New Mexico Territory

The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed (with varying boundaries) from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912, when the remaining extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of New Mexico, making it the longest-lived organized incorporated territory of the United States, lasting approximately 62 years.

Territory of New Mexico
Organized incorporated territory of the United States

 

1850–1912
 

 

 

Flag Coat of arms
Flag Coat of arms
Location of New Mexico Territory
A map of the later Federal Arizona and New Mexico Territories, split from the original New Mexico Territory of 1851, showing existing counties.
Capital Santa Fe
Government Organized incorporated territory
Governor
 •  1851–1852 James S. Calhoun
 •  1910–1912 William J. Mills
Legislature New Mexico Territorial Legislature
History
 •  Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo May 30, 1848
 •  Organic Act (part of Compromise of 1850) September 9, 1850
 •  Gadsden Purchase June 24, 1853
 •  Colorado Territory established February 28, 1861
 •  Arizona Territory established February 24, 1863
 •  Statehood January 6, 1912

Before the Territory was organized

Boundaries of State of New Mexico proposed in 1850
Proposed boundaries for the earlier federal State of New Mexico, 1850

In 1846, during the Mexican–American War, the U.S. provisional government of New Mexico was established. Territorial boundaries were somewhat ambiguous. After the Mexican Republic formally ceded the region to the United States in 1848, this temporary wartime/military government persisted until September 9, 1850.

Earlier in the year 1850, a bid for New Mexico statehood was underway under a proposed state constitution prohibiting slavery. The request was approved at the same time that the Utah Territory was created to the north. The proposed state boundaries were to extend as far east as the 100th meridian West and as far north as the Arkansas River, thus encompassing the present-day Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and parts of present-day Kansas, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona, as well as most of present-day New Mexico. Texas raised great opposition to this plan, as it claimed much of the same territory, although it did not control these lands. In addition, slaveholders worried about not being able to expand slavery to the west of their current slave states.

Compromise of 1850 and disputes over slavery

New Mexico Territory, 1852
New Mexico Territory, 1852
Gadsden Purchase Cities ZP
Gadsden Purchase, 1853
Wpdms arizona territory 1860 idx
Wpdms arizona new mexico territories 1863 idx
Wpdms new mexico territory 1866

The Compromise of 1850 put an end to the push for immediate New Mexico statehood. Approved by the United States Congress in September 1850, the legislation provided for the establishment of New Mexico Territory and Utah Territory. It also firmly established the disputed western boundary of Texas.

The status of slavery during the territorial period provoked considerable debate. The granting of statehood was up to a Congress sharply divided on the slavery issue. Some (including Stephen A. Douglas) maintained that the territory could not restrict slavery, as under the earlier Missouri Compromise, while others (including Abraham Lincoln) insisted that older Mexican Republic legal traditions of the territory, which abolished black, but not Indian, slavery in 1834, took precedence and should be continued. Regardless of its official status, slavery was rare in antebellum New Mexico. Black slaves never numbered more than about a dozen.[1]

As one of the final attempts at compromise to avoid the Civil War, in December 1860, a U.S. House of Representatives committee proposed to admit New Mexico as a slave state immediately. Although the measure was approved by the committee on December 29, 1860, Southern representatives did not take up this offer, as many of them had already left Congress due to imminent declarations of secession by their states.[2]

On February 24, 1863, during the Civil War, Congress passed the "Arizona Organic Act", which split off the western portion of the then 12-year-old New Mexico Territory as the new Arizona Territory, and abolished slavery in the new Territory. As in New Mexico, slavery was already extremely limited, due to earlier Mexican traditions, laws, and patterns of settlement. The northwestern corner of New Mexico Territory was included in Arizona Territory until it was added to the southernmost part of the newly admitted State of Nevada in 1864. Eventually, Arizona Territory was organized as the State of Arizona.

