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10 Fast Facts About New Mexico:
1/ The State Flag of New Mexico (see above) has an ancient Zia Symbol (the 'Zia People' are the indigenous tribe who are centered at the Indian reservation of Zia Pueblo in New Mexico) for the sun which appears at the heart of the flag on a yellow background. There are also deeper meanings that you can see in the symbolism of the flag related to the number four, which is sacred for the Zia People. The sun has four rays, going in four directions, each with four lines to represent the four seasons, the four times of the day (morning, noon, evening and midnight), and the four stages of life (childhood, youth, adult and old age). Plus, at the center of the flag is a circle which is representative of the circle of life.
The colors of yellow and red were used to represent the Spanish flag which was carried by the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasuez de Coronado in 1540.
The flag was originally designed by Dr Harry P. Mera, who was an archeologist in the state, and who actually won a competition that the state held in 1920 to design a unique state flag. It was finally adopted officially in 1925 and has drawn a lot of praise over the years.
The North American Vexilogical Society carried out a survey into people's perceptions of the US State Flags in 2001, and the New Mexico State Flag was voted as the favorite among all of the states.
2/ Albuquerque, New Mexico has been called the "Balloon Capital of the World" because each year they host they world's largest hot air balloon festival in October. There are normally in the region of around 300 balloons regularly flying during the festival, as well as an interesting museum that is dedicated solely to the science, art and history of hot air ballooning.
3/ New Mexico was one of the latest states to enter the Union, doing so as the 47th State on January 6th 1912.
4/ The population of New Mexico has more than doubled EVERY forty years since 1850:
5/ The largest city in New Mexico is Albuquerque (in Bernalillo County) with an estimated population of 545,852 in 2010. It has over five times the population of the NEXT biggest city in New Mexico, Las Cruces (Dona Ana County) which only has 97,618 people.
6/ New Mexico is home to the sixth largest National Forest in the continental United States, Gila National Forest, which was established in 1924 and covers an area of 5150 square miles (3.3 million acres). The greatest populations of trees in Gila National Forest, according to the National Forestry Service, are:
Pinyon-Junipers - 48%
Ponderosa Pine Trees - 32%
Evergreen Oak Woodland - 7%
Deciduous Woodland Oak - 5%
Juniper - 3%
Other Types - 2%
7/ The official state flower of New Mexico is the Yucca, the official state fish is the Cutthroat Trout, and the official state amphibian is the New Mexico Spadefoot Toad.
8/ The official state mammal of New Mexico was made to be the Black Bear in 1963. This was supposedly in honor of a Black bear who was rescued from a forest fire at Lincoln National Forest in 1950, and was subsequently nicknamed "Smoky" by the media, and who became the National Fire Safety Symbol for the state.
9/ The lowest recorded temperature in New Mexico was -50 F (-46 centigrade) on February 1st 1951 at Gavilan. The highest recorded temperature was 122 F (50 centigrade) on June 27th 1994 at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant nearing Loving, a village in Eddy County.
10/ There are three main languages spoken in New Mexico:
English - 82%
Spanish - 28%
Navajo - 4%
Farmington in New Mexico had a population of 45,877 people in the 2010 Census, of whom 16.5% speak the Navajo Language.