Clovis is located in the New Mexico portion of the Llano Estacado, in the eastern part of the state. A largely agricultural community, it is noted for its role in early rock music history and for nearby Cannon Air Force Base.
The eastern New Mexico region was home to the prehistoric Clovis culture, an anthropologically significant early group of Native Americans. Several remains have been found at the Blackwater Draw site (south of Clovis, near Portales) which remains a historical and tourist site.
Clovis began in 1906, when the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway was being constructed through the area and railway engineers were ordered to choose a town site. At first known as "Riley's Switch", it was renamed Clovis by the station master's daughter, who was studying about Clovis, the first Catholic king of the Franks, at the time. The settlement built up quickly and in 1909 was incorporated.
On January 23, 1942, after about a month of living under house arrest, Clovis' entire Japanese American population was "evacuated" by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to a small concentration camp outside Lincoln, New Mexico, one of the earliest actions in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the country's entry into World War II. (President Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066, issued a month later on February 19, would officially authorize the large-scale eviction of Japanese Americans from the West Coast.) Mostly railroad workers and their families, the 32 men, women and children did not return to Clovis after the war.
Clovis celebrated its centennial in 2009.