New Mexico Territory
Overview
 
The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

.
The Congressional Compromise of 1850
Compromise of 1850
The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five bills, passed in September 1850, which defused a four-year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North regarding the status of territories acquired during the Mexican-American War...

 halted a bid for statehood under a proposed antislavery constitution, and bounded by the Arkansas River
Arkansas River
The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. The Arkansas generally flows to the east and southeast as it traverses the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The river's initial basin starts in the Western United States in Colorado, specifically the Arkansas...

 (the former US-Mexico border) from its source to the 100th meridian west
100th meridian west
The meridian 100° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

, south to just south of the 32nd parallel north
32nd parallel north
The 32nd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 32 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean....

, west passing north of El Paso
El Paso
El Paso, a city in the U.S. state of Texas, on the border with Mexico.El Paso may also refer to:-Geography:Colombia:* El Paso, CesarSpain:*El Paso, Santa Cruz de TenerifeUnited States:...

, then along the new US-Mexico border set by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is the peace treaty, largely dictated by the United States to the interim government of a militarily occupied Mexico City, that ended the Mexican-American War on February 2, 1848...

 until the 111th meridian west
111th meridian west
The meridian 111° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

, north to the Colorado River
Colorado River
The Colorado River , is a river in the Southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, approximately long, draining a part of the arid regions on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. The watershed of the Colorado River covers in parts of seven U.S. states and two Mexican states...

, then a diagonal straight line back to the source of the Arkansas River.
Encyclopedia
The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

.

Statehood proposals

The Congressional Compromise of 1850
Compromise of 1850
The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five bills, passed in September 1850, which defused a four-year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North regarding the status of territories acquired during the Mexican-American War...

 halted a bid for statehood under a proposed antislavery constitution, and bounded by the Arkansas River
Arkansas River
The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. The Arkansas generally flows to the east and southeast as it traverses the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The river's initial basin starts in the Western United States in Colorado, specifically the Arkansas...

 (the former US-Mexico border) from its source to the 100th meridian west
100th meridian west
The meridian 100° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

, south to just south of the 32nd parallel north
32nd parallel north
The 32nd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 32 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean....

, west passing north of El Paso
El Paso
El Paso, a city in the U.S. state of Texas, on the border with Mexico.El Paso may also refer to:-Geography:Colombia:* El Paso, CesarSpain:*El Paso, Santa Cruz de TenerifeUnited States:...

, then along the new US-Mexico border set by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is the peace treaty, largely dictated by the United States to the interim government of a militarily occupied Mexico City, that ended the Mexican-American War on February 2, 1848...

 until the 111th meridian west
111th meridian west
The meridian 111° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

, north to the Colorado River
Colorado River
The Colorado River , is a river in the Southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, approximately long, draining a part of the arid regions on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. The watershed of the Colorado River covers in parts of seven U.S. states and two Mexican states...

, then a diagonal straight line back to the source of the Arkansas River. (see map)

The status of slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 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
Stephen A. Douglas
Stephen Arnold Douglas was an American politician from the western state of Illinois, and was the Northern Democratic Party nominee for President in 1860. He lost to the Republican Party's candidate, Abraham Lincoln, whom he had defeated two years earlier in a Senate contest following a famed...

) maintained that the territory could not restrict slavery, as under the earlier Missouri Compromise
Missouri Compromise
The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30'...

, while others (including Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

) insisted that older Mexican legal traditions, which forbade slavery, took precedence. Regardless of its official status, slavery was rare in antebellum New Mexico. Black slaves never numbered more than about a dozen.

As one of the final attempts at compromise to avoid the Civil War, House Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

s offered to admit New Mexico as a slave state immediately.
Although approved by committee on December 29, 1860, the South did not take up this offer.

On February 24, 1863, during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, Congress divided the territory and created the new Arizona Territory
Arizona Territory
The Territory of Arizona was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from February 24, 1863 until February 14, 1912, when it was admitted to the Union as the 48th state....

 along current boundaries between the states. The act of establishment abolished slavery in the Arizona Territory.

