The Middle Rio Grande Valley, at the heart of Valencia County, was once inhabited by the Pueblo and the Tewa, as well as other native groups. They lived simply yet beautifully, farming corn, chile, beans and hay.
In 1598, the first Spanish settlers colonized parts of the Rio Grande Valley where they were met warmly by the Indians, who assisted them with farming and daily living.
In 1850, New Mexico became a territory and by 1852, the county of Valencia was established as one of seven counties. The Land of Enchantment became the 47th state in 1912.
Valencia County has undergone three border changes, with one final split in 1981, when Cibola County was created. This division resulted in the boundaries Valencia County has today, making it territorially one of the smallest counties in the state. But population-wise, it's the third fastest growing county in the state.
It's an area steeped in charm, from its agricultural fields, to the tree-lined river flowing through its center, to its multi-cultural past and historic roots. The average elevation of the County is 4,800 feet and it gets about 7-10 inches of rain each year. The average annual snowfall is less than 5 inches and seldom exceeds 1-2 inches (generally melts in a few hours).
Many of Valencia County's residents have raised families, farmed and done business in its communities for generations. Part of its modern allure is the proximity and easy access to the big city (Albuquerque), but with enough distance for its 70,000 residents to maintain a quieter lifestyle. The combination of low taxes, high quality of life, and employment potential has drawn residents and businesses.
Nestled along the Rio Grande, shadowed by the Manzano Mountains, the towns and villages of Valencia County still enjoy a rural atmosphere, even though area growth has exploded in just the past few years. Traditional lifestyles delicately blend with the modern thinking of today's world. Like the meandering Rio Grande that snakes through the County, the pace is a little slower.
Valencia County is home to a unique cultural mix of natives, ancestors of early colonization and many newcomers who are discovering Valencia County for the first time. It will always have the convenience of being close to one of the largest urban centers in the Southwest but will forever retain a high quality of life, an individual identity and business opportunities few areas can offer.
Valencia County is made up of three municipalities: Belen, Bosque Farms and Los Lunas; and many smaller communities like Adelino, Bosque, El Cerro Mission, Jarales, Los Chavez, Meadow Lake, Peralta, Pueblitos, Rio Communities, Sabinal Tome, Valencia and Veguita.