Zapata was named in honor of Antonio Zapata, a Mexican army officer and fierce fighter. The earliest civilized settlement in present Zapata County was Hacienda Dolores founded by José Vasquez Borrego in 1750. The ruins have been designated a state historic site. Other sites have been found throughout county. When the historic old town on the banks of the Rio Grande was flooded by the Falcon Reservoir, the new Zapata was built on U.S. 83. Zapata is the site of ranching, oil and natural gas production.
Zapata joins Texas under six flags, but also boasts a seventh flag for the Republic of the Rio Grande. The flag has flown over the area since March or April of 1840.
Zapata invites you to inquire locally about the nature conservatory, which rescues and rehabilitates birds and animals.
The shores of Lake Falcon are perfect for birdwatching. Almost any prized birds on any birder's list can be seen here. The white-collared seedeater is a rare prize. Also found are the Green Jay, Kiskadee Flycatcher, and the fall migration of Hummingbirds.