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Dona Ana County
Doña Ana County is in south-central New Mexico bordering Texas and Mexico. The county is reputed to be named for the legendary Doña Ana Robledo who was renowned for her charitable acts in the 17th century. However, some records indicate that the true origin of the name is Doña Ana Maria de Córdoba, whose ranch was located here in the late 17th century. The locality of Doña Ana was visited in 1682 by Governor Otermin during his unsuccessful attempt at reconquest after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. The area was largely abandoned throughout the 18th century. In 1839, the Governor of Chihuahua, seeking to alleviate the overcrowding in El Paso, granted El Ancón de Doña Ana ("the Doña Ana Cove, or bend;" this became known as the Doña Ana Bend Colony Grant), but it was not settled until 1843 when Bernabé Montoya led thirty-three settlers to a site north of present-day Las Cruces. Many residents moved to Mesilla after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. The first county seat was the village of Doña Ana, but it later moved to Las Cruces. The county contains large pecan groves and irrigated farms that produce cotton, chili, alfalfa, lettuce and onions.
The Place Names of New Mexico, revised edition by Robert Julyan, University of New Mexico Press, 1998.