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Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe (Spanish: santa holy, fe faith) is the capital of New Mexico, a state of the United States of America. As of the 2000 census, it has a population of 62,203. It is the county seat of Santa Fe County.

The elevation of Santa Fe is 2,132 metres (6,996 feet), compared with 1655.4 m for Denver, Colorado.

The city consciously attempts to preserve and display a regional architectural style. By a law passed in 1958, new and rebuilt buildings, especially those in designated historic districts, must exhibit a Spanish Territorial or Pueblo style of architecture, with flat roofs and other features suggestive of the area's traditional adobe construction. Many contemporary houses in the city are built from lumber, concrete blocks, and other materials but with stucco surfaces reflecting the historic style.

In addition to serving as the state capital, the city depends economically on art, tourism, construction, and real estate development. Set at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, the city's intellectual climate and cultural attractions have drawn an influx of new residents with an above average income and educational level. Restaurants, boutiques, and galleries line the streets of the city center and Canyon Road.

The growth boom flagged temporarily in the mid-1990s when Debbie Jaramillo, who opposed the focus on tourism, was elected mayor. Although she was voted out after serving one term, the city continues to face the challenges of continuing drought conditions and a widening divide between locals and recent arrivals. Still, art and tourism remain Santa Fe's biggest industries.

Some visitors find Santa Fe particularly attractive around the second week of September when the aspens in the Sangre de Cristo Range turn yellow and the skies are clear and blue. This is also the time of the annual Fiesta when Santa Feans burn Zozobra, a fifty-foot puppet also called "Old Man Gloom." See also: Abipones



Santa Fe was founded in 1607, making it the oldest capital city and the second oldest city founded by the European colonists in what was to become the United States of America, behind St. Augustine, Florida (1565). Santa Fe was the capital of the "Kingdom of New Mexico" (claimed for Spain by Coronado), under the governorship of Don Pedro de Peralta , New Mexico's first governor. Peralta gave the city its full name, "La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís", or "The Royal City of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi".

Except for the years 1680-1692, when the native Pueblo people drove the Spaniards south for a while, Santa Fe remained Spain's provincial seat until 1821, when Mexico won its independence from Spain and the city became the capital of the Mexican territory of Santa Fe de Nuevo México. In 1848 New Mexico was acquired by the United States from Mexico, and in 1912 New Mexico became that country's 47th state, with Santa Fe as its capital.


The city has an impressive number of outdoor sculptures. There are many statues of Saint Francis, and quite a few of other saints, such as Kateri Tekakwitha. Given that Saint Francis was known for his love of animals it is not surprising that there are great numbers of representations of crows, bulls, elephants, livestock and other beasts, all over town. The styles run the whole spectrum from Baroque to Post-modern.

The town and the surrounding areas have a high concentration of artists. They have come over the decades to capture on canvas and in other media the natural beauty of the ladscape, the flora and the fauna. Performance artists and authors followed the influx of specialists in the visual arts. Famous writers like Roger Zelazny and Jack Schaefer have been long time residents.


Location of Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe is located at 35°40'2" North, 105°57'52" West (35.667231, -105.964575).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 96.9 km² (37.4 mi²). 96.7 km² (37.3 mi²) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.21% water.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 62,203 people, 27,569 households, and 14,969 families residing in the city. The population density is 643.4/km² (1,666.1/mi²). There are 30,533 housing units at an average density of 315.8/km² (817.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 76.30% White, 0.66% African American, 2.21% Native American, 1.27% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 15.29% from other races, and 4.20% from two or more races. 47.82% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 27,569 households out of which 24.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.6% are married couples living together, 12.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 45.7% are non-families. 36.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.20 and the average family size is 2.90.

In the city the population is spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 28.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 40 years. For every 100 females there are 91.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $40,392, and the median income for a family is $49,705. Males have a median income of $32,373 versus $27,431 for females. The per capita income for the city is $25,454. 12.3% of the population and 9.5% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 17.2% of those under the age of 18 and 9.2% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Santa Fe is located along Interstate 25, but the highway does not run through the city proper. Most tourist activity takes place in the historic downtown, especially on and around the Plaza, a one-block square adjacent to the Palace of the Governors , the original seat of New Mexico's territorial government since the time of Spanish colonization. Canyon Road , east of the Plaza, has the highest concentration of art galleries and restaurants in the city, and is a major destination for wealthy tourists and locals. Santa Fe's art market is the third largest in the United States, after New York and Los Angeles, and the Canyon Road galleries showcase a wide array of contemporary Southwestern, indigenous American, and experimental art, in addition to older Russian, Taos Masters , and Native American pieces.

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Last updated: 05-07-2005 13:21:20
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04