New Mexico is the 47th state
Memories of Marcos de Niza
New can also be pretty old
There are four states in the US that begin with the word "New". Three of them are on the east coast, their reference names (Hampshire, Jersey and York) are English duchies or a channel island. And all three are among the founding states of the USA, and therefore one of its oldest components.
The fourth state, New Mexico, is in the west and refers to Mexico. This state is one of the youngest in the United States, it was incorporated in the same year (1912) when the Titanic went down.
And yet here is the place where, in 1539, just 41 years after Columbus' discovery of America, Marcos de Niza, the first European, set foot on what is now the United States.
Santa Fe was founded in 1599, 10 years before the first English settlement in North America, making it the "oldest" capital in today's United States. The area of today's New Mexico has been settled and inhabited by Europeans for more than 400 years, but only for a short time as part of the USA.
Today in New Mexico, especially around Santa Fe, an independent social culture has developed that is unique in the world in this form. Witness to this are the more than 20 Indian pueblos in this area, often with mission churches from the 17th century. Century, the city of Santa Fe with its unique adobe architecture or villages like Chimayo, Ojo Sarco or the pilgrimage site of Las Truchas. Villages also do this because, in contrast to American places, they are built around a church.
New Mexico offers numerous remains of the Indian pueblo culture and scenic highlights such as the White Sands, Capulin Vulcano, Valley of Fire or the Carlsbad Cavern National Park. Visiting ghost towns and, especially in the south, western towns that arose during the time of the US conquest, is also appealing.
The area of New Mexico is far from mass tourism to this day, perhaps also because the nearest airports directly served by Europe in California and Texas are thousands of kilometers away.
New Mexico is the only state in the USA in which there are two official state languages: in addition to English, Spanish is also recognized on an equal footing.
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