Territorial evolution

The Purchase treaty defines the new border as "up the middle of that river (the Rio Grande) to the point where the parallel of 31° 47' north latitude crosses the same 31°47′0″N 106°31′41.5″W / 31.78333°N 106.528194°W; thence due west one hundred miles; thence south to the parallel of 31° 20' north latitude; thence along the said parallel of 31° 20' to the 111th meridian of longitude west of Greenwich 31°20′N 111°0′W / 31.333°N 111.000°W; thence in a straight line to a point on the Colorado River twenty English miles below the junction of the Gila and Colorado rivers; thence up the middle of the said river Colorado until it intersects the present line between the United States and Mexico." The new border included a few miles of the Colorado River at the western end; the remaining land portion consisted of line segments between points, including 32°29′38″N 114°48′47″W / 32.49399°N 114.813043°W at the Colorado River, west of Nogales at 31°19′56″N 111°04′27″W / 31.33214°N 111.07423°W, near AZ-NM-Mexico tripoint at 31°19′56″N 109°03′02″W / 31.332099°N 109.05047°W, the eastern corners of NM southern bootheel (Hidalgo County) at 31°47′02″N 108°12′31″W / 31.78378°N 108.20854°W, and the west bank of Rio Grande at 31°47′02″N 106°31′43″W / 31.78377°N 106.52864°W.

The boundaries of the New Mexico Territory at the time of establishment (September 9, 1850) contained most of the present-day State of New Mexico, more than half of the present-day State of Arizona, and portions of the present-day states of Colorado and Nevada. Although this area was smaller than what had been included in the failed statehood proposal of early 1850, the boundary disputes with Texas had been dispelled by the Compromise of 1850.

The Gadsden Purchase was acquired by the United States from Mexico in 1853/1854 (known as the "Venta de La Mesilla" or the "Sale of La Mesilla"), arranged by the then-American ambassador to Mexico, James Gadsden. This added today's southern strip of Arizona and a smaller area in today's southwestern New Mexico to the New Mexico Territory, bringing its land area to the maximum size achieved in its history as an organized territory. The land of 29,640 square miles (76,800 km2) provided a more easily constructed route for a future southern transcontinental railroad line (second of the routes) for the future Southern Pacific Railroad, constructed later in 1881/1883.[3]

The Colorado Territory was established by the "Colorado Organic Act" on February 28, 1861, with the same boundaries that would ultimately constitute the State of Colorado. This Act removed the Colorado lands from the New Mexico Territory.

The creation of the Union Arizona Territory (two years after the ill-fated Confederate Arizona Territory) by the "Arizona Organic Act" on February 24, 1863, removed all the land west of the 109th meridian from the New Mexico Territory, i.e. the entire present-day State of Arizona plus the land that would become the southern part of the State of Nevada in 1864.[4] This Act left the New Mexico Territory with boundaries identical to the eventual State of New Mexico for a half-century until admitted to the Union in 1912 as the 47th state (followed just under six weeks later by the Arizona Territory/State of Arizona, which became the 48th state, finally filling out the coast-to-coast continental expanse of the United States).

American Civil War

As the route to California, New Mexico Territory was disputed territory during the American Civil War. Settlers in the southern part of the Territory willingly joined the Confederate States in 1861 as the newly organized Confederate Territory of Arizona, with a representative delegate to the Confederate Congress in the capital of Richmond. This territory consisted of the southern half of the earlier Federal New Mexico Territory of 1851 and was in contrast to the later Federal Arizona Territory established by the Union in 1863, which was the western half split off from the original U.S. New Mexico Territory. The short-lived Confederate Arizona Territory was the first American territorial entity to be called "Arizona".

The Battle of Glorieta Pass in May 1862, following the retreat of Texan Confederate forces back south to El Paso, placed the area of the Rio Grande valley and eastern New Mexico Territory with the capital of Santa Fe under the control of the Federals with their Union Army.[5] However, the government and leadership of the Confederate Arizona Territory persisted until the end of the Civil War in June 1865 with the surrender of the Trans-Mississippi Department, living in exile in El Paso, Texas with its delegate still in Richmond.

