|Population||97,618 (209,233 Metro)|
|Area (sq mi)||76.6 mi|
|Population density (/sq mi)||1,326/sq mi|
|Demonym||Crucen (pronounced crew-sen)|
Las Cruces, officially the City of the Crosses, is a city and metropolitan area in the state of New Mexico, located in the American Southwest. The city is located in the fertile Mesilla Valley, on the Rio Grande river, at the base of the Doña Ana Mountains, Robledo Mountains, and Picacho Peak.
The population of Albuquerque is 97,618 inhabitants, with 209,233 in its metropolitan area. The metropolitan area of Las Cruces includes Hatch, Mesilla, and Sunland Park; Las Cruces is also a part of the larger El Paso metropolitan area.
Las Cruces was inhabited by Native Americans until the mid-1500s when explorers from Spain travelled up from Mexico (at the time known as "New Spain") along a route beside the Rio Grande river called El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. The name "Las Cruces" is Spanish for "the crosses" as when the area was named, it had many crosses to commemorate persons who had died in fighting between the Spanish settlers and the Apache Indians. The town population of about 1000 was stable until 1880 when The Santa Fe Railroad built tracks through the town. By 1900 the town population had tripled to nearly 3,000 residents. The population of Las Cruces in 2000 was about 74,267 in the city, and another 174,682 in the surrounding metropolitan areas. The Las Cruces Railroad Museum is located at 351 Mesilla St. at the intersection of Las Cruces Ave.
City Government: The Mayor is elected, as are the City Council members. The current mayor is Kenneth Miyagishima. There are 6 city council members, one from each district. The City Manager oversees the city council.