1540-1542: Francisco Vazquez de Coronado explores New Mexico searching for the Fabled Seven Cities of Cibola.
1598: Juan de Oñate establishes the first Spanish settlement in New Mexico and directs the building of El Camino Real (Royal Road) from Mexico to modern day New Mexico. That same year, the settlement of Santa Fe was founded. It is the nation’s second oldest permanent settlement.
1680: Pueblo Indians revolt against the Spanish presence in the area and succeed in driving them away.
1692: Spanish military forces reclaim the region.
1807: American Zebulon Pike explores the region and visits Santa Fe.
1821-1846: Settlers along the Santa Fe Trail begin to descend upon modern-day New Mexico. The 1846 Taos Revolt, staged by local Indians, resulted in the scalping ofseveral newly appointed American officials in the region.
1828-1840: Kit Carson and John C. Fremont explore parts of New Mexico. Carson sets up headquarters in Taos from which he makes plans to remove Indians from the region.
1850: The New Mexico Territory is formed as a result of the Compromise of 1850. The area originally included Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado.
1853: The U.S. Government acquires the rest of New Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase.
1862: Union forces defeat the Confederates at the Battle of Glorietta Pass. The largest battle to have occurred in New Mexico, it is sometimes referred to as “the Gettysburg of the West.”
1880: Railroads reach Santa Fe and Albuquerque spurring considerable growth.
1880: The great cattle boom in New Mexico establishes it as a ranching center. Conflicting land claims result in bitter feuds and the birth of outlaw legends such as Billy the Kid.
1912: New Mexico is admitted as the 47th state.
1943: U.S. government develops nuclear weapons at the Los Alamos Research Center. The first bombs are tested near Alamogordo.
1947: U.F.O. claims are first made near Roswell.