Happy 100th Birthday to New Mexico. On Jan. 6, 1912, New Mexico officially became a state. To celebrate, here are 10 facts you may not know about this land I have come to know as home:
- Santa Fe is the highest capital city in the United States at 7,000 feet above sea level.
- White Sands National Monument is a desert, not of sand, but of gleaming white gypsum crystals.
- The Palace of Governors in Santa Fe, built in 1610, is one of the oldest public buildings in America.
- More than 25,000 Anasazi sites have been identified in New Mexico by archeologists. The Anasazi, an amazing civilization who were the ancestors of the Pueblo, were around for 1300 years. Their great classical period lasted from 1100-1300 AD. The word “Pueblo” is used to describe a group of people, a town, or an architectural style. There are 19 Pueblo groups that speak 4 distinct languages. The Pueblo people of the southwest have lived in the same location longer than any other culture in the Nation.
- In some isolated villages, such as Truchas, Chimayo, and Coyote in north-central New Mexico, some descendants of Spanish conquistadors still speak a form of 16th century Spanish used nowhere else in the world today.
- New Mexico has far more sheep and cattle than people. There are only about 12 people per square mile.
- Taos Pueblo is located 2 miles north of the city of Taos. It is one of the oldest continuously occupied communities in the United States. People still live in some of its 900 year old buildings.
- New Mexico’s capital city Santa Fe is the ending point of the 800 mile Santa Fe Trail.
- The town of Gallup calls itself the “Indian Capital of the World” and serves as a trading center for more than 20 different Indian groups. Every August it is the site of the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial.
- Native Americans have been living in New Mexico for some twenty thousand years. The Pueblo, Apache, Comanche, Navajo, and Ute peoples were in the New Mexico region when Spanish settlers arrived in the 1600s.
For those of you In Albuquerque today, here’s a rather quirky event to celebrate our state’s birthday: http://www.cabq.gov/transit/events/happy-birthday-new-mexico-celebration. Who knows? It could be fun.
Love to you all,