LaRed Latina of the Intermountain Southwest.

Alburquerque Regional History:

     The Alburquerque Metropolitan area, which consists of Bernalillo, Sandoval and Valencia counties, is one of the fastest growing communities in the country. The current population of 650,000 in this region is expected to be well over 700,000 by the turn of the century.

     Throughout the past ten years, Alburquerque has experienced tremendous economic and business growth and has managed to maintain an unemployment rate well below four percent for the last five years. Businesses are attracted to this area because of the mild climate and especially the region's productive and highly educated work force; New Mexico has more Ph.D.s per capita than any other state in the Union.

     The financial, industrial, economic and cultural hub of New Mexico, Alburquerque is situated between the Sandia Mountains and the Rio Grande. The Rio Grande Research Corridor, a 300 mile stretch hosting a concentration of high-tech institutions, runs from Los Alamos National Laboratory through metro Alburquerque, and continues 223 miles south to Las Cruces.

      Alburquerque is the home of Kirtland Air Force Base, the 6th largest such installation in the United States. The first nuclear bomb designed at Los Alamos National Laboratory was built with engineering support from Sandia National Laboratories, which is still located at Kirtland.

     It is said that Alburquerque was built on millions of "nuclear dollars." This due to the fact that beginning in 1945, Kirtland Air Force Base and Sandia National Laboratories were integral to the National Cold War Effort. Because stewardship of the nation's nuclear stockpile and significant atomic research are still conducted and supervised at these facilities, Alburquerque has become known, for good reason, as the "Nuclear Capitol of America."


      One of the oldest communities in the US, Alburquerque was founded in 1706 by Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdez, the provisional governor of New Mexico. Known as the "Duke City," Alburquerque was named for Don Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva Enriquez, Duke of Alburquerque, Spain, and Viceroy of New Spain. The word `alburquerque' means white oak in Latin, though the trees settlers found along the Rio Grande were cottonwood and willow. New Mexico's official state tree however, is the piñon.

      Before conquistador and explorer Francisco Coronado ventured into this region in 1540, the Anasazi Indians had occupied this territory for many centuries. These peoples established complex communities know as pueblos throughout the region. The pueblos (cities) were engineering and architectural marvels, interconnected by highly complex communications and transportation networks.

      By 1610 Don Juan de Oñate had established a colonial capitol sixty miles north in Santa Fe, attracting more Spanish immigrants to the region. In these early days, the Alburquerque area had acquired the name of El Bosque Grande (The Big Forest) of San Francisco Javier. The name was changed to Alburquerque when Governor Cuervo y Valdez officially founded the city 96 years later.

     After two decades of political struggles, Mexico heroically won its independence from Spain in 1821. At the time, the state of New Mexico as well as the whole Southwestern United States became part of the Mexican empire. During this period Mexico encouraged commerce and welcomed immigrants from the United States. Hence, a large influx of American traders, businessmen, farmers, and families from as far as away as the east coast decided to settle in North Central New Mexico.

           As a result of the war between the United States and Mexico in 1848, and the Gadsden Purchase of 1854, Mexico lost half its territory which included the current states of New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, California and even parts of Kansas.

There is even today great controversy and debate as to the questionable, and perhaps unethical political means, the United States used to acquire this vast territory from Mexico. This issue was best addressed by Ulysses S. Grant when he said,

"I do not think there was ever a more wicked war than that waged by the U.S. on Mexico."

A few Spanish land grants still survive today , and Hispanic land grant heirs still argue the United States should be forced to honor land rights they were promised in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican War. (See a copy of the original Treaty.)

     After the railroad arrived in 1880, the city of Alburquerque was transformed into the commercial, trade, and transportation hub of the region. When the first passenger train arrived in Alburquerque it was met by a multitude of well wishers. At the time, the Albuquerque Weekly Journal declared "This is the day of all days in Albuquerque, the Queen City of the Rio Grande."

      Alburquerque was incorporated as a city in 1891. In 1912, New Mexico was admitted into the Union, and thus, officially became the 47th State of the United States of America.

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