Presidio, Texas

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Presidio is a city in Presidio County, Texas, United States. It stands on the Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte), on the other side of the U.S.-Mexico border from Ojinaga, Chihuahua. The population was 4,167 at the 2000 census.

Presidio is on the Rio Grande, Farm to Market Road 170, and Texas State Highway 67, 18 miles (29 km) south of Shafter in southern Presidio County. Presidio is about 240 miles from El Paso, Texas, which is the closest major city to this town.[citation needed]



The junction of the Conchos and Rio Grande rivers at Presidio was settled thousands of years ago by hunting and gathering Indians. By 1200 A.D. the area Indians had adopted agriculture and lived in small, close-together settlements, which the Spaniards later called pueblos.[3] See La Junta Indians

The first Spaniards came to Presidio in 1535, when Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and his three companions stopped at the Indian pueblo, placed a cross on the mountain side, and called the village La Junta de las Cruces. On December 10, 1582, Antonio de Espejo and his company arrived at the site and called the pueblo San Juan Evangelista. By 1681 the area of Presidio was known as La Junta de los Ríos, or the Junction of the Rivers. In 1683 Juan Sabeata, the chief of the Jumano Indian nation, reported having seen a fiery cross on the mountain at Presidio and requested that a mission be established at La Junta. The settlement in 1684 became known as La Navidad en Las Cruces.[4]

About 1760 a penal colony and a military garrison of sixty men were established near Presidio. In 1830 the name of the area around Presidio was changed from La Junta de los Rios to Presidio del Norte. White American settlers came to Presidio in 1848 after the Mexican War. Among them was John Spencer, who operated a horse ranch on the United States side of the Rio Grande near Presidio. Ben Leaton and Milton Faver, former scalp hunters for the Mexican government, built private forts in the area. The handful of Anglo settlers who came to the region were assimilated into the Hispanic population and their descendants are primarily Spanish speakers today.[citation needed]

During the Mexican Revolution, General Pancho Villa often used Ojinaga as his headquarters for operations and visited Presidio on numerous occasions.[citation needed]

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