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New Mexico


New Mexico is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States of America. It has been inhabited by Native American populations and has been part of the Imperial Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory. Among U.S. states, New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanic Americans, comprising both recent immigrants and descendants of Spanish colonists. It also has the third-highest percentage of Native Americans after Alaska and Oklahoma, and the fifth-highest total number of Native Americans after California, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Texas. The tribes represented in the state consist of mostly Navajo and Pueblo peoples. As a result, the demographics and culture of the state are unique for their strong Spanish, Mexican, and American Indian cultural influences. The climate of the state is highly arid and its territory is mostly covered by mountains and desert. At a population density of 15 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth most sparsely inhabited U.S. State.

The state's total area is 121,665 square miles (315,110 km2). The eastern border of New Mexico lies along 103° W longitude with the state of Oklahoma, and three miles (5 km) west of 103.5° W longitude with Texas. On the southern border, Texas makes up the eastern two-thirds, while the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora make up the western third, with Chihuahua making up about 90% of that. The western border with Arizona runs along the 109° 03' W longitude. The 37° N latitude parallel forms the northern boundary with Colorado. The states New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah come together at the Four Corners in the northwestern corner of New Mexico. New Mexico, although a large state, has little water. Its surface water area is only about 250 square miles (650 km2). New Mexico's average precipitation rate is only 15 inches (380 mm) a year.

The landscape ranges from wide, rose-colored deserts to broken mesas to high, snow-capped peaks. Despite New Mexico's arid image, heavily forested mountain wildernesses cover a significant portion of the state, especially towards the north. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost part of the Rocky Mountains, run roughly north-south along the east side of the Rio Grande (Big River) in the rugged, pastoral north. The most important of New Mexico's rivers are the Rio Grande, Pecos, Canadian, San Juan, and Gila. The Rio Grande is the eighth longest river in the U.S.

Cacti, yuccas, creosote bush, sagebrush, and desert grasses cover the broad, semiarid plains that cover the southern portion of the state.

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