What are the 10 Oldest Cities in Texas?

Texas has been admitted as an official state of the United States of America since 1845. However, some of the cities in Texas are actually much older than the state, and a few of them have been established in the 1700s. Here are the things that you should learn more about the oldest cities in Texas.



Nacogdoches is an old city that is found in East Texas and is serving as the county seat of Nacogdoches County. Because of how small the city is, the US census calculated that the city’s population in 2020 is only 32,127. The Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau described the city as “the oldest town in Texas.” While this description is not entirely true (since Presidio is considered to be a much older settlement), Nacogdoches is still much older than the state of Texas, since it was established in 1716.

The Caddo Indians (a tribe of Native Americans that have their own language called “Caddo”) were regarded as the first settlers in Nacogdoches. [1] Then, over the years, the area of the city has been occupied by the French, the Spanish, and the Mexicans. The name of the city, Nacogdoches, only stuck in 1779, when it was established as an official city.


Many historians believe that Presidio, a city located to the southwest of Texas and situated on the Rio Grande River, is the area where some of the first settlers in the lands of Texas resided. Because of how near the area of Presidio is to the Rio Grande River, many of the people that settled in the area before 1200 CE had access to different resources like water, fish, and crops.

By 1535 CE, the locals within the area were discovered by the Spaniards, and they would be called “pueblos.” Because the area of Presidio was disputed by its original settlers and the Spaniards, it has changed names numerous times throughout the years. It was only in 1848 that Presidio was officially founded as a city in Texas.

San Antonio


If you search for the most popular cities in Texas, San Antonio would most likely show up in a lot of lists online. The city of San Antonio is not just known for its NBA team, the San Antonio Spurs, but it is also known for its tourist attractions like The Alamo, the Tower of the Americas, the Emily Morgan Hotel, and the River Walk. But what a lot of tourists don’t know is that San Antonio is one of the oldest cities in Texas.

The area of San Antonio was first founded as a mission by Spanish missionaries in 1718, and in 1731, the area became a civil settlement and was officially absorbed by the Spanish Empire. Then, in the 1820s, San Antonio became a part of the First Mexican Republic which was established in 1824. The First Mexican Republic’s hold of San Antonio would last until 1836, the year when the Republic of Texas was established and gained control of numerous areas in the southern portion of North America, including San Antonio.


Although Ysleta is just considered a community today in El Paso, Texas, there was a time when Ysleta was an actual city before 1895. [2] Before it became a city, the area that Ysleta occupied was declared a settlement for Spanish conquistadors, Tigua Indians, and Franciscan clerics in 1680. These groups of people settled in the area of Ysleta to escape the Pueblo Revolt, which was a rebellion of the indigenous Pueblo people against their colonizers who originated in Spain and occupied present-day New Mexico.

In 1880, Ysleta became an official city in Texas. Along with becoming an official city, Ysleta also became the county seat of El Paso County, the westernmost county in the state. Unfortunately, the declaration of Ysleta as the county seat garnered criticism from the residents of the county, so by 1883, the county seat was moved to El Paso. The local government of Ysleta then dissolved in 1895.



Laredo is the county seat of Webb County in the southern section of Texas. Laredo is one of the few cities in Texas that flies seven flags as opposed to the common Six Flags of Texas, which are the flags of Spain, France, Mexico, Texas, the Confederate States, and the United States. The seventh flag for Laredo is for the Republic of the Rio Grande, an independence movement that rebelled against the Centralist Republic of Mexico, a political regime that was established in 1835.  The Republic of the Rio Grande lasted from January 17 to November 6, 1840.

Laredo was founded in 1755 as a small colonial settlement and was first called “Villa de San Agustin de Laredo.” This colonial settlement is part of New Spain, which is a cluster of territories conquered or established by the Spanish Empire starting in 1521. In 1840, Laredo was declared the capital of the short-lived independent movement Republic of the Rio Grande. Laredo was then recharted as a city of Texas in 1852.

