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NEW MEXICO At A Glance Return to State Index Recommend this site to your RVing friends
As you near New Mexico's state line, more car license plates touting "The Land of Enchantment" will pass you. Marveling at the wonders of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, shopping at the open market in Albuquerque, or spotting Barbary sheep from North Africa grazing on a mountain side, you will begin to understand that "The Land of Enchantment" is more than just a catchy slogan.
New Mexico is our fifth largest state with over 30 percent of the land owned by the federal government. Though desert terrain is what most of us associate with this area, over 20 percent of the land is covered in forest. Because of the variety of growing areas, over six thousand kinds of plants thrive in this state, including mesquite and cactus. For a closer look, visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Carlsbad; Bandelier National Monument, Santa Fe; and the Aztec Ruins National Monument. These are just three of the over forty parks available to the outdoor adventurer. And for those of you traveling with rods and reels, trout, bass, crappie, and catfish are waiting for you in the many streams throughout the state.
Who first enjoyed all this beauty? For over ten thousand years Native Americans have been calling this land home. By 1300 AD the Pueblo people were weaving, making pottery, and raising turkeys along the Rio Grande, some of their adobe dwellings five stories high. In 1598 the Spanish began colonizing this area, with Santa Fe founded in 1610 and Albuquerque following almost one hundred years later in 1706. A province of Mexico from 1821 to 1846, it was claimed as part of the United States on August 18, 1846. But it did not officially join the Union for sixty- six years, finally becoming our forty-seventh state in 1912.
With a history rich with Spanish, Mexican, and Native American cultures you can bet New Mexico has lots to see. Alamogordo has the International Space Hall of Fame, Roswell is home to the Roswell Museum and Art Center, and Santa Fe has both the Museum of New Mexico and the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum.
If you are staying near Albuquerque you can spend an enjoyable day at the Art Museum of the University, The New Mexico Museum of Natural History, or the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology. For something a little different, you can stop by the National Atomic Museum, also in Albuquerque.
New Mexico isn't bragging when it claims to have some of the oldest historical sites in the country. Santa Fe has both the Mission of San Miguel, one of the oldest churches in the United States, and the Palace of the Governors, built in 1610 by the Spanish. This last building holds the honor of being the oldest public building in the United States.
So take your time and enjoy this land of history, beauty, and enchantment.
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