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city, seat (1843) of Brazos county, east-central Texas, U.S. It is located 99 miles (159 km) northwest of Houston. Settled in the 1820s and formally founded in 1855, it was named for William Joel Bryan, who inherited the land for the town site from his uncle, Stephen F. Austin (a founder of Texas). Cotton, dairying, and poultry are fundamental to the economy, but the area diversified as a centre of high-technology and defense-related manufacture in the 1980s. Texas A&M University (opened as Agriculture and Mechanical College of Texas in 1876) and the Agricultural Experiment Station are situated at nearby College Station. The university's research programs include a nuclear science centre and other facilities on what was formerly Bryan Air Force Base. Bryan is the site of the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History. Many buildings in the city are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Texas International Speedway is immediately east. Inc. 1872. Pop. (1990) city, 55,002; Bryan-College Station MSA, 121,862; (2000) city, 65,660; Bryan-College Station MSA, 151,415.