Three of the most ancient peoples of the Americas are named for sites in New Mexico where relics of them were first found. These are the Folsom, Clovis, and Sandia peoples of 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. Pueblos (villages) such as Acoma are among the oldest continuously occupied sites in the Americas, dating to hundreds of years before Columbus. After the Pueblo Indians other groups arrived in the area—the Navajos, the Apaches, the Utes, and, in the 18th century, the Comanches.

Important dates in New Mexico
1540-1542 Francisco Vásquez de Coronado explored New Mexico.
1598 Juan de Onate founded the first permanent Spanish colony, at San Juan.
1609 or 1610 Governor Pedro de Peralta established Santa Fe.
1680 The Pueblo Indians revolted and drove the Spaniards out of northern New Mexico.
1692 Diego de Vargas reconquered New Mexico for Spain.
1706 Francisco Cuervo y Valdes founded Albuquerque.
1821 Mexico won its independence from Spain, and New Mexico became a province of Mexico. William Becknell opened the Santa Fe Trail.
1846 General Stephen W. Kearny took control of New Mexico during the Mexican War.
1848 Mexico ceded New Mexico to the United States.
1850 Congress created the Territory of New Mexico.
1853 New Mexico acquired part of the Gila Valley.
1862-1864 Colonel Kit Carson defeated the Mescalero Apache and Navajo Indians.
1876 Cattlemen began the Lincoln County War.
1886 The surrender of Geronimo ended the Apache Wars.
1912 New Mexico became the 47th state on January 6.
1916 Mexican bandits raided Columbus.
1922 Geologists discovered oil in the southeastern and northwestern regions of New Mexico.
1945 The first atomic bomb was exploded at Trinity Site near Alamogordo.
1950 Paddy Martinez, a Navajo Indian, found uranium in the northwest region.
1970's Completion of the San Juan-Chama project brought water to north-central New Mexico.
1998 New Mexico celebrated the 400th anniversary of the founding of the colony at San Juan.