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Albuquerque History

Albuquerque was established by Spanish settlers in the 1600s but was not a formal villa until 1706. Until provisional governor of the territory, Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdez, established Albuquerque as a formal villaBosque Grande de San Francisco Xavier. Albuquerque was named after the Spanish Duke of Alburquerque, Viceroy Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva. With time, the original first “r” in Alburquerque fell out of use; some speculate that this was due to the difficulty of pronouncing the name. Albuquerque pays homage to its Spanish roots as the original city of 1706 has been historically preserved in what is now “Old Town” and the city fondly refers to itself as “The Duke City.”

Throughout the 1700s and much of the 1800s, Albuquerque thrived as the sheep-herding center of the West. In 1880, the arrival of the railroad prompted the development of “New Albuquerque” to service the economic demands and opportunities that came with the railroad. The city’s focus on technological development can be traced to the railroad as Albuquerque became the largest repair facility between Kansas and California. The railroad also brought more people to Albuquerque and the city began to thrive as it started to resemble Western boomtowns.

In time, Albuquerque became a major hub for transcontinental travelers. In the 1920s Albuquerque was selected as a stop on the first transcontinental air route and later became a stop on historic Route 66, one of the first transcontinental highways. Albuquerque’s population continued to grow as people found the mild climate to offer healing qualities for those suffering from various lung ailments.

Albuquerque was brought into the nuclear age when the atomic bomb was developed in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Now, Albuquerque is a center for many high-technology industries and research facilities that study atomic energy and space exploration. The city continues to thrive as part of the Rio Grande Research Corridor and looks forward to a vibrant future.