Monday, January 27, 2014

50 States: North Carolina


Explored by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1587, North Carolina became our 12th state on November 21, 1789. The colony was named to honor King Charles I, and the very first English Colony in America was Roanoke.  It vanished, leaving behind only the word 'Croatoan' carved into a tree.  The capital of NC (postal abbreviation) is Raleigh, named in honor of the explorer.  

North Carolina is the 28th biggest state with more than 9.7 million people living here as of 2012.  People who live here are called North Carolinians.  Some famous people born in NC include John Coltrane, Howard Cosell, Dale Earnhardt, Billy Graham, U.S. President Andrew Johnson, Chales Kuralt, Sugar Ray Leonard, Dolley Madison, Thelonious Monk, Richard Petty, Kelly Pickler, U.S. President James Polk, William Sydney Porter (O. Henry), Randy Travis, and Thomas Wolfe.

North Carolina's nickname is the Tar Heel State.  This comes from the fact that the state's forests supplied tar and pitch for Navy ships in the 1700s.  A number of different sources called the people 'tar boilers,' but this was used in a derogatory sense.  During the Civil War, these people were called 'Tar Heels,' again in a derogatory sense.  By 1893, the people of the state were beginning to take pride in the name, and a group of University of North Carolina students entitled their newspaper, "The Tar Heels."

The major industries are tobacco and poultry farming, textiles, and furniture.  High Point, NC, is called 'The Furniture Capital of the World.'  NC is also the largest supplier of sweet potatoes in the U.S.

This state's motto is "Esse Quam Vederi" and means "To Be Rather Than to Seem."  

The state symbols are as follows:

Bird - Cardinal
Mammal - Gray Squirrel
Dog - Plott hound
Reptile - Eastern Box Turtle
Fish - Channel bass
Flower - Flowering dogwood
Tree - Longleaf Pine
Vegetable - Sweet Potato
Rock - Granite
Precious Stone - Emerald
Colors - Red and blue
Beverage - Milk

North Carolina adopted its flag in 1885. There is a white star on the left with the letters, NC, to the sides of it.  The date of May 20th 1775, which is on a yellow ribbon above the star, commemorates the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.  This county is where, it is said, North Carolinians met to declare their freedom from Great Britain. The date on the lower banner, April 12th 1776, is in remembrance of the Halifax Resolves.  This document authorized delegates from North Carolina to attend the Continental Congress.  It was the first official action by a colony in the quest for independence.
Some other interesting events in North Carolina's history include the Wright Brothers making the first successful powered flight in 1903 near Kitty Hawk.  Krispy Kreme Doughnut was founded in Winston-Salem.  Miniature golf was invented in Fayetteville.  Pepsi was first invented in New Bern in 1898.  Wendell Town was named in honor of Oliver Wendell Holmes, the famous American writer.

North Carolina is a southern state with a beautiful coastline and majestic mountain ranges.  Many of the forests have become national parks and can be visited year round with different activities each season.  Some places of natural beauty that can be visited are The Outer Banks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Grandfather Mountain, Chimney Rock State Park, Crystal Coast, and Cape Hatteras.  Attractions and historic landmarks are prevalent as well, such as Carowinds Amusement Park, USS North Carolina, Tweetsie Railroad Theme Park, NASCAR Hall of Fame, Ghost Town in the Sky theme park, Billy Graham Library, Fort Fisher, and the Biltmore Estate in Ashville.

Play some games and test your North Carolina knowledge.

The following items are for sale on  I am an affiliate.  If you choose to purchase anything through my site, I will receive a commission.

903095: 13 Colonies: North Carolina 13 Colonies: North Carolina
By Roberta Wiener & James Arnold / Heinemann Raintree

What were the "Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina"? When did North and South Carolina officially become two separate colonies? Why was North Carolina's coast favored by pirates?
This book details the history of the colony, beginning with the decisions made in Europe to explore and settle the Americas, followed by a description of the land and its inhabitants as they appeared to the first Europeans arrivals. Each book in this series includes: maps, timeline, glossary, index, and sources for further research. Softcover, 64 pages. Ages 4-8.