Territorial evolution

Mexico ceded the region to the U.S. in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is the peace treaty, largely dictated by the United States to the interim government of a militarily occupied Mexico City, that ended the Mexican-American War on February 2, 1848...

 in 1848 after the Mexican-American War. The area of the Gadsden Purchase
Gadsden Purchase
The Gadsden Purchase is a region of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that was purchased by the United States in a treaty signed by James Gadsden, the American ambassador to Mexico at the time, on December 30, 1853. It was then ratified, with changes, by the U.S...

 was bought by the US in 1853. This added today's southern Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 and a smaller area in today's southwestern New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

.
Texas claimed (but never controlled) the area from the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

 to the present New Mexico-Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 border, bisecting historic New Mexico and slightly over half of today's New Mexico, until ceding it as part of the Compromise of 1850
Compromise of 1850
The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five bills, passed in September 1850, which defused a four-year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North regarding the status of territories acquired during the Mexican-American War...

. This awarded Texas El Paso
El Paso
El Paso, a city in the U.S. state of Texas, on the border with Mexico.El Paso may also refer to:-Geography:Colombia:* El Paso, CesarSpain:*El Paso, Santa Cruz de TenerifeUnited States:...

 and the Texas Panhandle
Texas Panhandle
The Texas Panhandle is a region of the U.S. state of Texas consisting of the northernmost 26 counties in the state. The panhandle is a rectangular area bordered by New Mexico to the west and Oklahoma to the north and east...

, which had been parts of the Spanish and Mexican territories of Santa Fe de Nuevo México
Santa Fe de Nuevo México
Santa Fe de Nuevo México was a province of New Spain and later Mexico that existed from the late 16th century up through the mid-19th century. It was centered on the upper valley of the Rio Grande , in an area that included most of the present-day U.S. state of New Mexico...

.

The original 1850 New Mexico Territory included most of future Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 (known as Santa Ana County
Santa Ana County, New Mexico Territory
Santa Ana County was one of the seven original partidos created in New Mexico under Mexican rule. Under U.S. rule, it became a U.S. Territorial county from 1852 until 1876, when it was absorbed by Bernalillo County. It does not exist today as an administrative unit...

), a small part of Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, and Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

 south of 36°30'N
Parallel 36°30' north
The parallel 36° 30′ north is a circle of latitude that is 36 and one-half degrees north of the Equator of the Earth. This parallel of latitude is particularly significant in the History of the United States as the line of the Missouri Compromise, which was used to divide the prosepctiveslave and...

.
The establishment of Colorado Territory
Colorado Territory
The Territory of Colorado was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from February 28, 1861, until August 1, 1876, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Colorado....

 on February 28, 1861 and of Arizona Territory
Arizona Territory
The Territory of Arizona was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from February 24, 1863 until February 14, 1912, when it was admitted to the Union as the 48th state....

 on February 24, 1863 (west of the 109th meridian
109th meridian west
The meridian 109° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

) left New Mexico with its present boundaries.

Civil War

As the route to California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, New Mexico and Arizona were disputed territory during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, resulting in Gadsen settlers willingly joining the Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

. The Battle of Glorieta Pass
Battle of Glorieta Pass
The Battle of Glorieta Pass, fought from March 26 to 28, 1862 in northern New Mexico Territory, was the decisive battle of the New Mexico Campaign during the American Civil War. Dubbed the "Gettysburg of the West" by some historians, it was intended as the killer blow by Confederate forces to break...

 gave the area primarily to the Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

. Confederate Arizona Territory
Arizona Territory (CSA)
The Territory of Arizona was a territory claimed by the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, between 1861 and 1865. It consisted of the portion of the New Mexico Territory south of the 34th parallel north including parts of the modern states of New Mexico and Arizona. Its...

 was the first American incarnation of Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

.

