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The first U.S. settlement at this site on the Rio Grande began during the Mexican War with the temporary Camp Eagle Pass. In 1849, permanent Fort Duncan was founded. After the Civil War, on July 4, 1865, Gen. Joseph Orville Shelby paused in the middle of the Rio Grande to bury the Confederate flag that had flown over his men then continued to Mexico to offer his troops' service to Maximilian. Today, the city is an international gateway and tourist center, the seat of Maverick County and a retail shipping center. Two international bridges to Piedras Negras, just across the Rio Grande, connect U.S. 57 with Mexico 57. Sportsmen enjoy fishing for Rio Grande catfish and hunting. Southwest Texas Junior College and Sul Ross State University campuses also are here.
A site eight miles south of the city is developed as a federal reservation for the Kickapoo tribe.
Events include the Maverick County Junior Livestock Show in January, International Friendship Festival in late March or early April, Cinco de Mayo Celebration, Fourth of July Celebration, and 16 de Septiembre Celebration.