The US state of New Mexico is nicknamed the Land of Enchantment and covers an area of 315,194 km². According to ablogtophone, about 2.1 million inhabitants live in the state that has Santa Fe as its capital.
The first white person to visit the area was Cabeza de Vaca, a castaway from Pánfilo de Narváez’s lost expedition. The Spaniard visited the area in 1536 and on his return to Mexico he told great stories about the area he discovered. He spoke of a ‘gold country’ and thus ensured that several expeditions visited the area again. These expeditions had to find, among other things, the ‘seven cities of Cibola’ described by Cabeza de Vaca.
Fray Marcos de Niza visited the Niza, the area of the Zuñi Indians, in 1539. The villages of these Indians were conquered a year later (1540) by the conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado.
Around 1581 a first attempt was made to colonize the area. In 1598
the entire area was conquered by the Spanish colonial leader Juan de Oñate whose successor, Pedro de Peralta, founded the capital of New Mexico in 1610: Sante Fe.
The Spaniards were almost all expelled from the area around 1680 during the Indian revolt. It was not until more than ten years later that the Spaniard Diego de Vargas succeeded in restoring Spanish rule in the area. After this a new city was founded: Albuquerque. However, the colony did not get going quickly after this, mainly due to the many raids by Native American tribes such as the Apache and Navaho.
In 1821 Spain lost New Mexico to Mexico. However, the authority of the Mexicans in the present American state was not very strong. Many American settlers populated the area and when the Mexican-American War broke out in 1846, American General Kearny easily conquered the area.
According to bestitude, New Mexico joined the Union as a state on January 6, 1912.
Flag of New Mexico
The flag of New Mexico consists of a yellow area with a symbolic representation of the sun in red. The flag was designed by the archaeologist Harry Mera and has been officially in use since March 11, 1925. The colors yellow and red are the colors of the Spanish conquistadors.
White Sands National Monument
In New Mexico there is a beautiful desert, which is interesting mainly because it is made up of bright white sand dunes. The sand grains are made of gypsum, and White Sands is thus the largest gypsum desert in the world. Therefore, it looks as if it is covered with freshly fallen snow.
The valley with the desert was created as a trench depression between the San Andres Mountains and the Sacramento Mountains, on the slopes of which the Mescaler Apache Indian reservation is located. Located at an altitude of around 1200 meters, the White Sands Desert is only part of the much larger Chihuahua Desert, which for the most part extends into the Mexican state of the same name.
The white sand of the desert is constantly moving due to the action of the wind, some sand dunes can move up to 9 meters per year. Although White Sands is a dry and inhospitable desert, it is quite alive. Most of the animals found here have light or completely white protective coloring. Here you will find rodents, voles and marsupials. From the bird kingdom, kestrels, hawks and vultures are represented here. Interesting is a species of night butterfly – Tegeticula or three species of small iguanas of the genus Holbrookia. These little creatures behave like chameleons and can change their skin either white or, in the shadows, dark as needed. Skunks, coyotes, ursons, badgers or foxes also struggle with the unfavorable environment on a daily basis. A total of five hundred species of plants and animals were counted in the park.
The White Sands desert has been a protected area of the White Sands National Monument since 1933, i.e. a national monument. However, part of its territory is occupied by the United States Army, the rest is accessible to tourists. Adults here pay an entrance fee of 3 dollars, which entitles them to stay in the park for 3 days. In summer, the heat is unbearable, so the best time to visit is spring or autumn. From the visitor center full of all the necessary information, a single road leads through the white dunes. The grounds, including the visitor center, are open daily throughout the year. In exceptional cases, access to the dunes may be closed for several hours.