Humans came to the area that is now New Mexico over 12,000 years ago. Experts believe that during the last Ice Age they migrated from what is now Russia across a land bridge called the Bering Strait. (When the ice age ended, the water level rose, covering this bridge.) Thousands of years later, Indian tribes lived on earth, including Apaches, Zunis, Navajos, and Pueblos. In 1540, Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado arrived in the area in search of cities of gold rumored to exist in the Americas. He did not discover the treasure, but over the next century the Spaniards colonized the land. Then in 1821 Mexico declared its independence from Spain and the area became part of Mexico. But after the US won the Mexican-American War in 1848, New Mexico became a US territory. In 1912, the 47th state was declared.

Geography of New Mexico

As the Spaniards began to explore the region, they hoped to find land as valuable as the one they had previously found in Mexico. So they christened Nueva and Mexico. (Nueva means “new” in Spanish.) As for the word “Mexico”, some experts believe it’s a version of the name that the Aztecs (a cultural group from Mexico) called one of their gods (although there are many different theories). The state has beautiful landscapes from mountains to forests and deserts. This earned him the nickname Land of Enchantment.

Geography of New Mexico

According to, New Mexico is bordered by Colorado to the north, Oklahoma and Texas to the east, Mexico to the south, and Arizona to the west. Its northwest corner touches Arizona, Utah, and Colorado, creating the only place where four states meet. The state can be divided into three regions. Stretching across the east, the Great Plains region contains a high plateau with deep canyons. The area also has the Carlsbad Caverns, which has over 119 caves to explore. The Rocky Mountain region is in the northern part of the state and has the highest point in New Mexico: Wheeler Peak. In the central southwest is the basin and ridge region. Through the center of this area flows a river called the Rio Grande, which is known for its mountain ranges, flat deserts, and the White Sands National Monument. This is the world’s largest deposit of sand dunes from the mineral gypsum.

Wildlife of New Mexico

New Mexico is home to black bears, bighorn sheep, cougars, coyotes and perhaps the rarest mammal in North America, the black ferret. Flying overhead are black vultures, red-shouldered hawks, bright scarlet tanners, and back-striped orioles, while amphibians such as the multicolored western green toad, barred tiger salamander, and New Mexico lizard scurry underfoot. The New Mexico olive, Scotch pine, Rio Grande cottonwood, and desert willow are just a few of the trees that grow in this region. A number of native wildflowers have been named after the state, including New Mexico thistles and New Mexico primroses. Cacti and succulents are also in abundance.


Population: 67.947 thousand people (2010)
Area: 97.0 sq. km
Altitude above sea level: 2134 m

The capital of New Mexico, Santa Fe, is located in the center of the state, located on the banks of a small river of the same name, the waters of which serve as the main source of water for the inhabitants of this semi-desert area. The city is surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges, and Santa Fe itself lies at an altitude of more than 2100 meters, which makes it the highest mountain capital in the United States. See New Mexico cities.

The name Santa Fe is of Spanish origin. It means “holy faith”. The full name of the city, which was customarily assigned to the settlements by the Spaniards, is La Villa Real de Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis, which translates as “Royal City of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi.”

Before the advent of Europeans, the Pueblo Indians lived in this territory, whose culture is notable for its peculiar buildings. One of the local hotels is stylized as pueblo houses. On the site of Santa Fe, there was previously a pueblo village of Ogapogi. The Spaniards arrived here in 1596, but the first settlement – and this was Santa Fe – arose in 1610. It immediately received the status of the capital of the newly formed province of New Spain. Some researchers put forward Santa Fe as one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the United States.

The city was insignificant in size and developed poorly until the beginning of the 20th century. It was part of independent Mexico (1823-34), and in 1846 was annexed to the United States. The status of the capital of New Mexico was officially assigned to the city only in 1912, although formally Santa Fe has always been the administrative center of the region.

In Santa Fe, as in many capital cities in the US, the public sector is the dominant employer of the public. The city is known for the Los Alamos Laboratory (located in the vicinity of Santa Fe), where the first atomic weapon was developed on the planet (1945). The city itself has no shortage of tourists thanks, first of all, to Canyon Road – fair streets. Here in each building there are souvenir shops and shops, various creations of artists are sold. Another famous landmark of Santa Fe is the Loretto Chapel with its spiral wooden “Wonderful” staircase. Many visitors to the city use Santa Fe as a staging post on their way to the mountains and canyons of New Mexico.

Geography of New Mexico
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