See also

References

  1. ^ New Mexico Territory Slave Code (1859–1867) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed
  2. ^ David M. Potter (1976). The Impending Crisis. Harper & Row. pp. 533–534. ISBN 978-0-06-131929-7.
  3. ^ "Department of State – Gadsden Purchase". Retrieved 2008-04-04.
  4. ^ New York Times – The New Territory of Arizona
  5. ^ National Park Service – The Battle of Glorieta

Further reading

  • David L. Caffey, Chasing the Santa Fe Ring: Power and Privilege in Territorial New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2014.
Agua Caliente, Arizona

Agua Caliente in Maricopa County, Arizona, is a place north of the Gila River near Hyder, Arizona. The location was the site of a resort established at the site of nearby hot springs. Agua Caliente, a name derived from Spanish meaning "hot water", received its name from nearby hot springs which were originally used by the local Indians.

Albuquerque Journal

The Albuquerque Journal is the largest newspaper in the U.S. state of New Mexico.

Arizona Territory

The Territory of Arizona (also known as Arizona Territory) was a territory of the United States that existed from February 24, 1863 until February 14, 1912, when the remaining extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Arizona. It was created from the western half of the New Mexico Territory during the American Civil War.

Compromise of 1850

The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five separate bills passed by the United States Congress in September 1850 that defused a political confrontation between slave and free states on the status of territories acquired in the Mexican–American War. It also set Texas's western and northern borders and included provisions addressing fugitive slaves and the slave trade. The compromise was brokered by Whig Senator Henry Clay and Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas with the support of President Millard Fillmore.

A debate over slavery in the territories had erupted during the Mexican-American War, as many Southerners sought to expand slavery to the newly-acquired lands and many Northerners opposed any such expansion. The debate was further complicated by Texas's claim to all former Mexican territory north and east of the Rio Grande River, including areas it had never effectively controlled. These issues prevented the passage of organic acts to create organized territorial governments for the land acquired in the Mexican–American War. In early 1850, Clay proposed a package of bills that would settle most of the pressing issues before Congress. Clay's proposal was opposed by President Zachary Taylor, anti-slavery Whigs like William Seward, and pro-slavery Democrats like John C. Calhoun, and congressional debate over the territories continued.

After Taylor died and was succeeded by Fillmore, Douglas took the lead in passing Clay's compromise through Congress as five separate bills. Under the compromise, Texas surrendered its claims to present-day New Mexico and other states in return for federal assumption of Texas's public debt. California was admitted as a free state, while the remaining portions of the Mexican Cession were organized into New Mexico Territory and Utah Territory. Under the concept of popular sovereignty, the people of each territory would decide whether or not slavery would be permitted. The compromise also included a more stringent Fugitive Slave Law and banned the slave trade in Washington, D.C. The issue of slavery in the territories would be re-opened by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, but many historians argue that the Compromise of 1850 played a major role in postponing the American Civil War.

Confederate Arizona

Confederate Arizona, commonly referred to as Arizona Territory, and officially the Territory of Arizona, was a territory claimed by the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, between 1861 and 1865. Delegates to secession conventions had voted in March 1861 to secede from the New Mexico Territory and the United States, and seek to join the Confederacy. It consisted of the portion of the New Mexico Territory south of the 34th parallel, including parts of the modern states of New Mexico and Arizona. Its capital was Mesilla along the southern border. The Confederate territory overlapped the Arizona Territory later established by the Union government in 1863.

The physical geography differed in that the Confederate Arizona Territory was approximately the southern half of the historic New Mexico Territory. The Union-defined Arizona Territory was approximately the western half of what had been New Mexico Territory, and became the basis for the future state.

The territory was officially declared on August 1, 1861, following the Confederate victory at the Battle of Mesilla. The Confederate hold in the area was broken after the Battle of Glorieta Pass, March 26–28, 1862, the defining battle of the New Mexico Campaign. In July 1862, the government of the Confederate Territory of Arizona relocated to El Paso, Texas. With the approach of Union troops, it withdrew to eastern Texas, where it remained for the duration of the war. The territory continued to be represented in the Confederate Congress, and Confederate troops continued to fight under the Arizona banner until the war's end.

