Rio Grande - History

History

In the 1800s, the river marked the disputed border between Mexico and the nascent Republic of Texas; Mexico marked the border at the Nueces River. The disagreement provided part of the rationale for the US invasion of Mexico in 1846, after Texas had been admitted as a new state. Since 1848, the Rio Grande has marked the boundary between Mexico and the United States from the twin cities of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, to the Gulf of Mexico. As such, crossing the river was the escape route used by some Texas slaves to seek freedom. Mexico had liberal colonization policies and had abolished slavery in 1828.

In 1944 the US and Mexico signed a treaty regarding the river, and in 1997 the US designated the Rio Grande as one of the American Heritage Rivers. Two portions of the Rio Grande are designated National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, one in northern New Mexico and the other in Texas, at Big Bend National Park.

In the summer of 2001, a 328-foot (100 m) wide sandbar formed at the mouth of the river, marking the first time in recorded history that the Rio Grande failed to empty into the Gulf of Mexico. The sandbar was subsequently dredged, but it re-formed almost immediately. Spring rains the following year flushed the re-formed sandbar out to sea, but it returned in the summer of 2002. As of the fall of 2003, the river once again reaches the Gulf.

Read more about this topic:  Rio Grande

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