Española is a city primarily in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, United States. A portion of the central and eastern section of the city is in Santa Fe County. Founded as a capital for Nuevo México in 1598 as San Juan de los Caballeros, it was renamed Española in 1880 when it became a railroad village; the city was officially incorporated in 1925. It has been called the first capital city in the United States. At the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 10,495. Española is within the Albuquerque–Santa Fe–Las Vegas combined statistical area.
Española was referred to as La Vega de los Vigiles (Vigils' Meadow) before the presence of railroads. It is believed that the town that began as Española was named by railroad workers. At the time of railroad construction, folk history attributes the name to a small restaurant in the area was nicknamed "La Española", which likely referenced the New Spain capital of Santa Fe de Nuevo México. This was because of the large presence of Spanish women in the area.