The first townsite was settled in 1853, and in 1855-56 it was known as Encina. It was once the domain of the notorious frontier sheriff and outlaw, J. King Fisher. A historical marker on Fisher and the graves of early settlers are located in Pioneer Cemetery at the 500 block N. Park St.
Today, Uvalde is a retail center for extensive cattle, sheep and goat ranching, and truck farming. Industries include vegetable packing and processing, aircraft modifications, and garment making. Uvalde is the home of Southwest Texas Junior College and Sul Ross State University and Rio Grande College.