Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Albuquerque Business Signs
In 1706, the area of North America, which would eventually become the US state of New Mexico, was under Spanish rule. The town of Albuquerque was founded by Francisco Cuervo y Valdes, the provincial governor. Valdes named the settlement after Don Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva y Enriquez de Cabrera, who had been viceroy of New Spain from 1653 to 1660. One of de la Cueva’s aristocratic titles was Duke of Alburquerque, which is a town in Spain.
It is uncertain exactly where Alburquerque’s name comes from, but scholars believe it was either derived from the Latin ‘alba quercus’, which means ‘the white oak’, or it derived from the Arabic ‘Abu al-Qurq’, which means ‘father of the cork [oak]’, or ‘the plum’. New Mexico’s Albuquerque modified its name to the Portuguese family name in 1891 when it was incorporated into a city.
A 2014 US census estimate reported Albuquerque’s population was 558,000. This makes it the most populous city in New Mexico and the 32nd most populous city in the country. That same estimate put Albuquerque’s metropolitan population at 903,000, which is the 59th largest in the United States.
The eastern side of Albuquerque is dominated by the Sandia Mountains, while the Rio Grande flows through the city, north to south. The city itself is divided into four quadrants: northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest.
The Northeast Quadrant has a much higher elevation and population than the other three quadrants and includes the Sandia Peak Aerial Tram, the University of New Mexico, and the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology. The Sandia Peak Aerial Tram is North America’s longest aerial tram, and also boasts the world’s third longest single span. The University of New Mexico was established in 1899 and is considered the state’s flagship research institution, largest post-secondary institution, and one of its largest employers. The University employs 6,899 administrative staff members and has 34,793 students, according to a 2014 official enrollment report. The Maxwell Museum of Anthropology opened in 1932 as the first public museum in Albuquerque.
Albuquerque’s Northwest Quadrant contains Old Town Albuquerque. Old Town dates back to the 18th century. The NW Quadrant also features the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Rio Grande Nature Center State Park, Petroglyph National Monument, Double Eagle II Airport, and the Cottonwood Mall.
The Southeastern Quadrant is loaded with various attractions. Kirtland Air Force Base was built in 1942 and currently garrisons the 377th Air Base Wing. It is also part of Air Force Material Command (AFMC). Sandia National Laboratories was established in 1948 and is operated by a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation. These laboratories are major United States Department of Energy research and development institutions. They have a budget of $2.4 billion and employ 8,400 staff. Albuquerque’s Southwest Quadrant consists mainly of agricultural, rural, and suburban neighborhoods.
The city is home to the University of New Mexico Lobos, an NCAA Division I FBS football team, who play in the Mountain West Conference at University Stadium. The Lobos have won four conference titles. As for professional sports, Albuquerque has a few minor league teams. Baseball’s Albuquerque Isotopes, of the Pacific Coast League, are a Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies and play their home games at Isotopes Park. The USL Premier Development League’s (fourth tier of the American soccer pyramid) Albuquerque Sol FC play their matches at Ben Rios Field. Champions Indoor Football’s Duke City Gladiators play in Tingley Coliseum.
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