New Mexico became the 47th state in the United States on Jan. 6, 1912. Before statehood, the country purchased the land in 1853 as part of the Gadsen Purchase. At that point in history, New Mexico became a U.S. territory called New Mexico Territory.
The state features the oldest seat of government in the country, the Palace of the Governors, constructed in 1610. The building sits in the state's capitol of Santa Fe. Originally, Spain colonized the land, and a quarter of the million residents in the state and in southern Colorado speak a Spanish dialect that features Castilian origins.
The state has a close history with the military, as it hosted the country's first atomic bomb tests in 1945 at the Trinity Site, which sits in the central part of the state. Los Alamos National Laboratory, which opened in 1943, researched and developed the atomic bomb.
New Mexico's nickname is the "Land of Enchantment," and the state spans 121,590 square miles, making it the fifth largest state in the country. However, most of the square mileage is land, as the state ranks 49th in the country in water area.
Some of the famous landmarks in the state include Carlsbad Caverns and the White Sands National Monument, which features the largest dune field of gypsum on Earth.