NEW MEXICO - STATE OF NEW MEXICO

Santa Fe, The Capital

New Mexico

New Mexico, or Nuevo México in Spanish, is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also part of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S. state.

Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, it has also been part of the Imperial Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory. Among U.S. states, New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanics, at 44 percent (2014 estimate), including descendants of Spanish colonists and recent immigrants from Latin America. It also has the third-highest percentage of Native Americans, after Alaska and Oklahoma, and the fifth-highest total number of Native Americans after California, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Texas. The tribes in the state consist of mostly Navajo and Pueblo peoples. As a result, the demographics and culture of the state are unique for their strong Hispanic, Mexican, and Native American influences. The flag of New Mexico is represented by the red and gold colors, which represent Spain as well as the Zia symbol, an ancient Native American symbol for the sun.

The first known inhabitants of New Mexico were members of the Clovis culture of Paleo-Indians. Later inhabitants include American Indians of the Mogollon and Ancestral Pueblo peoples cultures. By the time of European contact in the 16th century, the region was settled by the villages of the Pueblo peoples and groups of Navajo, Apache and Ute.

The extreme northeastern part of New Mexico was owned by France, and sold to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.[27] By 1800 the Spanish population had reached 25,000, but Apache and Comanche raids on Hispanic settlers were common until well into the period of U.S. occupation.

Geography of New Mexico

The state's total area is 121,412 square miles (314,460 km2). The eastern border of New Mexico lies along 103° W longitude with the state of Oklahoma, and three miles (5 km) west of 103° W longitude with Texas. On the southern border, Texas makes up the eastern two-thirds, while the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora make up the western third, with Chihuahua making up about 90% of that. The western border with Arizona runs along the 109° 03' W longitude. The southwestern corner of the state is known as the Bootheel. The 37° N latitude parallel forms the northern boundary with Colorado. The states New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah come together at the Four Corners in the northwestern corner of New Mexico. New Mexico, although a large state, has little water. Its surface water area is about 250 square miles (650 km2).

The New Mexican landscape ranges from wide, rose-colored deserts to broken mesas to high, snow-capped peaks. Despite New Mexico's arid image, heavily forested mountain wildernesses cover a significant portion of the state, especially towards the north. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost part of the Rocky Mountains, run roughly north-south along the east side of the Rio Grande in the rugged, pastoral north. The most important of New Mexico's rivers are the Rio Grande, Pecos, Canadian, San Juan, and Gila. The Rio Grande is tied for the fourth longest river in the U.S.

The climate of New Mexico is generally semi-arid to arid, though there are areas of continental and alpine climates, and its territory is mostly covered by mountains, high plains, and desert. The Great Plains (High Plains) are located in the eastern portion of the state, similar to the Colorado high plains in eastern Colorado. The two states share similar terrain, with both having plains, mountains, basins, mesas, and desert lands. New Mexico's average precipitation rate is 13.9 inches (350 mm) a year. The average annual temperatures can range from 64 °F (18 °C) in the southeast to below 40 °F (4 °C) in the northern mountains.  During the summer months, daytime temperatures can often exceed 100 °F (38 °C) at elevations below 5,000 feet (1,500 m), the average high temperature in July ranges from 97 °F (36 °C) at the lower elevations to the upper 70s (°F, up to 26 °C) at the higher elevations. Many cities in New Mexico can have temperature lows in the teens. The highest temperature recorded in New Mexico was 122 °F (50 °C) at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Loving on June 27, 1994 and the lowest recorded temperature is −50 °F (−46 °C) at Gavilan on February 1, 1951.

New Mexico contains extensive habitat for many plants and animals, especially in desert areas and piñon-juniper woodlands. Creosote bush, mesquite, cacti, yucca, and desert grasses, including black grama, purple three-awn, tobosa, and burrograss, cover the broad, semiarid plains that cover the southern portion of the state. The northern portion of the state is home to many tree species such as ponderosa pine, aspen, cottonwood, spruce, fir, and Russian olive, which is an invasive species. Native birds include the greater roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) and wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo). Other fauna present in New Mexico include black bears, cougars, jaguars, coyotes, porcupines, skunks, Mexican gray wolves, deer, elk, plains bison, collared peccary, bighorn sheep, squirrels, chipmunks, pronghorn, western diamondback, kangaroo rat, jackrabbit and a multitude of other birds, reptiles, and rodents. The black bear native to New Mexico, Ursus americanus amblyceps, was formally adopted as the state's official animal in 1953.

 Albuquerque

Luciano Mende

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