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Clay Allison
Gunslinger-for-hire Clay Allison, a major figure in the Colfax County War. (Denver Public Library, Western History Department)

Zuni Boy
A young boy looks over Zuni Pueblo as it appeared around 1890. (Photo by Ben Wittick, School of American Research Collections, and Museum of New Mexico Negative No. 16210)

Billy the Kid
The only verified photograph of Billy the Kid. (Photographer unknown, Museum of New Mexico Negative No. 30769)

Trinity Site
The world's first atomic explosion at Trinity Site in southern New Mexico. (Los Alamos National Laboratory photo, Museum of New Mexico Negative No. 71128)

Samuel B. Axtell
New Mexico Territorial Gov. Samuel B. Axtell was forced to resign in 1875. (Photo by Broadbent & Taylor, Museum of New Mexico Negative No. 8787)

Trujillo v. Garley
While on leave from the Marines in 1942, Miguel H. Trujillo, far right, poses with his mother-in-law Mary S. Paisano, Pedro Sarracino and Trujillo's daughter Josephine. Trujillo, an Isleta Pueblo native living and teaching at Laguna Pueblo, was refused the right to vote in New Mexico in 1948 even though he had just served in the U.S. military during World War II. He sued in federal court and won a precedent-setting judgement that granted Indians the right to vote in New Mexico, which lagged behind a federal ruling that granted Native Americans suffrage in 1924. (Photo courtesy of Josephine Waconda)

Kearny Proclamation
Gen. Stephen W. Kearny, while under the watchful eye of his invading Army of the West, stood on the roof of this building on the Las Vegas Plaza and declared to the citizenry that New Mexico from that point on was officially part of the United States. (Photo by Barnes & Caplin, New Mexico Magazine Archival Collection)

Gen. Kearny
An artist's rendering of Gen. Stephen W. Kearny. (Museum of New Mexico Negative No. 9938)

Jimmy McKinn
Little Santiago "Jimmy" McKinn lived among Chiricahua Apache Indians after taken captive near his home of Silver City. Major Gen. George Crook freed the boy at the Mimbres River at the time this picture was taken in 1885. It was said that the boy did not want to leave his Apache captors upon his emancipation. (Photo by C.S. Fly, Museum of New Mexico Negative No. 11649)

Charles Bent
A portrait of merchant Charles Bent, the first territorial governor of New Mexico killed during the Taos Rebellion. The original portrait hangs in the Kit Carson house in Taos. (New Mexico Magazine Archival Collection)

Gen. Wallace
An engraving of Gov. Lew Wallace that appeared in "Harper's Weekly" in 1886. The engraving was etched from a photograph taken by Napoleon Sarony. (Museum of New Mexico Negative No. 13123)
Take a look at New Mexico Magazine's timeline of important dates from the state's rambunctious history and see for yourself why New Mexico has a colorful heritage.


July 1, 1751 — New Mexico landowner Sebastian Martin deeds a large chunk of land to Las Trampas, northeast of Espanola. Las Trampas later became a springboard for settlement in Mora County and Colorado.

July 1, 1887 — Outlaw gunslinger Clay Allison is accidentally killed when he falls off his buckboard and a rear wheel runs over him, breaking his neck. Some believe he was highly intoxicated at the time. Historians believe Allison once killed a man for abusing a Native American woman. The woman told Allison that the man, who operated a trading post, would beat her and force her to commit acts of prostitution for his profit. Allison is said to have decapitated the man then posted the victim's head on a spike in front of a Cimarron drinking establishment, where it remained for many days.

July 3, 1947 — The Santa Fe Opera presents its first performance in a new outdoor theater north of Santa Fe. The structure served its purpose for more than 50 years before it was demolished and replaced with a new semi-outdoor venue that allows all theatergoers to enjoy the show without fear of rain.

July 4, 1879 — Two locomotives decorated with the U.S. and Mexican flags arrive in Las Vegas, opening rail service to what was then the largest city in the New Mexico territory.

