Santa Fe’s official name, given to it by the Spanish settlers in 1608, is La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís. Meaning “Holy Faith”, Santa Fe boasts the title of the oldest capital city in the United States. Prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, the area was inhabited, and then deserted, by the Pueblo Ogapoge people. In 1680, the Pueblo returned and took back control of the city, now known as the Pueblo Revolt, for the next twelve years. In 1692, Don Diego de Vargas of Spain reclaimed the land. In 1712, the Santa Fe Fiesta weekend was established to commemorate this event. The tradition holds to this day, celebrated in September.
By 1822, trade caravans from Mexico were travelling along the Old Santa Fe Trail. At the end of the trail sits the Palace of the Governors, which has flown four different flags throughout history, representing Spain, Mexico, the Confederacy and the United States. In 1860, expanding into New Mexico from Kansas was the goal of the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe Railroad.
Route 66 figures prominently in New Mexico. For many people traveling this road during its hey-day, New Mexico revealed the exotic cultures of the southwest. New Mexico presented the adventure of discovery — from the old Indian Pueblos dating back to days before European colonization to the town plaza of Santa Fe — bustling with the activity of commerce before there was even a United States of America.
In 1850, New Mexico became a U.S. territory and then was signed in as the 47th state in 1912. In the 1920’s, Santa Fe became known as a thriving art colony and Indian market. In the 1940’s, Los Alamos became home to many world-renowned scientists, and, since World War II, has become important to the Santa Fe economy as a scientific and technological research center. In the 1970’s, Santa Fe became known as a center for alternative healing. Due to the colorful history and the arrival of settlers, with unique customs, food and architecture, Santa Fe is affectionately called “The City Different.”
Just a few landmarks which remain and tell parts of the history of Santa Fe are the gothic style St. Francis Basilica, the Miraculous Staircase in the Loretto Chapel, the San Miguel Mission, the Oldest House in the USA, and the Palace of the Governors. We invite you to visit them and the other historical locations in the downtown area and the rest of the city.