During World War II, New Mexico was the site of several top-secret military installations, including the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where the atomic bomb was developed. The laboratory is still one of the largest employers in the state and conducts research in fields such as nuclear energy and national security.
Torrance County, New Mexico, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The region was originally inhabited by indigenous people, including various tribes such as the Apache and Puebloan peoples. These native groups lived off the land and made use of the area's natural resources for survival.

The arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century marked a significant change in the history of Torrance County. Spanish explorers and settlers began to establish settlements, bringing with them their culture, language, and Catholic religion. This colonization period saw the introduction of livestock, agriculture, and the construction of missions in the area.

During the mid-19th century, a series of conflicts between the US government and Native American tribes, including the Apache, took place in the region. The establishment of military forts, such as Fort McRae, aimed to maintain control and protect settlers from potential attacks. These conflicts eventually came to an end, prompted by the forced relocation of Native American tribes to reservations.

In the 20th century, Torrance County saw significant development with the arrival of the railroad, which allowed for better transportation and economic growth. Towns such as Estancia and Moriarty became important hubs for commerce and trade. Agriculture, particularly livestock and dairy farming, has been a vital part of the county's economy throughout its history.

Today, Torrance County continues to thrive as a rural area with a strong agricultural tradition. It also benefits from its proximity to the Albuquerque metropolitan area, making it an attractive location for those seeking a quieter lifestyle while still enjoying access to city amenities. The county's history is celebrated and preserved through various museums, landmarks, and cultural events that honor its diverse past.

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

  • 1848 - The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed, ending the Mexican-American War and establishing the United States' control over the territory that includes present-day Torrance County.
  • 1880 - The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway is extended through the area, leading to the development of new towns and settlements.
  • 1903 - Torrance County is officially established, named after U.S. Senator Thomas B. Catron's son Arthur Torrance Catron.
  • 1930s - During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) establishes several camps in Torrance County to provide jobs and develop natural resources in the area.
  • 1942 - The U.S. Army establishes the Manzano Base, which later becomes the Kirtland Air Force Base, bringing economic growth and increased population to the county.
  • 1955 - The John F. Kennedy Space Center is established in Torrance County, playing a crucial role in the U.S. space program.
  • 1977 - The Very Large Array (VLA) radio astronomical observatory is constructed by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in the county, attracting scientists and researchers from around the world.
  • 1996 - The New Mexico State Prison Riot takes place in Torrance County, resulting in the deaths of 33 inmates and the following years of investigation and legal proceedings.