Texas Almanac, 1939-1940 Page: 31
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PHYSIOGRAPHY OF TEXAS.
tions adjacent to San Antonio and Corpus
Christi, while the irrigated areas of the
Lower Rio Grande Valley, the Laredo and
Winter Garden sections and some small-
er areas comprise one of the nation's
greatest citrus and winter vegetable re-
There is a considerable area of open
prairie in the northern and northwestern
portions and on the coastal belt near
Corpus Christi, but the greater portion
of the Rio Grande Embayment is covered
with a vast sea of scrub oak and shrubs,
which has given it the name, "Brush
Country" or "Monte."
As the gateway to Texas from Mexi-
co during the Spanish period, it is his-
torically one of the first regions of Tex-
as in importance, but except in the irri-
gated sections and the few dryland
farming sections, it has remained in the
pastoral stage economically. Many of
the greatest ranches of Texas today are
found in this region, including the King
Ranch of Nueces, Kenedy and Willacy
Counties, which includes more than
Aside from the spotted agricultural de-
velopment, the discovery of oil in Webb,
Duval and several other counties has
contributed to the wealth production of
the area and its increase in population.
Economically, this is a country of con-
trasts, with large-scale cattle raising,
reminiscent of the days of boots, spurs
and cattle brands, and the most modern-
ized and most intensive agricultural pro-
duction lying side by side. The great
King ranch is just across the fence from
the citrus groves of the Lower Valley,
and the Winter Garden area is sur-
rounded by a vast cattle range.
Due to the fact that the region fronts
the sea on one side and Mexico on the
other, its economy is also sustained in
material degree by international com-
merce. A large percentage of the pop-
ulation of the area is of Mexican de-
The argest city in the section is San
Anton' , at its uppermost edge, serving
this a well as other South and South-
west Texas areas as banking, industrial
and t ade center. Corpus Christi, at the
upper end of its coast line, has recently
assu ed importance as a shipping center.
The pening of this deepwater port is
havin vast effect on the development
of the entire area. The same may be
said with respect to Brownsville, the
newest of Texas' deepwater ports, which
also derives its importance as a com-
mercial center from its trade with the
thickly populated Lower Valley and the
northern portion of Mexico. Harlingen,
San Benito and'McAllen, also towns of
more than 10,000 population, are impor-
tant trade centers in the Lower Valley.
Laredo, principal port of entry on. the
Mexican border, serves as trade terri-
tory for a wide area along the Rio
Grande, and has assumed greater impor-
tance during the last few years with the
opening of a paved road between this
point and Mexico City.
The Coastal Prairies of Texas extend
inward from tidewater for a distance of
fifty to eighty miles, seldom exceeding
200 feet above sea level. (Notice the
distinction between "Coastal Plains,"
designating the greater coastal region,
and the subdivision, "Coastal Prairies.")
The Coastal Prairies extend from the Sa-
bine to the Rio Grande, but usually that
portion below Corpus Christi is classed
as part of the Rio Grande Embayment.
In this connection, it must be kept in
mind that, while this article for the sake
of clarity treats these divisions and sub-
divisions of geographic Texas as areas
with distinct boundary lines, frequently
the borderline is not easily defined, and
there is much overlapping of physical
The Coastal Prairies largely coincide
with the Quaternary geologically. The
soils are usually heavy clays, largely
grass covered except along the streams
where pecan, hickory, ash and other
hardwoods grow. In the lower portion
there are numerous motts of liveoak. The
region is traversed by the numerous
meandering streams that discharge the
water from the uplands of Texas into
the shallow bays of the Gulf, among
which are the Sabine, Neches, Trinity,
San Jacinto, Brazos, Colorado, Guada-
lupe and San Antonio Rivers. Lying im-
mediately above the Coastal Prairies on
the east are the sands of the Pine Woods
Country and farther west they are bor-
dered on the north by sands and clays of
the Postoak Belt. The temperature
may be classed as subtropical though
winter frequently brings killing frosts.
Original Cow Country.
A large cattle raising industry flour-
ishes throughout this area, especially in
the territory from Houston westward to
Victoria. This country has the heaviest
cow population per square mile of any
area in the state. It was around Vic-
toria that the commercial cattle raising
industry had its beginning in Texas,
and this territory furnished many of the
cattle that went up the long trails to the
Kansas railheads. The frst meat packing
industry of Texas was established at
Victoria and one or two other points in
this area shortly after the Civil War.
Cotton and corn are grown throughout
the Coastal Prairies and there is an ex-
tensive commercial production of hay
from native coastal grasses. All of Tex-
as' production of approximately 9,000,000
bushels of rice annually comes from this
area, produced under irrigation along
the meandering streams and from the
reservoirs of artesian water. A variety
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Texas Almanac, 1939-1940, book, 1939; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117163/m1/33/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.