New Mexico History Timeline

Important Dates, Events, and Milestones in New Mexico History

Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in New Mexico history.

Colonized by Spain, the land that is now New Mexico became US 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

1599 -

  • Battle at Aroma between natives and Spaniards
  • Seeds of Pueblo Revolt sown.

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.

1601 -

  • Mass desertion of San Gabriel by colonists
  • New recruits front Spain and Mexico sent to reinforce colony.

1605 - Onate expedition to the Colorado River; visits El Morro, leaves message on Inscription Rock.

1608 -

  • Onate removed as governor and sent to Mexico City to be tried for mistreatment of the Indians and abuse of power.
  • Decision made by Spanish Crown to continue settlement of New Mexico as a royal province.

1609-10 -

  • Gov. Pedro de Peralta establishes a new capital at Santa Fe.
  • Construction begins on the Palace of the Governors.
  • Gaspar de Villagra publishes epic history on the founding of New Mexico, the first book printed about any area in the modern United States.

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.

1692-93 -

  • September 14, 1692, Don Diegode Vargas proclaimed a formal act of possession and recolonizes Santa Fe.
  • Spanish civilization returns to New Mexico.

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

1807 -

  • Zebulon Pike leads first Anglo American expedition into New Mexico.
  • Publishes account of way of life in New Mexico upon return to US

1821 -

  • Mexico declares independence from Spain.
  • Santa Fe Trail opened to international trade.

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.

1841 -

  • Texas soldiers invade New Mexico and claim all land east of the Rio Grande.
  • Efforts thwarted by Gov. Manuel Armijo.

1846 -

  • Mexican-American War begins.
  • Stephen Watts Kearny annexes New Mexico to the United States.

1847 -

  • Taos Rebellion against the US military.
  • Gov. Chat Charles Bent killed.

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

1861 -

  • July - Confederates invade New Mexico front Texas.
  • The Confederate Territory of Arizona is declared with the capital at La Mesilla.
  • Territory of Colorado is created. New Mexico loses extreme northern-most section to the new 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.

1863 -

  • New Mexico is partitioned in half.
  • Territory of Arizona is created.

1878 -

  • The railroad arrives in New Mexico, opening full-scale trade and migration from the east and midwest.
  • Lincoln County War erupts in southeast New Mexico

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.

1930-43 -

  • Great Depression.
  • Federal New Deal funds provide employment for many and causes numerous public buildings to be constructed.

1942-45 -

  • New Mexico soldiers serving in the 200th Coast Artillery during World War II are captured by the Japanese and forced to endure the Bataan Death March.
  • Navajo "Codetalkers" are influential in helping end the war.
  • Secret atomic laboratories established at Los Alamos.

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

2010 -

  • Runway opened at world's first spaceport in New Mexico
  • Governor Richardson announced he would not pardon Billy the Kid

2011 - Wildfire forced officials to close Los Alamos National Labratory, voluntary evacuation issued for residents

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