Welcome to Brownsville, Texas, a city with a rich history and vibrant culture. Located on the western Gulf Coast in South Texas, Brownsville is adjacent to the border with Matamoros, Mexico. The city covers 145.2 sq mi (376.066 km2), and had a population of 186,738 at the 2020 census. It is the 139th-largest city in the United States and 18th-largest in Texas. Brownsville is known for its year-round subtropical climate, deep-water seaport, and Hispanic culture. Let’s explore what makes Brownsville a unique and exciting destination.
Brownsville was founded in 1848 by American entrepreneur Charles Stillman after he developed a successful river-boat company nearby. It was named for Fort Brown, itself named after Major Jacob Brown, who fought and died while serving as a U.S. Army soldier during the Mexican–American War (1846–1848). The city was also involved in the Texas Revolution, as well as the American Civil War. Due to significant historical events, the city has multiple houses and battle sites listed under the National Register of Historic Places.
Brownsville is notable for its high Hispanic proportion, which at 93.9% is the third-highest proportion of Hispanic Americans out of any city in the United States outside of Puerto Rico. This rich Hispanic culture is reflected in the city’s architecture, food, and festivals. The Charro Days Fiesta, held annually in late February, celebrates the shared heritage of Brownsville and Matamoros with parades, music, and dancing. The city is also home to the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, which showcases local and regional artists.
Brownsville’s idiosyncratic geographic location has made it a wildlife refuge center. Several state parks and historical sites are protected by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The city is situated at the intersection of different climates (subtropical, Chihuahuan Desert, Gulf Coast plain, and Great Plains); this produces high bird migration rates. Its idiosyncratic network of resacas (English: oxbow lakes), distributaries of the Rio Grande, provide habitat for numerous nesting/breeding birds of various types typically during the spring and fall migrations. Brownsville’s vegetation is classified as grassland.
As a county seat, the city and county governments are major employers. Other primary employers fall within the service, trade, and manufacturing industries, including a growing aerospace and space transportation sector. It operates international trading through the Port of Brownsville. The city experienced a population increase in the early 1900s, when steel production flourished. Despite being frequently cited as having one of the highest poverty rates in the United States, Brownsville has seen recent economic growth and development.
Visitors to Brownsville can enjoy a unique blend of history, culture, and nature. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s rich past, sampling its delicious cuisine, or experiencing its natural beauty, Brownsville has something for everyone. Come visit and discover why this charming city should be on your travel bucket list.