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New Mexico State Guide

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New Mexico is situated in the western and the southwestern regions of the United States. New Mexico is considered one of the Mountain States in US. This state is also referred to as the Land of Enchantment. New Mexico is a beautiful place to liveduring the summers. It is one of the most extensive, populous and densely populated of the 50 United States.

Fast Facts
  • Capital: Santa Fe
  • Population: 2,085,538
  • State Bird: Roadrunner
  • State Tree: Pinon Pine
  • State Flower: Yucca
  • Number of Counties: 33
  • Largest City: Albuquerque
  • Nickname: Land of Enchantment

History of New Mexico

Before European exploration, the state of New Mexico was inhabited by America’s indigenous peoples for many centuries. The state subsequently, became a part of the Imperial Spanish vice royalty of New Spain. Later, the state of New Mexico for a short period became a part of the newly created nation of Mexico before becoming a U.S. territory and eventually a U.S. state.

Precontact Period

Pre Contact Period of New Mexico

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More than 12,000 to 11,200[1]years ago around BCE 10000-9000 the Clovis people came to New Mexico by the end of the last Ice Age. At the end of the last Ice Age, BCE 9000-8000 Folsom people flourish throughout the Southwest at the end of the last Ice Age. During BCE 10000- 500, the earliest evidence of agriculture in the Southwest was found. The Cochise people were the first inhabitants to cultivate corn, squash and beans. The Anasazi basketmakers during CE 1-700 elevate weaving to a high art, creating baskets, sandals clothing and utensils. During the CE 300-1400 the Mogollon culture introduced the highly artistic pottery and early architecture in the form of pit houses. The people of the Anasazi Culture during the late 1100s began to settle in the upland mesas flanking the east side of the Jemez Mountains. At the beginning there were hundreds families dwelling in the area. In the year 1300 the population began to increase further south in Rio Grande and Little Colorado regions and Hopi mesas. During the year 1325-1598 Anasazi of the Rio Grande created larger and long-lived villages by occupying the Pajarito Plateau. During the year 1200-1500s sites along the Rio Grande were occupied by the Pueblo Indians. Before 1300, major portions of Rio Grande Valley and adjacent areas of New Mexico were sparsely populated. During this period the Pueblo villages were established in this area. During the year 1450s-1550s Navajos and Apaches, Athabascan-speakers visited Southwest from the north.

Spanish Colonial Period

Spanish Colonial Period in New Mexico

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In the year 1540[2] Francisco Vazquez de Coronado visited New Mexico as the head of an expedition which consists of 400 Spaniards and about 1,300 to 2,000 Indian auxiliaries. He was in Mexico till the year 1542. Spanish Colonization occurred in the year 1598 and the Juan de Onate was the head of the Spanish colonization of the province of New Mexico. He also set up his first capital in San Juan de los Caballeros at the confluence of the Rio Grande and Chama River. In the year 1610, Governor Pedro de Peralta formally founded Santa Fe and shifted the second capital of New Mexico from San Gabriel to the site of the new town.

The united Pueblo people on 10 August 1680 carried out a general rebellion that throws the Spaniards out of the New Mexico colony 82 years after they settled there. In the year 1692 Diego de Vargas leads a ceremonial reconquest of New Mexico. The Spanish colonists in the following year resettle New Mexico after a dozen years in exile in El Paso del Norte. Interim Governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdes, on 10 March 1706 officially founded Alburquerque. In the year 1776, two Franciscans, fray Silvestre Velez de Escalante and fray Francisco Atanasio Dominguez attempted an overland route from Santa Fe to Monterey, California, exploring much of the four corners area of New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. Governor Juan Bautista de Anza and Ecueracapa, spokesman for all the Comanches and leader of the Cuchanec band in the year 1786, concluded a peace treaty that established a peace that lasted almost thirty-five years until the emergence of Mexican independence. In the year 1807 Montgomery Pike leads an exploratory expedition to the Southwest to map the Red River. In the spring of 1821, Mexico wins independence from Spain but the news of independence does not reach Santa Fe until December when all local government officials swear allegiance to Mexico.