See also

  • Adams-Onís Treaty
    Adams-Onís Treaty
    The Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819, also known as the Transcontinental Treaty or the Purchase of Florida, was a treaty between the United States and Spain in 1819 that gave Florida to the U.S. and set out a boundary between the U.S. and New Spain . It settled a standing border dispute between the two...

    , 1819
  • American Civil War
    American Civil War
    The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

    , 1861–1865
    • New Mexico Territory in the American Civil War
      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 Nevada, played a role in the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War. Both Confederate and Union governments claimed ownership and territorial...

      • Arizona Territory (CSA)
        Arizona Territory (CSA)
        The Territory of Arizona was a territory claimed by the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, between 1861 and 1865. It consisted of the portion of the New Mexico Territory south of the 34th parallel north including parts of the modern states of New Mexico and Arizona. Its...

        , 1861–1862
      • Battle of Glorieta Pass
        Battle of Glorieta Pass
        The Battle of Glorieta Pass, fought from March 26 to 28, 1862 in northern New Mexico Territory, was the decisive battle of the New Mexico Campaign during the American Civil War. Dubbed the "Gettysburg of the West" by some historians, it was intended as the killer blow by Confederate forces to break...

        , 1862
  • Compromise of 1850
    Compromise of 1850
    The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five bills, passed in September 1850, which defused a four-year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North regarding the status of territories acquired during the Mexican-American War...

  • Gadsden Purchase
    Gadsden Purchase
    The Gadsden Purchase is a region of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico that was purchased by the United States in a treaty signed by James Gadsden, the American ambassador to Mexico at the time, on December 30, 1853. It was then ratified, with changes, by the U.S...

    , 1853
  • Governors of the Territory of New Mexico
  • History of New Mexico
    History of New Mexico
    Evidence from archaeologists conveys the existence of natives back to approximately 9200 BC. However, the history of New Mexico was not officially recorded until the arriving of the Conquistadors, who encountered Native American Pueblos when they explored the area in the 16th century...

  • Mexican-American War, 1846–1848
    • Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
      Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
      The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is the peace treaty, largely dictated by the United States to the interim government of a militarily occupied Mexico City, that ended the Mexican-American War on February 2, 1848...

      , 1848
  • Territorial evolution of the United States
    Territorial evolution of the United States
    This is a list of the evolution of the borders of the United States. This lists each change to the internal and external borders of the country, as well as status and name changes. It also shows the surrounding areas that eventually became part of the United States...

    • Territories of Spain
      Spain
      Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

       that encompassed land that would later become part of the Territory of New Mexico:
      • Nueva Vizcaya
        Nueva Vizcaya, New Spain
        Nueva Vizcaya was the first province in the north of New Spain to be explored and settled by the Spanish. It consisted mostly of the area which is today the states of Chihuahua and Durango in Mexico.-Early exploration and the Viceroyalty:...

        , 1562–1821
      • Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico, 1598–1821
      • Tejas
        Spanish Texas
        Spanish Texas was one of the interior provinces of New Spain from 1690 until 1821. Although Spain claimed ownership of the territory, which comprised part of modern-day Texas, including the land north of the Medina and Nueces Rivers, the Spanish did not attempt to colonize the area until after...

        , 1690–1821
      • Sonora y Sinaloa
        Sonora y Sinaloa
        Sonora y Sinaloa was a province in the Provincias Internas and under the jurisdiction of the Real Audiencia of Guadalajara of Viceroyalty of New Spain. After Independence Sonora y Sinaloa became one of the constituent states of the Mexican Republic...

        , 1732–1821
      • Luisiana
        Louisiana (New Spain)
        Louisiana was the name of an administrative district of the Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1764 to 1803 that represented territory west of the Mississippi River basin, plus New Orleans...

