New Mexico Territory

New Mexico Territory
Territory of New Mexico
Organized incorporated territory of the United States






Flag of New Mexico Territory


Location of New Mexico Territory
A map of the Arizona and New Mexico territories, showing existing counties.
Capital Santa Fe
Government Organized incorporated territory
 - 1851-1852 James S. Calhoun
 - 1910-1912 William J. Mills
Legislature New Mexico Territorial Legislature
 - Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo May 30, 1848
 - Organic Act September 9, 1850
 - Gadsden Purchase June 24, 1853
 - Arizona Territory split off February 24, 1863
 - Statehood January 6, 1912
Proposed boundaries for State of New Mexico, 1850

The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States 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.


Statehood proposals

The Congressional Compromise of 1850 halted a bid for statehood under a proposed antislavery constitution.

The status of slavery 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) maintained that the territory could not restrict slavery, as under the earlier Missouri Compromise, while others (including Abraham Lincoln) 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.[1]

As one of the final attempts at compromise to avoid the Civil War, House Republicans 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.[clarification needed] [2] On February 24, 1863, during the American Civil War, Congress divided the territory and created the new Arizona Territory along current boundaries between the states. The act of establishment abolished slavery in the Arizona Territory.

Territorial evolution

Gadsden Purchase 1853[3]
New Mexico Territory 1866

Mexico ceded the region to the U.S. in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 after the Mexican-American War. The area of the Gadsden Purchase was bought by the US in 1853. This added today's southern Arizona and a smaller area in today's southwestern New Mexico.[4] Texas claimed (but never controlled) the area from the Rio Grande to the present New Mexico-Texas border, bisecting historic New Mexico and slightly over half of today's New Mexico, until ceding it as part of the Compromise of 1850. This awarded Texas El Paso and the Texas Panhandle, which had been parts of the Spanish and Mexican territories of Santa Fe de Nuevo México.

The original 1850 New Mexico Territory included most of future Arizona (known as Santa Ana County), a small part of Colorado, and Nevada south of 36°30'N.[5] The establishment of Colorado Territory on February 28, 1861 and of Arizona Territory on February 24, 1863 (west of the 109th meridian) left New Mexico with its present boundaries.[6]

Civil War

As the route to California, New Mexico and Arizona were disputed territory during the American Civil War, resulting in Gadsen settlers willingly joining the Confederate States of America. The Battle of Glorieta Pass gave the area primarily to the Union. Confederate Arizona Territory was the first American incarnation of Arizona.[7]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ David M. Potter (1976). The Impending Crisis. Harper & Row. pp. 533–534. ISBN 9780061319297. 
  3. ^ William L. Marcy. "The Avalon Project: Gadsden Purchase Treaty: December 30, 1853". Yale University. Retrieved 2008-10-10.  The Purchase treaty defines the new border as "up the middle of that river (the Rio Grande) to the point where the parallel of 31° 47' north latitude crosses the same 31°47′0″N 106°31′41.5″W / 31.783333°N 106.528194°W / 31.783333; -106.528194; thence due west one hundred miles; thence south to the parallel of 31° 20' north latitude; thence along the said parallel of 31° 20' to the 111th meridian of longitude west of Greenwich 31°20′N 111°0′W / 31.333°N 111°W / 31.333; -111; thence in a straight line to a point on the Colorado River twenty English miles below the junction of the Gila and Colorado rivers; thence up the middle of the said river Colorado until it intersects the present line between the United States and Mexico." The new border included a few miles of the Colorado River at the western end; the remaining land portion consisted of line segments between points, including 32°29′38″N 114°48′47″W / 32.49399°N 114.813043°W / 32.49399; -114.813043 at the Colorado River, west of Nogales at 31°19′56″N 111°04′27″W / 31.33214°N 111.07423°W / 31.33214; -111.07423, near AZ-NM-Mexico tripoint at 31°19′56″N 109°03′02″W / 31.332099°N 109.05047°W / 31.332099; -109.05047, the eastern corners of NM southern bootheel (Hidalgo County) at 31°47′02″N 108°12′31″W / 31.78378°N 108.20854°W / 31.78378; -108.20854, and the west bank of Rio Grande at31°47′02″N 106°31′43″W / 31.78377°N 106.52864°W / 31.78377; -106.52864
  4. ^ Department of State - Gadsden Purchase
  5. ^ Texas Handbook Online - Compromise of 1850
  6. ^ New York Times - The New Territory of Arizona
  7. ^ National Park Service - The Battle of Glorieta

External links

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