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Texas gives up nonexistent New Mexico counties

November
25
1850

On this day in 1850, Texas gave up its claim to disputed land in New Mexico. In 1841, seeking a share of the Santa Fe trade, President Mirabeau Lamar dispatched the Texan Santa Fe Expedition to secure the territory for the Republic of Texas, but Mexican authorities captured the entire expedition without firing a shot. U.S. troops occupied New Mexico during the Mexican War, and in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed in February 1848, Mexico relinquished all claim to territory north and east of the Rio Grande. A month later the Texas legislature established Santa Fe County, and in January 1850 subdivided it into Worth, El Paso, Presidio, and Santa Fe counties. But the residents of the area, in part because of their opposition to slavery, resisted incorporation into Texas. Governor Peter Bell sent Robert S. Neighbors to organize the alleged Texas property, but Worth and Santa Fe counties never got beyond the planning stage. Texas finally ceded the land they were to occupy to the United States, and reduced Presidio and El Paso counties in area, in the Compromise of 1850.

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