Mexican Period

Mexican Period in New Mexico

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In 1821 Mexico won independence from Spain. Northern New Mexicans in 1837[3] staged a full-fledged revolt against the Mexican government mainly in the Chimayo area, in protest of the imposition of an unwelcome governor, poor military protection and unfair taxation. In 1841 the Texas Santa Fe expedition by the Republic of Texas to expand its domain by capturing the territory of New Mexico from Mexico was failed. In 1846, Brigadier General Stephen Watts Kearny led United States forces and invaded and occupied New Mexico. Forces under Alexander Doniphan fought with Mexican troops, at the Battle of Brazito on Christmas Day. New Mexicans in January 1847, withstanding military occupation killed Governor Charles Bent and other members of his family in Taos. The forces under Colonel Sterling defeating the rebels at Taos Pueblo. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in the year 1848 ended the war between the United States and Mexico. According to the treaty, the Mexico lost almost half of its territory which includes parts of present-day Arizona, New Mexico, California, Texas, Nevada, Colorado, and Utah.

U.S. Territorial Period

U.S territorial period in New Mexico

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On 9th September 1850[4], New Mexico gained the status of US territory. President Millard Fillmore signed into law the Organic Act, and included New Mexico into the Union as a territory and also allowed the formation of a territorial government. In the year 1851 French Roman Catholic visits New Mexico. He was destined to become the Bishop and later Archbishop of Santa Fe. In the year 1854, Mexico was paid 10 dollar for 29,670 square miles of Mexican territory that became part of Arizona and New Mexico, and also gave the US a route for a southern transcontinental railroad and ownership of the copper mines at Santa Rita. In 1862, Civil War Battles started in New Mexico. In the year 1864, some 8,000 to 9,000 Navajos were forced to move from their homeland to an internment camp at Bosque Redondo. The Navajos walked 450 miles in eighteen days. During this long walk at least two hundred Navajos died. On 13 February 1879 the first passenger train into New Mexico carried members of the Colorado legislature to Otero on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad line. One year later, the line is extended through San Miguel, Mora, and Santa Fe Counties. Las Cruces College, founded in 1888 becomes New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1899. Founded in 1889 upon the passage of New Mexico House Bill 186, New Mexico State University was established in 1960.

Statehood to Present

New Mexico statehood

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On 6 January 1912[5], President William H. Taft signed the proclamation and New Mexico became the 47th state of America. In the year 1916 the second largest irrigation dam in the world at the time, Elephant Butte Dame at Engle, New Mexico, was completed. In the year 1926 Route 66 Route the “Mother Road,” designated as Chicago-to-Los Angeles route, goes through Santa Fe. The Midwest Oil Co. (now Amoco) in 1928, discovered oil in Hobbs.During the year the United States Army constructed Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, part of the Manhattan Project to develop atomic weapons. Physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer led successful development of devices positioned against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, on 6 and 9 August 1945. AUnited States Marine Corp veteran of World War II, Miguel Trujillo of Isleta Pueblo attempted to register to vote in 1948 and when he was refused he successfully brought suit, known as Trujillo v. Garley, against the Recorder of Valencia County. In the year 1960, Interstate 40 arrived in New Mexico.

In 1981, Interstate 40 was completed in New Mexico. On 5 June 1967, the Alianza Federal de Mercedes, headed by Reies Lopez Tijerina, raided the Rio Arriba County Courthouse in an attempt to bring attention to the usurpation of Hispanic land grants by Anglo landowners and the United States government. In the year 1970, President Nixon signed Congressional legislation which returned Blue Lake, sacred to the people of Taos Pueblo, and 48,000 acres of surrounding land to the pueblo. In the year 1975, Roy Nakayama, a student of New Mexico State University releases NuMex Big Jim, the world’s largest chilly. In 1980, Intel opens microchip plant in Rio Rancho. In the Year 2010, Susana Martinez was elected as the thirty-first governor of New Mexico.

