BROWNSVILLE, Texas – The history in the cattle industry in the Rio Grande Valley goes back to the days of the conquest period. Just shortly after conquest, the Spaniards made the move up the coast from the interior of Mexico into Texas and then the big ranches started from that point onward.
The cattle industry or the cattle culture is more colorful than words can possible say. Everything that we have in this part of the country and for that matter, for ranching culture, stems from that original point. Back in the original days of the southern colonies there was no traditional farming in this area, only survival farming. There was cattle which was the nucleus of all commerce and of life for south Texas.
The ranches that began in the late 1700’s and into the early part of the 19th century, those particular tracks of land for the most part still exist in south Texas. They are names that are recognizable. Names like Yturria, Tijerina, and Garcia, all of whom are still here. The anglicization of ranching did not start until after Zachary Taylor came in 1846 and after the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. From the initial period of the end of the 18th century into the present. Those branches are still out there.
Brownsville was a hub for ranch commerce because it was the only organized city in the early days. The ranchers lived in Brownsville and they traveled up to their ranches in Willacy and Hidalgo County. As a contributor to the economy, cattle are a key figure for south Texas, and for that matter all of Texas.
The Rio Grande Valley still carries on the benefit of the cattle industry. The old ranchers were a dedicated breed, and still are. If you look at them and what they endured back in the early days of the state and of this area, it was not an easy existence, it is still a harsh existence. The original ranchers that were in this country and that are still in this country today wrote a story upon our horizon here that still exists.