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Vasquez de Coronado explored New Mexico in 1540, in search of the legendary Seven cities of Cibola. He was under orders to conquer the Indians and lay claim to all their gold. When he didn't find any riches, he and his men went back to New Spain.
The first successful exploration of New Mexico was made by Don Juan de Onate in 1598. Along with colonists, cattle and troops, Onate traveled up the Rio Grande and claimed the land for Spain. Until 1821, when New Mexico won its independence, the Spanish had continued to rule.
In 1609, Sante Fe was established and the Spanish spent the next 70 years building missions and converting the local Indians over to Catholicism. The Santa Fe Trail opened up trade from across the U.S. bringing more money and settlers into the region.
New Mexico became the 47th state on January 6, 1912. Since the mid 1900's, the state has been leading the way in the energy research and development field. Extensive experimentation has been done in solar, nuclear and geothermal areas at both the Sandia Laboratories and the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratories.
The state has many natural resources such as uranium, natural gas, copper, silver, gold, lead, petroleum and zinc among other things. Its main manufacturing industries include chemicals, lumber, machinery and food products. The state produces cotton, pecan and sorghum, but over two-thirds of the states farming industry comes from livestock, especially sheep.
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