300329: Voices from Colonial America: North Carolina 1524-1776 Voices from Colonial America: North Carolina 1524-1776
By Matthew C Cannavale / Random House, Inc

96343: Orville Wright: The Flyer Orville Wright: The Flyer
By Janet Benge & Geoff Benge / YWAM Publishing

The Heroes of History series chronicles the true stories of fascinating men and women who changed the course of history.  When Orville Wright and his brother, Wilbur, set out to solve the problem of flight, they recognized that success would come with careful observation, perseverance, and ingenuity. From experiments in their Dayton, Ohio, bicycle shop to test flights over the beaches of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the amateur aviation enthusiasts risked their lives and worked tirelessly to solve the problems that had stumped the world's best scientists.
For ages 10 and up.

37959: Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl
By Harriet Jacobs / Penguin Classics

A haunting, evocative recounting of her life as a slave in North Carolina and of her final escape and emancipation, Harriet Jacob's classic narrative, written between 1853 and 1858 and published pseudonymously in 1861, tells firsthand of the horrors inflicted on slaves. In writing this extraordinary memoir, which culminates in the seven years she spent hiding in a crawl space in her grandmother's attic, Jacobs skillfully used the literary genres of her time, presenting a thoroughly feminist narrative that portrays the evils and traumas of slavery, particularly for women and children. Now with an introduction by renowned historian Nell Irvin Painter, this edition also includes "A True Tale of Slavery," the brief memoir of Harriet Jacob's brother, John S. Jacobs, originally published in a London periodical in 1861.

82033X: Cape Hatteras: America"s Lighthouse Cape Hatteras: America's Lighthouse
By Thomas Yocum, Bruce Roberts & Cheryl Shelton-Roberts / Cumberland House Publishing

For centuries the dangerous waters of North Carolina's Outer Banks have grounded or sunk hundreds of ships. Seafarers needed a strong point of reference to navigate the area successfully, and for the last 130 years, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has been the most-recognized, most-photographed, most-painted, most-visited, most-read-about, and most-admired lighthouse in North America. One of the most daunting engineering tasks imaginable has been undertaken to save the lighthouse and move it safely to a new foundation 1,600 feet inland from its original site. To commemorate this event, the authors have prepared Cape Hatteras: America's Lighthouse as a tribute to the stone sentinel, describing the vast history of the lighthouse and investing it with texture and depth. The text is illustrated in full color and with more than 100 black-and-white photographs and historical diagrams.

726091: Exploring Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashores Exploring Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashores
By Globe Pequot

726091: Exploring Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashores Exploring Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashores
By Globe Pequot

226610: Smokey Mountain High: The Consuming Passion of Cecil Brown Smokey Mountain High: The Consuming Passion of Cecil Brown
By Frank & Duracher / Crest Books

Cecil Brown, a missionary from Hurricane Creek, NC, was a legend in her own time. Against all odds, she brought the gospel to the backwoods of the Tar Heel state, where many people had never read the Bible or heard a sermon preached before.

17048X: Making Bent Willow Furniture Making Bent Willow Furniture
By Workman Publishing

It's easy to make rustic bent willow furnishings for indoors and out. Brenda and Brian Cameron share techniques and instructions for projects, such as a quilt ladder, plant stand, hanging basket, chair, porch swing, headboard, and more. A Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club's Country Homes & Gardens Club. Paperback, 139 pages.

084708: Daily Devotions for Die-Hard Fans: North Carolina Tar Heels Daily Devotions for Die-Hard Fans: North Carolina Tar Heels
By Ed McMinn / Extra Point Publishers

Daily Devotions for Die-Hard Fans: North Carolina Tar Heels combines the passion of the Tar Heel fan with the passion of the Christian life to create a unique 90-day devotional. Researched and written by former pastor and journalist Ed McMinn, you'll read stories about your favorite team and players and learn spiritual lessons at the same time.