New Mexico History Timeline

BCE 10000-9000: The Clovis people arrives in New Mexico
BCE 9000-8000: Folsom people Folsom people flourish throughout the Southwest.
CE 700-1300: Anasazi culture evolves into Chaco Civilization.
CE 1200-1500s: Pueblo Indians settled along the Rio Grande.
CE 1450s-1550s: Navajos and Apaches arrive in the Southwest.
1598: Spanish Colonization.
1680: Pueblo Revolt.
1692: Spanish Recolonization.
1786: Peace between Spaniards and Comanches.
1807: First Exploration of New Mexico from United States.
1821: Mexican Independence.
1846: US invasion of New Mexico.
1848: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
1850: New Mexico becomes a US territory.
1879: Railroad reaches New Mexico.
1912: New Mexico becomes the 47th state.
1943-45: The Manhattan Project.
1967: Tierra Amarilla Courthouse raid.
1980: Intel opens microchip plant in Rio
2010: Susana Martinez becomes the thirty-first governor of New Mexico.

Geography of New Mexico

New Mexico covers a total land area of 121,365 square miles. New Mexico is the 5th largest state in the Nation. The state of New Mexico is bordered by Oklahoma and Texas on the east, Arizona on the west, Colorado on the north and on the south, the state is bordered by Texas and New Mexico also shares an international border with Mexico.

Land Regions of New Mexico

New Mexico consists of three land regions. The Rocky Mountain regions extend through the north central section of New Mexico. The Great Plain area includes the eastern border west to the first range of the mountains that extends from the Sangre de Cristos south to the Guadalupe Mountains. The Basin and Range Region includes the remainder of the state of Mexico

Great Plains

The largest percentage of the state’s topography is the Great Plains. The plains reach one third of the way across New Mexico. Two sections of the plains have been distinguished by the Geographers which includes the lava-capped uplands of the northeast corner and the Llano Estacado. The Llano Estacado is roughly surrounded by the Pecos River, Interstate 40 and a line joining Roswell and Hobbs. Other areas of plains include the northwest plateau area, the southern desert region extending from Las Cruces to Lordsburg, and various basins. These areas are also sometimes called as valleys and include the Tularosa and Estancia valleys and the Plains of San Agustin.

Rocky Mountain

New Mexico’s most memorable natural characteristic is its Mountains. The Mountains impact the climate and offers a watershed for most of the state. Above timberline, snow peaks exist in every quadrant of the state almost all the year-round. The Mountain Range of New Mexico includes Jemez, Brazos, the Sangre de Cristo, San Juan, Mogollon, Zuni, Datil, San Mateo, Gallinas, Capitan, Jicarilla, White, Guadalupe, Sacramento, Sandia, Manzanos, Oscuras, Magdalena, Pinos, San Andres, Fra Cristobal, Organ and Caballo.

Basin and Range Region

The Basin and Range Region covers about one third of the state and this range lies to the south of the Rocky Mountain Region.This region lies south from around Santa Fe to Mexico and west to Arizona. This region is also marked by rugged mountain ranges, such as the Mogollon, Organ, San Andres, Guadalupe, and Sacramento mountain ranges separated by desert basins. The Rio Grande River flows north to south through this region and exits New Mexico in the south to form the border between Mexico and Texas.

Climate of New Mexico

In days of sunshine per year New Mexico is second only to Arizona. The climate of New Mexico is dry and we can rarely find extreme weather conditions. The state elevation ranges from 2,817 ft. at Red Bluff Lake in the southern Rio Grande Valley to 13,161 ft. on Wheeler Peak in north central New Mexico. In terms of latitude, New Mexico is considered a southern state bordering Texas and Arizona to the east and west, and Mexico to the south. The elevation of the state offers for four seasons throughout the state.
The normal weather conditions call for warm to hot days and cool nights with scattered thundershowers in the summer and cold nights and moderate days with some snow in the winter. During the spring one can experience some of the most gorgeous weather in the state.

