New Mexico (Spanish: Nuevo México [ˈnweβo ˈmexiko]; Navajo: Yootó Hahoodzo [jo:tó haho:dzo]) is a state located in the southwestern andwestern regions of the United States. It is usually considered one of the Mountain States. New Mexico is the 5th most extensive, the 36th most populous, and the 6th least densely populated of the 50 United States.
Inhabited by indigenous peoples of the Americas for many centuries before European exploration, New Mexico was subsequently part of theImperial Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain. Later, it was part of the newly formed nation of Mexico for a short period before becoming a U.S. territory and eventually a U.S. state. Among U.S. states, New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanics, including descendants of Spanish colonists who have lived in the area for over 400 years. It also has the second-highest percentage of Native Americans after Alaska, and the fourth-highest total number of Native Americans after California, Oklahoma, and Arizona. The tribes in the state consist of mostlyNavajo, Puebloan and the Apache peoples. As a result, the demographics and culture of the state are unique for their strong Hispanic and Native-American influences, both of which are reflected in the state flag. The scarlet and gold colors of the New Mexico flag are taken from the royal standards of Spain, along with the ancient sun symbol of the Zia, a Pueblo-related tribe.
|State of New Mexico|
|Nickname(s): Land of Enchantment|
|Motto(s): Crescit eundo (It grows as it goes)|
New Mexico, or Nuevo México in Spanish, is often incorrectly believed to have taken its name from the nation of Mexico. However, New Mexico was given its name in 1563, and again in 1581, by Spanish explorers who believed the area contained wealthy Indian cultures similar to those of the Mexica (Aztec) Empire. Mexico, formerly known as New Spain, adopted its name centuries later in 1821, after winning independence from Spanish rule. Consequently, New Mexico was only a part of the independent federal republic of Mexico for 12 years, 1836 through 1848. The two developed as neighboring Spanish speaking communities, with relatively independent histories.
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.
With a Native American population of 134,000 in 1990, New Mexico still ranks as an important center of Native American culture. Both the Navajo andApache share Athabaskan origin. The Apache and some Ute live on federal reservations within the state. With 16 million acres (6,500,000 ha), mostly in neighboring Arizona, the reservation of the Navajo Nation ranks as the largest in the United States. The prehistorically agricultural Pueblo Indians live in pueblos scattered throughout the state.
Almost half of New Mexicans claim Hispanic origin; many are descendants of colonial settlers. They settled in the northern portion of the state. Most of the Mexican immigrants reside in the southern part of the state. Also 10-15% of the population, mainly in the north, may contain Hispanic Jewish ancestry.
There are many New Mexicans who also speak a unique dialect of Spanish. New Mexican Spanish has vocabulary often unknown to other Spanish speakers. Because of the historical isolation of New Mexico from other speakers of the Spanish language adopts numerous Native American words for local features, and contains much Anglicized vocabulary for American concepts and modern inventions.
Albuquerque has the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, and the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, as well as hosts the famed annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta every fall.
The earliest New Mexico artists whose work survives today are the Mimbres Indians, whose black and white pottery could be mistaken for modern art, except for the fact that it was produced prior to the year 1130. See Mimbres culture. Many examples of this work can be seen at the Deming Luna Mimbres Museum and at the Western New Mexico University Museum.
A large artistic community thrives in Santa Fe, and has included such people as Bruce Nauman, Richard Tuttle, John Connell and Steina Vasulka. The capital city has several art museums, including the New Mexico Museum of Art, Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, SITE Santa Fe and others. Colonies for artists and writers thrive, and the small city teems with art galleries. In August, the city hosts the annual Santa Fe Indian Market, which is the oldest and largest juried Native American art showcase in the world. Performing arts include the renowned Santa Fe Opera which presents five operas in repertory each July to August, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival held each summer, and the restored Lensic Theater a principal venue for many kinds of performances. The weekend after Labor Day boasts the burning of Zozobra, a 50 ft (15 m) marionette, during Fiestas de Santa Fe.
Art is also a frequent theme in Albuquerque, New Mexico's largest city. The National Hispanic Cultural Center has held hundreds of performing arts events, art showcases, and other events related to Spanish culture in New Mexico and worldwide in the centerpiece Roy E Disney Center for the Performing Arts or in other venues at the 53 acre facility. New Mexico residents and visitors alike can enjoy performing art from around the world at Popejoy Hall on the campus of the University of New Mexico. Popejoy Hall hosts singers, dancers, Broadway shows, other types of acts, and Shakespeare. Albuquerque also has the unique and memorable KiMo Theater built in 1927 in the Pueblo Revival Style architecture. The KiMo presents live theater and concerts as well as movies and simulcast operas. In addition to other general interest theaters, Albuquerque also has the African American Performing Arts Center and Exhibit Hall which showcases achievements by people of African descent and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center which highlights the cultural heritage of the First Nations people of New Mexico.
New Mexico still holds strong to its Spanish heritage. Old Spanish traditions such zarzuelas and flamenco are very popular in New Mexico. World renowned flamenco dancer and native New Mexican María Benítez founded the Maria Benítez Institute for Spanish Arts "to present programs of the highest quality of the rich artistic heritage of Spain as expressed through music, dance, visual arts and other art forms." There is also the Festival Flamenco Internacional de Alburquerque held each year in which both native Spanish and New Mexican flamenco dancers perform at the University of New Mexico.
In the mid-20th century there was a thriving Hispano school of literature and scholarship being produced in both English and Spanish. Among the more notable authors were: Angélico Chávez, Nina Otero-Warren, Fabiola Cabeza de Baca, Aurelio Espinosa, Cleofas Jaramillo, Juan Bautista Rael, and Aurora Lucero-White Lea. As well, writer D. H. Lawrence lived nearTaos in the 1920s at the D. H. Lawrence Ranch where there is a shrine said to contain his ashes.
Silver City, in the southwestern mountains of the state, was originally a mining town, and at least one nearby mine still operates. It is perhaps better known now as the home of and/or exhibition center for large numbers of artists, visual and otherwise. Another former mining town turned art haven is Madrid, New Mexico. It was brought to national fame as the filming location for the movie Wild Hogs in 2007. The City of Las Cruces, in southern New Mexico, has a museum system that is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program. Las Cruces also has a variety of cultural and artistic opportunities for residents and visitors alike.