Fort Union National Monument

Fort Union National Monument is a unit of the National Park Service of the United States, and is located north of Watrous in Mora County, New Mexico. The national monument was founded on June 28, 1954.

The site preserves the second of three forts constructed on the site beginning in 1851, as well as the ruins of the third. Also visible is a network of ruts from the Mountain and Cimarron Branches of the old Santa Fe Trail.There is a visitor center with exhibits about the fort and a film about the Santa Fe Trail. The altitude of the Visitor Center is 6760 feet (2060 m). A 1.2-mile (1.9-kilometre) trail winds through the fort's adobe ruins.

George Curry (politician)

George Curry (April 3, 1861 – November 24, 1947) was a U.S. military officer and politician.

Jicarilla War

The Jicarilla War began in 1849 and was fought between the Jicarilla Apaches and the United States Army in the New Mexico Territory. Ute warriors also played a significant role in the conflict as they were allied with the Jicarillas. The war started when the Apaches and Utes began raiding against settlers on the Santa Fe Trail. Eventually, in 1853, the American army retaliated which resulted in a series of battles and campaigns that ended in 1854 when a large military expedition managed to quell most of the violence. However, some minor skirmishing continued into 1855.

Las Cruces Sun-News

Las Cruces Sun-News, founded in 1881, is a daily newspaper published in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Lincoln County War

The Lincoln County War was an Old West conflict between rival factions which began in 1878 in New Mexico Territory, the predecessor to the state of New Mexico, and dragged on until 1881. The feud became famous because of the participation of Billy the Kid. Other notable figures included Sheriff William J. Brady, cattle rancher John Chisum, lawyer and businessman Alexander McSween, James Dolan, and Lawrence Murphy.The conflict arose between two factions over the control of dry goods and cattle interests in the county. The older, established faction was led by James Dolan, who operated a dry goods monopoly through a general store locally referred to as "The House". English-born John Tunstall and his business partner Alexander McSween opened a competing store in 1876, with backing from established cattleman John Chisum. The two sides gathered lawmen, businessmen, Tunstall's ranch hands, and criminal gangs to their support. The Dolan faction was allied with Lincoln County Sheriff Brady and supported by the Jesse Evans Gang. The Tunstall-McSween faction organized their own posse of armed men, known as the Regulators, and had their own lawmen consisting of town constable Richard M. Brewer and Deputy US Marshal Robert A. Widenmann.The conflict was marked by revenge killings, starting with the murder of Tunstall by members of the Evans Gang. In revenge for this, the Regulators killed Sheriff Brady and others in a series of incidents. Further killings continued unabated for several months, climaxing in the Battle of Lincoln, a five-day gunfight and siege that resulted in the death of McSween and the scattering of the Regulators. Pat Garrett was named County Sheriff in 1880, and he hunted down Billy the Kid, killing two other former Regulators in the process. The war was fictionalized in several Hollywood films, including Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid in 1973, The Left Handed Gun in 1958, John Wayne's Chisum in 1970 and Young Guns in 1988. Ron Hansen's novel The Kid (2016) is also inspired by the Lincoln County War.

List of governors of New Mexico

The following is a list of the Governors of the state of New Mexico (Spanish: Gobernadores de Nuevo México) and New Mexico Territory.

Twenty-seven individuals have held the office of governor of New Mexico since the state's admission to the Union in 1912, two of whom—Edwin L. Mechem and Bruce King—served three non-consecutive terms. King holds the record as New Mexico's longest-serving governor, with 12 years of service. William C. McDonald, the first governor, took office on January 6, 1912. The current officeholder is Michelle Lujan Grisham, who took office on January 1, 2019, as the first elected female Democratic governor of the state. Governors are limited to two consecutive terms, but a former governor is eligible for re-election after an intervening governor's term expires.

Nevada Territory

The Territory of Nevada was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 2, 1861, until October 31, 1864, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Nevada.

