Albuquerque’s history dates back 12,000 years when the
Indians settled in the area. Living here for two centuries
between the years 1000 to 1300, this inspiring group planted corn,
beans and squash and constructed adobe and brick pit homes along the
banks of the Rio Grande. Further, they established several
communities throughout northeastern
connecting them with sophisticated roads.
Then, in 1540, Conquistador Francisco
Vasquez de Coronado came north in search of the mythical Seven Cities
of Cibola. Though Coronado left empty handed, it didn’t stop
even more Spanish settlers arriving in the area, looking for the
elusive gold. The Pueblo Rebellion of 1680 discouraged further
settlement until Spanish General Don Diego de Vargas arrived in 1692. By the end of the 16th century, several trading posts were established
just north of the present day city.
By the beginning of the 17th
century, the area that would one day become Albuquerque was called Bosque Grande de San Francisco Xavier. In 1706, the ambitious provisional governor of the territory, Don
Francisco Cuervo y Valdez, petitioned the Spanish government for
permission to establish the bosque as a formal villa and call it Alburquerque, after Viceroy Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva, the
Duke of Alburquerque.
Later the spelling was changed because some influential person
couldn't pronounce the "R" in Alburquerque. The city is still nicknamed "Duke City.”
During much of the
18th and 19th century, Albuquerque was little more than a dusty trading center along the
El Camino Real,
the trail linking Mexico and
Santa Fe. Close-knit families of Spanish descent accounted for most of the
population living around the central plaza, in what is now Old Town.
This began to change when Josiah Gregg, a
frontiersman and trailblazer established the Old
Fort Smith Wagon Road
in 1839. For ten years, few people cared little about the trail
California Gold Rush of 1849, when it became heavily traveled by
those pioneers seeking their fortunes in the far west.
In 1846, the United States claimed the
territory when General Stephen Kearny established an army post. During the
Civil War, Confederate troops briefly occupied
Albuquerque, but once the war was over, white merchants and
tradesmen began to arrive in numbers.
When the railroad steamed through in 1880, the city changed drastically,
bringing in hundreds of white settlers and changing the demographics and
architecture of the city. Numerous new businesses were established
around the new railroad and the city began to grow. By 1885, Albuquerque
1889, the University of
was founded in Albuquerque,
bringing with it, not only knowledge, but also new and different cultures
to the community.