Industry, Commerce, and Labor

ALTHOUGH New Mexico's largest enterprise is the entertain-
ment of the thousands of visitors who enjoy its vast recreational
resources every year, the State embraces a number of industries
native to the soil.

With the discovery of gold in the Fray Cristobal Mountains in
1683, the mining industry began. Pedro de Abalos recorded the
Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Zaragoza mine, which he discovered while
on the northern campaign of Governor Cruzate for the reconquest of
the province, following the Pueblo Indian Rebellion ot 1680. Tur-
quoise was mined by Aztec and Pueblo Indians before the coming of
the Spaniards; an old mine, the Chalchithuith, in the Cerrillos hills near
Santa Fe shows the workings of prehistoric Pueblo Indians who mined
with stone hammers and axes. Many early mines are mentioned in
the Spanish archives in Santa Fe, as it was the search for precious
metals that led the Spaniards to the conquest of the land. Miners from
Mexico found and opened the great copper deposits at Santa Rita,
near Silver City in 1800. Twenty years before the great gold excite-
ment at Coloma, California, and thirty years before the finds on Cherry
Creek in Colorado, gold was mined near Santa Fe in the Ortiz Moun-
tains. In 1833 the first gold lode or vein discovered and worked west
of the Mississippi was on the famous Sierra del Oro, now known as the
Ortiz Mine; but actually gold was known and had been worked in
the Cerrillos (Sp. little hills) south of Santa Fe, in the time of Gov-
ernor Don Tomas Velez, 1749-54. As early as the seventeenth century
lead and some silver had been worked in this region.

Mining regulations in the form of royal decrees, issued by various
viceroys in Mexico, date back to the seventeenth century. The establish-
ment and organization of mining boards and tribunals, relating to silver
mines in operation, was a matter of grave importance to officials and
settlers in this area, as well as to those farther south in Mexico.

At present nearly all of the gold found in New Mexico comes
from base-metal ores. Practically all placer districts in the State yield
small quantities of gold, but the amount from this source during recent
years has been insignificant as compared with the total gold production.
In 1915 gold from New Mexico was valued at $1,461,000, a figure
which has never again been equalled. Beginning with 1918 it dropped