New Mexico

Colonized by Spain, the land that is now New Mexico became a U.S. territory following treaties signed with Mexico in 1848 and 1853. The territory did not become a U.S. state until 1912. During World War II, New Mexico was the site of the top-secret Manhattan Project, in which top U.S. scientists raced to create the first atomic bomb. It was exploded at the Trinity test site, near Alamagordo, on July 16, 1945.

In 1947, Roswell, New Mexico, became a topic of speculation about extraterrestrial life when a local farmer discovered what some believed were the remains of a crashed alien spacecraft on his land. Visitors to New Mexico frequent attractions like the Very Large Array telescope in Socorro and the historic city of Santa Fe, which artist Georgia O’Keeffe famously called home.

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