Republic of the Rio Grande

A Brief History of the Republic of the Río Grande

The story of an independent republic, declared and fought over during the span of ten months in 1840, begins years before that in the political and social turmoil that embroiled Mexico and its vast geographic domain. Repudiated by Mexican historians and validated in the writings of Texian and American journalists and travelers, the Republic of the Río Grande’s very existence, like almost everything else in the border region, is a cause for contradictory opinions.

The Republic of the Río Grande, a historic alliance among the Mexican states of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila y Texas, and Tamaulipas, was declared in 1840 as a movement to return Mexican government to the federalist statutes of the 1824 Constitution. Long suffering early colonists in the area now known as the American southwest and northeast Mexico perceived a complete disregard by Centralist governors in Mexico City toward their life-threatening problems with food supplies and attacks by local Indians. It is believed that in January of 1840, area leaders led by Antonio Canales in Guerrero issued a declaration of independence from Mexico and founded the Republic of the Río Grande by constitutional convention. A stone structure in Laredo’s main plaza was chosen as the new republic’s capitol. That structure functions today as the Republic of the Río Grande Museum. Following a dizzying ten-month series of victories and defeats, the Republic’s forces surrendered. The Republic of the Río Grande had lasted only 283 days.

The Republic of the Río Grande Museum is a Mexican vernacular structure, constructed in 1830 with an 1860 addition. Operated by the Webb County Heritage Foundation, it is considered a historic house museum which features displays recreating an authentic c.1830 home in Laredo including a ranching office, bedroom, and historic kitchen.

The Republic of the Río Grande Museum is located at 1005 Zaragoza Street on the grounds of La Posada Hotel.

Museum hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For more information, please call (956) 727-0977 or visit

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