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The change was also in part because citizens found the original name difficult to pronounce.
Petroglyphs carved into basalt in the west part of the city bear testimony to early Native American presence in the area, now preserved in the Petroglyph National Monument.
The Albuquerque MSA population includes the city of Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, Placitas, Corrales, Los Lunas, Belen, Bosque Farms, and forms part of the larger Albuquerque–Santa Fe–Las Vegas combined statistical area, with a total population of 1,171,991 as of the July 1, 2016, Census Bureau estimates.
Albuquerque is home to the University of New Mexico (UNM), Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Laboratories, the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), Presbyterian Medical Services (PMS), Presbyterian Health Services, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque Biological Park, and Petroglyph National Monument.
The Sandia Mountains run along the eastern side of Albuquerque, and the Rio Grande flows through the city, north to south. The growing village was named by provincial governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdés.
Albuquerque is also the home of the International Balloon Fiesta, the world's largest such gathering of hot-air balloons from around the globe. The Duke's title referred to the Spanish town of Alburquerque, in the province of Badajoz, near the border with Portugal.
Albuquerque is the 60th-largest United States metropolitan area.
By 1900, Albuquerque boasted a population of 8,000 inhabitants and all the modern amenities, including an electric street railway connecting Old Town, New Town, and the recently established University of New Mexico campus on the East Mesa.Old Town remained a separate community until the 1920s when it was absorbed by the city of Albuquerque.Old Albuquerque High School, the city's first public high school, was established in 1879.Another theory suggests that the name derives from the Arabic Abu al-Qurq, which means "father of the cork [oak]".The first "r" in Alburquerque was later dropped, probably due to association with the prominent Portuguese general Alfonso de Albuquerque, whose family title (among others) and then name originated from the presently Spanish town, which was once a dominion of the Kings of Portugal and used the Portuguese variant spelling of its name.
This central plaza area has been preserved and is open to the public as a museum, cultural area, and center of commerce.