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THE TABLE OF CONTEXT
T
his "Table of Context" is a tool to help you put events, people and places into appropriate historical context. The process of understanding an event is often facilitated by knowing not only when and where something happened, but what else was happening around the same time. (Isn't it interesting to note, for example, that Pancho Villa invaded the United States only a year before the country entered World War I, and that the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe is older than the Taj Majal?) Hopefully this guide will serve as a reference point from which to build associations. The New Mexico items are linked judiciously with other sites on the Web, to allow for further exploration and research if desired.

The items in the table are divided into fifty-year blocks of time, starting at 1600, and are color-coded to assist comprehension. The colors indicate where an event took place, as follows:

  • An event that was happening in the world at that time
  • An event that was happening in the United States at that time
  • An event that was happening in the (depending on time) area that was to become New Mexico, Territory of New Mexico or State of New Mexico at that time

Go forth and understand!

1600-1650 (Explanation of this table)
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  • 1600: William Shakespeare is going strong in England
  • 1610: Santa Fe is founded
  • 1610: The Palace of the Governors, the oldest public building in the U.S., is built in Santa Fe
  • 1620: Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock
  • 1629: Fray Francisco de Acevedo founds the Mission of San Gregorio at Abo
  • 1629: Mission established at Quarai
  • 1633: Galileo is taken before the Inquisition to retract his statements in support of the Copernican System, which held that the sun is the center of the solar system and the earth moves around it
  • 1648: Construction of the Taj Majal is completed in India

1650-1700 (Explanation of this table)
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  • 1670's: Pueblo Mission at Abo is abandoned
  • 1670: Bernardo Gruber, fleeing imprisonment at the hands of the Inquisition, perishes in the desolate landscape bordered on the West by the Rio Grande and the Fra Cristobal Range and on the East by the San Andres and Oscura Mountains. The route of his journey is now known as the Jornada del Muerto, or Journey of the Dead Man
  • 1671: Pueblo Mission at Quarai is abandoned
  • 1680: Pueblos in New Mexico rise in revolt against the oppression of their religious traditions by the Spanish
  • 1683: An apple falls on Isaac Newton's head
  • 1685: Bach, Handel and Scarlatti are born
  • 1692: Witchcraft trials begin in Salem, Massachusetts

1700-1750 (Explanation of this table)
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  • 1706: Albuquerque is founded
  • 1729: Catherine the Great, future leader of the Russian Empire, is born

1750-1800 (Explanation of this table)
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  • 1756: Mozart is born in Austria
  • 1776: Declaration of Independence is written
  • 1783: Joseph Michel and Jacques Etienne Montgolfier, along with a duck, a sheep and a rooster, take flight in a homemade hot air balloon, becomming the first human beings to fly
  • 1789: George Washington is elected President

1800-1850 (Explanation of this table)
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  • 1804: Lewis and Clark begin their exploration of the territory gained from the Louisiana Purchase
  • 1815: Napolean surrenders at the Battle of Waterloo
  • 1821: New Mexico becomes a province of Mexico after Spain gives up all holdings in the U.S.
  • 1821: The Santa Fe Trail opens
  • 1830: The Church of San Francisco at Golden (then known as El Real de San Francisco) is constructed
  • 1833: The Orient Express railroad begins service between Paris and Istanbul
  • 1841: Frederick Douglass begins his career as an Abolitionist with an impromptu speech at an anti-slavery convention in Massachusetts
  • 1846: President Polk delcares war on Mexico and sends General Stephen Watts Kearny to invade New Mexico and claim it for the United States. He does so without firing a single bullet.
  • 1846: Fort Marcy is constructed in Santa Fe to quell any uprisings from the American occupation
  • 1848: The treaty ending the war with Mexico makes all peole living in New Mexico U.S. Citizens
  • 1848: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish the Communist Manifesto
  • 1850: New Mexico is organized as a U.S. Territory

