Albuquerque was named in honor of Francisco, Duke of Alburquerque, who was viceroy of New Spain from 1653 to 1660. The name of the Spanish city has two theories of origin which denote either Latin or Arabic roots: the Latin albus quercus meaning “white oak”, likely in reference to the many white cork oaks in the area, featured on the town coat-of-arms. Another theory suggests that it may come from the Arabic Abu al-Qurq, which means “father of the cork [oak]”.
Western folklore offers a different explanation, tracing the name Albuquerque to the Galician word albaricoque, meaning “apricot”. The apricot was brought to New Mexico by Spanish settlers, possibly as early as 1743. As the story goes, the settlement was established near an apricot tree, and became known as La Ciudad de Albaricoque, through mispronunciation later became “Albuquerque”.
Albuquerque is home to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. The Pueblo people can trace their history back about 7,000 years and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center was a great way to learn about it.
According to oral tradition, the Pueblo have a common ancestry, descending from the ancient Anasazi civilization. However, they are currently grouped in 19 different tribes and speak six very distinct languages. Maintaining a sense of community within this diverse group can’t be easy but the Pueblo have been doing it for thousands of years.
The Museum has an exhibit on the Lincoln Canes, which share a history with the Pueblo people from the Spanish colonial era through the American Lincoln administration. The canes were given by the Spanish and Mexican governments through the 1600s and 1700s to Pueblo Governors, who saw the self governance of the Pueblos and elected to continue their tradition by allowing them to elect their own Governors and keep title of their own land. A treaty of 1850 that was never ratified would have allowed the Pueblos complete autonomy over their land. Unfortunately, a series of congressional laws and Supreme Court rulings granted the Pueblo people autonomy and a status different than tribal natives, but not ownership of their own land. They were viewed differently than other natives, as they were settled in their land and thought of as “civilized natives,” so laws governing Indian Tribes were not extended to them. However, they were still not treated as citizens and not protected by the federal government, and much of their land was sold to private enterprises by the US Congress. There is a documentary available about the Lincoln Canes called Canes of Power.
Despite this, the Pueblo decedents are still active in their 19 communities, and have won some recent legal victories regarding tribal sovereignty and education, as well as water rights.