Remembering the History of Rancho Viejo

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BROWNSVILLE, Texas — The town of Rancho Viejo, a beautiful community between Brownsville and Harlingen, known for having one of the finest golf courses in the Rio Grande Valley.

But before that, it was the first settlement in the area developed before the United States existed.

Ten years before Revolutionary War, and miles away from the 13 original colonies, rumors began circulating that the English were now preparing to establish themselves on the present-day lower Texas coast.

Spanish colonizer José de Escandón asked José Antonio de la Garza to investigate the scene.

There, de la Garza and his wife began to develop the land and founded ranches, later known as El Rancho Viejo. About 1772 de la Garza petitioned for the land he and his wife had settled.

They were not officially granted the land until 1779, when it was given to them as the Espíritu Santo land grant, totaling 261,275 acres.

Shortly after receiving title to the land, de la Garza died, leaving his property to his wife and three children. Starting in 1877 the Espíritu Santo land grant changed ownership several times through family ties and sales and wars.

In 1968 Bill Bass purchased 280 acres to develop the Rancho Viejo Resort and Country Club. 

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