Fun Facts About New Mexico
New Mexico one of the 50 states of the United States of America, created on the 6th of January 1912 and became the 47th state of the union. New Mexico was initially named ‘Nuevo México‘ by the Spanish explorers after the the Aztec Valley of Mexico. This name was eventually changed to the English translation of the name which is what we know it as today. There are much more enlightening facts about New Mexico that would teach you things you never knew about the state of New Mexico and its origin.
New Mexico is located in the South West region of the United States. It is also one of the mountain states of the southern Rocky Mountains. The state has a lot of history to it dating back to the 1600s when it was part of Nuevo México. It is also known for its lovely landscapes, historical sites, and many more.
In this article, I’ll be sharing with you some of the best fun facts about New Mexico that you need to know. These New Mexico fun facts are meant to enlighten everyone from residents of New Mexico, to those from other states as well as non-Americans. These Fun facts about New Mexico are meant to dispel every wrong notions and misinformation about the beautiful state of New Mexico.
Without any further ado let’s dive into the list of fun facts for New Mexico.
New Mexico Fun Facts
- It has the oldest state capital in the US
New Mexico has the oldest state capital in the US. Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico, is the oldest state capital in the US.
- It is the 47th state
New Mexico became part of the United States when it was admitted to the union as the 47th state on the 6th of January, 1912, over a century ago.
- The largest cities in New Mexico
The three largest cities in New Mexico are Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Rio Rancho. About 26% of the state’s population resides in Albuquerque.
- The state motto
The official state motto of New Mexico is “crescit eundo” and it is a Latin phrase that means “it grows as it goes.”
- Its neighboring states
New Mexico borders Oklahoma to the east, Texas to the east and south, Arizona to the west, and Mexico to the south.
- Its highest peak
Wheeler Peak is the highest point in New Mexico as it is at 13,167 feet.
- Its lowest point
Red Bluff Reservoir is the lowest point throughout the whole of New Mexico as it is at 2,842 feet.
- New Mexico doesn’t have many residents
Despite New Mexico being the 5th largest state in the US, the state had a population of about 2.1 million people as of 2020. This makes the state the 36th most populous state in the US.
- It is the 5th largest state
New Mexico is the 5th largest state in the United States with a size of 121,591 square miles.
- It is the 6th least densely populated state
With about 17.5 people per square mile, New Mexico is the 6th on the list of least densely populated states in the US.
- It is the 3rd state to launch humans into space
Following California and Florida, New Mexico is the 3rd state in the United States to launch humans to explore space.
- New Mexico’s lowest temperature
The lowest temperature to be recorded in New Mexico is -50°F and it was on February 1, 1951.
- New Mexico’s highest temperature
The highest temperature to be recorded in New Mexico is 122°F and was in Lakewood, on July 27, 1994.
- New Mexico has the highest temperature range
New Mexico has the highest temperature range of any state in the US as its highest temperature is 122°F and the lowest temperature is -50°F.
- It has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites
As I said earlier, New Mexico has a lot of history to it so this should not come as a surprise to anyone. Of any state in the United States, New Mexico has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with there being 3 of those sites across the state. The sites are Carlsbad Caverns, Taos Pueblo, and Chaco Culture.
- It has a lot of national monuments
There are 84 national monuments spread across New Mexico making it the state with the 2nd most national monuments, only after Arizona. These monuments help to protect rock formations, ancient ruins, volcanoes, cave dwellings, and other historical sites.
- It has the highest capital
After taking pride in being the oldest state capital, Santa Fe is also the highest capital of all 50 states in the US as it is 7199 feet above sea level.
- The Land of Enchantment
The official nickname for New Mexico is The Land of Enchantment as the state has charming culture, architecture, scenery, and cuisine.
- It is the Tyrannosaur State
Over the years, several T-Rex fossils have been found in many places in New Mexico, this makes the state also the Tyrannosaur State.
- New Mexico has a diverse landscape
New Mexico is more than deserts, it has one of the most diverse landscapes in the world. You can find a vast expanse of prairie, forests of cottonwood, and beautiful wildflower fields across the state.
- Breaking Bad was filmed in New Mexico
Breaking Bad, arguably one of the best-ever TV series was filmed in New Mexico, with the most part being in Albuquerque.
- It is the origin of the green chile cheeseburger
If you love green chile cheeseburgers then you have New Mexico to thank as it was where the burger originated.
- New Mexico is larger than some popular countries
In terms of size, New Mexico is larger than many other countries in other parts of the world. For example, Poland and the Philippines are both smaller than the South Western state.
- It has a lot of Spanish speakers
More than 30% of the people in New Mexico are said to speak Spanish at home. If you speak Spanish and are planning to visit the state, you’d have no problem.
- It has a diverse economy
The economy of New Mexico is very diversified as it is known for a lot of things including agriculture, tourism, arts, scientific & technological research, etc. The state has a GFP of about $95.7 billion in 2020 with a GDP per capita of about $46,300.
- Microsoft was founded in New Mexico
Microsoft was founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and it stayed there for 4 years before being moved to Washington.
- New Mexico has the first official wilderness in the world
Gila Wilderness in New Mexico is recognized as the first official wilderness area in the whole world.
- It has one of the longest caves in the world
The Lechuguilla Cave in Carlsbad Caverns is one of the longest caves in the world as it is about 150 miles in length. To be exact, the cave is the 8th longest in the world and it houses more than thousands of bats.
