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Texas Counties

Texas is divided into two hundred and fifty-four counties, more than any other state. Texas was originally divided into municipalities, a unit of local government under Spanish and Mexican rule. When the Republic of Texas gained its independence in 1836, there were 23 municipalities, which became the original Texas counties. Many of these would later be divided into new counties. The most recent county to be created was Kenedy County in 1921. The most recent county to be organized was Loving County in 1931

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Hidalgo County, Texas

Hidalgo County Education, Geography, and History

Hidalgo County, Texas Courthouse

Hidalgo County is a county in the state of Texas. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 774,769, making it the eighth-most populous county in Texas. The county seat is Edinburg, while the largest city is McAllen. The county is named for Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the priest who raised the call for Mexico's independence from Spain.

Hidalgo County is also designated by the US Census Bureau as the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas

Etymology - Origin of Hidalgo County Name

Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the priest who raised the call for Mexico's independence from Spain


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Hidalgo County History

Hidalgo County is a county located in the US state of Texas. It is named for Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the priest who raised the call for Mexico's independence from Spain. The seat of the county is Edinburg, while the largest city is McAllen.

Handbook of Texas Online
Hidalgo County was formed in 1852 and named for Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, who gave the "cry for Mexican independence" from Spanish rule. By 1852 the county had between forty and forty-five ranches. As land was parceled out from one generation to the next the ranches located along the river developed into villages. In this way, ranches gave rise to the communities of La Habitaci?, Relampago, and Pe?tas. Ranches away from the river included Laguna Seca Ranch, founded in 1867, Mora Rel?pago Ranch (1875), and San Manuel Ranch (1876). Generally, inhabitants of the area, especially those in the north, made a living by stock raising, while those along the river were involved in transportation, agriculture, and trade with Mexico. In 1852 La Habitaci? was renamed Edinburgh and made county seat. The first county court convened on September 2, 1852, and as its first act issued licences to ferries at Hidalgo, San Luis, Pe?tas, and Las Cuevas. Jos?M. J. Carbajal was an early court reporter. County residents were isolated from each other, however, and from the population center of Brownsville in neighboring Cameron County. Because of their sense of neglect by state and federal governments, residents adopted the name "Republic of Hidalgo." Isolation and ineffective law enforcement led to general chaos and lawlessness, mostly in the form of cattle raids and shootouts. The "Cortina Wars" also caused disturbances, especially when Juan Nepomuceno Cortina, on his way to a robbery, was intercepted by a force of Texas Rangers. The skirmish known as the battle of La Bolsa occurred on February 4, 1860, in El Zacatal, south of Progreso in southeast Hidalgo County. Despite difficulties, ranching dominated the economy in 1860, when 10,695 cattle and 3,330 sheep were counted; the latter produced 10,900 pounds of wool. Rustling also thrived. As early as December 28, 1862, armed Mexican bandits crossed into Los Ebanos, captured a Confederate wagontrain, and killed three teamsters. At other times Mexican cattle rustlers would cross into Texas with the purpose of stealing as many cattle as possible. Hidalgo County did not prosper from the Civil War as did Cameron County, but instead found itself battling cattle rustlers, who were joined by both Union and Confederate deserters. In 1870 rustlers were attracted to a county with 18,141 cattle and 11,270 sheep and a population of only 2,387. From 1872 to 1875 Sheriff Alex J. Leo repeatedly wired Washington requesting troops to curtail cattle rustling and end the "Cattle Wars," but his efforts were in vain. On April 2, 1875, Capt. Leander H. McNelly and a band of Texas Rangers arrived to help More at
Alicia A. Garza, "HIDALGO COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed January 24, 2016. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,583 square miles (4,099 km2), of which, 1,570 square miles (4,066 km2) of it is land and 13 square miles (33 km2) of it (0.82%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Brooks County (north)
  • Kenedy County (northeast)
  • Willacy County (east)
  • Cameron County (east)
  • Starr County (west)
  • Ciudad Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, Tamaulipas, Mexico (south)
  • Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico (south)
  • Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico (south)
  • R? Bravo, Tamaulipas, Mexico (south)


The 15 school districts serve Hidalgo County

In addition, the county is served by the multi-county South Texas Independent School District. The Catholic Diocese of Brownsville operates three PK-8th Grade schools, two lower-level elementary schools and two high schools.

The Edinburg campus of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (formerly University of Texas-Pan American)is located in Hidalgo County, which along with neighboring Starr County is part of the South Texas College.

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