Statehood to Present
Elephant Butte Dame at Engle, New Mexico, is completed, the second largest irrigation dam in the world at the time. The dam system eventually irrigates more than 90,000 acres in the Mesilla Valley, revolutionizing agriculture in the area.
Fabián García is the first Hispanic in the nation to lead a land-grant agricultural research station. In 1921 he releases New Mexico No. 9, historically the most important chile cultivar because it is the first developed at New Mexico A&M.
Route 66, the “Mother Road,” designated as Chicago-to-Los Angeles route, goes through Santa Fe in 1926.
In 1928 the Midwest Oil Co. (now Amoco) discovers oil in Hobbs, setting off a boom in the New Mexico “Oil Patch.” Midwest State No. 1, the discovery, is soon producing seven hundred barrels a day.
he United States Army builds Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, part of the Manhattan Project, a top-secret project to develop atomic weapons. Physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer leads successful development of devices deployed against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, on 6 and 9 August 1945.
Miguel Trujillo of Isleta Pueblo, a United States Marine Corp veteran of World War II, attempts to register to vote in 1948 and when he is denied successfully brings suit, known as Trujillo v. Garley, against the Recorder of Valencia County.
First sections of Interstate 40 finished in Quay County. Interstate 40 is completed in New Mexico in 1981.
The Alianza Federal de Mercedes, led by Reies López Tijerina, raids the Rio Arriba County Courthouse on 5 June 1967 in an attempt to bring attention to the usurpation of Hispanic land grants by Anglo landowners and the United States government.
President Nixon signs Congressional legislation returning Blue Lake, sacred to the people of Taos Pueblo, and 48,000 acres of surrounding land to the pueblo.
In 1975 New Mexico State University’s Roy Nakayama releases NuMex Big Jim, the world’s largest chile. NuMex Big Jim becomes an immediate favorite of home gardeners and chefs for making chile rellenos.
In 1980, Intel opens a semiconductor fabrication plant in Rio Rancho. Fueled by high-paying jobs at Intel, Rio Rancho becomes one of fastest-growing cities in the United States.
Governor Martinez becomes the first elected female governor of New Mexico and the first Hispanic woman governor in the United States.