El Paso del Norte

El Paso del Norte

El Paso has a long and rich history. The habitats of Native Americans at Hueco Tanks State Park offer mute testimony of a flourishing civilization that existed almost 2,000 years ago. Long before Europeans reached the area, the Tiguas, the oldest tribe in Texas, had already established a thriving culture.

The historical birth of modern El Paso dates back to 1536 when the first Europeans set foot in the Pass of the North. In 1598, Spanish explorer Juan de Oñáte camped on the banks of the Río Grande and crossed a site west of the present downtown area which he called "El Paso Del Río del Norte", meaning the cropping of the river. This was the first use of the name "El Paso". The Spanish ruled this area for nearly 300 years. México took over El Paso in 1821 and in 1827 Juan María Ponce de León built the first house on the north bank of the Rio Grande. Thirty years later, El Paso acquired its first post office and stage line.

Texas won its independence from México in 1836 and claimed the Rio Grande as part of its southern border. This area, however, remained part of México until the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848. The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo divided this one community between two nations. This politically divided community remains economically, socially and culturally interdependent.

Ciudad Juárez, México's largest border city, lies on the southern bank of the Rio Grande river across from El Paso. Founded in 1662, it was renamed in 1888 for President Benito Juárez, one of México's greatest leaders.

El Paso has also been the home of very important Mexicans. Ricardo Flores Magón and the magonistas lived here in 1906. In the future, this site will include information about important historic and current events. Meanwhile, we invite you to read about the demography of this border area by clicking the Continue button, or read about Mariano Azuela, another famous Mexican who lived in El Paso.

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