Prior to the creation of the Nevada Territory, the area was part of western Utah Territory and was known as Washoe, after the native Washoe people. The separation of the territory from Utah was important to the federal government because of its political leanings, while the population itself was keen to be separated because of animosity (and sometimes violence) between non-Mormons in Nevada and Mormons from the rest of the Utah Territory.

A common misconception was that the Union needed Nevada's silver for the war effort, but as a U.S. Territory, the U.S. could take it if they so needed. Another misconception that Nevada was rushed into statehood was due to the 1864 Election, in which Abraham Lincoln needed a few more sure votes in the Electoral College to be re-elected. With Fremont dropping out of the race, Lincoln's margin of victory over McClellan was 212 to 21 so Nevada's three electoral votes weren't of consideration.

New Mexico Campaign

The New Mexico Campaign was a military operation of the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War from February to April 1862 in which Confederate Brigadier General Henry Hopkins Sibley invaded the northern New Mexico Territory in an attempt to gain control of the Southwest, including the gold fields of Colorado and the ports of California. Historians regard this campaign as the most ambitious Confederate attempt to establish control of the American West and to open an additional theater in the war. It was an important campaign in the war's Trans-Mississippi Theater, and one of the major events in the history of the New Mexico Territory in the American Civil War.

The Confederates advanced north along the Rio Grande from Fort Bliss in Texas. They won the Battle of Valverde but failed to capture Fort Craig or force the surrender of the main Union Army in the territory. They continued north across the border towards Santa Fe and Fort Union, leaving that Union force in their rear. At Glorieta Pass, the Confederates defeated another Union force from Fort Union, but were forced to retreat following the destruction of the wagon train containing most of their supplies.

Confederate success in this failed campaign would have denied the Union a major source of the gold and silver necessary to finance its war effort, and the Union navy would have had the additional difficulty of attempting to blockade several hundred miles of coastline in the Pacific. A Confederate victory would have also diverted Union troops which, following the invasion, were used to fight Native American tribes on the plains and in the Rockies.

New Mexico Territory in the American Civil War

The New Mexico Territory, which included the areas which became the modern U.S. states of New Mexico and Arizona as well as the southern part of present-day Nevada, played a small but significant role in the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War. Despite its remoteness from the major battlefields of the east and its existence on the still sparsely populated and largely undeveloped American frontier, both Confederate and Union governments claimed ownership over the territory, and several important battles and military operations took place in the region.

In 1861, the Confederacy claimed the southern half of the vast New Mexico Territory as its own Arizona Territory and waged the ambitious New Mexico Campaign in an attempt to control the American Southwest and open up access to Union-held California. Confederate power in the New Mexico Territory was effectively broken when the campaign culminated in the Union victory at the Battle of Glorieta Pass in 1862. However, the territorial government continued to operate out of Texas, and Confederate troops marched under the Arizona flag until the end of the war. Additionally, over 7,000 troops from the New Mexico Territory served the Union.

Sheep Wars

The Sheep Wars, or the Sheep and Cattle Wars, were a series of armed conflicts in the Western United States which were fought between sheepmen and cattlemen over grazing rights. Sheep wars occurred in many western states though they were most common in Texas, Arizona and the border region of Wyoming and Colorado. Generally, the cattlemen saw the sheepherders as invaders, who destroyed the public grazing lands, which they had to share on a first-come, first-served basis. Between 1870 and 1920, approximately 120 engagements occurred in eight different states or territories. At least 54 men were killed and some 50,000 to over 100,000 sheep were slaughtered.

Taos County, New Mexico

Taos County is a county in the U.S. state of New Mexico. As of the 2010 census, the population was 32,937. Its county seat is Taos. The county was formed in 1852 as one of the original nine counties in New Mexico Territory.Taos County comprises the Taos, NM Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Timber pirate

In the United States, a timber pirate is a pirate engaged in the illegal logging industry.

Tom Ketchum

Tom Edward Ketchum (October 31, 1863 – April 26, 1901), known as Black Jack, was a cowboy who later turned to a life of crime. He was executed in 1901 for attempted train robbery.

United States congressional delegations from New Mexico

These are tables of congressional delegations from New Mexico to the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

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