History of Albuquerque
By Published Sep 14th, 2016
Albuquerque has a rich and storied history beginning with the Native Americans that populated the area until its founding in 1706 and up until today where it is now home to approximately 840,000 people. This New Mexico metropolis marries past and present as a modern center of high-tech industry awash with significant historic sites.
Before its official founding, the city was populated by the Pueblo people, a sophisticated culture whose history still remains in pueblos in the surrounding area as well as the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in the heart of the city. In 1706, the Spanish established a military garrison in the city and it retains its Spanish heritage through its diverse community as well as famous cultural locations like the Albuquerque Museum, Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, and the National Hispanic Cultural Center. The city itself is named after Francisco, Duke of Albuquerque who was the viceroy of Spain in the mid 17th century.
The arrival of the railroad in 1880 brought merchants and settlers to the area and created a commercial center downtown. By the early 20th century, an electric street railway connected Old Town and New Town driving even more commerce and population into the city.
Beginning in 1926, the famous Route 66 brought even more travelers and the area began to boom with restaurants, shops, and motels. The development of military bases such as the Kirkland Air Force Base in 1939 and the Sandia Base in the 40s brought the city into the modern age and helped it to expand outwards even further.
Along with high-tech research facilities like Intel, the University of New Mexico, and Sandia National Laboratory, the city is home to a wealth of attractions and offers plenty of things to do for both locals and tourists alike. Though it now styles itself as a modern American city, it maintains its historical connections from the ancient rock carvings at the Petroglyph National Monument to the vintage Route 66 signs that dot its border to its historic Old Town Plaza.