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At the same time, the region became more economically dependent on the United States. It was admitted to the Union as the 47th state on January 6, 1912.At the conclusion of the Mexican–American War in 1848, the United States annexed New Mexico as the U. Its history has given New Mexico the highest percentage of Hispanic and Latino Americans, and the second-highest percentage of Native Americans as a population proportion (after Alaska).Inhabited by Native Americans for many thousands of years before European exploration, it was colonized by the Spanish in 1598 as part of the Imperial Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain.In 1563, it was named Nuevo México after the Aztec Valley of Mexico by Spanish settlers, more than 250 years before the establishment and naming of the present-day country of Mexico; thus, the present-day state of New Mexico was not named after the country today known as Mexico.In 1581, the Chamuscado and Rodríguez Expedition named the region north of the Rio Grande "San Felipe del Nuevo México".

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Other areas of geographical and scenic interest include Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument and the Gila Wilderness in the southwest of the state.New Mexico received its name long before the present-day nation of Mexico won independence from Spain and adopted that name in 1821.Though the name "Mexico" itself derives from Nahuatl, and in that language it originally referred to the heartland of the Empire of the Mexicas (Aztec Empire) in the Valley of Mexico far from the area of New Mexico, Spanish explorers also used the term "Mexico" to name the region of New Mexico (Nuevo México in Spanish) in 1563.The indigenous cultures of New Mexico, however, proved to be unrelated to the Mexicas, and they were not wealthy, but the name persisted.Before statehood, the name "New Mexico" was applied to various configurations of the U. territory, to a Mexican state, and to a province of New Spain, all in the same general area, but of varying extensions.

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