July 7, 1540 — Hawikuh Pueblo (old Zuni) attempts to repel Francisco Vazquez de Coronado's army, but the Indians are forced from their homes within five days. The Spanish confiscate provisions and continue their search for the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola based on fabricated stories of New Mexico.

July 8, 1947 — Military officials announce the recovery of a crashed flying saucer near Roswell, but the Dallas-based 8th Army later rescinds the announcement, calling the find a metallic weather balloon. Many UFO enthusiasts today are skeptical about the Army's amended version.

July 9, 1828 — Residents of Ysleta, Texas, descendents from those who fled Isleta Pueblo during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, petition Mexican officials for a land grant in southern Otero County because their population has grown. The U.S. Private Land Claims Court rejected the Rancho de Ysleta grant.

July 10, 1751 — Political chief Juan Jose Lobato allows 12 families to take possession of the Las Trampas land grant. He assigns each family plots for homes, gardens and growing wheat. Las Trampas was a springboard for settlement of eastern New Mexico and Colorado.

July 11, 1598 — Juan de Oñate and about 200 colonistas occupy San Juan Pueblo and establish the first New Mexico capital, near the confluence of the Rio Grande and Rio Chama.

July 14, 1881 — William Bonney, aka Billy the Kid, is shot and killed by Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett who ambushed him in a darkened bedroom at Pete Maxwell's ranch in Fort Sumner. The Kid's last words were "Quien es, quien es?" (Who's there, who's there?)

July 15, 1751 — Don Tomas Velez Cachupin, governor of New Mexico, approves land grant request for 12 families in Las Trampas.

July 16, 1945 — Scientists detonate the world's first atomic bomb at Trinity Site in south-central New Mexico after secretly developing the technology through the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. Today, Trinity Site is open to the public only twice a year.

July 19, 1878 — Alexander McSween and others are killed by fire and bullets at McSween's home in Lincoln. Billy the Kid escapes, ending the Five-Day Battle of the Lincoln County War.

July 22, 1854 — U.S. President Franklin Pierce signs the bill creating the office of Surveyor-General of New Mexico who was charged with investigating Spanish and Mexican land grants assumed by the United States through the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo.

July 25, 1861 — The town of La Mesilla is taken by Confederate Lt. Col. John R. Baylor without a shot being fired.

July 26, 1861 — In the first Civil War clash in New Mexico, Confederates capture Fort Fillmore near Las Cruces. Lt. Col. John Baylor's Rebels capture 400 Bluecoats fleeing to Fort Stanton. Within a week, Baylor establishes the Confederate Territory of Arizona.

July 27, 1590 — Lt. Gov. Castano de Sosa of Nuevo Leon, Mexico, departs Alameda, but his expedition to settle New Mexico is declared illegal, and he is returned in chains in 1591 to face charges of entering the area without a license.

July 29, 1776 — Missionaries Silvestre Velez de Escalante and Atanasio Dominguez set out from Santa Fe with a few soldiers to explore the northern frontier, blazing the Spanish Trail, a trade route to California.

July 30, 1875 — Samuel B. Axtell becomes New Mexico governor and federal agent Frank Angel later describes Axtell's tenure as having more "corruption, fraud, mismanagement, plots and murder" than any other. Axtell was forced to resign and was replaced by governor-apointee Lew Wallace.

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August 1, 1861 — Confederate Army Lt. Col. John R. Baylor and a force of Texas Mounted Volunteers proclaim all of New Mexico south of the 34th parallel as the Territory of Arizona, with La Mesilla near Las Cruces as their capital.

August 3, 1837 — Many northern New Mexicans stage a full-fledged revolt, mainly in the Chimayo area, against the Mexican government in protest of unfair taxation and poor military protection.

August 4, 1854 — The U.S. Congress officially annexes lands of the Gadsden Purchase and adds 29 million acres to the southern frontier of New Mexico. A total of $10 million was paid to Mexico according to the treaty signed the previous December in order to avoid another armed conflict between the two countries over the disputed southern boundary of New Mexico after the Mexican War. The United States saw the area as lucrative because of the verdant Mesilla Valley, the ore-rich mines at Santa Rita and prime routes for possible southern transcontinental railway lines.

