Rich in south-of-the-border flavor, Laredo is the major international crossing along the U.S.- Mexican border. Established by Spanish land grant in 1755, Laredo became the county seat when Webb County organized in 1848. The city has served under seven flags. Today this bustling border city, known as the Gateway to Mexico, has a diversifed economy stemming from such sources as retail and wholesale consumer products, importing and exporting (Laredo is the nation's largest inland port), petroleum and natural gas, feeds and fertilizers, brick and tile, and visitors from both sides of Rio Grande. Laredo Community College and Texas A&M International University call Laredo home. The recent "maquiladora" industry, a binational manufacturing system where U.S. products are assembled in plants on the Mexican side, is prominent in Laredo and Nuevo Laredo. Since 1898 the Washington's Birthday Celebration has honored George Washington as the first Western Hemisphere leader to free a New World country from the dominion of European rule. The sixteen-day February fiesta is celebrated on both sides of the border and includes parades, fireworks, dances, and an impressive Abrazo coronation ceremony on the International Bridge II. Festivities strengthen friendly ties between Texas and Mexico.