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New Mexico History Timeline
Important Dates, Events, and Milestones in New Mexico
Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in New Mexico history.
About 9200 BCE, the Native Americans are likely present in the area now known as New Mexico. The hunter-gatherer Clovis culture, likely persisting for about 500 years, hunts big game in the region. The Folsom replace the Clovis around 8200 BCE, who are in turn replaced by various pre-historic desert cultures that gradually develop agricultural skills, pottery making, and fine basket weaving. During 700–1300 CE, the modern Pueblo (a Spanish word meaning "villages") have evolved from their more primitive forebears. They primarily live along the area’s few rivers, such as the Rio Grande and the Pecos. Here they build adobe houses and further develop agricultural practices. The Great Pueblo of 1050 to 1300 construct irrigation and road systems and build multi-story dwellings in small settlements. In the 1200s, semi-nomadic Apaches and Navajo, both Southern Athabaskan tribes, are present in the region. They trade with Pueblos, and the process becomes important to both groups. Today the Navajo represent the largest tribe in the U.S., living in northwestern New Mexico and northeastern Arizona.
Colonized by Spain, the land that is now New Mexico became U.S. territory as part of the Gadsen Purchase in 1853, though New Mexico did not become a U.S. state until 1912.
16th Century New Mexico History Timeline
1536 - Cabeza de Vaca, Estevan the Moor and two others reach Culiacdn, Mexico, after possibly crossing what is now southern New Mexico, and begin rumors of the Seven Cities of Cibola.
1539 - Fray Marcos de Niza and Estevan lead expedition to find Cibola and reach the Zuni village of Hawikuh, where Estevan is killed.
1540-42 - Francisco Vasquez de Coronado explores area from Gulf of California to present-day Kansas, discovers the Grand Canyon.
1580-81 - Fray Agustin Rodriguez leads expedition to New Mexico; four members of the party killed by Indians.
1582-83 - Fray Bernadino Beltran and Fray Antonio de Espejo lead expedition to New Mexico to search for survivors of the ill-fated Rodriguez mission.
1598 - Juan de Onate establishes the first Spanish capital of San Juan de los Caballeros at the Tewa village of Ohke north of present-day Espanola
17th Century New Mexico History Timeline
1600 - San Gabriel, second capital of New Mexico, is founded at the confluence of the Rio Grande and the Chama River.
1605 - Onate expedition to the Colorado River; visits El Morro, leaves message on Inscription Rock.
1626 - Spanish Inquisition established in New Mexico.
1641 - Gov. Luis de Rosas assassinated by colonists during conflict between the church and state.
1680 -August 10 - Pueblo Indian Revolt Spanish survivors flee to El Paso del Norte.
Late 1600's - Navajos, Apaches, lies, and Comanches begin raids against Pueblo Indians.
1695 - Santa Cruz de la Cahada (Canada) founded.
1696 - Second Pueblo Revolt; efforts thwarted by Gov. De Vargas.
18th Century New Mexico History Timeline
1706 - Villa de Albuquerque founded.
1743 - French trappers reach Santa Fe and begin limited trade with the Spanish.
1776 - Franciscan friars Dominguez and Escalante explore route from out New Mexico to California.
1786 - Gov. Juan Bautista de Anza makes peace with the Comanches.
1793 - First school text printed in New Mexico by Padre Antonio Jose Martinez of Taos.
19th Century New Mexico History Timeline
1828 - First major gold discovery in western U. S. made in Ortiz Mountains south of Santa Fe.
1837 - Chimayo Revolt against Mexican taxation leads to the assassination of Gov. Albino Perez and top officials.
1848 - Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ends Mexican-American War.
1850 - September 9 - New Mexico (which included present-day Arizona, southern Colorado, southern Utah, and southern Nevada) is designated a territory but denied statehood.
1851 - Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy arrives in New Mexico and establishes schools, hospitals and orphanages throughout the territory
1854 - The Gadsden Purchase front Mexico adds 45,000 square miles to the territory
1862 - February 12 - Battles of Velarde de and Glorieta Pass fought, ends confederate occupation of New Mexico.
1863-68 - Known as the "Long Walk," Navajos and Apaches are relocated to Bosque Redondo: finally allowed to return to their homelands after thousands die of disease and starvation.
1881 - Billy the Kid shot by Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner N.M.
1886 - Geronimo surrenders; Indian hostilities cease in the Southwest.
1898 - First movie filmed in New Mexico, Indian Day School by Thomas A. Edison.
20th Century New Mexico History Timeline
1906 - People of New Mexico and Arizona vote on issue of joint statehood, New Mexico voting in favor and Arizona against.
1911 - January 21 -New Mexico Constitution drafted in preparation for statehood.
1912 - January 6 - New Mexico admitted to the Union as the 47th state.
1916 - March 16 - Pancho Villa raids Columbus, N.M.
1920 - Adoption of the l9th Amendment gives women the right to vote.
1922 - Secretary of State Soledad Chacon and Superintendent of Public Instruction Isabel Eckles elected first women to hold statewide office.
1923-24 - Oil is discovered on the Navajo Reservation.
1945 - World's first atomic bomb detonated at Trinity Site in southern New Mexico after its development at Los Alamos.
1947 - UFO allegedly crashes between Roswell and Corona, believers claim US government institutes massive coverup of the incident.
1948 - Native Americans will the right to vote in state elections.
195O - Uranium discovered near Grants.
1957 - Buddy Holly records Peggy Sue at Norman Petty Studio in Clovis.
1966 - New state capitol, the "Roundhouse," is dedicated.
1969 - Proposed new state constitution is rejected by voters.
1982 - Space shuttle Columbia lands at White Sands Space Harbor oil Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo.
1992 - New Mexico observes Columbus Quincentenary, welcomes Cristobal Colon XX, direct descendent of Christopher Columbus.
1994 - North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) increased trade with Mexico.
1998 - New Mexico celebrates its cuartocentenario, 400th anniversary commemorating its 1598 founding by Juan de Onate.
21st Century New Mexico History Timeline
2000 - Valles Caldera National Preserve established
2005 - 11.65% of state's employment was derived directly or indirectly from military spending
2008 - New Mexico had highest poverty rate in US
2009 - Death penalty abolished
2011 - Wildfire forced officials to close Los Alamos National Labratory, voluntary evacuation issued for residents
US History Overview
The word History comes from the Greek word historķa meaning "to learn or know by inquiry." History is not static. It's fluid. It changes and grows and becomes richer and more complex when any individual interacts with it.