781416: The Outer Banks Cookbook, 2nd: Recipes & Traditions from North Carolina"s Barrier Islands The Outer Banks Cookbook, 2nd: Recipes & Traditions from North Carolina's Barrier Islands
By Elizabeth Wiegand / Globe Pequot

781133: Food Lovers" Guide to North Carolina"s Outer Banks: The Best Restaurants, Markets & Local Culinary Offerings Food Lovers' Guide to North Carolina's Outer Banks: The Best Restaurants, Markets & Local Culinary Offerings
By Elizabeth Wiegand / Globe Pequot

636040: Coming Home: The North Carolina Outer Banks Coming Home: The North Carolina Outer Banks
By Sally Nixon Haines & Sally Nixon Haines / Tate Publishing & Enterprises

947612: The Reason for My Hope: Salvation The Reason for My Hope: Salvation
By Billy Graham / Thomas Nelson

For more than 70 years Dr. Billy Graham has shared the Gospel with the world. He's presented the truth about Jesus Christ to millions and sought to draw hearts closer to faith.  Now, in what may be his last book, he shares this same life-changing message. In The Reason for My Hope: Salvation, Graham calls the world back to its spiritual priority, to consider our lives now and the hereafter with sober reflection. Filled with new stories and enduring truth, Graham invites all who will to follow the Savior and discover a faith that saves.

964824: Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well
By Billy Graham / Thomas Nelson

Explore the realities of growing older with the renowned evangelist and look at your later years from God's perspective! In what could be his most powerful message, Graham discusses the importance of facing life's transitions, making wise decisions, and understanding our glorious hope. You'll learn how to face your limitations and grow stronger in the midst of difficulties. 192 pages, softcover from Nelson.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Kingsley Plantation

Anna knew that her life would change forever when she saw the tall ship anchored off shore, but she never dreamed that it would take her a world away.
Anna Madgigine Jai was kidnapped and sent to Cuba where she was placed into the slave trade.  Mr. Zephaniah Kingsley stepped off his boat in Havana, looking to increase his holdings.  In the early 1800s, before the Civil War, a southern man's wealth was measured in terms of how many slaves he owned.  Anna became one of Kingsley's slaves.  On the voyage back to the United States, 41-year-old Zephaniah Kingsley "married" 13-year-old Anna.  By the time she arrived in America, she was carrying his first child.  In 1811, living in Spanish-controlled Northeast Florida, Zephaniah signed documents that allowed his wife the social standing of a freed slave.  In time, she would come to own her own land and her own slaves and provide Zephaniah with two more children.

Kingsley Plantation, located on Fort George Island in Jacksonville, Florida, changed hands a few times before the Kingsley's moved there in 1814.  It does not resemble a typical southern plantation.  It was built according to the cracker vernacular style and was not built to impress.  Since pirate ships would travel the St. John's River in front of the plantation, the owners did not want to display their wealth for fear of raids.  The original house had four corner rooms that were only accessible by the front and back porches.  The Rollins family purchased the plantation in 1869 after it had been abandoned.  They made numerous improvements such as access to these four corner rooms through the inside of the home.  They also added an additional room to each side, between the corner rooms, so that the house would have more functional space.  A stairwell was added to the center of the house so that the upstairs could be accessed from within.

Back of main house
Close up of barn
Cash crops such as indigo, Sea Island cotton, sugar cane, and citrus were grown here as it functioned as a plantation.  Indigo and sugar cane were the deadliest crops to the slaves.  Stale human urine was used in the manufacturing of the indigo dye.  This created a very alkaline mixture which the slaves had to stomp around in to add oxygen.  The life expectancy of a slave responsible for indigo production was just five years.

The slaves lived in small dwellings on the opposite side of the plantation, between the main house and the fields they tended.  These 32 homes were made from a material called tabby, which contains oyster shells, sand, and water.  Other structures on the site were constructed from tabby as it could be used to make long, wide bricks; mortar; and a substance like plaster.

Kitchen with Whistle Walk
The kitchen was not attached to the house.  Since a fire was likely burning 24 hours a day in the kitchen, they did not want to run the risk of setting the whole house on fire.  The original kitchen building had just one small room, but Anna Kingsley had a room built on top of the kitchen where she could reside.  This was one of the customs of the tribe she was born into in Africa.  The women oversaw the slaves and servants and stayed separate from the men.  The semicircle of the slave quarters was another tradition Anna brought with her.  It is interesting that Anna came from a culture where slaves were used, yet she herself became a slave.  Not only that, after she became a freed slave, she owned slaves again.

