Florida Guide > Florida History
The State Nicknames Part 15 – New Mexico
Our fascination with the state number plates developed early during our first visit to Florida, when our children first noticed that cars had different plates according to their state of origin. Through this we have come to learn a little more about this diverse country and its individual states, and each time we visit we try to look out for any new ones which we haven’t seen before.
A stunning mix of cultures and traditions, New Mexico has been influenced by people from Mexico, Spain, Europe and native American Indians. It is a very diverse and vibrant state which takes its name from Nuevo Mexico, the Spanish name for the upper Rio Grande. The word Mexico derives from the Aztec, meaning ‘place of Mexitil’ who was one of the Aztec gods. Indian tribes such as Navajo, Apache helped to make this state what it is today, with their skills, traditions and heritage. It is awesomely beautiful and unique.
New Mexico has attracted many nicknames, Land of Enchantment being the official one from 1999, and this reflects the rich history and scenic beauty of this lovely state. With its abundant cacti, it is no wonder that it has been called ‘Land of the Cactus’ but of course, its Spanish heritage has influenced another nickname, ‘The Spanish State. ’
New Mexico enjoys a large amount of sunshine, and before 1941 the name, ‘Sunshine State’ appeared on its state license plates. As a land of opportunity, because of its natural beauty, wide open spaces and climate, New Mexico has also been called ‘The Land of Opportunity’ and ‘The Land of the Heart’s Desire. ’ It was thought that New Mexico offered enough opportunities for anyone to fulfil their dreams. With its ideal climate and relatively underdeveloped countryside, New Mexico is certainly a land where hopes can be realised.
New Mexico was admitted to the Union in 1912, and was the 47th state to join the nation. Native American culture has been a great influence throughout New Mexico, and when its commemorative quarter-dollar coin was released in 2008 it featured a Zia sun symbol. This symbol represents the giver of all good, who gave gifts in groups of four. It has four groups of four rays representing the four directions, the four phases of the day (night, sunrise, noon, evening), the four seasons and the four ages of man (child, youth, middle age and old age) and the circle which represents life and love without beginning or end.
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