Rio Grande Facts

Rio Grande Facts
The Rio Grande is the fourth longest river in the United States, flowing approximately 1,896 miles from Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico, forming part of the U.S.-Mexican border along the way. Because its length is debated it is either North America's fourth or fifth longest river. The Rio Grande watershed (area of land that is drained by the river) is approximately 335,000 square miles. 1250 miles of the Rio Grande make up the United States and Mexican border, an area that has been in dispute throughout history once the region began to be settled by Europeans and Mexico fought for land they believed they owned. In 1944 a treaty was signed between the U.S. and Mexico. The Rio Grande was designated an American Heritage River in 1997.
Interesting Rio Grande Facts:
Other names for the Rio Grande have included Rio Bravo, Keresan (Big River), Tewa (Big River), Tiwa (Big River), and Towa (Great Waters).
The Rio Grande flows from Colorado through New Mexico, Texas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas.
The Rio Grande's major tributaries include Red River, Rio Hondo, Rio Pueblo de Taos, Embudo River, Santa Fe River, Galisteo Creek, Alamito Creek, Terlingua Creek, Pecos River, Devils River, Conejos River, Rio Chama, Rio Conchos, Rio Salado, Rio Alamo, and San Juan River.
The Rio Grande was the physical border in dispute between the Republic of Texas and Mexico in the 19th century. Once the Republic of Texas became a U.S. state the US invaded Mexico, in 1846.
When slavery was abolished in Mexico in 1828, slaves from Texas began to cross the Rio Grande to seek their freedom. The flow of freedom seekers changed and today it is Mexican's seeking a better life in the United States that attempt to cross the Rio Grande into the United States.
Many dams have been built along the Rio Grande to control the water flow and to divert water for irrigation. This diversion has changed the flow so much that today only approximately 20% of the water reaches the Gulf of Mexico.
Dams along the Rio Grande include Rio Grande Dam, Retamal Dam, Anzalduas Dam, Falcon Dam, Amistad Dam, Caballo Dam, Elephant Butte Dam, and Cochiti Dam.
The Rio Grande was a major steamboat transportation route in the 1800s. There were more than 200 steamboats between Brownsville and Rio Grande City alone.
Steamboats were used during the 1800s to transport military personnel along the Rio Grande during the Mexican War.
Major cities in the United States along the Rio Grande include Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Mesilla, Las Cruces, Truth or Consequence, El Paso, Presidio, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Laredo, Rio Grande City, Brownsville, and McAllen.
Major cities in Mexico along the Rio Grande include Matamoros, Reynosa, Camargo, Nuevo Laredo, Peidras Negras, Ciudad Acuna, Ojinaga, and Ciudad Juarez.
The Rio Grande has been listed as one of the Most Endangered Rivers several times including in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, and in 2003.
The Rio Grande river failed to reach the Gulf of Mexico in in 2001 when a sandbar formed. In 2003 it once again flowed out to the Gulf.

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