Geronimo, or Goyathlay ("one who yawns"), was born in 1829 near Turkey Creek NM, still Mexican territory at that time. Bedonkohe Apache by birth, he married into the Chiricahua Apache tribe. "I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures." The leader of the last American Indian fighting force to formally capitulate to the United States, he fought against daunting odds -- one-quarter of the entire US Army and much of the Mexican Army at the same time. Holding out the longest, until his final surrender in 1886 (with just 16 men plus 20 women and children), he was to become the most famous Apache of all. In 1909, still a prisoner of war, he died and was buried at Fort Sill, in Oklahoma.
Trinity was the code name of the first nuclear weapons test of an atomic bomb ("The Gadget") by the US Army on July 16, 1945, in the Jornada del Muerto desert, about 35 miles (56 km) southeast of Socorro, New Mexico.The test is considered to have been the beginning of the Atomic Age.
In June or July 1947, the crash of an object in the general vicinity of Roswell, New Mexico became known as the "Roswell UFO Incident" - said to involve an extra-terrestrial spacecraft and aliens. Since the late 1970s, intense controversy and conspiracy theories have raged around the true nature of this object: debris from experimental high-altitude surveillance balloon as the military claims, or a cover up?
Henry "Harry" Hay, (1912-2002), labor advocate, teacher and early leader in the American LGBT rights movement, and partner John Burnside, moved to San Juan Pueblo and Santa Fe from Los Angeles in 1970 to build a kaleidoscope factory and explore the role of the berdache or "Two-Spirit People" in Native American culture; a sojourn of several years. At the age of 10 Hay, as a member of the Western Rangers, had been exposed to Native American spirituality as he witnessed Hopi rituals and traditional dances. At 13, at a feast day celebration, he met the Ghost Dance prophet Wovoka, who blessed Hay as a friend. In 1951 he helped establish the "Mattachine Society" as a secret gay society founded on Marxist activist principles, and in 1978 Hay and Burnside helped to establish the Radical Faeries. To the end he spoke out against gay assimilation and the exclusion of some gay people from the mainstream gay agenda.
The desert has long been a place for seekers, and New Mexico has more than it's share of retreats. For a list of centers, Catholic, Buddhist, Sufi, New Age among others, see RetreatFinder, FindTheDivine, SeekARetreat, and the Upaya Zen Center of Santa Fe.