We visited the site on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, birthday.  With that frame of reference, we were able to be thankful for the changes that have occurred in our country since the 1700s and for the outcome of the Civil War.  We were able to be thankful for people like Dr. King who fought for equal rights of all citizens.  I am grateful that slavery in that form no longer exists in our society, thankful that it is not okay to steal people away from their homes and make them work under the threat of punishment, to strip away all of their rights and dignity.  I know slavery still exists in different forms today, but that is a conversation for another day.

Kingsley Plantation is maintained by the National Park Service.  The main house is normally closed during the week with tours given on the weekends at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. with reservations.  We were honored to have a guided tour by a NPS employee who has studied Kingsley Plantation intensely.  He took us through the house and shared some very interesting stories and details.  The grounds and the tour are free.  An audio tour is also available.

There is a great deal more information to learn about the plantation.

Read more about the Kingsley plantation and family here.

An ethnohistorical study of the plantation is located here.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

50 States: New York


First settled by the Dutch in 1624, New York achieved statehood on July 26, 1788.  The colony of New Amsterdam was renamed New York by the British in 1664 in honor of the Duke of York.  One of the 13 original colonies, NY (postal abbreviation) became the nation's 11th state.  It is the 27th largest state and has a population of more than 19.5 million people, nearly half of the population living in New York City alone.  NYC is the biggest city in the state and was once the capital city of the U.S., but the capital of New York is Albany, named after the Duke of Albany.

Folks who live here are called New Yorkers. lists almost 900 famous/infamous people being born here. If the list didn't include crime bosses and criminals, there might only be 700 or so.  Since there are so many, I have only listed some of the more noteworthy such as Presidents Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  There have been sports stars, actors/actresses, fashion designers, singers, authors, models, activists, musicians, playwrights, and poets.  Edwin Armstrong invented circuits for the FM radio.  John Jacob Astor IV built the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and died in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Three of the Baldwin brothers—Alec, Billy, and Stephen—are all actors. Lucille Ball was a very funny woman famous for her "I Love Lucy" show.  Joseph Barbera, the other half of Hanna-Barbera, co-created the Flintstones, The Jetsons, and Scooby-Doo.  Frank Baum wrote the Wizard of Oz.  Clarence Birdseye invented the process of flash freezing.  Think about all of the foods in the freezer section of the grocery store that are flash frozen to retain their freshness.  Amelia Bloomer was a women's rights activitist; "Bloomers" are named after her.  Famous actors like Humphrey Bogart; James Cagney; and Robert Downey, Jr., who plays Iron Man were born here.  Cab Calloway, Al Capone, Dick Clark, composer Aaron Copland,  and George Eastman who invented the Kodak camera once called New York home.  Barbara Bush is the wife of President George H.W. Bush.  Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to ride Niagara Falls in a barrel. Melvil Dewey created the Dewey Decimal System used in libraries.  Henry M. Flagler took his money to Florida and built hospitals, colleges, etc.  Chef Bobby Flay, baseball great Lou Gehrig, and brothers George and Ira Gershwin came from New York. Alex Haley wrote Roots which was made into a miniseries for television.  Marvin Hamlisch and Oscar Hammerstein II are famous for their music.  Edward Hopper and Norman Rockwell were famous artists. Washington Irving, J.D. Salinger, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are)and E.B. White were famous authors.  Emma Lazarus wrote the poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.  Jonas Salk discovered a vaccine to eradicate polio.  Isaac Singer invented the sewing machine.  Louis Tiffany created beautiful glass lamps.  Julia Ward Howe wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Other famous New-York-born people are John Jay, Michael Jordan, The Marx Brothers, Billy the Kid,  John D. Rockefeller,  Sojourner Truth, George Westinghouse, and Mark Zuckerberg (co-founder of Facebook).

