The town of Mesilla sits just west of the historic Rio Grande River, across from Las Cruces. Settled in the 1800s, Mesilla has been a part of Spain‘s territorial expansion, then the Republic of Mexico, the Republic of Texas for a short time during the Confederacy, and exists today as part of the United States of America. Spanish explorers travelled the historic Camino Real trail to Santa Fe, Apache raids and civil war battles took place, and the Wild West unfolded in and around La Mesilla. Pancho Villa and Billy the Kid walked the streets. The famous trial of Billy the Kid was held in La Mesilla where he was sentenced to hang, and transported to Lincoln where he escaped. Democrats and Republicans had a bloody showdown on the plaza in the late 1800s when tempers were hot. La Mesilla was the Confederate capital of Arizona and New Mexico during the Civil War, and the Gadsden Purchase finally brought Mesilla into the United States. Many residents are direct descendants of the original settlers of the Mesilla Valley. Today, Mesilla is a part of living history and one of the top tourist destinations in Southern New Mexico. Great care has been given to preserve the original adobe buildings and the beautiful plaza. People from all over the world stop at the plaza to experience the history, art, architecture, quaint shopping, and unique dining that Mesilla has to offer.