New Mexico got its name from the Spanish "Nuevo Mexico," which was in reference to the upper regions of the Rio Grande. The Spaniards hoped the lands held the wealth of Mexico.
The word "Mexico" is the Aztec for "place of Mexitle," who was an Aztec god. The Spanish "Nuevo Mexico" was Anglicized to "New Mexico," when it was ceded to the United States after the U.S.-Mexican War.
New Mexico officially became part of the U.S. on January 6, 1912. The state is known by its nickname "Land of Enchantment." New Mexico came into historical prominence when it became the site of the first detonation of the atomic bomb.