Bexar County, Texas: History and Information (2024)

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Bexar County, Texas: History and Information (1)

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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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Bexar County Education, Geography, and History

Bexar County, Texas: History and Information (3)

Bexar County is a county in the state of Texas. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 1,714,773, and a 2013 estimate put the population at 1,817,610. It is the 17th-most populous county in the nation and the fourth-most populated in Texas. Its county seat is San Antonio, the second-most populous city in Texas and the seventh-largest city in the United States.

Bexar County is included in the San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Bexar County Name

San Antonio de Béjar, the capital of Mexican Texas and present-day San Antonio, Texas, in turn named for Saint Anthony and the Duke of Béjar, brother of the Spanish viceroy, who had died in 1686 defending Budapest from the Ottoman Empire

Demographics:

County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Bexar County History

Bexar County was created on December 20, 1836, and encompassed almost the entire western portion of the Republic of Texas. Its county seat is San Antonio. This included the disputed areas of western New Mexico northward to Wyoming. After statehood, 128 counties were carved out of its area.

The county was named for San Antonio de Bexar, one of the 23 Mexican municipalities (administrative divisions) of Texas at the time of its independence. San Antonio de Bexar—originally Villa de San Fernando de Bexar—was the first civil government established by the Spanish in the province of Texas. Specifically, the municipality was created in 1731 when 55 Canary Islanders settled near the system of missions that had been established around the source of the San Antonio River. The new settlement was named after the Presidio San Antonio de Bejar, the Spanish military outpost that protected the missions. The presidio, located at the San Pedro Springs, was founded in 1718 and named for Viceroy Balthasar Manuel de Zuniga y Guzman Sotomayor y Sarmiento, second son of the Duke of Bejar (a town in Spain). The modern City of San Antonio in the state of Texas also derived its name from San Antonio de Bejar.

Handbook of Texas Online
The newly formed Bexar County covered much of the western edge of settlement in Texas. During the late Mexican period, Texas had been divided into four departments, with the department of Bexar stretching from the Rio Grande to the Panhandle and as far west as El Paso. With the winning of Texas independence, the departments became counties, and on December 20, 1836, Bexar County was established, with San Antonio as county seat. Since 1860, when the partitioning of Bexar County began, 128 counties have been carved from the original county, leaving the present county at 1,248 square miles. More at
Christopher Long, "BEXAR COUNTY,"Handbook of Texas Online(http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hcb07), accessed January 23, 2016. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on January 22, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,257 square miles (3,255 km2), of which, 1,247 square miles (3,229 km2) of it is land and 10 square miles (25 km2) of it (0.78%) is water.

Bexar County is located in south-central Texas, about 190 miles (305 km) west of Houston and 140 miles (225 km) inland from the Gulf of Mexico.

The Balcones Escarpment bisects the county from west to northeast; to the north of the escarpment are the rocky hills, springs and canyons of the Texas Hill Country. South of the escarpment are Blackland Prairie and the South Texas plains. The San Antonio River rises from springs north of downtown San Antonio, and flows southward and southeastward through the county.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Kendall County (north)
  • Comal County (north)
  • Guadalupe County (northeast)
  • Wilson County (southeast)
  • Atascosa County (south)
  • Medina County (west)
  • Bandera County (northwest)

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Bexar County, Texas: History and Information (2024)

FAQs

What is the history of Bexar County, Texas? ›

Bexar County was created on December 20, 1836, and encompassed almost the entire western portion of the Republic of Texas. This included the disputed areas of western New Mexico northward to Wyoming. After statehood, 128 counties were carved out of its area.

What is the history of the Bexar County Jail? ›

Early History of Detention Centers in Bexar County

In the early 1900s, a larger jail was built in downtown San Antonio. This new jail had four floors and a capacity of 500 inmates, but conditions were often overcrowded and unsanitary, and violence was common.

How many Texans died in the siege of Bexar? ›

According to Barr, of the 780 Texians who had participated in some way in the battle, between 30 and 35 were wounded, with 5 or 6 killed. Historian Stephen Hardin places the Texian casualties slightly lower, with 4 killed and 14 wounded.

What was the original name of San Antonio, Texas? ›

San Fernando de Béxar functioned as provincial capital from 1773 to 1824, but in subsequent years its political authority waned. By 1837, when it became a county seat of the Republic of Texas, it had been renamed San Antonio.

What is the oldest town in Texas? ›

Considered to be the oldest town in Texas, Nacogdoches was founded in 1779 by Don Antonio Gil Y'Barbo. This quaint little town is booming with history and stories from years past beginning with the Caddo Indians, who lived in the area before the Spanish, through the present day.

What does Béxar mean in English? ›

Contrary to the sound of it, Béxar does not translate to its hom*ophone. Historians track Bexar to an old Moorish fort Bejar, rooted in a word for "bees" or "land of bee hives."

Who was the first sheriff of Bexar County? ›

Joseph Livingston Hood was the first Sheriff of Bexar County, Texas. Elected on May 1st, 1837.

What is the oldest jail in Texas? ›

The Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville opened in 1849, one year after the state legislature created the penitentiary system. As the first state prison in Texas, the Huntsville site soon became known as the "Walls Unit" for the 15-foot brick wall that surrounds the prison yard.

What was the bloodiest war in Texas history? ›

Not the Alamo: Fields near San Antonio yield evidence of deadliest battle in Texas history. SAN ANTONIO — It was the bloodiest armed conflict in Texas history. On Aug. 18, 1813, some 1,400 people died at the Battle of Medina and during the merciless streak of executions that followed.

What famous Texan was killed in the battle? ›

Heroes Who Died Fighting for Freedom

Many know the famous names of James Bowie, William B. Travis, and David Crockett as men who died defending the Alamo, but there were about 200 others there during the Battle. These men came from a variety of backgrounds and places, but all came together to fight for Texas liberty.

At which battle did only one Texan survive? ›

While fighting alongside Travis and the other defenders, Joe was shot and bayoneted but lived, becoming the only adult male on the Texan side to survive the Alamo. He was one of several slaves spared by the Mexicans, who opposed slavery, after the battle.

What is Bexar County known for? ›

Founded over 300 years ago, Bexar County is steeped in rich history and tradition with historical locations such as the Bexar County Courthouse; the Alamo and the other four Missions of San Antonio, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site; Casa Navarro; and San Pedro Creek Cultural Park, among others.

What are people from San Antonio called? ›

San Antonians. In Texas (and most of the U.S. at large) you'll find either “ian" at the end of a city/state name to describe the inhabitants (example: Houston= Houstonians) or sometimes “ites" if it works better, such as “Dallasites." Of course it all depends on the city name and how it works in the English language.

Why is Bexar County pronounced bear? ›

Because it's Spanish like so many California place names. The original pronunciation was “Beh-har”. It was Americanized first to “Bay-ar” then to “Bear”.

Why is San Antonio important to Texas history? ›

The City of San Antonio is one of the oldest Spanish settlements in Texas and was, for decades, its largest city. Before Spanish colonization, the site was occupied for thousands of years by varying cultures of indigenous peoples. The historic Payaya Indians were likely those who encountered the first Europeans.

What percent of Bexar County is Hispanic? ›

61% of the people in Bexar County, TX are hispanic (1.23M people).

What was Texas before it was called Texas? ›

The Republic of Texas (Spanish: República de Tejas), or simply Texas, was a breakaway state in North America that existed from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846. It shared borders with Mexico, the Republic of the Rio Grande (another Mexican breakaway republic), and the United States of America. Republic of Texas.

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