Laredo is a city as well as the county seat of Webb County, Texas. Laredo is known for having the distinction of flying seven flags, which happens to be the Flag of the Republic of the Rio Grande and the Six Flags of Texas. This is because it is located on the north bank of the Rio Grande in South Texas, and it stretches to Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Laredo started as a village in the brief Republic of the Rio Grande, and it became the largest inland port on the Mexico-United States border. In this article, we are going to know more about the history of Laredo, Texas, and the places that you should see when you’re there.
History of Laredo, Texas
Villa de San Agustin De Laredo was a European colonial settlement that was founded by Don Tomas Sanchez Barrera in 1755. Back then, the area was a part of the Nuevo Santander region of the Spanish colony of New Spain. The settlement was named after Laredo Cantabria, Spain. In 1840, Laredo used to be the capital of the independent Republic of the Rio Grande. Still, it was later brought back int Mexico because of military force.
During the Mexican-American War in 1846, Laredo was occupied by Texas Rangers. After the war was over, the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo surrendered Laredo to the United States. A referendum was taken in the town which petitioned the American military government that is in charge of the area to return Laredo to Mexico. However, the petition was rejected, and several people who had been residing in the area for generations decided to move across the river into Mexican territory, and this is where they established Nuevo Laredo. But several others, most notably the original landowners on the north side of the Rio Grande River, decided not to go. That is why they remained Texans in the process. In 1849, the United States Army established Fort McIntosh, and three years later, Laredo became a city.
Laredo became one of the oldest crossing points in the Mexico-United States border as well as the country’s largest inland port of entry. Today, Laredo is a progressive modern city.
Things to See and Places to Go in Laredo
- Visit the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum – Located in the San Agustin Plaza just right in the heart of downtown Laredo is the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum. This museum was built in 1830, and it is considered as one of the oldest buildings in Laredo. In this museum, you will be able to see exhibits that show how what it’s like in Laredo during the 1830s. So if you want to know more about Laredo, this place should be on your itinerary.
- Take a walk at Lake Casa Blanca International State Park – Lake Cas Blanca is located five miles north of downtown Laredo and it here you can see a reservoir that sits on the Chacon Creek. This state park was established in the 1950s when a dam was built to create some recreational space for other counties. In Lake Casa Blanca, you can fish several bass, carp, and catfish. Aside from that, you can also go swimming, boating, biking, hiking, skiing, and camping.
- Visit the San Agustin de Laredo Historic District – This district used to be the entirety of the town of Laredo, and today, it is now located in the heart of downtown. Here you can see the streets paved with brick and several buildings with 19th century Spanish and Mexican architectural influence. The San Agustin de Laredo Historic District is considered to be the last place in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, where you can see the remnants of the Spanish Colonization. So if you want to take a little trip back to the past, then this place should be on your list.
- Go to Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium – This planetarium is part of the campus of Texas A&M International University. This place is a learning center that offers public shows, stargazing events and field trips. The Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium is considered to be one of the most high-tech planetarium in Texas because it uses an upgraded technology which allows you to witness incredible views from Earth to the universe. If you want to feel like you’re in deep space and explore new planets, then you should visit this place while you’re in Laredo.
Explore Fort McIntosh – As we mentioned, Fort McIntosh has been in Laredo for quite a long time, and it played an important part, especially during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War. In fact, the Battle of Laredo took place near this fort. Fort McIntosh is not an active military base anymore, and it is now a part of the Laredo Community College campus. It is still open to tourists and visitors all year round.