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Albuquerque, The Duke City, has a long history, that can be split into three very broad eras: Prehistoric, Native American-Colonial, and Modern. The presence of rock art at the Petroglyph National Monument is proof that prehistoric man came here, and stayed here. As early as the 12th century AD, Native Americans had built pueblos (groups of houses or villages) in New Mexico and had established trade systems. 19 of those pueblos still exist today.
The Spaniards arrived in the early 16th century and brought with them Spanish architecture, food, culture, religion and disease. Missionaries tried to convert the "heathens" and erase signs of their religion and culture. The town of Albuquerque was established in 1706 when the governor appointed by the Spanish king founded a villa here and named it Albuquerque, after a duke by the same name.
General History Resources:
Albuquerque Museum: The city's rich heritage is the focus at this museum, which features exhibits depicting the art, history and culture of the Southwest. Exhibits tell the story of the city of Albuquerque from early Spanish settlement to the present. The museum is like many found in small cities - a little dry at times - but sometimes plain is refreshing and easy. After a visit here - perhaps lunch at the Olympia Cafe or Duran Central Cafe. Both places are bright, lively, family-friendly, and serve excellent, authentic food.
Albuquerque Tricentennial: This Web site, put together for the city's 300th anniversary celebration, gives a lot of information about Albuquerque history.
Natural and Prehistoric History:
New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science: Visitors explore the origins and geological history of the American Southwest through vivid displays including dinosaur models, ice-age cave replicas, a naturalist center and a walk-through volcano.
Petroglyph National Monument: Up to 15,000 petroglyphs or prehistoric rock art images have been found on the West Mesa volcanic escarpment, located along a 17-mile canyon outside of Albuquerque.
Native American History
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center: Owned and run by the 19 Indian Pueblos of New Mexico, this important center showcases the history of the Pueblo people through ancient artifacts, dance demonstrations and art exhibits.
Jemez State Monument: Almost seven centuries ago, the Jemez people built a pueblo. The arrival of the Spaniards meant the arrival of missionaries who banned native rituals and customs. This site has the ruins of prehistoric Jemez pueblo and 16th century Spanish church - and if a picture is worth a thousand words, this state monument tells volumes about the struggle between the Native Americans and Spaniards.
El Morro National Monument: Famous for its 200-foot sandstone bluff, the bottom of the monument contains seven centuries of human inscriptions.
Modern History :
Old Town: Stroll down narrow brick paths, past splendid examples of 18th century architecture, in this historic section of the city that also features the Rattlesnake Museum and quaint shops that sell southwestern goods.
Attraction type: Historic village; Town center/square/plaza
Route 66: Albuquerque's only paved road in 1936. It carried Great Depression migrants West to California. The neighborhood today is known for it's roadside architecture, fine dining, antiques, and more. It's a great, walkable neighborhood. Neon arches on Central Avenue mark the North and South ends of Nob Hill.
National Atomic Museum: Located at Old Town Albuquerque, this museum provides an interesting history of the Manhattan Project and Trinity Site, the exact spot where the first atomic bomb was detonated. White Sands Missile Range reminds the visitor of the momentous events of 1945 and how a bomb ended World War II.