New Mexico Facts
New Mexico Facts

28 Fun New Mexico Facts

James Israelsen
By James Israelsen, Associate Writer
Published June 25, 2022
  • Until 2010, New Mexico law banned "idiots" from voting.[9]
  • Early indigenous New Mexicans wove baskets so air-tight that they could hold water. As such, archaeologists refer to these people as the Basketmakers.[10]
  • New Mexico ranks fifth among the states of America in both size and altitude.[14]
  • Experts theorize that the first residents of New Mexico arrived over 12,000 years ago, after migrating across a land bridge that connected Russia to North America in the last Ice Age.[7]
  • Major Native American groups that settled in the New Mexico region include the Apache, Navajo, and Pueblos.[7]
  • The area that would become New Mexico was colonized by the Spanish. In 1821, when Mexico declared their independence from Spain, the area became part of Mexico. After the Mexican-American War of 1848, it was won as a US territory; and, finally, in 1912 it became the 47th state.[7]
  • New Mexico received its name from the Spanish conquistadors, who called it a “Neuva” or “New” Mexico, in hopes that the region would prove to be as rich as they had found Mexico.[7]
  • New Mexico is one of the four states whose corners all touch. The other three are Arizona, Utah, and Colorado.[7]
  • Land of Enchantment
    It is a world of unique natural beauty
  • New Mexico's nickname is the "Land of Enchantment," due to its beautiful and varied scenery, which ranges from mountains and forests to lakes, rivers, and deserts.[7]
  • The black-footed ferret, most likely the rarest mammal in all of North America, is found in New Mexico.[7]
  • Nearly 75% of the United States’ potash, an important ingredient in fertilizer, is mined in New Mexico.[7]
  • Almost half of New Mexico’s revenue from natural resources comes from natural gas extraction.[7]
  • There have been Pueblo people living in Taos Pueblo, located in north-central New Mexico, for over 1000 years.[7]
  • John Denver, Jeff Bezos, and Georgia O’Keefe were all New Mexico-born.[7]
  • New Mexican turquoise has been mined so heavily that only a small amount remains, causing some pieces of turquoise to be worth thousands of dollars.[7]
  • American scientists created both the first nuclear bomb and the first hydrogen bomb in the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico.[3]
  • Due to a unique combination of perfect temperatures and predictable wind patterns, New Mexico's Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta features more than 500 hot-air balloons every year, making it the world's largest ballooning festival.[1]
  • Albuquerque balloon festival
    2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

  • Until the 19th century, the monumental structures built by the ancient Puebloans at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, were the largest buildings in North America.[4]
  • Jack Kelley, the main character played by Christian Bale in the popular Disney film Newsies, has a life-long dream to escape poverty in New York City by moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and becoming a cowboy.[5]
  • The town of Roswell, New Mexico, has built upon the UFO lore surrounding it by erecting a UFO museum, adorning their streetlights with aliens, constructing a flying-saucer McDonald's, and placing a fake family of stranded aliens on a roadside.[6]
  • In the summer of 1947, wreckage found near Roswell, New Mexico, was originally announced by the Roswell Army Air Field to have been evidence of a flying disc. The government released subsequent statements denying that the wreckage was of alien origin, but these only served to fuel conspiracy theories about an extra-terrestrial crash site at Roswell.[6]
  • New Mexico Roadrunner
    "beep beep"
  • Although New Mexico's state bird, the Roadrunner, is usually associated with desert areas, they can actually be found as far east as the Mississippi River.[7][12]
  • The 4,000-foot-long and 255-foot-high Carlsbad Cavern in southeastern New Mexico is the seventh largest cave chamber in the world. The cavern is part of a massive complex of caves that has been declared a World Heritage Site.[2]
  • There are over 21,000 petroglyphs carved by unknown prehistoric peoples in New Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert, making it one of the largest petroglyph sites in the Southwest.[13]
  • New Mexico's official state question is "Red or green?"—a reference to the colors of the various chili peppers for which the state is famous.[11]
  • New Mexicans spell the "chili" in "chili peppers" with an "e" at the end instead of an "i" — "chile".[11]
  • With a rim at 8,182 feet above sea level, Capulin Volcano in northern New Mexico is considered to be one of the largest and most perfectly symmetrical cinder cones in North America.[8]
  • New Mexico's state flower is the flower of the yucca plant.[7]
  • Amazing New Mexico INFOGRAPHIC
    New Mexico Thumbnail

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