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Explore the History of Albuquerque’s Leadership at the Convention Center

A timeline of leadership beginning with the first 35 families that created the Villa de Alburquerque in 1706 now on view.

March 11, 2022 - The Department of Arts & Culture has completed the second installation of From Alcaldes to Mayors: A History of Leadership in Albuquerque at the Albuquerque Convention Center. The exhibit is a timeline documenting the entire history of Albuquerque's city leadership dating back to the original founding families.  

Albuquerque’s history of leadership covers three centuries and three countries: Spain, Mexico, and the United States. For this project, the term “leader” means not just a political individual, but any person who leads and is followed by others. Several iterations of Albuquerque's top official have existed over the last 300 years, including but not limited to alcaldes (Spanish for chief administrator), jefe politicos (political bosses), mayors, military personnel, aldermen, and city commissioners.

Though military commanders were also named alcaldes in Alburquerque's early history, Antonio Ruiz was the first elected alcalde in 1821. In 1885, Henry N. Jaffa was elected the first official mayor of Albuquerque. In all, there have been 31 individuals elected to be mayor from 1885 to present.

Full details on the project can be accessed at www.cabq.gov/leadership. The webpage has a downloadable educational resource guide.