Santa Fe, New Mexico
Settled in by Spanish Colonist
Santa Fe, New Mexico, (pop. 55,859; met. area pop. 117,043), is the capital of the state and a major tourist center of the Southwest. The charm of the city's adobe houses and narrow, winding streets helps attract large numbers of visitors. Santa Fe has been a seat of government longer than any other state capital. It was founded in 1609 or 1610 as the capital of the Spanish colony of New Mexico. The city lies in north-central New Mexico, about 7,000 feet (2,100 meters) above sea level in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Range of the Southern Rockies. It is the nation's highest state capital.
Federal, state, and city government agencies and the tourism industry are Santa Fe's chief employers. The city is the home of the College of Santa Fe, St. John's College, and Santa Fe Community College. The Museum of New Mexico administers several museums in Santa Fe, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Laboratory of Anthropology, the Museum of International Folk Art, the Sante Fe Children's Museum, and the Palace of the Governors. The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian displays Native American arts and crafts. The Santa Fe Opera and the Sante Fe Chamber Music Festival present several productions during the summer.
Pueblo Indians lived in what is now the Santa Fe area before Spanish colonists arrived there. Pueblo Indians still live nearby in ancient villages. The Spanish colonists named the city La Villa Real de la Santa Fe, which means The Royal City of the Holy Faith. During the 1800's, Santa Fe was the western terminal of the Santa Fe Trail. In 1821, Mexico gained independence from Spain, and Santa Fe became the capital of a Mexican province. New Mexico became a United States territory in 1850. It became a state in 1912, with Santa Fe as the capital. The city has a mayor-council form of government and is the seat of Santa Fe County.
Contributor: Robin McKinney Martin, B.A., Publisher, The Taos News.
SOURCE: IBM 1999 WORLD BOOK
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