1850-1900 (Explanation of this table)
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  • 1850's: The Butterfield Overland Stage Company establishes a route passing the site of Shakespeare, known at the time as Mexican Springs
  • 1851: Fort Union is constructed to guard the Santa Fe Trail
  • 1854: Fort Craig is constructed near San Antonio to guard travelers along the Jornada del Muerto
  • 1855: Fort Stanton is constructed near Lincoln
  • 1859: Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of the Species
  • 1860: Gold is discovered in a creek near present-day Pinos Altos
  • 1861: American Civil War begins
  • 1862: Fort Sumner is constructed near the present-day town of Fort Sumner
  • 1862: The Homestead Act goes into effect, making public lands in the West available to settlers without payment
  • 1863, November 9: President Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address
  • 1865: Fort Selden is constructed near Las Cruces to protect settlers in the Mesilla Valley
  • 1866: Fort Bayard is constructed near Pinos Altos
  • 1866: Gold is discovered on Willow Creek, paving the way for the establishment of mining towns such as Elizabethtown
  • 1867: A post office is opened in Pinos Altos
  • 1868: A post office is opened in Elizabethtown
  • 1869: Elizabethtown becomes the county seat of Colfax County
  • 1870: Sergeant James C. Cooney discovers silver and copper ore in the Mogollon Mountains while on an Army mapping expedition
  • 1875: The first Kentucky Derby is run
  • 1879: The Zulu defeat a European force in Isandhlwana, Africa
  • 1879: The Homestake gold lode is discovered in the Jicarilla Mountains, paving the way for the establishment of mining camps like White Oaks in the vicinity
  • 1879: A post office is opened in Shakespeare
  • 1880: Post offices are opened in Golden, Lake Valley and White Oaks
  • 1880: The Santa Fe Trail is replaced by railroad
  • 1881: The Bridal Chamber, one of the largest single ore bodies of silver ever discovered, is uncovered in Lake Valley
  • 1881: A post office is opened in Nutt
  • 1881: Billy the Kid is killed by Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner
  • 1882: Post offices are opened in Alma and Hachita
  • 1883: A post office is opened in Kelly
  • 1884: Railroad tracks are extended to Lake Valley
  • 1885: The Shakespeare post office is closed
  • 1888: A post office is opened in Steins
  • 1889: the University of New Mexico is established in Albuquerque
  • 1890: A post office is opened in Mogollon
  • 1893: New Zealand becomes the first country to give women the right to vote
  • 1895: A post office is opened in Mountainview, later Dawson
  • 1896: Post offices are opened in Columbus and Madrid
  • 1897: Black Jack Ketchum and his gang hold up a Southern Pacific Sunset Limited at Steins Pass
  • 1898: Henry Pritchard's grocery store in Elizabethtown advertises men's suits from $5 up and 4 cans of sardines for 25 cents
  • 1890's: The railroad bypasses White Oaks in favor of Carrizozo

1900-1950 (Explanation of this table)
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  • 1901, April 26: Black Jack Ketchum is hanged at Clayton
  • 1901: A post office is opened in Roy
  • 1901: A diptheria outbreak is successfully quelled by Presbyterian missionary Alice Blake in Trementina
  • 1902: A post office is opened in Ancho
  • 1903, December 7: The Wright Brothers take flight at Kitty Hawk
  • 1907: A post office is opened in Solano
  • 1909: A post office is opened in Yeso
  • 1911: The New Mexico Constitution is adopted
  • 1912, January 6: New Mexico becomes the 47th state
  • 1913, October 22, 3:10 pm: An explosion in Mine No. 2 claims the lives of 263 miners and two rescuers in Dawson
  • 1915: Babe Ruth hits his first home run
  • 1916, March 9, early morning: Pancho Villa invades the United States at Columbus
  • 1917: The U.S. enters World War I
  • 1922: KOB radio in Albuquerque, the first licensed radio station in New Mexico, goes on the air
  • 1923, February 8, 2:00 pm: An explosion in Mine No. 1 claims the lives of 120 miners in Dawson
  • 1926: Route 66 is built
  • 1928: The Golden post office is closed
  • 1929: The crash of the stock market begins a period of economic crisis known as the Great Depression
  • 1930's: Wind erosion throughout the southern part of the Great Plains gives rise to the term "Dust Bowl" (Roy)
  • 1931: Post offices in Elizabethtown and Alma are closed
  • 1932: Interstate 25 is constructed (La Bajada)
  • 1934: A post office is opened in Bingham
  • 1935: Elvis is born
  • 1935: Quarai is established as a National Monument
  • 1935: A post office is opened in Claunch
  • 1937: Amelia Earhart disappears
  • 1939: John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath" is published
  • 1939: The Nutt post office is closed
  • 1941, December 7: The Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, leading the United States to join World War II
  • 1943: Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (now Los Alamos National Labs) is established
  • 1944: The Steins post office is closed
  • 1945, July 16: First atomic bomb is exploded at Trinity Site northwest of Alamogordo
  • 1945: The Kelly post office is closed
  • 1946: The ENIAC computer is developed at the University of Pennsylvania
  • 1947, July 3: Aliens crash-land in Roswell
  • 1948, January 30: Ghandi is assassinated
  • 1948: KOB-TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico's first commercial television station, begins broadcasting

1950-present (Explanation of this table)
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  • 1950, March 31: Phelps Dodge Corporation notifies the residents of Dawson that mining operations in the town will be closing in 30 days
  • 1950, May 4: Fire races through the Lincoln National Forest, harming but not killing a little bear cub known later as Smokey the Bear
  • 1954: Post offices in Dawson and White Oaks are closed
  • 1954: The town of Madrid is put up for sale for $250,000
  • 1955: The Lake Valley post office is closed
  • 1955: Bill Haley and the Comets release "Rock Around the Clock"
  • 1960: Fray Angelico Chavez repairs the church of San Francisco at Golden
  • 1964: The Pinos Altos post office is closed the same year the author of this homepage is born. No cause-effect relationship should be assumed
  • 1966: The Madrid post office is closed
  • 1969: The Ancho post office is closed
  • 1969, July 20: Neil Armstrong walks on the moon
  • 1987: President Reagan signs into law a bill designating the Santa Fe Trail as a National Historic Trail
  • 1988-89: the New Mexico Department of Transportation changes most of the state's highway numbers