city, seat (1852) of Socorro county, central New Mexico, U.S. It lies along the Rio Grande. The site, originally occupied by a Piro Indian village, was visited by a Spanish expedition led by Juan de Oñate, who gave the village the Spanish name Socorro, meaning help or aid, after the Indians fed his company. A mission, named Nuestra Señora de Perpetuo Socorro (Spanish: “Our Lady of Perpetual Help”), was established there, but it was abandoned during the Pueblo Rebellion of 1680. The site was not resettled until 1817, when a land grant from the Spanish crown encouraged colonization. During the American Civil War the town harboured a federal garrison and served as a supply centre. The settlement's growth was encouraged by the discovery of silver in 1867, the arrival of the Santa Fe Railway in 1880 (at which time Socorro was the largest city in New Mexico), and the founding in 1889 of the New Mexico School of Mines (now New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology). Mining, ranching, and irrigated agriculture are basic to the economy. Socorro also serves as the supply point for the north end of the White Sands Missile Range. It has some light industries and is a tourist base for a scenic mountain region including part of the Cibola National Forest. The nearby Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, which provides habitat for more than 700 bird, mammal, and reptile species, is a popular destination for visitors. Inc. 1894. Pop. (2000) 8,877; (2007 est.) 8,518.

      county, central New Mexico, U.S. The Rio Grande winds southward through the county. East of the river valley are the Los Pinos Mountains, the Jornada del Muerto desert, and the Sierra Oscura, which includes Oscura Peak (8,732 feet [2,661 m]). Mountain ranges west of the river are the Ladron, Bear, Gallinas, Magdalena (including 10,783-foot [3,286-m] South Baldy), and San Mateo (including Mount Withington and San Mateo Peak, both over 10,000 feet [3,000 m]). Most of the residents at the Alamo Band Navajo Indian Reservation, despite its name, are Apaches. Along the Rio Grande are two wildlife refuges, the Sevilleta and the Bosque del Apache, important in the reestablishment of the whooping crane population. Socorro county also includes the Fort Craig National Historic Site and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

      There were pueblos along the Rio Grande at the time of the first incursion of Spanish explorers, including Francisco Vázquez de Coronado in 1541, Agustin Rodríguez and Francisco Chamuscado in 1581, and Antonio de Espejo in 1582. Socorro county was established by Mexico in 1844; after New Mexico joined the United States, Socorro county was established by the territory's legislature in 1850. The discovery of silver in 1867 led to several decades of mining prosperity. The historic first atomic bomb explosion occurred at Trinity Site in southeastern Socorro county in 1945.

      The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (1889), at the town of Socorro, the county seat, is the major element in an economy based to a large extent on government expenditures. Agriculture (cattle, milk, hay) is another important economic element. Area 6,647 square miles (17,216 square km). Pop. (2000) 18,078; (2007 est.) 18,118.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Socorro, NM — U.S. city in New Mexico Population (2000): 8877 Housing Units (2000): 3940 Land area (2000): 14.414771 sq. miles (37.334085 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.025626 sq. miles (0.066372 sq. km) Total area (2000): 14.440397 sq. miles (37.400457 sq. km)… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

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