Santa Fe is the capital of the state of New Mexico. It is the fourth-largest city in the state and is the seat of Santa Fe County. Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the United States and the oldest city in New Mexico. Santa Fe (meaning “holy faith” in Spanish) had a population of 69,204 in 2012. It is the principal city of a Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Santa Fe County and is part of the larger Albuquerque-Santa Fe-Las Vegas Combined Statistical Area. The city’s full name when founded was La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís (“The Royal Town of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi”).
The city of Santa Fe was originally occupied by a number of Pueblo Indian villages with founding dates between 1050 to 1150. One of the earliest known settlements in what today is downtown Santa Fe came sometime after 900. A Native American group built a cluster of homes that centered around the site of today’s Plaza and spread for half a mile to the south and west; the village was called Ogapoge. The Santa Fe River provided water to people living there. The Santa Fe River is a seasonal waterway which was a year round stream until the 1700s. As of 2007, the river was recognized as the most endangered river in the United States, according to the conservation group American Rivers.