In the late 19th century, Texas became known for its cattle drives, in which cowboys would move herds of cattle from Texas to railheads in Kansas and other northern states. The cattle drives were dangerous and difficult work, but they played a key role in the development of the American cattle industry.
El Paso County, Texas, has a long and rich history that dates back thousands of years. Before the arrival of European settlers, the area was inhabited by various Native American groups, including the Apache, Comanche, and Jumano tribes. They lived off the land, hunting, farming, and trading. The first recorded European exploration of the region occurred in 1581 when Juan de Oñate claimed the area for Spain.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, El Paso County became an important stopping point along the Camino Real, a trade route connecting Mexico City with Santa Fe. Spanish settlers established the town of San Elizario in 1789 as a waystation for travelers. The settlement grew as more people arrived, including Mexican and American traders, and it became a center for ranching and farming.

In the mid-19th century, El Paso County experienced significant changes brought about by the Mexican-American War and the subsequent Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. With the establishment of the new border between Mexico and the United States, El Paso became a strategic area for trade and military operations. Fort Bliss, one of the oldest Army posts in the Southwest, was established in the area in 1848 to protect American settlers and the new border.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, El Paso County experienced a population boom due to the growth of mining, agriculture, and the railroad industry. The city of El Paso, which was incorporated in 1873, played a pivotal role in these developments. As a border town, it served as a gateway for trade with Mexico and witnessed significant cultural and demographic changes as diverse groups of immigrants arrived seeking economic opportunities.

Today, El Paso County continues to be an important region characterized by a unique blend of cultures, influenced by its rich history and its location on the U.S.-Mexico border. With a population of over 800,000, it is a vibrant center of commerce, education, and tourism, attracting visitors from both sides of the border and beyond.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of El Paso County, Texas.

  • 1682: Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate claims the El Paso area for Spain.
  • 1827: El Paso del Norte is established as a new Mexican border town.
  • 1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed, transferring the El Paso region from Mexico to the United States.
  • 1850: El Paso becomes part of the newly formed Texas state.
  • 1881: The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway reaches El Paso, spurring rapid growth and development.
  • 1888: El Paso County is officially organized, with El Paso as the county seat.
  • 1909: The Chamizal dispute is resolved, confirming the Rio Grande as the border between the United States and Mexico.
  • 1916: The Mexican Revolution spills over into El Paso County, resulting in military clashes and tension along the border.
  • 1924: The construction of the iconic Paso del Norte International Bridge is completed, further strengthening El Paso's role as a major border crossing.
  • 1951: The Korean War leads to increased military presence in El Paso County, with the establishment of Fort Bliss.
  • 1963: The El Paso Museum of Art is opened, showcasing a diverse collection of artwork from around the world.
  • 1993: The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is implemented, further boosting trade and economic activity in El Paso County.