        , 1764–1803
    • Territory of France
      France
      The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

       that encompassed land that would later become part of the Territory of New Mexico:
      • Louisiane
        Louisiana (New France)
        Louisiana or French Louisiana was an administrative district of New France. Under French control from 1682–1763 and 1800–03, the area was named in honor of Louis XIV, by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle...

        , 1682–1764 and 1803
    • States and territory of Mexico
      Mexico
      The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

       that encompassed land that would later become part of the Territory of New Mexico:
      • Santa Fé de Nuevo México
        Santa Fe de Nuevo México
        Santa Fe de Nuevo México was a province of New Spain and later Mexico that existed from the late 16th century up through the mid-19th century. It was centered on the upper valley of the Rio Grande , in an area that included most of the present-day U.S. state of New Mexico...

        , 1824–1848
      • Coahuila y Tejas
        Coahuila y Tejas
        Coahuila y Tejas was one of the constituent states of the newly established United Mexican States under its 1824 Constitution.It had two capitals: first Saltillo, and then Monclova...

        , 1824–1836
      • Sonora y Sinaloa
        Sonora y Sinaloa
        Sonora y Sinaloa was a province in the Provincias Internas and under the jurisdiction of the Real Audiencia of Guadalajara of Viceroyalty of New Spain. After Independence Sonora y Sinaloa became one of the constituent states of the Mexican Republic...

         (Estado de Occidente
        Sonora y Sinaloa
        Sonora y Sinaloa was a province in the Provincias Internas and under the jurisdiction of the Real Audiencia of Guadalajara of Viceroyalty of New Spain. After Independence Sonora y Sinaloa became one of the constituent states of the Mexican Republic...

        ), 1824–1830
      • Sonora
        Sonora
        Sonora officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 72 municipalities; the capital city is Hermosillo....

        , 1830
    • Territorial claim of the Republic of Texas
      Republic of Texas
      The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

      , 1836–1845
    • U.S. territories that encompassed land that would later become part of the Territory of New Mexico:
      • Louisiana Purchase
        Louisiana Purchase
        The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of America of of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S...

        , 1803–1804
      • District of Louisiana
        District of Louisiana
        The District of Louisiana, or Louisiana District, was an official, temporary, United States government designation for the portion of the Louisiana Purchase that had not been organized into the Orleans Territory. It officially existed from March 10, 1804 until July 4, 1805, when it was incorporated...

        , 1804–1805
      • Territory of Louisiana, 1805–1812
      • Territory of Missouri, 1812–1821
      • Former territorial claim of the Republic of Texas
        Republic of Texas
        The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

        , 1845–1850
      • U.S. military government of New Mexico, 1846
      • U.S. provisional government of New Mexico
        U.S. provisional government of New Mexico
        Under the provisions of the Kearny Code, the first legislature of New Mexico commenced its session on December 6, 1847. The Council consisted of seven members, with Antonio Sandoval, of Bernalillo County, as president, and the House of twenty-one members, with W.Z...

        , 1846–1850
      • Mexican Cession
        Mexican Cession
        The Mexican Cession of 1848 is a historical name in the United States for the region of the present day southwestern United States that Mexico ceded to the U.S...

        , 1848
      • State of Deseret
        State of Deseret
        The State of Deseret was a proposed state of the United States, propositioned in 1849 by Latter-day Saint settlers in Salt Lake City. The provisional state existed for slightly over two years and was never recognized by the United States government...

        , 1849-1850 (extralegal)
    • U.S. territories that encompassed land that had previously been part of the Territory of New Mexico:
      • Territory of Colorado, 1861–1876
      • Territory of Arizona, 1863–1912
    • U.S. states that encompass land that had once been part of the Territory of New Mexico:
      • State of Nevada, 1864
      • State of Colorado, 1876
      • State of New Mexico, 1912
      • State of Arizona, 1912
  • Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
    Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
    The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is the peace treaty, largely dictated by the United States to the interim government of a militarily occupied Mexico City, that ended the Mexican-American War on February 2, 1848...

    , 1848
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