August 8, 1837 — Santo Domingo revolutionaries in Santa Fe on Agua Fria Road decapitate Gov. Albino Perez. Perez tried to impose taxes ordered by Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, sparking the Revolt of 1837.

August 9, 1916 — Capulin Volcano National Monument is established. Geologists believe the volcano's last eruption occurred between 56,000 and 63,000 years ago.

August 10, 1680 — The first day of the Pueblo Revolt in which Pueblo Indians killed and drove domineering Catholic missionaries, Spanish colonistas and Christianized Indians out of New Mexico.

August 11, 1948 — U.S. District Court enters judgment in the case of "Trujillo vs. Garley" that prohibited New Mexico from denying Indians the right to vote based upon their ethnicity and relationship with the federal government. Indians were allowed to vote after the ruling.

August 12, 1955 — The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that a mild earthquake hit the area in the early morning. Moderate damage to some buildings is reported.

August 13, 1680 — Pope and other Pueblo Indian leaders fix this date to begin the united revolt against Spanish rule in New Mexico. Hostilities began three days early, however, because some messengers were captured. The revolt forced a 12-year Spanish exile from the area.

August 15, 1846 — Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny and his U.S. Army of the American West ride into Las Vegas. Standing atop a building on the Plaza, he announces the American takeover of the New Mexico territory and announces the swearing of allegiance to the United States.

August 17, 1773 — Spanish Viceroy Antonio Bucareli allows northern governors to issue common lands to any who will settle in dangerous areas to act a buffer from certain hostile Indian tribes. Many New Mexicans took advantage by settling in lands beyond the Rio Grande corridor.

August 17, 1780 — Joseph de Galvez sends a royal dispatch to Teodoro de Croix, commander of the Internal Provinces, including New Mexico, asking all subjects to donate money to help the American Revolution. Millions of pesos were given.

August 18, 1846 — Gen. Stephen W. Kearny and the Army of the West enter Santa Fe and officially conquer New Mexico relatively peacefully. He establishes an American-style government with the famous Kearny Code. Within days the Army departs to take control of California from Mexico.

August 19, 1941 — New Mexico newspapers announce the National Guard's 200th Coast Artillery is leaving Fort Bliss toward a secret destination. Within months and after valiant defense, the 200th would be captured by Japanese forces in the Philippines and begin years of brutal captivity by the Japanese military.

August 21, 1680 — Led by wounded Gov. Antonio Otermin, some 1,000 Spanish survivors of the Pueblo Revolt agree to abandon Santa Fe and the casas reales (now the Palace of the Governors), which was under siege by the Indians. The next day the survivors began a long dangerous trek to friendly Isleta Pueblo and then to El Paso.

August 22, 1776 — Spain reorganizes its American territories. New Mexico and the northern areas are now called the Internal Provinces and are taken from the command of the viceroy in Mexico City and placed under the commandant-general in Durango, Mexico.

August 22, 1846 — Gen. Stephen Kearny establishes the Territory of New Mexico and guarantees freedom of religion and protection for private property. His proclamation also sought to reduce the claims of Texas upon much of New Mexico's eastern lands.

August 23, 1846 — Work is started on Fort Marcy, located on a promontory 700 yards north of the Santa Fe Plaza. From the fort the entire city is within cannon range.

August 24, 1821 — The Treaty of Cordoba establishes Mexican independence from Spain. New Mexicans became official citizens of the Mexican republic rather than subjects of the Spanish monarchy.

August 27, 1871 — Election Day violence erupts between Republicans and Democrats in La Mesilla, leaving seven dead and 30 wounded, some mortally. U.S. Army troops from nearby Fort Selden are dispatched to restore order.

August 28, 1944 — The U.S. Catron (named after the New Mexico county) is launched from Wilmington, Calif. The ship transported Japanese POWs and repatriated Americans, earning a combat battle star during World War II.

