After 1912 the New Mexican economy expanded considerably. The tourist trade flourished; Native American ceremonies and crafts and the state’s natural scenic wonders proved strong attractions. The warm, dry climate drew many people concerned about their health. Mining also continued, and the first oil well was sunk in 1909; in 1922 commercial gas and oil production began.
In 1916 the Mexican rebel Francisco Villa, known as Pancho, led a band of revolutionaries into New Mexico and attacked Columbus after the United States had recognized Villa’s opponent in the struggle for power in Mexico, Venustiano Carranza.
Villa and his men killed 18 Americans and burned much of the town. United States President Woodrow Wilson sent troops under General John J. Pershing after Villa, eventually crossing into Mexico itself to pursue him. Villa eluded capture, however, and increasing Mexican opposition to Pershing’s expedition caused Wilson to withdraw the force in 1917.
The United States entered World War I (1914-1918) soon after the Pershing expedition. About 17,000 New Mexicans served in the military during the war. In World War II (1939-1945), New Mexico contributed about 65,000 men. During the war the state’s economy benefited from large federal expenditures on military installations and nuclear research. In 1943 the U.S. government created the town of Los Alamos high in the Jemez Mountains as a nuclear research laboratory.
The first atomic bomb was produced there and was tested on July 16, 1945, at Trinity Site in the White Sands Proving Grounds near Alamogordo. Federal expenditures at facilities such as the Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque continued to stimulate New Mexico’s economy in the postwar period.
On February 19, 1942, two months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, that brought the United States into World War II, U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the removal of Japanese and Americans of Japanese descent from the West Coast. Many of these people spent the war at an internment camp at Lordsburg, New Mexico. Others, however, deemed for various reasons to be especially dangerous, were interned at a camp on the edge of Santa Fe. Few of the first internees there were actually dangerous; but in 1945, approximately 300 militantly pro-Japan Japanese American men sent from the Tule Lake Relocation Center in California rioted when camp officials tried to remove their leaders and send them to other camps. After tear gas and hand-to-hand combat, camp guards put down the riot and seized the leaders, who were eventually deported to Japan after the war. "New Mexico" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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