NEW MEXICO, a territory of the United States, composed of territory acquired from Mexico (see ANNEXATIONS, III.-V.). organized by act of Sept. 9, 1850. (See COMPROMISES, V.) As originally organized it embraced all the territory of the United States south of latitude 37° north, east of California and west of Texas, and also that territory north of latitude 37° and south of the Arkansas river. To this was also added the "Gadsden purchase" (see ANNEXATIONS, VI.), the territorial organization thus covering 261,432 square miles. From this, in 1861, the northwest, corner was made a part of the territory of Nevada, and the northeast corner, from parallel 37° to the Arkansas river, was added to the territory of Colorado; and in 1863 the remainder was diminished by the organization of the western half as the territory of Arizona. (See those names.) The capital is Santa Fé, and the governor in 1882 Lionel A. Sheldon.
—The population of New Mexico in 1880 was 119,565, nearly double that of the state of Nevada. A state constitution was formed by the people of New Mexico in 1850 (see COMPROMISES, V.), and the territory would in all probability have been admitted as a state long ago, but for the fear that its Mexican population would practically establish a state church therein. Jan. 18, 1878, the territorial legislature passed, over the governor's veto, a bill to incorporate the Jesuit fathers, with the privilege of holding real estate to any amount without taxation, and congress annulled the act, Feb. 3, 1879.
—The act of Sept. 9, 1850, is in 9 Stat. at Large, 446 (for New Mexico); the act of Feb. 3, 1879, is in 20 Stat. at Large, 280