Albuquerque (ălˈbəkûrˌkē) [key], city (1990 pop. 384,736), seat of Bernalillo co., W central N.Mex., on the upper Rio Grande; inc. 1890. The largest city in the state, it is the commercial, industrial, and transportation center for a rich timber, livestock, and farm area. It has lumber mills, food-processing plants, and varied industries. Kirtland Air Force Base, a special-weapons center, and Isleta pueblo (with its casino) are to the south. Sandia National Laboratories, a U.S. Dept. of Energy installation established (1949) to carry out nuclear research and weapons development and now a center for electronic and industrial research, is located at Kirtland.
Spanish settlers arrived in the mid-1600s but were repelled (1680) in the Pueblo revolt. The old town was founded in 1706 and named for the viceroy of New Spain, the duke of Alburquerque. The new town, platted in 1880 as the Santa Fe RR extended westward, soon enveloped the old town. The city grew rapidly after World War II and its metropolitan area is today one of the fastest expanding in the United States; it attracts many high-technology industries, such as lasers, data processing, and solar energy.
Albuquerque is a noted health resort with many hospitals. It is the seat of the Univ. of New Mexico and the Univ. of Albuquerque and headquarters for Cibola National Forest. Attractions in and around the city include the Church of San Felipe de Nerí (1706); the Old Town plaza; numerous museums including the natural history and atomic museums; the Sandia Mts., with caves containing remains of some of the earliest inhabitants in the hemisphere; Petroglyph National Monument; and many pueblos. Coronado State Monument, to the north, is an excavated pueblo near which Coronado camped in 1541. Albuquerque hosts a popular hot air balloon festival and a ballooning museum is there.