Albuquerque City Guide
Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico and the seat of Bernalillo County. Founded in 1706 as a farming community, the town was named Alburquerque in honor of Don Francisco Fernández de la Cueva, Duke of Alburquerque and Viceroy of New Spain. The extra "r" eventually fell out of use, according to a popular legend, because of an Anglo railroad station master who was unable to pronounce the city's name correctly. In 1848, the U.S. gained New Mexico through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and, following the Civil War, settlers began flocking to Albuquerque. The area's excellent pasturage and location on the Rio Grande River led to its rapid development.
The town was originally designed in the manner of a traditional Spanish village, with government buildings, homes, and a church (San Felipe de Ner) all situated around a central plaza. In 1880, the Santa Fe Railroad attempted to connect with Albuquerque, but a landowner refused to sell his property. The railroad elected to run its route 2 miles to the east, and named the community that sprang up around its depot New Albuquerque. The original Spanish settlement became known as Old Town, and was eventually absorbed into the rapid growing city in the 1920s. Old Town still retains its Spanish flavor and is a popular shopping area for tourists. The Albuquerque Museum of Art and History and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science are both located in Old Town, near the central plaza.