Albuquerque History Timeline
Over the past thousand years, Albuquerque has grown and changed in ways that are still largely visible.
- 1100 Indian Cultures Thrive
Ancestral Puebloans built networks of trade and communication from Mexico to the Four Corners area. From 1100 to 1300, many of them settled in the middle Rio Grande Valley area.
- 1540 Europeans Greet the Puebloan World
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado arrived via Mexico on a search for gold and the Seven Cities of Cibola. He and his men spent the winter of 1540-41 at Kuaua, a pueblo on the Rio Grande.
- 1706 Foundation of Villa de Alburquerque
By the 17th century, the region bore the name Bosque Grande de San Francisco Xavier. In 1706 it was established as the formal Villa de Alburquerque.
- 1783 San Felipe de Neri Catholic Church Built
The oldest building in the city was was erected in what is now Old Town.
- 1821 Mexico Acquires New Mexico
On May 5, 1821, Mexico acquired New Mexico as part of its independence from Spain.
- 1846 Albuquerque Under U.S. Control
In 1846, the territory fell under U.S. control, and Albuquerque became an outpost for the U.S. military.
- 1862 City Surrenders During Civil War
Albuquerque was surrendered briefly to the South during the 1862 battle of Glorieta in the American Civil War.
- 1880 Railroad Arrives
With the railroad’s arrival in 1880, Anglo settlers began moving to Albuquerque en masse. The railroad changed the ethnic and geographic structure of the city.
- 1885 Albuquerque, the City
Albuquerque was incorporated as a town in 1885. Six years later, in 1891, it was incorporated as a city.
- 1889 UNM Founded
The University of New Mexico, the state’s largest university, was founded in 1889.
- 1912 New Mexico Joins the U.S.
In 1912, New Mexico was admitted to the U.S. as the 47th state.
- 1926 Route 66 Designated
The route was designated in 1926 when the federal government first implemented its highway numbering system. The route of the "Mother Road" continues to draw tourists as they motor west.
- 1927 Kimo Theatre Completed
This Pueblo-Deco style theater is a premier example of the style.
- 1928 Airport Opens
In 1928, Albuquerque entered the age of air travel with the opening of its airport. The airport was renamed the Albuquerque International Sunport in the 1960s after a naming contest designated the "Sunport" name. The airport now sees an average of 17,000 passengers come and go each day.
- 1937 Route 66 Re-routed
The original Rt. 66 ran north and south along what is now 4th Street. The route was changed to run east to west along what is now Central Avenue.
- 1940 High-Tech Era
Albuquerque’s birth as a technology center began with World War II, which saw the founding of Kirtland Air Force Base in 1940 and Sandia National Labs in 1949.
- 1966 Tram and Interchange Built
The Sandia Peak Tramway, the longest of its kind in North America, opened. And the I-25 and I-40 interchange, “The Big I,” was completed.
- 1972 Balloon Fiesta Founded
The first gathering of 13 balloons was held in the parking lot of Coronado Center in 1972. Today the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta hosts nearly 1,000 balloons.
- 1975 Bill Gates and Paul Allen Complete BASIC BASIC is the first computer language program written for a personal computer. Microsoft was started in Albuquerque.
- 1985 Route 66 Decommissioned
- 2000 Downtown Revitalization Begins
Government and community organizations rally together to make Downtown Albuquerque a business, entertainment and residential center.
- 2006 Albuquerque Celebrates Tricentennial