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Albuquerque is the most highly-populated city in New Mexico situated near the Rio Grande. Not too many people besides its residents are familiar with its rich history. If you’re want to know more about Albuquerque’s history read up on its history here.

Pre-Colombian History

Prior to the arrival of European colonizers, the area was inhabited by the Tanoan and Keresan peoples. They carved petroglphys that can be seen at the Petroglyph National Monument. The Tiwa built two pueblos in the area that remain occupied in the present day.

Spanish Colonization

Coronado was the first European explorer to come to the area in 1540. The city was officially founded in 1706, when a group of soldiers established the Villa de Alburquerque, named for Duke of Alburquerque, who had been Viceroy of New Spain (the first ‘r’ was eventually dropped). The city was laid out around a central piazza. This area is now called Old Town and some late 18th century buildings are still in use. You can even stay in historic bed and breakfast, like Bottger Mansion, and really immerse yourself in the history of Old Town Albuquerque.

Independent Mexico and the Mexican-American War

Albuquerque was part of New Spain until 1821 when Mexico declared independence. According to journalist and author Harold Bryan, “Independence had only a small initial effect on the citizens of Albuquerque.” During this period, Albuquerque benefitted from trade along the Chihuahua Trail.

The United States declared war on Mexico in 1846. American troops eventually reached Albuquerque, where they were greeted warmly by the residents. Albuquerque became a military post, and it did not participate in revolts against the United States. The Mexican-American War ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ceded the New Mexico Territory to the United States.

The New Mexico Territory

Albuquerque continued to serve as a military post until 1862. The city was briefly controlled by the Confederacy in the wake of the Battle of Glorieta. The AT&SF Railroad came to Albuquerque in 1880. The railroad brought new Anglo settlers and economic growth. The opening of the University of New Mexico in 1889 also made Albuquerque a cultural center.

After Statehood

New Mexico achieved full statehood in 1912. Albuquerque remained a well-connected center for innovation in early 20th century. Route 66 ran through the center of the city, and the city had an airport by 1928. Microsoft was founded in Albuquerque in 1975. The closure of Route 66 precipitated an economic downturn in parts of Albuquerque, but recent economic revitalization efforts have been successful. In 2006, Albuquerque celebrated its Tricentennial.

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