Texas' southernmost city, Brownsville is an international seaport, and airport and railroad interchange point on the Mexican border. The area dates from the colonial days of Imperial Spain, covering periods of exploration, wars, revolutions, and colorful, though infamous, banditry.
Brownsville began in 1846 after Gen. Zachary Taylor established the first Fort Brown to confirm the Rio Grande as the national boundary after the Republic of Texas became a U.S. State. Regrettably, that very incident touched off the Mexican-American War, 1846-48. Several existing buildings of Fort Brown are now part of The University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost Jr. College.
Brownsville is the Rio Grande Valley's largest city whose industries include electronics, automotive components, apparel, industrial services, shipping and tourism. Vacationers are attracted by subtropical climate, proximity to Mexico, excellent golf courses, and access to South Padre Island. Visitor activities include tennis, fishing, nature viewing, wildlife viewing, swimming and going to the beach.
Brownsville, "On the Border by the Sea," is a birdwatcher's paradise. The convergence of two major flyways afford the birder an abundance of Northern species migrating for the winter. More than 485 bird species share the refuges and wild places in and around the city.
A major annual event is Charro Days, a spectacular four-day costume fiesta, in late February, that features parades, carnivals, music, dancing, and foods of this colorful two-nation region. Other special events include the CAF Air Fiesta in March, the Shrimp Fiesta and the Brownsville International Birding Festival in July, and the Latin Jazz Festival in October.