Here are some things that I didn’t know about New Mexico, until I moved here.
1.) Santa Fe has more artists per capita than any other American city.
2.) New Mexico is the state with the most PhD.s per capita. Los Alamos, NM has more PhDs than any American city. Santa Fe, NM ranks #2.
3.) New Mexico is the 5th largest state in the U.S., but only has about 2 million people. This works out to 17 people per square mile. At first, this reminded me of Maine… a big state with only 1.3 million people… until I did some research and discovered that Maine has 43 people per square mile! …Big difference!
4.) More than 1/4 of the total population of New Mexico lives in Albuquerque.
5.) New Mexico was NOT named after Mexico. Spaniards named New Mexico after the Mexica (Aztec) Empire in 1563 because they hoped the Indians there would have the same riches as the Aztecs did. At the time, Mexico was called “New Spain.” In 1821 (two and a half centuries later) the country to the south was named “Mexico.”
6.) New Mexico was producing wine about 150 years before California.
7.) At 7000 feet, Santa Fe is the highest capital city in the U.S.
8.) Albuquerque’s annual Balloon Fiesta is the largest hot air balloon event in the world.
9.) The Taos Pueblo has 900-year-old adobe buildings which are still occupied!
10.) 1/4 of New Mexico is forested. NM has 7 national forests, including Gila Wilderness which is 3.3 million acres. Gila was the first national forest in the world to allow no roads or houses to penetrate its lush forests, to protect them and its many animal inhabitants for many years to come.
11.) The pueblo Indians of New Mexico have lived in the same location longer than any culture in the U.S. Before them, the Anasazi Indians were here as early as 12th century BC and were around for about 1300 years. More than 25,000 Anasazi sites have been discovered in NM by archeologists (including our own neighborhood!) Before the Anasazi were the Folsom Paleo-Indians who inhabited New Mexico since the end of the last Ice Age (beginning between 9000-8000 B.C.).
12.) New Mexico’s State Constitution officially states that New Mexico is a bilingual State. One out of three families in New Mexico speaks Spanish at home.
13.) Las Vegas, New Mexico was established long before Las Vegas, Nevada.
14.) Tens of thousands of bats live in the Carlsbad Caverns. The largest of the 80 chambers of Carlsbad Caverns is about 14 football fields long, about 22 stories high and 75 stories underground. (We’ve been there!)
15.) New Mexico ranks 9th in milk production and 5th in cheese production. There are about 150 dairy farms, 355,000 cows producing over 7 billion pounds of milk each year. (Which explains why our milk costs only $2.25 to $2.50 per gallon!)
16.) 56% of New Mexico is farmland, home to nearly 21,000 farms.
17.) NM is the 2nd largest producer of pecans in the U.S., producing 65 to 75 million pounds annually. (#1 is Georgia)
18.) New Mexico has only been a state since 1912. House Republicans offered to grant NM statehood in 1860 provided they drop the anti-slavery clause in NM’s Constitution. NM refused.
19.) Many years ago, NM public school children recited the following after the Pledge of Allegiance: “I salute the flag of the State of New Mexico and the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures.”
20.) Pueblo Indians fought for the U.S. in WWI and WWII… but they weren’t allowed to vote until 1948!