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Albuquerque, New Mexico

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556,495 (2013)

Unemployment rate
5.2% (Dec 2014)

189.5 sq mi

1706 (as Alburquerque)

Points of interest
Albuquerque Biological Park, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Petroglyph National Monument, Sandia Peak Tramway, National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Colleges and Universities
University of New Mexico, Central New Mexico Community College, University of New Mexico School of Law, Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, Brown Mackie College-Albuquerque

Albuquerque is the most populous city in the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is a high-altitude city and serves as the county seat of Bernalillo County, and it is situated in the central part of the state, straddling the Rio Grande. The city population was 555,417 as of the July 1, 2012, population estimate from the United States Census Bureau, and ranks as the 32nd-largest city in the U.S. The Albuquerque MSA has a population of 902,797 according to the United States Census Bureaus most recently available estimate for July 1, 2013. Albuquerque is the 59th-largest United States metropolitan area. The Albuquerque MSA population includes the city of Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, Placitas, Corrales, Los Lunas, Belen, Bosque Farms, and forms part of the larger Albuquerque – Santa FeLas Vegas combined statistical area, with a total population of 1,163,964 as of the July 1, 2013 Census Bureau estimates. With its population growing bigger over the years, Albuquerque is the fastest growing city in New Mexico.


Map of Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque is home to the University of New Mexico (UNM), Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Laboratories, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), Presbyterian Health Services, and Petroglyph National Monument. The Sandia Mountains run along the eastern side of Albuquerque, and the Rio Grande flows through the city, north to south.

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Albuquerque, New Mexico in the past, History of Albuquerque, New Mexico

It is generally believed that the growing village, soon to become Albuquerque was named by the provincial governor Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdes in honor of Don Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva y Enriquez de Cabrera, viceroy of New Spain from 1653 to 1660. One of de la Cuevas aristocratic titles was Duke of Alburquerque, referring to the Spanish town of Alburquerque.

Albuquerque, New Mexico in the past, History of Albuquerque, New Mexico

The Alburquerque family name dates from pre-12th century Iberia (Spain and Portugal) and is habitational in nature (de Alburquerque means from Alburquerque). The Spanish village of Alburquerque is in the Badajoz province of the Extremadura region, fifteen miles (24 km) from the Portuguese border. Cork trees dominate the landscape, and Alburquerque is a center of the Spanish cork industry. Over the years, the region has been alternately under Spanish and Portuguese rule. The city of Albuquerque in New Mexico employs the spelling of the Portuguese family name, with only one r, though the Spanish spelling was formerly used (and variants such as "Alburquerqui" and "Alburquerq" are documented). Historians generally agree that the name changed because people had trouble pronouncing the extra consonant. The name is Latin (Roman) in origin, from alba quercus or "white oak" (the wood of the cork oak is white after the bark has been removed). The seal of the Spanish village of Alburquerque is a white oak tree, framed by a shield, and topped by a crown.

Western folklore offers a different explanation, tracing the name Alburquerque to the Arabic Al-Barquq, meaning "the plum", and the derivative Galician (Galicia, northwest Spanish region) word albaricoque, the "apricot". The apricot was brought to New Mexico by Spanish settlers, possibly as early as 1743. As the story goes, the settlement of La Ciudad de Albaricoque was established near an apricot tree. As frontiersmen were unable to correctly pronounce the Spanish (Galician) word, they pronounced it as "Albuquerque."


Albuquerque, New Mexico Beautiful Landscapes of Albuquerque, New Mexico

According to the United States Census Bureau, Albuquerque has a total area of 189.5 square miles (490.9 km2), of which 187.7 square miles (486.2 km2) is land and 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2), or 0.96%, is water.

Albuquerque, New Mexico Beautiful Landscapes of Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque lies within the northern, upper edges of the Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion, based on long-term patterns of climate, associations of plants and wildlife, and landforms, including drainage patterns. Located in central New Mexico, the city also has noticeable influences from the adjacent Colorado Plateau Semi-Desert, Arizona-New Mexico Mountains, and Southwest Plateaus and Plains Steppe ecoregions, depending on where one is located. Its main geographic connection lies with southern New Mexico, while culturally, Albuquerque is a crossroads of most of New Mexico.

Albuquerque has one of the highest elevations of any major city in the United States, though the effects of this are greatly tempered by its southwesterly continental position. The elevation of the city ranges from 4,900 feet (1,490 m) above sea level near the Rio Grande (in the Valley) to over 6,700 feet (1,950 m) in the foothill areas of Sandia Heights and Glenwood Hills. At the airport, the elevation is 5,352 feet (1,631 m) above sea level.

The Rio Grande is classified, like the Nile, as an "exotic" river because it flows through a desert. The New Mexico portion of the Rio Grande lies within the Rio Grande Rift Valley, bordered by a system of faults, including those that lifted up the adjacent Sandia and Manzano Mountains, while lowering the area where the life-sustaining Rio Grande now flows.

Arts and culture

One of the major art events in the state is the summertime New Mexico Arts and Crafts Fair, a non-profit show exclusively for New Mexico artists and held annually in Albuquerque since 1961. Albuquerque is home to over 300 other visual arts, music, dance, literary, film, ethnic, and craft organizations, museums, festivals and associations.


Albuquerque lies at the center of the New Mexico Technology Corridor, a concentration of high-tech private companies and government institutions along the Rio Grande. Larger institutions whose employees contribute to the population are numerous and include Sandia National Laboratories, Kirtland Air Force Base, and the attendant contracting companies which bring highly educated workers to a somewhat isolated region. Intel operates a large semiconductor factory or "fab" in suburban Rio Rancho, in neighboring Sandoval County, with its attendant large capital investment. Northrop Grumman is located along I-25 in northeast Albuquerque, and TempurPedic is located on the West Mesa next to I-40.

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