New Mexico Atlas
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New Mexico facts and history plus travel and tourism information.
Capital: Santa Fe
Located in southwestern United States, New Mexico's topography ranges from desert country near Texas in the east and scenic alpine country in the north to rugged Gila National Forest lands in the southwest.
In 1540, Spanish explorer Coronado searched the New Mexico area for gold, with no luck. Around 1600, Spanish settlers established Santa Fe as well as settlements along the Rio Grande, a major river that runs north-south through the state. Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821, and New Mexico was ruled by Mexico for several short years before becoming a US territory following the US-Mexican War. New Mexico finally entered the Union as the 47th state on January 6, 1912.
The first atomic bomb was tested in New Mexico in 1945, and scientific research continues to fuel the state's economy. Cattle ranches, chile pepper farms, and recreation are other major industries. New Mexico's history attracts tourists, who may visit Native American cliff dwellings and pueblos, explore the state's Spanish history, or visit Albuquerque, the state's largest city.
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New Mexico History and Geography