A southwestern state, its character has been centered around the Spanish culture, first from Spain and then Mexico. Yet, the Native Indian influence is still very strong in the state.
The Navajo and Pueblo Native Indians date back centuries in the New Mexico region. Looking at New Mexico genealogy the Native Indian population representing 10 percent of the state’s present population is an important factor.
At the time the first Europeans arrived in the New Mexico area there were Navajos, Pueblos, Apaches and the Ute tribe. The southwest region had been traveled by Spanish explorers looking for gold, going far to the north of Mexico in 1563. It was in 1598 the San Juan de los Caballeros colony was founded and became the first permanent European settlement in the area.
The settlement of Santa Fe in the northern end of present-day New Mexico was established in 1608. A Pueblo revolt by the people who were hostile toward the Spanish rules, forced the Spaniards out from 1680 to 1692. Santa Fe was redeveloped by the Spanish after 1692 as a trading center and the settlement of Albuquerque to the south was also established in 1706.
The very northern end of New Mexico had belonged to France and was part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and became part of the United states property. By 1821, all the New Spain lands, including New Mexico became property of Mexico. The Spanish-Mexican settlement greatly increased along with Apache and Comanche Indian raid on those settlers.
Between 1840 and 1852, the United States acquired most of the New Mexico property from Mexico. It was granted statehood in January 1912 to become the 47th state.
In 1850 the population was about 61,500 residents. By 1880 it had increased to 119,500 people. In the 20th century, the state’s population was 423,000 in 1930 and 1 million by 1970. In 2009, the state’s population sits at a little over 2 million residents.
In studying New Mexico genealogy, the state has the highest percentage of people with the Hispanic heritage than any other state. Its total population consists of 44 percent Hispanics, with some families dating back to Spanish colonial times and others to recent immigrants from Mexico and Latin American countries.
Those of Spaniard ancestry are 18 percent of the population, those of Mexican ancestry at 15 percent and a German ancestry at 10 percent. The African-American population is about 2.8 percent. The state is not officially bilingual and has no official language. However, most information is written in English and Spanish.