New Mexico’s Four-Flag Day

In 1920 the Zia symbol became part of the New Mexico state flag.

While the nation honors the U.S. flag today, the state of New Mexico has the unique distinction of having had four flags in its history. All four flags have flown on the Santa Fe plaza: the main ones were Spain 1610–1821, Mexico 1821–1846 and the United States 1846 through present-day. The U.S. flag was planted atop the Palace of the Governors on the morning of August 9, 1846 when Gen. Stephen Kearny declared it for the American government.

Civil War Captives

It’s hard to believe now but the Confederate flag also flew over the Santa Fe plaza. For three weeks in the spring of 1862 the city was under Confederate rule during the American Civil War. On March 26, 1862 New Mexicans and volunteers from Colorado joined forces with Union soldiers at the battle at Apache Canyon, 13 miles from Santa Fe just off of  Interstate 25. The Yankees lost five soldiers during that skirmish but captured 71 Confederates and killed between 32 and 70 of their men. Two days later the battle resumed west of the village of Glorieta now known as the Battle of Glorieta, which some refer to as the Gettysburg of the West. After that historic battle the Confederate flag came down and since then the U.S. and New Mexico state flag have graced public buildings throughout the state.

Please support Ana Pacheco's work at:

Buy Me a Coffee

Our nation’s history would not be complete without the story of Santa Fe. Experience the ultimate Santa Fe tour with local historian Ana Pacheco.