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The MuralThe 360 Degree View


This flag represents the transition from the Mexican period of the El Paso area to the newly arrived Anglo-American society, depicted by the covered wagons to the right. When Mexico declared independence from Spain in 1821, the El Paso area and became a part of the Mexican nation. The U.S. Mexican war began in 1846 and ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848. This treaty fixed the boundary between the two nations at the Rio Grande, the Gila River, and the Colorado River. All territory north of that line became a part of the United States. So El Paso del Norte, the future Ciudad Juárez, became a border town.

By late 1849 five settlements had been founded along the left bank of the Rio Grande. El Paso County was established in March 1850, with San Elizario as the first county seat. The United States Senate fixed a boundary between Texas and New Mexico at the thirty-second parallel, thus largely ignoring history and topography. A military post called Fort Bliss was established in 1854, and the Butterfield Overland Mail arrived in 1858. A year later pioneer Anson Mills completed his plat of the town of El Paso, a name that resulted in endless confusion until the name of the town across the river, El Paso del Norte, was changed to Ciudad Juárez in 1888.

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extended activity
Pretend you are an American soldier in the U.S. Mexican War. Write a letter to the people back home. Now pretend that you are a Mexican soldier. Write a letter back How are the two letters different? How are they the same? Why?

Related Links:

The U.S. Mexican War: Companion guide to the PBS series

A Brief History, presented by Descendents of Mexican War Veterans

Read More, Learn More:

Hughes, Alton. 1978. Pecos: A History of the Pioneer West. Seagraves, Texas: Pioneer.

Bauer, Karl J. 1974. The Mexican War, 1846-1848. New York: Macmillan.

Bill, Alfred H. 1947. Rehearsal for Conflict: The Story of Our War with Mexico. New York: Knopf.