Albuquerque is a large, high desert metropolis near the center of New Mexico.
Albuquerque was founded in 1706 as a small Spanish settlement on the banks of the Rio Grande and was named for the Duke of Alburquerque (hence Albuquerque's nickname, "The Duke City"). In the 1880s the railroad came to town, and almost overnight a new city grew up around the train tracks a couple of miles away from the original settlement. This "New Town" became the hub of commerce for the state, and the city grew exponentially (eventually the "New Town", which today is Downtown, and the original "Old Town" settlement were joined to become part of the same city). In the 1920s the federal government officially recognized a series of highways that ran from Chicago to Los Angeles as Route 66, and Albuquerque was one of the towns "The Mother Road" passed through. Starting in the 1950s, Albuquerque grew exponentially given federal investment in the local military bases and a massive influx of visitors and new residents, and for the most part it hasn't slowed down. Today, Albuquerque is still the hub of commerce and transportation in the state. While Santa Fe is the state capital and the principal tourist destination of New Mexico, Albuquerque is the state's only truly urban area, with a city population of over 500,000 and a metropolitan population of nearly a million people. This is where you'll find the headquarters of the state's businesses, the University of New Mexico, and the Albuquerque International Sunport, the only major airport in the state.