- New Mexico hosts the world’s largest hot-air balloon festival
New Mexico hosts the world’s largest hot air balloon festival as the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta sports more than 500 hot air balloons every year.
- New Mexico has the world’s largest field of gypsum crystal sand dunes
In White Sands, New Mexico, you’d get to find what is the largest field of gypsum crystal sand dunes in the world as the wave-like sand spans over 275 square miles of desert.
- New Mexico has two national parks
There are two national parks in the whole of New Mexico: the Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the White Sands National Park.
- It is the largest producer of chile peppers in the US
Of all the states in the US, New Mexico is the largest producer of chili peppers and that also happens to be the most popular export of the state. This should not come as a surprise as agriculture is a major contributor to the state’s economy.
- New Mexico is the first place wine grapes were planted in the US
The Rio Grande in New Mexico happens to be the place where the first-ever wine grapes were planted in the United States. As of today, there are more than 50 wineries spread across the state.
- It is home to the atomic bomb
The first ever atomic bomb to be made was invented in New Mexico at Los Alamos National Laboratory near the state’s capital. It took the scientists close to 2 years to construct the bomb.
- The first atomic bomb was tested in New Mexico
Apart from being home to the invention of the atomic bomb, New Mexico is also the place where the first atomic number, codenamed Trinity, was detonated. It happened on the 16th of July, 1945, and the test site was the desert sands of the Jornada del Muerto in south-central New Mexico. This place is now a National Historic Site called The Trinity Site and it is located on the White Sands Missile Range.
- UFOs are commonly seen in New Mexico
Every year in New Mexico, there are more than a thousand official reports of UFOs. On average, there are more than two reports every day.
- Breakfast burrito originated in New Mexico
The breakfast burrito is said to have originated in New Mexico as Tia Sophia claims it had the meal on its menu as far back as 1975.
- New Mexicans seem to love education
The people of New Mexico seem to love education and want to go further into their field of study as the state is home to more Ph.D. holders per capita than any other state in the United States.
- It hosts the Shovel Race Championship
In Angel Fire, New Mexico, a world shovel race championship is held every year and thousands of people come from different parts of the US to watch it.
- Only 25% of roads in New Mexico are paved
Being the 5th largest state in the US and the 36th most populous, the New Mexico government sees very little need to pave all the roads in the state. About 75% of the roads in New Mexico are unpaved due to how expensive it will be. You’d find gravel and rutted dirt routes in many places across the state.
- It is a major producer of perlite
New Mexico is the US state that produces the most perlite, a type of glass that is used for gardening and insulation.
- More than 700 volcanic eruptions have occurred in New Mexico
Throughout the course of its existence, New Mexico has witnessed more than 700 volcanic eruptions and they have helped to shape the state’s landscape.
- There are more cows than human
With a population of 2.1 million and a population density of 17 people per square mile, there are more cows than humans in New Mexico. There are more than 13,500 ranches across the state so this is quite understandable.
- New Mexico has one of the oldest communities in the US
Taos Pueblo in New Mexico is one of the oldest continuously occupied communities in the US as people are said to live in buildings that are close to 1000 years old.
- New Mexico has some funny laws
There are some really funny laws in New Mexico and here are some that lead the pack.
Laws in the state consider it a misdemeanor if you spit on any public sidewalk or property building.
If you love gambling then you need to know that in New Mexico, you are prohibited from betting on camel or ostrich races.
- Some famous people from New Mexico
Some popular people who are from New Mexico include actor Neil Patrick, singer Demi Lovato, actress Demi Moore, John Denver, Holly Holm, Did Gutierrez, Al and Bobby Unser, and Andrian Grenier.
- New Mexico is a major producer of onions in the US
New Mexico is responsible for about 85% of the fresh onions produced in the United States. They are usually supplied during June.
- It has the lowest water-to-land ratio
Of all states in the US, New Mexico has the lowest water-to-land ratio of them as water bodies like rivers and lakes only make up 0.002% of the state’s total surface area. Also, most of the lakes in the state are man-made reservoirs.
- New Mexico is home to the oldest government building in the US
New Mexico hosts the oldest government building in the United States which is the Palace of Governors in Santa Fe.
- New Mexico is home to the green chile capital of the world
Hatch, a village in New Mexico is considered to be the Green Chile capital of the world.
- It hosts an annual duck race
Deming, a city in New Mexico, is known for hosting duck races every year.
We’re at the end of the list of New Mexico fun facts that were able to put together, if there are any fun facts for New Mexico you feel weren’t included, do share them. In the next section I would be answering some of the most popular and frequently asked questions about New Mexico.
FAQs About New Mexico Facts
What is New Mexico known for?
New Mexico is known for beautiful mountains, landscape, Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, White Sands National Park, Bandelier National Monument, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, Taos Pueblo, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Cowboy Culture and a lot more.
What is the capital of New Mexico?
The capital of New Mexico is Santa Fe. It is was originally known as ‘La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis’, which when translated to English meant ‘The Royal Town of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi’. The present day short form ‘Santa Fe’ means ‘Holy faith’.
What year did New Mexico became a state?
New Mexico became a state in the year 1912. It was created on the 6th of January of 1912.
What region is New Mexico in?
New Mexico is in the South West region of the United States of America. It is one of the 11 states in that region of the USA.
What are people from New Mexico called?
People from New Mexico are called New Mexicans.
What is New Mexico’s state motto?
New Mexico state’s motto is ‘Crescit Eundo‘, which when translated to English means ‘As it grows, it goes’.