt 1680

The Spanish tried to convert the Native Americans resident in New Mexico to Christianity and change their way of life, so they could control them and force them to work for them.

However, this caused lots of tensions between the Spanish and the Pueblo and caused the Pueblo people to revolt in 1680.

Early Indians Pueblos

United States control

In 1848, the United States controlled New Mexico following the Mexican-American War in 1846.

After this war, the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in 1848.

In this treaty, Mexico gave up most of its former territory to America, including the American southwest and California.

Flag Of California

The area was ruled as New Mexico Territory. In 1912, it was admitted as a state.

It was the 47th State in the Union.

Flag Of New Mexico

Quiz Time!

How long have human beings inhabited the area now known as New Mexico?

What did the Pueblo people build?


When did the Spanish arrive?

What is the oldest capital city in the United States called?

When did New Mexico become part of the United States?

US State History

Santa Fe Nm

Leave a Comment