In 1540, Spanish conquistador Coronado trekked through the area today known as New Mexico in search of the fabled seven cities of gold. Did he find them? Only you will be able to determine that as you visit Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Carlsbad, Los Alamos, Roswell, Cerrillos, and Farmington. No matter what you learn about cities on the East Coast, Santa Fe is America’s oldest city. It’s been occupied since 1050 AD. Even though archeologists agree that the settlement was abandoned 200 years before the Spanish arrived, it became part of the Kingdom of Mexico when Coronado arrived and officially founded again in 1607, the same year John Smith arrived in Jamestown. The Palace of the Governors is the oldest continuously used public building in the nation and served as the capital of the Spanish Empire until 1821. Today, called the “Land of Enchantment,” New Mexico was one of the last states to join the Union in 1912. Even then, it was still part of the Old West, a place known for cowboys, cattle drives and home of the Apache tribe. The Native American culture is still very much alive in the artwork you will find in each city. Albuquerque is both Native American and Southwestern. Tucumcari, once nicknamed “Six Shooter Siding” got its start in 1901 as a rowdy railroad camp filled with saloons and outlaws. Carlsbad Caverns began 250 million years ago in an inland sea that covered the region. In fact, there are more than 300 caves beneath the Guadalupe Mountains. Roswell is well known for the landing of a UFO in 1947, which some are convinced was carrying several aliens. No one knows if they really landed, but it makes for a good story to build a town around!