Albuquerque serves as the county seat of Bernalillo County, and is situated in the north central part of the state. The Sandia Mountains run along the eastern side of Albuquerque, and the Rio Grande flows through the city. Albuquerque has one of the highest elevations of any major city in the U.S. with ranges from 4,900 feet (1,490 m)above sea level near the Rio Grande to over 6,700 feet (1,950 m) in the foothill areas of Sandia Heights and Glenwood Hills.
The name of the city has its origin through Latin, deriving from albus quercus meaning "white oak". The name was probably given in reference to the prevalence of cork oaks in the province of Badajoz, which have white wood when the bark is removed.
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 town of Alburquerque in Spain, which was once a dominion of the kings of Portugal and used the Portuguese variant spelling of its name. The change was also in part because citizens found the original name difficult to pronounce.