a Pecan Shell
Zapata dates to Spanish land grants that go back to 1767.
When the first settlers crossed the Rio Grande the town was called
Habitacion. Then Carrizo, then Bellville after
Governor Peter Bell. Finally the permanent name of Zapata was
authorized to honor Col. Antonio Zapata, one of the founders of the
Republic of the Rio Grande.
In the early 1850s, two military posts, Camp Drum and Camp
Harney, were located at Zapata. to combat border disturbances
and prevent Indian attacks.
In 1842 the men of the Somervell
expedition briefly occupied the town. It was here that received
orders to abandon the expedition. Those that refused to turn back
went on to become captured by the Mexicans.
The population of Zapata increased suddenly when people from Guerrero
crossed the river to escape the Mexican Revolution.
In 1953 the town was moved to higher ground when Falcon Dam
was built. Zapata is a gas and oil well center.
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, March 2006
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