As the list of famous people born in New York seems endless, so does the list of places to visit.  New York City has the Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island (12 million immigrants in 62 years), Empire State Building, Broadway, Guggenheim Museum, New York Stock Exchange, United Nations, World Trade Center site, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  There are the beautiful Adirondack Mountains, Niagara Falls, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Thousand Islands, amusement parks, zoos, national parks, ski resorts, and festivals year round.

New York City has been a popular place for movie producers.  Some movies filmed here include King Kong, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Gangs of New York, Miracle on 34th Street, West Side Story, Wall Street, Saturday Night Fever, Superman, The Bourne Ultimatum, Spider-Man, Wall-E, The French Connection, Kate and Leopold, Planet of the Apes, The Day After Tomorrow, The Avengers, and Ghostbusters.

It is easy to see some of the things that make up New York's economy—finance, tourism, communications, publishing, and fashion—but international trade and fruit and dairy farming also contribute greatly. 

New York's nickname is The Empire State, and the motto is "Excelsior" which means ever upwards.  The state bird is the eastern bluebird, and the mammal is the beaver.  The nine-spotted ladybug is the state insect, and the brook trout is the state fish.  The bay scallop is the shell.  The state flower is the rose, and the sugar maple is the state tree.  The apple, introduced by European settlers in the 1600s, is the state fruit.

The flag was adopted in 1901.  The goddesses Liberty and Justice stand on opposite sides of a shield which shows the sun rising over the Hudson highlands and on top of a ribbon with the state motto, Excelsior, written on it.  At the base of Liberty's feet is a crown which represents freedom from Britain.  An eagle sits atop a globe.

Play some learning games to test your knowledge of New York.

The following items relate to New York and can be found at  I am an affiliate, so if you purchase through my blog, I will receive a commission.

846492: New York New York
By Jonathan Brown & Catherine Gardner(Editor) / Gareth Stevens Publishing

Bolster students' knowledge of the state they live in! Discover the history of the state, including Native American history, colonial history, and modern history, and learn about the current demographics of the state, the land itself, the economy, state government, and cultural attractions. "Fun Facts," "Famous people," and "In history" sidebars provide interesting tidbits of information. Full-color photographs, time line, glossary, and index included. 32 pages, softcover. Grades 2-4.

975288: New York New York
By Gareth Stevens Publishing

897813: Celebrating New York: 50 States to Celebrate Celebrating New York: 50 States to Celebrate
By Marion Dane Bauer & C.B. Canga(Illustrator) / Sandpiper

Join Mr. Geo and discover all kinds of fun facts about New York! Filled with facts and illustrations, this beginning reader is perfect for your child who's reading independently with longer text, richer vocabulary, and engaging content. Includes a glossary, fast facts about New York, important dates in New York history, and activities that are all about New York!

805129: Primary Source History of the Colony of New York - Unabridged Audiobook on CD Primary Source History of the Colony of New York - Unabridged Audiobook on CD
By Paul Kupperberg & Jay Snyder / Brilliance Audio

Through primary source documents, listeners will learn all about the colony of New York. From the discovery of the island of Manhattan and the founding of a tiny Dutch trading village to New York's emergence as one of the world's most influential cities, this audiobook is sure to please any history buff!

Unabridged audio CD; approximately 1 hour; 1 CD.

805105: Peter Stuyvesant: New Amsterdam and the Origins of New York - Unabridged Audiobook on CD Peter Stuyvesant: New Amsterdam and the Origins of New York - Unabridged Audiobook on CD
By Brilliance Audio

Learn about the last director-general of New Amsterdam, Peter Stuyvesant. He ruled with an "iron fist" but he loved New Amsterdam and its people, staying on after the colony fell to the English. To this day, street, neighborhood, and borough names (Broadway, Harlem, the Bronx, and Brooklyn), and the popularity of some foods (pretzels), reflect the early Dutch influence in New York.

Unabridged audio CD; approximately 1 hour; 2 CDs.

