Albuquerque, New Mexico

Encyclopedia Article


Albuquerque is mentioned in ten Hillerman Navajo mystery novels. It is a major city in central New Mexico and is located at an elevation of 5,000 feet above sea level. The city is bounded on the east by the Sandia Mountains and on the west by the famous Rio Grande. Interstate-40 and Interstate-25 intersect in Albuquerque, dividing the city into four quadrants. Major institutes in the city include the University of New Mexico, the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, the National Hispanic Cultural center, and the Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute among others. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also has an official division in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque was settled by Spaniards in 1706 after King Phillip of Spain granted permission to colonists to do so, and the city was then named after the Duke de Alburquerque. There were originally two “r”s in the city’s name, but later, the first “r” was dropped because it was too difficult for non-Spanish speakers to pronounce. The Navajo name for Albuquerque is “Bee’eldíídahsinil,” or “At the Place where the Bell Peals.”

Photo Credit: 

"Balloon Fiesta at the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, 2013" by Len Radin is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.