About Us

We’re passionate about our culture, tradition, and innovation.

Brownsville's semi-tropical climate is recognized as one of the most delightful in the nation. The city has an average temperature of 74 degrees and an average rainfall of 25.55 inches. Average relative humidity is 75.25%. The comfortable year-round climate provides for an abundance of recreational fun and activities. Residents regularly visit Matamoros and South Padre Island as both places are only minutes away. Brownsville's population is quickly approaching 200,000 and growing. Our sister city of Matamoros has a population in excess of 750,000. As the seat of Cameron County, we are a city rich in history and one of the fastest growing areas in the United States.

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Our journey starts way back in 1848

Brownsville, with its year-round semi-tropical climate and beautiful resacas, has not always been the home of Space X and robust bi-national trade.
Prior to European settlement, the Lower Rio Grande Valley’s abundance supported Coahuiltecan, Lipan Apache and other nomadic tribes. Europeans arrived in the area in 1519. The first European families settled the area in 1746. Early European settlement centered in area that is now Matamoras.
Texans fought a war of independence from Mexico from October 1835 to April 1836, declaring independence on March 2, 1836. At the war’s conclusion, the border between Mexico and the Texas was the Nueces River, 150 miles north of where Brownsville would eventually be established.
Texas joined the United States on December 29, 1845, becoming the nation’s 28th state. Texas’ statehood did not lessen the nation’s desire for westward expansion. President Polk wanted to negotiate with Mexico a new border at the Rio Grande not the Nueces River. Mexico rebuffed Polk’s demands. In response, Polk ordered General Zackary Taylor’s army, located in Corpus Christi, to march on the Rio Grande Valley in January 1836. On May 8, 1846, United States troops fought Mexican forces at the Palo Alto Battle north of Brownsville in the first major engagement of the U.S.-Mexico War. The battle is interpreted at the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Park.
Brownsville is named in honor of Major Jacob Brown who died during a Mexican attack on a temporary fort originally called Fort Texas, later renamed Fort Brown, during the war. The war ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (February 2, 1848), which forced Mexico to accept the Rio Grande as the new border.
Brownsville was established that same year by Charles Stillman, a wealthy businessman, and his partners on 4,676 acres. The city incorporated in 1853 and is the county seat of Cameron County.
During the Civil War, the Brazos Santiago Pass, the waterway leading from the Gulf of Mexico to the Rio Grande and Brownsville, unlike all other Southern waterways, could not be blockaded because it was an international border and Mexico maintained neutrality during the Civil War. Southern cotton was smuggled through Brownsville to Europe and Mexico enriching Stillman and many others. The last land battle of the Civil War, the Palmito Ranch Battle, was fought outside of Brownsville by confederates who refused to recognize General Robert E. Lee’s surrender more than a month earlier.
After the war, South Texas ranches near Brownsville supplied cattle for the Chisolm Trail and formed the basis for much of the region’s ranching economy. Large-scale irrigation was introduced into the area in 1898 and a railroad in 1904 opened up the Rio Grande Valley and Brownsville to citrus production and other forms of intensive agriculture. The area’s agricultural opportunities drew migrants from the U.S. mid-West and Mexico in the first half of 20th century and bolstered the city’s economy.
City leaders have worked for decades to highlight the city’s culture and improve infrastructure. It is common for families to have relatives on both sides of the U.S. - Mexico border, an indicator of the city’s rich Mexican heritage. That heritage has been celebrated since 1938 by the annual Charro Days fiesta.
Brownsville’s three international vehicular bridges and one railroad international bridge serve as a basis for trade and represent an economy significantly more diversified than in years past. The city is home to a deepwater seaport and an international airport. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville Campus and Texas Southmost College offer higher education opportunities to residents on both sides of the border. Space X is located outside of Brownsville at Boca Chica.
Brownsville is proud of its past and annually hosts thousands of tourists who take in the history and enjoy the city’s climate and proximity to Mexico. The Gladys Porter Zoo and Mitte Cultural District anchor tourism within the city, while units of the Rio Grande National Valley Wildlife Refuge and Sabal Palm Sanctuary welcome birders and other visitors from around the world.

Brownsville Today

Brownsville is the largest city in the Rio Grande Valley with a population of approximately 188,000. It covers nearly 150 square miles and has some 350 miles of paved streets. With an assessed valuation of more than $7.5 billion, the city has nearly quadrupled its wealth in the past 15 years.
Brownsville is one of the southernmost cities in the United States; because of this, we benefit from a tropical environment. Our environment, history and proximity to Mexico have created a vibrant border culture!

Our city is known for its solid Hispanic roots, seen in our music, food and celebrations! It comes alive with festivals and events held throughout the year. We celebrate year-round!

Brownsville is home to many festivals and events: Charro Days & Sombrero Festival, CROSSROADS, Latin Jazz Fest, Beerfest, Una Noche en Garibaldi, Taste of the Frontera, Holiday Village and much more!

our history

Find more about our history

Fort Brown Hospital

Commissary and Guardhouse

The Campaign for the Fort Brown Memorial Center


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