The current city of Albequerque, New Mexico was founded in 1706 as “La Villa de Alburquerque.” Within that century, though, it lost its first “r,” turning into the Albuquerque spelling we know today. And now, a recent error on a New Mexico Department of Transportation sign that could be seen from Route 66 and I-40 took away the second r, leaving it as “Albuqueque.”
— Gin (@Zazochi) July 25, 2022
Kimberly Gallegos, a spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation, told the Associated Press it was an honest mistake, and they’ve replaced the sign with a corrected one this week:
People called and emailed the department to point out the mistake on the sign visible to drivers on the parallel highways, said Kimberly Gallegos, a department spokesperson.
A corrected sign went up this week, she said.
“I do not recall this happening before,” Gallegos said. “But I honestly think this was just a simple mistake.”
So this doesn’t appear to have been a deliberate attempt to remove the second R. But then again, it’s not clear that there was a deliberate attempt to remove the first one either. While people have lived in the Albuquerque area for around 12,000 years, it got the “Alburquerque” name in 1706 when Spanish governor of New Mexico Francisco Cuervo y Valdés appointed it as a royally-chartered town, naming it in honor of Francisco Fernández de la Cueva, a Spanish noble who was the 10th duke of Alburquerque (a town in Badajoz, Spain). But long before the U.S. took over Albuquerque in 1846 (as part of the Mexican-American War), it had already lost its first “r”: Franciscan priest Francisco Atanasio Domínguez described it as “Albuquerque” in a 1776 expedition report to his Franciscan superiors.
Now, the state DOT took away the second R, even if only briefly. But it’s good they’ve replaced it. Otherwise, how will Bugs Bunny know where he should have taken a left turn?