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The history of Las Cruces is a history of bloodshed. The area was originally settled by Native American tribes, with the Apache tribe having the strongest presence. In the early nineteenth century, American and Mexican settlers began moving in to the area, creating warfare with the tribal nations. The city got its name from the numerous crosses (“cruces”) which dotted the landscape at that time, marking the graves of settlers killed by Apache warriors fighting for their land.
The settlers won the war. In the middle of the nineteenth century, as a result of the Gadsden Purchase , Las Cruces and the surrounding area officially became part of the territory of the United States . By the beginning of the twentieth century, Las Cruces was officially named a town.
The area remained a relatively quiet agricultural area until World War II. At that time, military advances and space exploration became a great focus of the United States . The area around Las Cruces began to develop around these industries, particularly with the development of White Sands Missile Range .
Visitors interested in obtaining additional information about the detailed history of Las Cruces should take a look at the information provided by the Las Cruces Convention and Visitors Bureau at