New Mexico History

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The following important events in the history of New Mexico affected political boundaries, record keeping, and family movements.

1598:  San Juan was founded as the first permanent Spanish colony in New Mexico. The capital was established at Santa Fe in 1610.

1680-1700:   The Pueblo Indians revolted and drove the Spanish out of northern New Mexico to El Paso. By 1700 the Spanish reestablished control.

1706:  Albuquerque was founded and became a center of settlement.

1821:  When Mexico achieved independence from Spain, New Mexico became a Mexican province, and trade with the United States was opened over the Santa Fe Trail.

1848:  Mexico ceded New Mexico to the United States. The Santa Fe Trail soon became a favorite route of those heading to the California gold fields.

1850-1863:  Congress created the New Mexico Territory in 1850 and the first counties were established. The territory was enlarged somewhat with the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico in 1853, but greatly reduced by the creation of Colorado Territory in 1861 and Arizona Territory in 1863.

1880-1904:  The coming of the railroad stimulated settlement in eastern and southern New Mexico. Conflicting land claims led to disputes among ranchers, homesteaders, and the old Spanish families. The claims were finally settled in 1904.

1912:  New Mexico became a state.

A useful source for studying the history of New Mexico is Ralph E. Twitchell, The Leading Facts of New Mexico History, 5 vols. (Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Torch Press, 1911-1917; FHL book 978.9 H2t; film 1000218). This includes many biographies; each volume is indexed.

Many articles and books on New Mexico local history are listed in Frances Leon Swadesh, 20,000 Years of History: A New Mexico Bibliography (Santa Fe, New Mexico: Sunstone Press, 1973; FHL book 978.9 A3s).

The University of New Mexico Library and the Museum of New Mexico Library have good collections of local histories.

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