New Mexico history dates back farther than 1532, the
approximate date that the first European expedition was
lead into the region. Before the Europeans came the Native
Indians had already thoroughly explored the land. Archaeologists
believe that New Mexico history saw a distinct mixture
of Native American pueblos and tribes were evolving some
12,000 to 30,000 years ago when many groups of prehistoric
Indians wandered and lived throughout the state. The ancient
cliff dwellings such as the Gila
Cliff Dwellings, Bandelier
National Monument and Chaco
Canyon ruins are great reminders that New Mexico was
home to native cultures far before New Mexico history
saw Europeans. Their influence can be seen and felt all
around the state.
The history of New Mexico saw the Spanish government commission an expedition from Mexico to New Mexico in 1598. The expedition ended in a Tewa village by the Rio Chama and the Rio Grande where the Spanish explorers overtook it and renamed it San Juan do los Caballeros. According to the history of New Mexico this became the first Spanish capital of the state. The history of New Mexico recognizes its formal colonization of the state from then on.
Don Pedro de Peralta, New Mexico's third governor, established Santa Fe as the new capital in 1610. Processions of Spanish began to arrive bringing techniques for mining with them and teaching the Native Indians how to use metals for art, tools and weapons. They even brought the wheel which redefined labor for everyone. Being peaceful people the Pueblos accepted the Spanish and their ways but in New Mexico state history a revolt was seen by the Pueblos people due to constant cultural and religious oppression by the Spanish. In New Mexico state history 1680 saw the year the Pueblos fought back and eventually the Spanish retreated and fled.
In 1821 the Santa Fe Trail became an important trade
route and the Santa Fe economy flourished providing more
dining establishments, markets for shopping and drew many
people from nearby cities and towns. By this time the
United States had been newly formed. The U.S. allowed
the creation of the Territory of New Mexico in 1850 and
a new civil government was built. New Mexico state history
shows that civil war occurred in the state in 1862 between
union troops of Fort Union and the New Mexico militia
against the Confederates and in March of that year the
Confederates were defeated.
A distressing time for the tribes in New Mexico state history was in 1880 when, after slowly being forced off their settled lands, remaining Pueblos were pushed onto reservations which were no better than prison camps. More than a hundred long years later saw the tribes slowly being integrated back into communities. In 1880 railroads arrived in most major cities and trade and population grew simultaneously.
In the early 20th century New Mexico culture, though already defined by the Spanish and Native Americans, was added to because of the incredible amount of artists that began to arrive and live among the stunning scenery to paint, write and compose in the "enchanted land". Scores of artists came. And kept coming. Today artwork remains extremely significant in New Mexico culture from that time and from the also from the Pueblos who cherished sacred artworks. Art can be seen in abundance in galleries, private homes, hotels, inns, B&B's restaurants and shops. Spanish and Native American influences still remain as the most important stamp on New Mexico culture which is evident in the character of the state today.