San Augustine

San Augustine is a city that serves as the county seat of San Augustine County, which is found in the east of Texas. Europeans began settling in the area of Saint Augustine in 1717, which is also the year when Mission Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de los Ais was established by Spanish missionaries. The mission was abandoned by the Spanish in 1721, although there were some residents that continued to live in the mission until 1773. The site of the mission is currently preserved in the form of the Mission Dolores State Historic Site.

The town of San Augustine was established in 1832 by its then-land owner, Thomas S. McFarland. The town was named after a “presidio” (fortified base of the Spanish Empire) called Presidio de San Agustin de Ahumada, which was named after Don Agustín de Ahumada y Villalón, the Viceroy of New Spain from 1755 to 1761.



Austin is the capital city of Texas and is the county seat of Travis County, a region at the center of Texas. Before being incorporated as a city of Texas in 1839, Austin has been a settlement for many groups of people throughout the years. The first groups of people that settled in the area of Austin were the Tonkawas, Comanches, and Lipan Apaches, which were the indigenous tribes that occupied several areas of Texas and the Southwestern regions of North America before the arrival of settlers from Europe. [1]

By the 1700s, the area of Austin was controlled by the Spanish government, who created temporary settlements in the location. In 1839, the area became a small city called “Waterloo” and was incorporated as an official city of the Republic of Texas. Waterloo would later be renamed to “Austin,” in honor of Stephen F. Austin, the Republic of Texas’s first secretary of state that is considered today as the “Father of Texas.”


Goliad is a city located in Goliad County, an area in the southeastern region of Texas. According to the 2020 US census, the population of Goliad is only 1,620. This city was established as a territory of the Spanish government in 1747, when José de Escandón, a Spanish colonel, was tasked to inspect the northern areas of Spain’s territories. The Presidio La Bahia, a fort found near the Guadalupe River in the early 1740s, was moved to the banks of the San Antonio River under José de Escandón’s command.

In 1829, when the area of Goliad was controlled by the Mexican government (established after the Mexican War of Independence against Spain in 1821), the old name of the area, “La Bahia,” was changed to “Goliad” in honor of the patriot priest Miguel Hidalgo, who was considered as the father of the Mexican War of Independence. The area then became an official city of the Republic of Texas in 1836.



Galveston is a coastal resort city that is found in Southeast Texas and is the county seat of Galveston County. Within the city limits of Galveston lies Galveston Island, an island on the Texas Gulf Coast that is believed to have been called “Auia” by the indigenous people that lived there before the arrival of the settlers from Europe. Galveston was named after Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, Count of Gálvez, a Spanish military and political leader for the Kingdom of Spain.

The first European settlement in Galveston was built in 1816 on Galveston Island. After Mexico gained independence from Spain, the Port of Galveston was established in 1825. The said port was instrumental in the Texas Navy’s success in winning against the Mexican Republic during the Texas Revolution of 1836. After conquering Galveston, the Republic of Texas made the city the temporary national capital of their government in 1865.


The city of Gonzales is located to the south of Austin and to the east of San Antonio, which are also two of the oldest cities in Texas. Gonzales was established as the capital of Empresario Green DeWitt’s colony in 1825. An Empresario was a person that was in charge of settling the eastern areas of Texas during the early 19th century. DeWitt named the colony “Gonzales” in honor of Rafael Gonzáles, the governor of Coahuila y Tejas, a constituent state in the southern portion of North America from 1824 to 1835.

Gonzales has been the location for many battles and invasions in the past, after the Texas Revolution (an event that is instrumental in the creation of the Republic of Texas) in 1836, Gonzales was derelict or neglected. However, the area was eventually rebuilt in the early 1840s before becoming populated again.

Those are ten of the oldest cities that you will find in Texas. If you have plenty of free time, you can take a vacation in some of these oldest Texan cities and visit their popular tourist spots that will most likely show and tell you more about the cities’ history and culture.