State History
Learn about the history of New Mexico and find fun and interesting things to do and see all across New Mexico. We've also found the best books, guides, websites, and other resources to make your study of New Mexico fun and educational.
Things to See & Do in New Mexico
Fort Union National Monument
Fort Union was established in 1851 by Lieutenant Colonel Edwin V. Sumner as a guardian and protector of the Santa Fe Trail. During its forty-year history, three different forts were constructed close together. The third and final Fort Union was the largest in the American Southwest, and functioned as a military garrison, territorial arsenal, and military supply depot for the southwest. Today, visitors use a self-guided tour path to visit the second fort and the large, impressive ruins of the third Fort Union. The largest visible network of Santa Fe Trail ruts can be seen here. Fort Union is located near Watrous.
Old West Books

Phone: 719-260-6030
Email: info@oldwestbooks.com

Old West Books has been in business since 1997 and specializes in books on the American West, Custer, military, Civil War, Indian Wars, cowboys, cattle industry, fur trade, Lewis and Clark, travel and exploration. They stock a mix of rare out-of-print books and new titles. Books are shown by appointment only. Books may also be bought via the Internet, catalogs, and book shows. 

Poor Richard's Books & Gifts

320-324 1/2 N Tejon St
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Phone: 719-578-5549

This downtown Colorado Springs landmark specializes in good-condition, used books, including current books in 150 categories and classics in every field. They also stock a large variety of new books. Book collectors will find a selection of rare, first-edition and collectible titles. They also carry Colorado trail guides, local and state maps, wildlife/flora books and artistic, funny and quirky postcards.

Pecos National Historical Park
Pecos preserves 12,000 years of history including the ancient pueblo of Pecos, two Spanish Colonial Missions, Santa Fe Trail sites, 20th century ranch history of Forked Lightning Ranch, and the site of the Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass.
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument offers a glimpse of the homes and lives of the people of the Mogollon culture who lived in the Gila Wilderness from the 1280s through the early 1300s. The surroundings probably look today very much like they did when the cliff dwellings were inhabited. It is surrounded by the Gila National Forest and lies at the edge of the Gila Wilderness, the nation's first designated wilderness area. This designation means that the wilderness character of the area will not be altered by the intrusion of roads or other evidence of human presence. Located 44 miles outside of Silver City.
Old Spanish National Historic Trail
Santa Fe emerged as the hub of the overland continental trade network linking Mexico and United States markets—a network that included not only the Old Spanish Trail, but also the Santa Fe Trail and El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. After the United States took control of the Southwest in 1848 other routes to California emerged, and use of the Old Spanish Trail sharply declined. Because of its rich history and national significance, the Old Spanish Trail has been designated as a national historic trail.
Santa Fe National Historic Trail
Between 1821 and 1880, the Santa Fe Trail was primarily a commercial highway connecting Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. From 1821 until 1846, it was an international commercial highway used by Mexican and American traders. In 1846, the Mexican-American War began. The Army of the West followed the Santa Fe Trail to invade New Mexico. When the Treaty of Guadalupe ended the war in 1848, the Santa Fe Trail became a national road connecting the United States to the new southwest territories. Commercial freighting along the trail continued, including considerable military freight hauling to supply the southwestern forts. The trail was also used by stagecoach lines, thousands of gold seekers heading to the California and Colorado gold fields, adventurers, fur trappers, and emigrants. In 1880 the railroad reached Santa Fe and the trail faded into history.
Petroglyph National Monument
Petroglyph National Monument stretches 17 miles along Albuquerque's West Mesa, a volcanic basalt escarpment that dominates the city’s western horizon. It protects a variety of cultural and natural resources including five volcanic cones, hundreds of archeological sites and an estimated 25,000 images carved by native peoples and early Spanish settlers. Many of the images are recognizable as animals, people, brands and crosses; others are more complex.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
Chaco Canyon was a major center of ancestral Puebloan culture between AD 850 and 1250. It was a hub of ceremony, trade, and administration for the prehistoric Four Corners area. Chaco is remarkable for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings, and its distinctive architecture. To construct the buildings, along with the associated Chacoan roads, ramps, dams, and mounds, required a great deal of well organized and skillful planning, designing, resource gathering, and construction. The Chacoan people combined pre-planned architectural designs, astronomical alignments, geometry, landscaping, and engineering to create an ancient urban center of spectacular public architecture. The Chacoan cultural sites are fragile and irreplaceable and represent a significant part of America's cultural heritage. The sites are part of the sacred homeland of Pueblo Indian peoples of New Mexico, the Hopi Indians of Arizona, and the Navajo Indians of the Southwest, all of whom continue to respect and honor them. Chaco Canyon is located in northwestern New Mexico.
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Aztec Ruins National Monument preserves structures and artifacts of Ancestral Pueblo people from the 1100's through 1200s. People associated with Chaco Canyon to the south built and used the structures, then people related to the Mesa Verde region to the north used the site in the 1200's. The monument was established in 1923, and designated a World Heritage Site in 1987.
Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument
Once, thriving American Indian trade communities of Tiwa and Tompiro speaking Puebloans inhabited this remote frontier area of central New Mexico. Early in the 17th-century Spanish Franciscans found the area ripe for their missionary efforts. However, by the late 1670s the entire Salinas District, as the Spanish had named it, was depopulated of both Indian and Spaniard. What remains today are austere yet beautiful reminders of this earliest contact between Pueblo Indians and Spanish Colonials: the ruins of four mission churches, at Quarai, Abó, and Gran Quivira and the partially excavated pueblo of Las Humanas or, as it is known today, Gran Quivira. Established in 1980 through the combination of two New Mexico State Monuments and the former Gran Quivira National Monument, the present Monument comprises a total of 1,100 acres.
Bandelier National Monument
Best known for mesas, sheer-walled canyons, and the ancestral Pueblo dwellings found among them, Bandelier also includes over 23,000 acres of designated Wilderness. It was named for Adolph Bandelier, a 19th-century anthropologist. Bandelier National Monument is located near Los Alamos.
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro is recognized throughout the United States of America and Los Estados Unidos de Mexico as a timeless route of trade and cultural exchange and interaction among Spaniards and other Europeans, American Indians, Mexicans, and Americans, which shaped individual lives and communities and affected settlement and development in the greater Southwest. Recognition of this route as an international historic trail will commemorate a shared cultural heritage and contribute in a meaningful way to eliminating cultural barriers and enriching the lives of people along El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro.
Teaching Tips & Ideas
How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: History
A look at teaching history across several grades using the classical method of education and a rotation of history every four years.
Knowledge Quest
Knowledge Quest offers historical outline maps and timelines designed for the interactive study of world history and geography.
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Featured Resources

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