Important Mountain Peaks in New Mexico

The State of New Mexico has numerous mountain peaks and all its elevation varies from one another. Some of the major mountain peaks in New Mexico includes:

Mountains in New Mexico

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Wheeler Peak: This Peak is the highest peak in the state of New Mexico. The Peak is located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains.

The Mogollon Mountains: These are a mountain range located in Grant County and Catron County of southwestern New Mexico.

The Rocky Mountains: These Mountains are also commonly known as the Rockies. The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America.

The Jemez Mountains: These Mountains are a volcanic group of mountains located in the US state of New Mexico.

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains: These are the southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are located in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.

Natural Resources of New Mexico

New Mexico petroleum and natural gas industry has played a significant role in the economic growth of the state for nearly a century. New Mexico is the third largest supplier of energy to the nation. In the year 2013, the state was ranked sixth in oil production and seventh in natural gas production nationally. The state also has tremendous potential for solar energy production. In 2012, more than dollar 2.8 billion worth of minerals were extracted from New Mexico mines, representing an increase of dollar1 billion from 2010. The state also nationally ranks first in potash, perlite and zeolite production, third in copper production, and 12th in coal production.

Forest Service in New Mexico

The Forestry Division of New Mexico is one of the greatest influences on the state that offers economic value to the quality of life for its people. The New Mexico’s Forest Service’s main motive is to ensure quality forest resources for the state to meet present and future needs. New Mexico has 38 state parks and 6 National Forest which include:

Carson National Forest

The Carson National Forest covers 1.5 million acres and is one of six National Forests in New Mexico. Some of the beautiful mountain scenery in the Southwest can be seen here.

Contact Details

Carson National Forest
208 Cruz Alta Road
Taos, NM 87571
Phone no: (575) 758-6200

To know more about Carson National Forest Click here.

Cibola National Forest

Cibola National Forest

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The Cibola National Forest is part of the Southwestern Region and is situated in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Contact Details

Cibola National Forest and Grasslands (Supervisor's Office)
2113 Osuna Road, NE
Albuquerque, NM 87113
Phone no: 505.346.3900
Fax: 505.346.3901

To know more about Cibola National Forest Click here.

Coronado National Forest

The Coronado National Forest covers 1,780,000 acres of southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.

Contact Details

Supervisor's Office
300 W. Congress St.
Tucson, AZ 85701
Phone no: (520) 388-8300

To know more about Coronado National Forest Click here.

Gila National Forest

Gila National Forest

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The Gila National Forest is located in New Mexico. The Forest has beautiful scenery that ranges from high cool mountains to warm semi-arid lowlands to oak and cactus. This forest is one of the more remote and least developed National Forest in New Mexico.

Contact Details

Gila National Forest
3005 E Camino del Bosque
Silver City, NM 88061
Phone no: (575) 388-8201

To know more about Gila National Forest Click here.

Lincoln National Forest

The Lincoln National Forest is located in South Central New Mexico. The Forest is also known as the birthplace of the world-famous Smokey Bear.

Contact Details

Supervisor's Office
3463 Las Palomas
Alamogordo, NM 88310
Phone no: 575-434-7200

To know more about Lincoln National Forest Click here

Santa Fe National Forest

Santa Fe national Forest

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The Santa Fe National Forest is one of the six National Forests in New Mexico. The Forest covers 1.6 million acres of land. It offers some beautiful scenery to the people.

Contact Details

Santa Fe National Forest
11 Forest Lane
Santa Fe, NM 87508
Phone no: 505 438-5300
Fax: 505 438-5390

To know more about Santa Fe National Forest Click here.

To know more about New Mexico State Parks Click here.

Demography of New Mexico

According to the United States Census Bureau as on July 1 2014,, the population[6] of New Mexico was 2,085,572 a 1.28% increase since the 2010 United States Census.

