The beautiful and vibrant city of Albuquerque, New Mexico was founded in 1760. It started out as a Spanish colonial outpost, but the history of this city goes back much further. In 1540 Spanish explorers arrived in Albuquerque under General Francisco do Coronado. Later more expeditions arrived bringing more settlers into the New Mexico river valley.
Why did they choose this area to settle? There were several reasons. First, it is located on the banks of the Rio Grande and this provided good irrigation for their crops. Second, it was a great source for wood, cottonwoods, willows, and olive trees grow on the banks of the river. Third, this location provided protection from the Indians in the area.
Albuquerque was named by the governor, Francisco Cuervo y Valdez, after the Duke of Albuquerque back in Spain.
This beautiful city was once a farming community and a deliberately placed military post. The Spanish influence on this city is obvious. It is built in the traditional Spanish Village pattern, with a central plaza that is surrounded by homes and a church. The first settlers to this area were very religious. Today the central plaza has been preserved so that everyone can enjoy the Central Plaza as a museum, cultural area and a center of commerce. The residents refer to this area as “Old Town Albuquerque.”
Many people do not realize that during the civil war Albuquerque was occupied by Confederate troops. During their retreat from the Union Troops in Texas, they ended up in Albuquerque and made a stand.
The railroad arrived in 1800, and passed by the plaza. The passenger depot and rail yards were situated roughly two miles east and quickly became known as “New Town.” Old Town was absorbed into the City of Albuquerque later on, up until then it was a separate town. The railroads made Albuquerque a center for trade, as the town began to grow many things was shipped from here to the east such as raw materials and livestock. The east was shipping goods to Albuquerque also. Albuquerque became known as a provider of goods and a link to trade with Mexico. In 1883 it became the seat of Bernalillo County and in 1891 it became incorporated.
The first travelers in Route 66 arrived in Albuquerque in 1926, and many different businesses sprung up all around the area. These businesses were valuable to the community and the growth of Albuquerque.
In 1939 Kirtland Air Force Base was established, in the 1940’s Sandia Base and in 1949 Sandia National Laboratories, this made the Albuquerque area a huge part of the Atomic Age.
Once a place of the Native American Indians, it has grown rapidly into a modern city. Today it is still a hub for Native American Culture; one can find many old historic things to visit here.