New Mexico was the birthplace of several famous figures in American history, including the outlaw Billy the Kid, the physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, and the astronaut Harrison Schmitt, who was one of the last men to walk on the moon.
Mora County, located in the northeastern part of New Mexico, has a rich and diverse history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by various indigenous tribes, including the Pueblo, Apache, and Comanche peoples. Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th century, bringing with them the influence of European colonization. The conquistadors established missions and settlements, including the first European-founded city in what is now the United States, San Gabriel de Yunque-Ouinge.

During the 19th century, Mora County experienced significant changes as the region came under Mexican rule following independence from Spain. The area became known for its agriculture and livestock farming, with large ranches and homesteads dotting the landscape. The arrival of the Santa Fe Trail in the 1820s further boosted trade and brought settlers to the area.

In the mid-1800s, the United States gained control of New Mexico as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War. This led to increased American settlement in Mora County, and with it, conflicts between the newcomers and the local population.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Mora County continued to develop as railroads expanded into the region. The towns of Mora and Watrous became important transportation hubs, facilitating trade and commerce. However, the declining agricultural industry and challenges posed by droughts and the Great Depression led to economic struggles in the county.

Today, Mora County retains its rural character and is known for its natural beauty, including the nearby Santa Fe National Forest. It remains an important part of New Mexico's cultural and historical legacy, with its diverse heritage shaped by indigenous peoples, Spanish colonizers, Mexican influences, and American settlers.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Mora County, New Mexico.

  • Pre-1850s: Mora County inhabited by Native American tribes, primarily Jicarilla Apache and Ute.
  • 1850: U.S. government establishes Fort Union, which becomes a major trading post in the region.
  • 1851: The Treaty of Fort Laramie is signed, leading to increased conflicts between settlers and Native American tribes.
  • 1860: Mora County is officially established by an act of the New Mexico Territorial Legislature.
  • Late 1800s: Ranching and agriculture become major industries in Mora County.
  • 1880s: The railroad reaches nearby towns, boosting economic development in the area.
  • 1906: Mora County becomes the final county created in New Mexico.
  • Mid-1900s: Economic decline in the region leads to population loss and challenges for local communities.
  • Late 1900s: Efforts to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of Mora County increase.
  • 2008: Mora County passes a ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking), becoming the first county in the U.S. to do so.