New Mexico Population facts
  • Population, 2013 estimate: 2,086,895
  • Population, 2010 (April 1) estimates base: 2,059,192
  • Population, percent change - April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014: 1.3
  • Population, percent change - April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013: 1.3%
  • Population, 2010: 2,059,179
  • Persons under 5 years, percent, 2013: 6.7%
  • Persons under 18 years, percent, 2013: 24.3%
  • Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2013: 14.7%
  • Female persons, percent, 2013: 50.4
New Mexico Racial Population
  • White alone, percent, 2013 (a): 82.9%
  • Black or African American alone, percent, 2013 (a): 2.5%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent, 2013 (a): 10.4%
  • Asian alone, percent, 2013 (a) : 1.6%
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent, 2013 (a): 0.2%
  • Two or More Races, percent, 2013: 2.4%
  • Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2013 (b): 47.3%
  • White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2013: 39.4%

Economy of New Mexico

The economy of New Mexico covers 11 metropolitan areas which includes Albuquerque MSA, Bernalillo County, Sandoval County, Torrance County, Valencia County, Farmington MSA, San Juan County, Las Cruces MSA, Dona Ana County, Santa Fe MSA and Santa Fe County.

Agriculture in New Mexico

The economy of New Mexico is also largely dependent on Agriculture. Thousands of years ago the Mogollon people grew, squash, corn and beans. Spanish explorers, Native Americans, and Anglo pioneers all brought unique contributions that are still important to the agriculture of New Mexico today. Competitive electric prices, wages, and land costs, separate New Mexico from other states.

Crops and Livestock of North Carolina

New Mexico is number one in production of chile and also number two state in production of pecan in the nation. Some of the top agricultural products in New Mexico include pecans, sheep, onions, corn, chiles, hay, cotton, beef cattle & calves, and dairy products. Pistachios, Pecans and peanuts are also grown and processed in New Mexico and shipped worldwide.

Agriculture in New Mexicoa

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New Mexico is also the national leader in cheese and milk production. Presently, New Mexico has 156 dairies that ship milk across state lines. The state is also the home to several cheese plants. Two of the largest cheese plants are Leprino Foods, in Roswell and Southwest Cheese, in Clovis.

Industries in New Mexico

The location of New Mexico provides fast access to the nation’s rapidly growing markets. This state gives a variety of unique assets to the global business community which positions New Mexico at a significant competitive advantage. New Mexico is open for business.Number of industries also has grown up in the state which includes:

  • Energy and Natural Resources production
  • Aerospace and Space and Defense
  • Value Added Agriculture
  • Distribution, Logistics and Transportation
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Digital Emerging Media
  • Back Office and Technical Support

Business Quick Facts

  • Private non farm establishments, 2012: 43,8831
  • Private non farm employment, 2012: 602,7151
  • Private non farm employment, percent change, 2011-2012: 0.9%
  • Non employer establishments, 2012: 120,916
  • Total number of firms, 2007: 157,231
  • Black-owned firms, percent, 2007: 1.2%
  • American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms, percent, 2007: 5.3%
  • Asian-owned firms, percent, 2007: 2.1%
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander-owned firms, percent, 2007: 0.1%
  • Hispanic-owned firms, percent, 2007: 23.6%
  • Women-owned firms, percent, 2007: 31.7%
  • Manufacturers shipments, 2007 ($1000): 17,122,725
  • Merchant wholesaler sales, 2007 ($1000): 10,589,286
  • Retail sales, 2007 ($1000): 24,469,997
  • Retail sales per capita, 2007:$12,429
  • Accommodation and food services sales, 2007 ($1000):3,734,300
  • Building permits, 2013:5,1611

Government of New Mexico

The Government of New Mexico is composed of the Executive Branch, The Legislative Branch and the Judicial Branch.