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September 1, 1821 — William Becknell leaves Arrow Rock, Mo., toward the Rocky Mountains to trade with Indians. He encounters a Mexican cavalry unit that takes him into custody and escorts him into Santa Fe, where his goods are quickly traded. Realizing potential profits, Becknell plans other trips and opens the Santa Fe Trail.

September 4, 1886 — Apache war chief Geronimo and his feisty band of Chiricahua renegades surrender to U.S. Army forces at Skeleton Canyon in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona on the border. Some historians claim that Geronimo's warriors were the last group of Indians to roam freely in the United States.

September 6, 1853 — Believed to be the day José Manuel Gallegos, an Albuquerque priest, defeated Gov. William Carr Lane in a hotly contested congressional election. Gallegos became the first Hispanic delegate to the U.S. Congress from New Mexico.

September 9, 1850 — President Millard Fillmore signs into law the Organic Act, which admitted New Mexico into the Union as a territory and allowed for the formation of a U.S. territorial government.

September 11, 1821 — Mexico wins independence from Spain in the spring of this year but the news does not reach Santa Fe until this date. All local government officials swear allegiance to Mexico.

September 12, 1848 — Francis X. Aubry leaves Santa Fe on horseback en route to Independence, Mo., a 900-mile journey that took him five days and 16 hours. He won a $1,000 wager.

September 13, 1692 — Don Diego de Vargas returns to Santa Fe to take back the casas reales (now the Palace of the Governors) from Pueblo Indians still in revolt. Vargas is on royal orders from the Spanish crown to reconquer New Mexico after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. This is the first of several bloodless ceremonial reconquests, including many at other northern pueblos. Vargas revisited the same areas a year later to complete the reconquest and some of the encounters proved to be violent.

September 13, 1813 — The Spanish Cortes decrees that Indian missions existing for 100 years should be secularized allowing assimilation of Indians into mainstream society and opening their lands for private appropriation.

September 14, 1875 — Methodist minister F.J. Tolby is killed by operatives of the "Santa Fe Ring," a group of lawyers and businessmen who aggressively and unscrupulously sought control of many Spanish land grants. The death sparked violence and led to Gov. Samuel B. Axtell's resignation.

September 16, 1712 — Gov. Marques de la Penuela issues order obliging Santa Feans to celebrate a fiesta each September to honor the spiritual and ceremonial reconquest of New Mexico by Don Diego de Vargas. It's now the oldest continuous celebration in the United States.

September 17, 1943 — Patrol frigate U.S.S. Gallup (named after the New Mexico city) is launched from Los Angeles. The ship earned five battle stars in the Pacific during World War II and the Korean Conflict. She also served in the Soviet Navy (1945-49).

September 18, 1692 — Gov. Don Diego de Vargas assigns the Los Cerrillos Land Grant southwest of Santa Fe to Alfonso Rael de Aguilar.

September 19, 1850 — Congress ignores local requests for statehood and instead creates the massive Territory of New Mexico, which at the time included much of the Southwest.

September 21, 1595 — Don Juan de Oñate signs a contract in Mexico that entitles him to lead the colonization of New Mexico. Because of a series of bureaucratic and political maneuverings compounded by funding problems due to the delay, his expedition took several years to finally leave Mexico.

September 22, 1846 — Gen. Stephen W. Kearny appoints Charles Bent the first governor of New Mexico under the newly established American regime government. Bent was assassinated at his Taos home the following January, and Kearny traveled on to conquer Mexican-controlled California by 1848.

September 25, 1927 — Charles "Lucky Lindy" Lindbergh lands his airplane in Santa Fe for a visit after his historic solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

September 28, 1835 — New Mexico Gov. Albino Perez orders the mayor of Las Trampas, Manuel Sanchez, to establish a land grant in the fertile Mora Valley and distribute parcels of land to 75 families willing to settle. The settlement occurred in 1835.

September 30, 1878 — Gen. Lew Wallace replaces the resigning Samuel B. Axtell as governor and inherits the problems of armed conflicts in Colfax and Lincoln counties. Although he completed his epic book, "Ben Hur," in the Palace of the Governors while serving as governor, he probably is more renowned because of his relationship with Billy the Kid.

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