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New Mexico State Names (Etymology of Names)

New Mexico Name Origin and State Nicknames

Southwest

NM 3D Map: State Name OriginNew Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western 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. The eastern border of New Mexico lies the state of Oklahoma and 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 is with Arizona. The southwestern corner of the state is known as the Bootheel. Northern boundary is with 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 was named by the Spanish, in reference to Mexico

New Mexico Nicknames

  • Land of Enchantment (Official)
  • "Otro"
  • New Andalusia
  • Cactus State
  • The Colorful State
  • The Cactus State
  • The Spanish State
  • Land of Sunshine
  • The Sunshine State
  • The Land of the Delight Makers
  • The Land of Opportunity
  • The Land of the Heart's Desire
  • The Outer Space State

Origin of New Mexico State Name

Name take from the country of Mexico.

The name of this state is an Anglicized version of "Nuevo Mexico," the Spanish name for the upper Rio Grande. Mexico, an Aztec spelling, means "place of Mexitli" one of the Aztec gods.

New Mexico Nicknames

Land of Enchantment

Before Land of Enchantment became the state slogan, New Mexico went by the nickname The Sunshine State, based on the fact that every part of New Mexico receives at least 70 percent sunshine year-round.

New Mexico received its nickname because of its natural beauty and rich history. The Spanish and Mexicans used to occupy the state and there is still a lot of their culture leftover. For example, New Mexicans have many Spanish fiestas, Spanish food and Spanish is spoken everywhere. Every year thousands of tourists visit this enchanted state and you can be one to! Come visit New Mexico! It really is a land of enchantment.

Lillian Whiting first noted the phrase, "Land of Enchantment,"  in the title of her book on New Mexico in 1906.  In September 1935, Joseph A. Bursey, Director of the State Tourist Bureau, designed a brochure using this phrase.  That same year New Mexico Magazine first advertised using "The Land of Enchantment" to encourage tourism in the state.  The year this nickname first appeared on New Mexico license plates was in 1941.  But it wasn't until 1947 that the Tourist Bureau filed with the Secretary of State for exclusive right to use the phrase as their trademark. This phrase was adopted as the official nickname of the state June 18, 1999.

"Otro"

Which possibly meant another Mexico

New Andalusia

"New Andalusia" is a reference to a part of southern Spain where culture and beauty mix well.

The Cactus State

 "Land of the Cactus" refers to the cacti that grow so abundantly in the state, particularly along the border with Mexico and on the plains.

The Colorful State

"The Colorful State" is a nickname shared with Colorado and a reference to the many different and colorful scenic areas to be found here.

The Spanish State

New Mexico has been referred to as "The Spanish State" because of its border with Mexico, its historical background and the proportion of its Spanish speaking population.

The Land of Sunshine / The Sunshine State

The Land of Sunshine or The Sunshine State are nicknames that refer to the generous portion of sunshine that "rains" down upon New Mexico. "Sunshine State" appeared on state license plates before 1941.

The Land of the Delight Makers

This nickname, suggested by George Wharton James, was to celebrate the state's influence on literature and art and because "...it is also the home of the first real field-school of American Archaeology in America." The name was suggested by a book by Adolf Bandelier,The Delight Makers.

The Land of Opportunity

So called because of its natural beauty, its climate, its newness at the time, its free lands and its industries. New Mexico was described as place that offered enough opportunity to fulfill the hopes of all who came.

The Land of the Heart's Desire

This is another historical nickname that promoted New Mexico as a land of unbound opportunity. Its location was between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, it provided an ideal climate and was still relatively undeveloped.

The Outer Space State

"The Outer Space State" is a reference to reported incidents that occurred in Roswell, New Mexico, including the suspected crash and cover-up of a UFO.

New Mexico Slogans

  • (Everybody is somebody in New Mexico. Adopted on April 3, 1975)

New Mexico Postal Code

  • NM

New Mexico Resident's Name

  • New Mexican - Official (recommended by US GPO)
State Names
State Names & Nicknames
The etymologies of some US state names are more obvious than others, derived from the Spanish or French tongue. Though, more than half of the US state names come from Native American tribal languages, with several still a mystery to scholars and historians.
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