Laredo is located on the banks of the Rio Grande River in the southern part of Texas and, therefore, has a distinctly Mexican flavor. Nicknamed “The Gateway City” and “The City Under Seven Flags,” (the six flags of Texas and the Flag of the Republic of the Rio Grande) this historic city straddles the U.S.-Mexico border physically and culturally.
Laredo was founded on May 15, 1755, when Captain Tomas Sanchez was given permission from the Mexican government to settle north of the Rio Grande. During the Texas Revolution, Laredo was the central gathering point for the forces of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. After the revolution, leaders of Texas considered the Rio Grande to be the southern border of the new Republic of Texas, but made no effort to place Laredo under the jurisdiction of Texas until the Mexican War. In March 1846, during the Mexican-American War, the Texas Rangers occupied the town. After the war, the land was ceded to the United States, and in 1848 Laredo became the county seat for the newly founded Webb County.
Laredo is the nation’s largest inland port of entry and the largest border crossing for goods traded between the United States and Mexico. The city connects U.S. Interstate Highway 35 with the Pan American Highway that stretches into Central and South America. More than 47 percent of United States international trade headed for Mexico and more than 36 percent of Mexico’s international trade crosses through the Laredo port of entry.
Laredo’s economy and lifestyle revolve around commercial and industrial warehousing and the import-export industry. With such a large stake in international trade, Laredo greatly benefited from the passing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In fact, because of expanded international trade through NAFTA, Laredo has experienced a higher job growth rate (2%-6.5%) than Texas as a whole. In addition to the more than 2.5 million trucks that cross the border at Laredo annually, the city receives international rail service from Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern. Likewise, the Laredo International Airport is a NAFTA gateway for air cargo.
An ample, effective and bi-lingual work force makes Laredo an outstanding business or industrial location. There are nine Foreign Trade Zones in Laredo, totaling 5,075 acres and encompassing more than 20 buildings. More than 26 active industrial parks in Laredo offer a range of prices and variety of sites for businesses seeking locations in this busy inland port city.
In addition, thousands of visitors from Mexico travel to Laredo every day to buy clothing and electronics at sometimes half the cost in Mexico. Citizens of Monterrey and Mexico City are attracted to the many retail stores in Laredo, such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Hobby Lobby, TJMaxx and HEB Plus, a Texas-based supermarket chain.
Laredo boasts a cost of living that is less than both the Texas average and the national average. And thanks to the robust import-export industry, Laredo’s unemployment rate is also below the national average. Texas A&M International University and Laredo Community College call Laredo home, and many local residents take advantage of the convenient availability of quality higher education.
Laredo’s most noteworthy annual event is Washington’s Birthday Celebration. The celebration was first staged in 1898 by the San Antonio-based Improved Order of Red Men, which established the Laredo local chapter called Yaqui Tribe #59. Members of Yaqui Tribe #59 included prominent Laredo citizens of both Mexican and American ancestry. The committee was looking for a traditionally “American” holiday to celebrate that might offer the best of all cultures influencing the heritage of Laredo’s people. Today, the celebration lasts throughout the entire month of February and is comprised of various festivals including a Society of Martha Washington Colonial Pageant and Ball, Princess Pocahontas Pageant and Ball, parades, a carnival, concerts, fireworks and a citywide prom attended my many who dress in Colonial attire. One of the Celebration’s main events is the Jalapeno Festival, which is considered on of the Top 10 eating festivals in the United States.
Washington’s Birthday Celebration attracts some 400,000 attendees every year, and thus has a decidedly positive economic impact on the Laredo.
Throughout the year, Laredo offers a number of cultural institutions for residents and tourists to enjoy. Laredo was once the capital of the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande, and the former capital building is now the Republic of the Rio Grande Capitol Building Museum. Other attractions include:
The Laredo Bucks and the Laredo Lobos are two minor league professional sports teams that Laredoans love to support. The Bucks are a hockey team that plays home games in Laredo Arena. Since 2002, the team has won two division championships. The Laredo Lobos are a professional football team in the U.S. Indoor Football League. Laredo’s baseball team, the Broncos, is a member of the Independent United Baseball League. The Laredo Lemurs are another professional baseball team that is a member of the independent American Association.
Soccer is also a popular sport in Laredo, too. The Laredo Heat is a United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League team that plays in the Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex. Another professional indoor soccer team is the Laredo Honey Badgers.
Laredo, Texas is located on the northern bank of the Rio Grande River at the west end of the Rio Grande Plains and east of the Mexican Mountains. There a few hills, but the land is mostly covered with grass, oak and mesquite.
The climate in Laredo is semi-arid with hot temperatures in summer and mild temperatures during winter. The weather is driven by the Mexican Mountains to the west, the Gulf of Mexico to the east and the Chihuahuan Desert in Northern Mexico and West Texas. The average daytime high during the winter is 66 degrees Fahrenheit and the average low temperature overnight is 43 degrees. During the summer, the average high temperature is 101 degrees Fahrenheit and the average overnight low is 75 degrees. The average annual rainfall is 22 inches.
All information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon to make an investment decision. Past performance results relate to the time periods indicated and are not an indication of future performance. This information is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation of any offer to buy any securities, investment products or investment advisory services.