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5 Fun Facts About March 11 In New Mexico History

---Learn Every Day: NM Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history nm To: 618-270-4005---

1. On March 11, 1912, New Mexico became the 47th state of the United States. This followed decades of efforts by New Mexican politicians and residents to organize a state government and secure statehood.

2. In 1877, legendary gunman and lawman Elfego Baca famously held off a group of 80 cowboys in a shootout in Frisco, New Mexico. Though Baca was originally charged with murder, he was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing. March 11 is sometimes cited as the date of this showdown.

3. On March 11, 1937, a gas explosion at the Empire Zinc mine in Hanover, New Mexico killed 111 miners. This disaster and its aftermath, including protests and demands for safer working conditions, became the basis for the book and movie "Salt of the Earth."

4. Notable New Mexican artist Georgia O'Keeffe was born on November 15, 1887, but she spent much of her later life living and working in New Mexico. She purchased a house in Abiquiú, New Mexico in 1945 and would later move permanently to the state. O'Keeffe passed away on March 6, 1986, just a few days before March 11.

5. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a popular annual event that typically takes place in early October, but its origins can be traced back to March 11, 1972. On that day, radio station KOB-AM organized a small hot air balloon rally in Albuquerque as part of the station's 50th anniversary celebration. The event proved so popular that it became an annual occurrence and eventually grew into the world-renowned Balloon Fiesta.
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