Columbus Travel Guide

Browse 4 travel reviews, 1 travel blogs and 38 travel photos from real travelers to Columbus.

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Columbus Overview

Columbus has a population of just over 1600 (down 7% since 2000 but a big jump from 900 in 1999) located at the intersection of New Mexico Highways 11 and 9 in Luna County in Southwest New Mexico. Columbus was established in 1891 just across the border from Palomas, Mexico and was named for Christopher Columbus. Columbus moved three miles north to its present location in 1902 when the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad built a train station here. Columbus grew slowly at first with only 100 residents in 1905. By 1915 Columbus had a population of 700 and had a bank, four hotels, several stores and a church. Silver, zinc, copper and lead deposits were found nearby. On 9 March 1916 a group of approximately 500 soldiers and officers attacked the town of Columbus under the orders of revolutionary leader Pancho Villa. The attack was countered by troops from the 13th Cavalry Regiment stationed at nearby Camp Furlong. Villa's army killed eight soldiers and 10 civilians losing about 75 of their own soldiers. This attack caused President Woodrow Wilson to send Brigadier General John J. "Blackjack" Pershing and 10,000 soldiers on a punitive strike against Villa. The expedition failed to find Villa but brought national attention, and prosperity to Columbus. Today though, Columbus has settled into small town life. The border, however, continues to cause issues. Drug smuggling is common here and in July 2011 the Columbus Police Force was dissolved after the mayor, a village trustee, a former police chief, and nine others were indicted for smuggling guns into Mexico.