New Mexico Military Institute

by Mike Magers

New Mexico Military Institute, or NMMI, was founded in 1891 by Col. Robert Goss and Capt. Joseph C. Lea and was initially known as Goss Military Academy.  New Mexico had been organized as a territory of the United States under the bill known as the Great Compromise of 1850.  Under the bill, California was admitted to the Union, New Mexico and Utah were created as territories out of land gained in the Mexican War (1846-1848), these territories were allowed sovereignty in voting for or against slavery, the boundary between Texas and New Mexico was established and it made it easier for residents of so-called slave states to recover fugitive slaves.  The subject of slavery was hotly debated and this bill was the compromise reached by members of the U. S. Congress.

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School Names: Belen

The town of Belen (now in Valencia County) is one of the oldest in New Mexico having been founded around 1740 by Spanish colonists.  It is far from being the actual oldest behind Acoma and Taos Pueblo from around 1000, Zuni from around 1450, Santa Fe from 1607 and Albuquerque from 1706.  Its original name was Nuestra Señora de Belén, which is translated Our Lady of Bethlehem and was originally founded under a Spanish land grant.

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