Santa Fe Art and Architecture By Lyn Bleiler and Charles Strong, The Martin Foundation for the Creative Arts
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The oldest capital city in the United States is Santa Fe, which has a rich and varied cultural history as well as the oldest public building still in use. Ancestral Puebloan Indians inhabited the area as early as 500 AD, and Spanish explorers arrived in the early 1540s. When Mexico gained independence from Spain, Santa Fe became the capital of Nuevo Mejico. It was not until 1912 that New Mexico achieved statehood. In the late 19th century, the Southwest became a haven for tuberculosis patients, and a number of sanatoriums were built in Santa Fe. Many creative individuals, including poets, artists and architects, stayed and significantly contributed to the city's cultural and architectural development. In 2005, Santa Fe received the distinction of being the first America community to be designated a "Creative City" by UNESCO.