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Why Is New Mexico Called the Land of Enchantment?

One of New Mexico's unofficial nicknames is "The Sunshine State."
Taos, New Mexico, is a popular tourist destination.
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  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 20 March 2014
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The "Land of Enchantment" is the official nickname for the state of New Mexico. This name is a direct reference to the history and beauty of New Mexico. Land of Enchantment was officially adopted as the nickname of New Mexico in the year 1990. It had previously been used as the title for a book, which was written in 1906 by Lillian Whiting. The book title caught on and was soon used to promote the state as a great tourist destination. Land of Enchantment may be the official nickname, but it is not the only nickname as New Mexico has other recognized unofficial nicknames.

For instance, the state is called “The Spanish State,” because it has a high percentage of people with Spanish heritage. It also shares a border with Mexico. Another nickname is “The Sunshine State,” which is a reference to the bright sunshine that the state experiences. This particular nickname is also the nickname for the state of Florida. A significant portion of New Mexico has a huge distribution of the cacti plant, which are a variety of cactus. This is why the state is also called either “The Land of the Cactus” or “The Cactus State.”

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New Mexico is also called the “Land of Opportunity.” This nickname refers to the numerous opportunities that may be found in the state, including the chance to own some land, and consequently, a part of the beautiful state. One nickname originates from the title of the work of an archeologist named Adolf Francis Alphonse Bandelier. He had published the result of his study on the ethnological and archeological heritage of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico. He named his book “The Land of Delight Makers,” leading to the unofficial adoption of the title as a state nickname.

Apart from the official state nickname, "Land of Enchantment," other official symbols include things like the black bear, which is the official state mammal of New Mexico, and the Coelophysis, which is the official state dinosaur. New Mexico has official state vegetables, which are the Chile and frijoles. Turquoise is the official state gem, while the state tree is the blue gamma grass. The state colors of New Mexico are red and yellow. New Mexico even has a state cookie, called Bizcochito. The official state bird is the roadrunner, the state fish is the Mexico cutthroat trout, and the official state flower is the yucca.

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