474946: Scenes of Olde New York Coloring BookGreen Edition Scenes of Olde New York Coloring BookGreen Edition
By Peter F. Copeland / Dover Publications

8203EB: The New York Yankees: Legendary Sports Teams - eBook The New York Yankees: Legendary Sports Teams - eBook
By Matt Christopher & Glenn Stout / Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

48072EB: A History of New York - eBook A History of New York - eBook
By Washington Irving / Penguin Classics

105619: A History of New York A History of New York
By Washington Irving / Penguin Putnam Inc.

916618: New York, The Empire State New York, The Empire State
By Margery Facklam / Charlesbridge Publishing

Get to know all about New York with this region-by-region tour of "The Empire State." Vibrant watercolors bring the countryside and the city to life, as the text extols the features, people, landscape, museums, and unique aspects of New York. Sidebar notes allow for additional illustrations and more information on what makes New York so special. From the Five Nations across the state to the pirate legends of Fire Island to the dairy industry today, you'll learn fascinating facts about the whole state of New York! 43 pages with resource and symbols page. Softcover.

838414: New York"s Bravest New York's Bravest
By Mary Pope Osborne / Random House, Inc

414068: The Empire State Building: When New York Reached for the Skies The Empire State Building: When New York Reached for the Skies
By Elizabeth Mann / Firefly Books LTD

It was 1929 and the race was on to put up the tallest building in the world. Less than two years later, the race was over, and the age of skyscrapers had its exclamation point. This book tells the story of an American icon. From demolition to finishing touches, author Elizabeth Mann tracks the wonders of its architecture, engineering, and construction. From millionaires to laborers, she captures the human stories behind the technical wizardry. From the rise of a great city to the depths of the Great Depression, she traces the historical forces behind the creation of the world's most famous skyscraper. This book is a fascinating look at this enduring symbol of New York.

405778: People Of New York People Of New York
By Mark Stewart / Heinemann Raintree

This look at the people of New York explores the vast and diverse heritage of the state. Noting its many immigrants that came in through Ellis Island, the Native Americans who first--and still--live there, the Dutch & English settlers, and the African-Americans who had a major influence in places like Harlem, this book is filled with information on New Yorkers. Photographs, charts, and historic illustrations make this a unique exploration of NY from early days until the present. A list of famous New Yorkers is also included. 48 pages with index, glossary and state map.

121691: State Shapes: New York State Shapes: New York
By Workman Publishing

These colorful, fact-filled books are irresistible! Die-cut in the shape of the state, each one takes readers on a fascinating journey to visit intriguing places, meet famous and historic figures, learn about animals and wildlife, and experience the culture that makes each state unique. Packed with fun facts, exciting history and fascinating folklore, State Shapes are illustrated with a warmth, humor, and flare that will appeal to kids and parents alike. Hardcover, 45 pages.

112175: New York DVD New York DVD
By Worldwide Media

960014: If You Lived 100 Years Ago If You Lived 100 Years Ago
By Scholastic Trade

If you lived 100 years ago, life was changing, and fast. Find out what life was like in New York City in the 1890s. With the rich very rich and the poor very poor, learn about tenement buildings, NYC mansions that took up a block, new inventions, getting water for your bath from a fire hydrant (the rich had bathrooms), the importance of clotheslines, how iceboxes worked, new inventions (typewriters & postcards), fashions & hairstyles, what people did for fun, and more, all through short, engaging "chapters" and fun illustrations. 80 pages, softcover.

297117: Sojourner Truth: American Abolitionist Sojourner Truth: American Abolitionist
By W. Whalin / Barbour Publishing

418791: John Jay: Founding Father John Jay: Founding Father
By Walter Stahr / Continuum International

257722: The Waldorf-Astoria Cookbook The Waldorf-Astoria Cookbook
By John Doherty,John Harrisson / Hachette Book Group

931543: Edward Hopper"s New York Edward Hopper's New York
By Avis Berman / Pomegranate Communications

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

50 States: New Mexico


New Mexico is alive with culture—Native Indian, Hispanic, and American.  All are represented well throughout this 47th state.  The territory of New Mexico originally included all of New Mexico and Arizona plus parts of Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. The state border of New Mexico, the way it is today, was created by congress in 1863, and it officially became a state on January 6, 1912. The postal abbreviation for New Mexico is NM. It is the 5th biggest state and has a population of more than 2 million people. There are roughly 17 people per square mile, making it one of the least densely populated states.