Government of New Mexico

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The Executive Branch of New Mexico

The Governor is the head of the Executive Branch of the Government of New Mexico. The present Governor of the state is Susana Martinez. The Lieutenant Governor is the second highest elected official in New Mexico. John Sanchez is the present Governor of New Mexico.

The Legislative Branch of New Mexico

The Legislature is composed of House of Representative and the Senate.The Presiding Officer of the house of Representative is the Speaker. The present Speaker of the house of Representative of New Mexico is Don Tripp. comprises of a 70-member House of Representatives. Presently there are 37 Republicans and 33 Democrats in the House of Representatives. The New Mexico Senate consists of 42 members out of which 25 are Democrats and 17 are Republicans. The Lieutenant Governor is the President of the Senate.

The Judicial Branch of New Mexico

The New Mexico Judiciary branch applies regulations and law and also ensures justice in the state. The Judicial power of the state of New Mexico is in the Supreme Court, a Court of Appeals, Districts courts and other such courts set up by the General Assembly. The Supreme Court of New Mexico is the highest court and final court of review of the state.

To know more about Government of New Mexico Click here.

Education in New Mexico

The New Mexico Public Education Department and New Mexico Higher Education Department looks after the education system of the state. The Departments urges very educator, parent, student, community member and public servant to share in the responsibility for the success of their children and, the future of the great state of New Mexico.

Education in New Mexico
Image source:http://www.hed.state.nm.us/

Also know more about

New Mexico Public Education Department
New Mexico Higher Education Department

Some of the top universities in New Mexico are University of New Mexico, Albuquerque University of New Mexico-Taos, University of New Mexico- Gallup, University of New Mexico-Los Alamos, University of New Mexico-Valencia, New Mexico State University-Las Cruces, New Mexico State University-Alamogordo, New Mexico State University-Carlsbad, and New Mexico State University-Grants

Tradition and Culture of New Mexico

New Mexico still ranks as a major center of Native American culture. Music, Art, and entertainment are also important aspects of the state of New Mexico. Some of the notable events of New Mexico include:

Festivals in New Mexico

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Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium: The Cowboy Symposium is nation’s one of the premier festival. The highlight of this festival is the World Championship Chuckwagon Competition.

The Great American Duck race: The annual Duck Race held in Deming offers family fun-fest featuring fast duck race competitions, Duck Dances

The New Mexico State Fair: This fair is one of the largest fairs in the United States.

Golden Aspen Motorcycle Rally: More than 35,000 motorcycles participate in the annual Ruidoso Golden Aspen Motorcycle Rally held in September.

Hatch Chile Festival: The Village of Hatch celebrates the annual two-day Hatch Chile Festival.
National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show: this festival is held in March every year in Sandia Resort and Casino.

Transportation in New Mexico

New Mexico Department of Transport

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The New Mexico Department of Transportation goal is to connect people in small towns and cities and also to facilitate transportation of people and goods to other states and nations. The transport Department focuses on the following travel modes: transit, rail, aviation and highways.

New Mexico State roads along with the Interstate Highway System and the United States Numbered Highways, comes under the jurisdiction of the New Mexico Department of Transportation. There are altogether 412 state roads in the U.S. state of New Mexico.

Transit and Rail Division of New Mexico Department of Transportation gives information to public and transit providers on public transit service. In the year 1850, Railroad surveyors arrived in New Mexico and in the year 1869 the first railroads was incorporated in the state. Apart from the local railroads, the state jointly owns and operates other tourist lines, a heritage narrow-gauge steam railroad, the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railway.

The Aviation Division of the department was created in the 1963 in order to co-operate with all private and public agencies and organizations, local, state and federal in order to encourage general aviation in the state of New Mexico. The Albuquerque International Sunport is one of the New Mexico’s primary airports.

To know more about Transportation in New Mexico Click here.

  1. Precontact Period
  2. Spanish Colonial Period
  3. Mexican Period
  4. U.S. Territorial Period
  5. New Mexico Statehood
  6. Population of New Mexico
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