city, seat (1885) of Val Verde county, southwestern Texas, U.S. It lies along the Rio Grande, there bridged to Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, 145 miles (233 km) west of San Antonio. The original Spanish mission of San Felipe del Rio (c. 1675) on the site was destroyed by Indians, but the name survived until 1883, when it was shortened to avoid confusion with San Felipe de Austin. The present community was founded in 1872. Remnants of an old canal system that carried water from the prolific San Felipe Springs still survive. A port of entry with a busy tourist trade, Del Rio is also a marketing centre for an extensive ranching area, and in recent years it has become a retirement centre. Laughlin Air Force Base lies immediately to the east. The international Amistad Dam with its 84,000-acre (34,000-hectare) lake and recreation area is 12 miles (19 km) upstream. Southwest Texas Junior College and Sul Ross State University operate branch campuses in the city. Inc. 1911. Pop. (1990) 30,705; (2000) 33,867.
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