The capital is Santa Fe. It is the highest capital in the U.S., sitting 7000 ft above sea level.  The motto for New Mexico is "Crescit eundo" which stands for "It grows as it goes."  The nickname is the "land of enrichment" because of its beauty and rich heritage.

Those who live in New Mexico are called New Mexicans.  There are only 11 famous people born in New Mexico, according to  These include founder of, Jeff Bezos; country singer, John Denver; co-creator of Tom & Jerry and The Flintstones, William Hanna; actor Neil Patrick Harris, who is famous for his role as Doogie Howser, M.D.; founder of the Hilton hotel chain, Conrad Hilton; and actresses Demi Lovato and Demi Moore.
Smokey the Bear was born in New Mexico as well.  A cub was found trapped in a tree during a forest fire in Lincoln National Forest in 1950.  This bear was to become the iconic Smokey the Bear.

New Mexico was home to many Native Indian tribes before it became a state and is still home to 22 tribes.  The Navajo tribe has a reservation that covers 14 million acres.  Various Native American Indian sites that can be visited are:

Aztec Ruins National Monument - Aztec, NM
Bandelier National Monument - Los Alamos
Chaco Culture National Historical Park - Nageezi, NM
El Morro National Monument - Ramah
Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument - Silver City
Petroglyph National Monument - Albuquerque
Three Rivers Petroglyph Site - Alamogordo
Village of the Great Kivas - Zuni Pueblo

Some other things to do in New Mexico include:

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
-Sandia Peak Tramway in Albuquerque
-Blue Hole, a popular dive destination for SCUBA, in Santa Rosa
-Georgia O'Keefe Museum in Santa Fe
-El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history museum in Santa Fe 
-Unser Racing Museum - Los Ranchos de Albuquerque
-San Miguel Mission, a church built between 1610 and 1626 in Santa Fe
-White Sands National Monument is made of white gypsum crystals and is located in Alamogordo.

There are over 300 ghost towns in New Mexico.  There are also zoos, history museums, science museums, amusement parks, national parks, and theaters.

In October, there is a hot air balloon festival in Albuquerque and the Whole Enchilada Festival in Las Cruces.

With all of these things to do and the rich heritage, it is no wonder that tourism contributes greatly to New Mexico's economy.  Other contributors are mining of potash, silver, copper, and uranium and oil and natural gas production.

The state symbols for New Mexico are as follows:

Bird - roadrunner
Mammal - black bear
Fish - New Mexico cutthroat trout
Insect - tarantula hawk wasp
Dinosaur - Coelophysis
Flower - yucca
Tree - pinon
Vegetables - chile and frijoles
Colors - red and yellow
Cookie - bizcochito

Along with the state dinosaur, some other fossils found here are Parasaurolophus, Seismmosaurus, Triceratops, and Tyrannosaurus

The NM flag is yellow with a red symbol called a "Zia" in the center of it.  The Zia is an ancient symbol for the sun which was found on a water jar from Zia Pueblo.  Four posts project outward from the four sides of the Zia, which represent the four seasons, the four directions, the four stages of life, etc.

Several other interesting facts about New Mexico are that it is officially a bilingual state where both English and Spanish are spoken.  Three-quarters of the roads in this state are unpaved so that they don't wash away.  The novel, Ben-Hur, was written by territorial governor, Lew Wallace.  It was published in 1880 and made into a movie in 1959.

Now, play some games and learn more about New Mexico.

If you are looking for books to research New Mexico further, the following items can be found at  If you purchase any items through my blog, I will receive a commission as I am an affiliate.

