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12 Incredible Facts About New Mexico That You Should Know New Mexico

New Mexico never ceases to mesmerize, amaze and amuse us. It’s such a unique state that many don’t know much about. At the same time though, many think they know a lot about it. Well this article is for both types. Those who don’t know and those who think they know. Here are 12 incredible facts about New Mexico that most people don’t know but should know.

1. Las Cruces holds the record for the country’s largest enchilada.

Robert V. Estrada and colleagues with his massive enchilada - Photo Courtesy of New Mexico Tourism

Robert V. Estrada and colleagues with his massive enchilada – Photo Courtesy of New Mexico Tourism

Robert V. Estrada from Las Cruces, New Mexico created the country’s largest enchilada at The Whole Enchilada Festival. He rolled this one out in 2000 and at the time it was the world’s largest enchilada at 10.5 feet in diameter. His record was defeated however by a 230 foot rolled enchilada in Mexico. However, Robert’s enchilada still is the world’s largest flat enchilada.

2. Smokey Bear was invented in New Mexico back in 1950.

Smokey Bear - Photo courtesy of USA Today

Smokey Bear – Photo courtesy of USA Today

After the Capitan Gap forest fire in 1950 burned 17,000 acres of land, Smokey Bear was created to keep the public informed about forest fire prevention.

3. The World Shovel Race is held in Angel Fire, New Mexico every February.

World Shovel Race - Photo courtesy Business Wire.

World Shovel Race – Photo courtesy Business Wire.

People from around the world come to Angel Fire, New Mexico every February to compete as shovel racers! The World Shovel Race is an awesome event that introduces an even more interesting sport. They should try to get shovel racing into the Olympics (maybe then we’d actually watch it).

4. Tia Sophias Restaurant in Santa Fe invented the breakfast burrito.

Tia Sophias Restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico - Photo by Howard SD

Tia Sophias Restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico – Photo by Howard SD

It is somewhat well known that the chimichanga and that sapapilla both come from New Mexico, but few know that the breakfast burrito also has its roots in the state. Though it honestly shouldn’t come as a surprise.

 5. Albuquerque is the hot air balloon capital of America.

The International Hot Air Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico - Photo by Diana Robinson

The International Hot Air Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico – Photo by Diana Robinson

Albuquerque is home to more than 300 hot air balloons and holds the International Hot Air Balloon Festival every year.

6. Felix Baumgartner became the first human to break the sound barrier without engine powered assistance and he did it over New Mexico.

Felix Baumgartner's Freefall - Photo courtesy of Extreme Tech

Felix Baumgartner’s Freefall – Photo courtesy of Extreme Tech

Not only did Felix Baumgartner break the sound barrier but he also earned the world record for the highest skydive.

Here’s the video of him doing it:

 

7. Santa Fe is the highest state capital in the United States.

Santa Fe, New Mexico - Photo by Andrea Di Castro

Santa Fe, New Mexico – Photo by Andrea Di Castro

Everyone talks about Denver being the “mile high” city and how special it is. Denver is nice, and it is a mile above sea level, but it is no Santa Fe, which is higher at 7,000 feet above sea level. A mile is only a mere 5,280 feet.

8. Santa Fe, New Mexico was founded in 1607, making it the second oldest town in the United States.

Santa Fe, New Mexico - Photo by Andrea Di Castro

Santa Fe, New Mexico – Photo by Andrea Di Castro

About 13 years before the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock and had a blast with the Native Americans, Santa Fe was already founded by Spain and named a Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis. That name proved to a be a bit too long so they changed it to Santa Fe in 1610.

9. Santa Fe’s Palace of the Governors is the oldest government building in the country.

Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico - Photo by Geoff Livingston

Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico – Photo by Geoff Livingston

Built in 1610, Palace of the Governors was the first official government building in the United States. Though not a part of the Union at the time of course (because there was no Union), it still stands between Lincoln Avenue and Washington Avenue on Palace Avenue on the Plaza of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

10. Neil Patrick Harris is an Albuquerqueian.

Neil Patrick Harris - Photo Courtesy of Queerty

Neil Patrick Harris – Photo Courtesy of Queerty

You might know him as teenage prodigy Doogie Howser M.D. but most of us now know him as Barney Stinson. The How I Met Your Mother star was born in Albuquerque on June 15, 1973.

11. The White Sands National Monument is actually made of gypsum crystals.

White Sands National Monument at Sunrise - Photo by Beau Rogers

White Sands National Monument at Sunrise – Photo by Beau Rogers

The White Sands National Monument has attracted many tourists because of it’s unique beauty and vast white sand dunes. Though it’s not actually made up of sand but actually is composed of gypsum crystals.

12. Some of the Pueblos in Taos Pueblo, New Mexico are over 900 years old.

Taos Pueblo, New Mexico - Photo by Sienna62

Taos Pueblo, New Mexico – Photo by Sienna62

Actually Taos Pueblo, New Mexico has had Native American residents for over 1000 years. Only some of the Pueblos are intact and have been for over 900 years. It’s like seeing ancient history in the present!

John Newell

John Newell is a professional musician as well as student, who is currently working on his PhD in Rhetoric and Composition at The University of Washington. He is also a photographer and freelance writer.

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