About This Place
Las Cruces, also known as "The City of the Crosses", is the county seat of Doña Ana County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 97,618 in 2010 according to the 2010 Census, making it the second largest city in the state.
Las Cruces is the economic and geographic center of the fertile Mesilla Valley, which is the agricultural region on the flood plain of the Rio Grande which extends from Hatch, New Mexico to the west side of El Paso, Texas. Las Cruces is also the home of New Mexico State University (NMSU), New Mexico's only land grant university. The city's major employer is the federal government on nearby White Sands Test Facility and White Sands Missile Range. Recently the city has been home to many of the retired from across the country. The majestic Organ Mountains, ten miles (16 km) to the east, are dominant in the city's landscape, along with the Doña Ana Mountains, Robledo Mountains, and Picacho Peak.
The area where Las Cruces rose was previously inhabited by the Manso people, with the Mescalero Apache living nearby.:19 The area was later colonized by the Spanish beginning in 1598, when Juan de Oñate claimed all territory north of the Rio Grande for New Spain and later became the first governor of the Spanish territory of New Mexico.:20–21