743202: Outlaw Tales of New Mexico Outlaw Tales of New Mexico
By Globe Pequot

No picture or description was available.
447217: Uniquely New Mexico Uniquely New Mexico
By Coleen Hubbard / Heinemann Raintree

No picture or description was available.
8710EB: The Pueblo Revolt: The Secret Rebellion That Drove the Spaniards Out of the Southwest - eBook The Pueblo Revolt: The Secret Rebellion That Drove the Spaniards Out of the Southwest - eBook
By David Roberts / Simon & Schuster

With the conquest of New Mexico in 1598, Spanish governors, soldiers, and missionaries began their brutal subjugation of the Pueblo Indians in what is today the Southwestern United States. This oppression continued for decades, until, in the summer of 1680, led by a visionary shaman named Pope, the Puebloans revolted. Every Spaniard was driven from the Pueblo homeland, the only time in North American history that conquering Europeans were thoroughly expelled from Indian territory. Yet today, more than three centuries later, crucial questions about the Pueblo Revolt remain unanswered. How did Pope succeed in his brilliant plot? And what happened in the Pueblo world between 1680 and 1692 when a new Spanish force again conquered the Pueblo peoples with relative ease? This well-researched book looks at history from every angle to solve the mysteries still surrounding the Pueblo revolt. 279 pages, hardcover with dust jacket.

301301: National Geographic Investigates Ancient Pueblo: Archaeology Unlocks the Secrets of America"s Past National Geographic Investigates Ancient Pueblo: Archaeology Unlocks the Secrets of America's Past
By National Geographic Society / National Geographic Children's Books

At prehistoric sites in the "Four Corners" states (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico) of the American Southwest, archaeologists have searched for years, looking for clues to the history of the Pueblo people. Learn what we know about these cliff dwellers. Study the thousands of rock carvings-petroglyphs-they left behind. Discover how modern scientists use ancient artifacts to learn about the lives of these early Americans.64 pages hardcover, ages 9-12.

847222: New Mexico New Mexico
By Pat Lantier & Catherine Gardner(Editor) / Gareth Stevens Publishing

Bolster students' knowledge of the state they live in! Discover the history of the state, including Native American history, colonial history, and modern history, and learn about the current demographics of the state, the land itself, the economy, state government, and cultural attractions. "Fun Facts," "Famous people" and "In history" sidebars provide interesting tidbits of information. Full-color photographs, time line, glossary, and index included. 32 pages, softcover. Grades 2-4.

853278: New Mexico New Mexico
By Michael Burgan, Jackie Ball(Editor) & Kristen Behrens(Editor) / Gareth Stevens Publishing

2712228: More than Petticoats: Remarkable New Mexico Women More than Petticoats: Remarkable New Mexico Women
By Globe Pequot

More than Petticoats: Remarkable New Mexico Women presents twelve profiles of women whose artistry, intelligence, and courage broke down barriers in the Land of Enchantment and throughout the world. Among the women included are the Harvey Girls, railroad waitresses and bearers of culture and refinement in the untamed frontier; Mother Magdalen and the Sisters of Loretto, pioneers of education; Nampeyo, master potter and preserver of Hopi culture.These women braved battles, saved nations, scaled mountains, and created masterpieces. Read about their exceptional lives in this collection of absorbing biographies. (6 x 9, 144 pages, b&w photos)

725656: Hiking Carlsbad Caverns & Guadalupe Mountains National Parks, 2nd Hiking Carlsbad Caverns & Guadalupe Mountains National Parks, 2nd
By Globe Pequot

Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southeastern New Mexico is renowned for its amazing system of limestone caves. Both Carlsbad and the nearby Guadalupe Mountains National Park, just across the state line in Texas, are also blessed with spectacular above-ground trails. This thoroughly revised edition is the authoritative and the only comprehensive guide to all of the hiking trails in both parks.

415072: Georgia O"Keeffe Georgia O'Keeffe
By Carole Marsh / Gallopade International

Correlated to state and national standards, this series teaches students about important people, places, and events in history. Broken down into short, easy to read passages reinforced by simple activities, each reader includes a glossary, interesting facts, reading, puzzles, highlights of achievements, sequencing of important events, and simple math activities. 12 pages each. Grades K-4.

41174EB: Nobody"s Horses: The Dramatic Rescue of the Wild Herd of White Sands - eBook Nobody's Horses: The Dramatic Rescue of the Wild Herd of White Sands - eBook
By Don Hoglund / Atria Books