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Episode 65: New Mexico: The Land of Enchantment with Austin Graff

podcast Dec 13, 2021

In this episode, Sharon tells travel writer Austin Graff fascinating stories about New Mexico and its 60-year journey in becoming a U.S state. New Mexico - or the land of enchantment, as some call it -  is home to ancient cultures and breathtaking landscapes. The region has been continuously inhabited for over 1,000 years and some of the artifacts found in New Mexico date back to the time of the Egyptian pyramids. Unfortunately, due to prejudice against Indigenous and Hispanic people, Congress was hesitant to add New Mexico as a state. Join Sharon and Austin as they uncover how New Mexico became a state and explore the many wonders within its borders. 

Links to Full Episode: 

This Episode Will Teach You:

  • Ancient origins of New Mexico 
  • Spanish arrival in New Mexico 
  • How New Mexico became a U.S state 
  • Why it took so long for New Mexico to become a state 
  • New Mexico isn’t named after Mexico 
  • New Mexico World Heritage sites and national parks

3 Biggest Takeaways:

  • New Mexico, also known as the land of enchantment, is the fifth largest state and one of the most topographically diverse regions in the United States. Parts of New Mexico, such as the Santa Fe area, have been continuously inhabited for over 1,000 years. As well, ancient artifacts dating back to the time of the Egyptian pyramids have also been unearthed in New Mexico. 
  • The Spanish entered New Mexico during the 16th century after they defeated the Aztecs. Contrary to popular belief, the Spanish named the region New Mexico after a valley in the Aztec region, not after the country Mexico. In fact, New Mexico got its name nearly 250 years before Mexico even became a country. After the Mexican-American War, the U.S gained New Mexico as a territory. By the 1850s New Mexico had an established government, constitution and school system among other state-worthy qualities. 
  • Despite New Mexico meeting every credential to be a U.S state, many in Congress were hesitant to grant New Mexico statehood due to prejudice against Hispanic and Indigenous people. Many believed New Mexico was “too foreign” to join the U.S as an official state. Finally, in 1912, President Taft finalized the push to add New Mexico as a state after eight months of negotiation. New Mexico is now home to several national parks and the most world heritage sites of any state, including Carlsbad Caverns. 

About the Guest:

Austin Graff is a contributing travel writer for the Washington Post where he also leads the talent, marketing and branding division. Austin is American but grew up in Russia. He has travelled to 70 countries. 

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