Origin of Name named by
the Spanish for lands north of the Rio Grande River. Total
Area (Rank) 121,593 sq mi (5th). Population
(rank) 2,085,287 (36th). Capital Santa Fe. Admitted
to Union (Rank) January 6, 1912 (47th).
Dates in New Mexico
Explored by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1540-1542;
Juan de Oñate founded San Juan in 1598; ceded to the
United States in 1848; became the 47th state in 1912.
founded the first permanent settlement in New Mexico, at
San Juan Pueblo, in 1598. In 1601, he led an expedition
to Quivira in search of wealth and an outlet to the sea.
In 1607, he oversaw the establishment of Santa Fe.
The 6,000 or so people who inhabited Acoma Pueblo had
enjoyed peaceful relations with the Spanish since being
visited by Francisco Coronado in 1540, but that peace
came to an abrupt end in 1598.
Founded as the capital of the Spanish "Kingdom of
New Mexico" in 1610, this is the oldest capital city
in North America. Situated in the foothills of the Rocky
Mountains at about 6,950 feet above sea level, it is also
the highest state capital in the United States.