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about El Paso

El Paso is a city located in El Paso County, Texas, United States.

As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 679,622. El Paso is second to San Diego, California in size of all United States cities on the border with Mexico and lies opposite Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. The two cities form a binational metropolitan area of approximately two million people, divided by the Rio Grande.

El Paso is the seat of the University of Texas at El Paso (founded 1913 as the Texas College of Mines, received university status 1967). Fort Bliss, a major United States Army installation, lies to the east and northeast of the city, extending north up to the White Sands Missile Range. The Franklin Mountains extend into El Paso from the north and nearly divide the city into two sections.

El Paso geography

El Paso is located at 31°47'25" North, 106°25'24" West (31.790208, -106.423242). The city is at 3750 feet above sea level. The mountain peaks in El Paso reach 7200 feet above sea level.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 648.9 km² (250.5 mi²). 645.1 km² (249.1 mi²) of it is land and 3.8 km² (1.5 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.58% water.

The Franklin Mountains extend into El Paso from the north and nearly divide the city into two sections. The Rio Grande Rift lies beneath the Pass, through which the Rio Grande flows, as evidenced by an extinct volcano, Mt. Cristo Rey just to the west of the city, on the New Mexico side of the Rio Grande. Other volcanic features include Kilbourne hole and Hunt's hole, which are Maar volcanic craters 30 miles west of the Franklin Mountains. El Paso is surrounded by the Chihuahuan Desert, the easternmost section of the Basin and Range Region. Temperatures average from a high of 56°F (13° C) and a low of 29°F (-2° C) in January to a high of 96°F (35.5° C) and low of 68°F (20° C) in August.

Rainfall averages 8.81 inches or 22.28 cm per annum. Most precipitation occurs during the monsoon occurring from late June through September. In most years rainfall is scant during the rest of the year.

El Paso history

Archeological evidence at the Keystone Wetlands and Hueco Tanks sites indicates thousands of years of human settlement within the El Paso region. The Manso and Suma Indians were identified as present by the earliest Spanish explorers. Nothing is known of these people's origin or ultimate fate.

After the settling of El Paso del Norte, on the south bank of the Rio Grande, the present-day city of El Paso was simply the Ponce de León Ranch, on the north side of the river. American settlers began drifting into El Paso, to stay for good after the founding of the Texas Republic and the Mexican Cession.

A trading post called Franklin was established during this time. El Paso was platted in 1859, but grew slowly until the railroads came in 1881. The population had grown to 10,000 by the 1890 census.

During the late 1880s and 1890s, El Paso acquired a reputation as a lawless "wild west" town. The most notorious local figure was John Wesley Hardin, killed in an 1894 El Paso gunfight. Prostitution and gambling flourished until World War I, when the Department of the Army pressured El Paso authorities to crack down on vice. Many of these activities continued to flourish in neighboring Ciudad Juárez, especially during the Prohibition, when bars and saloons on the Mexican side flourished.

The Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) began in 1910, and Ciudad Juárez was the focus of intense fighting. Occasionally, stray shots killed civilians on the El Paso side. El Paso became a center of intrigue as various exiled leaders including Victoriano Huerta and (for a time) Pancho Villa were was stationed at Fort Bliss, and mounted his ill fated expedition against Pancho Villa after the infamous raid on Columbus, New Mexico on March 9, 1916. The cavalry under Pershing were paid in gold, in competition with Pancho Villa, who offered $50 per machine gun. (When World War I began, Pershing's cavalry had to remain in the Army for the duration of the war, and were no longer paid in gold.)

Perhaps the most enduring legacy of the revolution era was the arrival of thousands of Mexican refugees, whose descendants formed the nucleus of the Chicano community that emerged in later decades.

A presidential visit to the state of Texas was first suggested to President John F. Kennedy by his Vice President, Lyndon Baines Johnson and Texas Governor John Bowen Connally, Sr. while all three men were together in a meeting on June 6, 1963, less than six months before the Kennedy assassination in Dallas, Texas. President Kennedy decided to embark on the November 1963 trip with three basic goals in mind: the president wanted to help raise more Democratic Party presidential campaign fund contributions; he wanted to begin his quest for re-election in November, 1964; and, because the Kennedy-Johnson ticket had barely won Texas in 1960 President Kennedy wanted to help mend political fences among several leading Texas Democratic party members who appeared to be fighting politically amongst themselves, which included Johnson/Connally fighting with Texas Senator Ralph Yarborough.

From World War II until the 1980s, El Paso grew rapidly. The expansion of Fort Bliss from a frontier post to a major Cold War military center brought in thousands of soldiers, dependents, and retirees. The industrial economy was dominated by copper smelting, oil refining, and the proliferation of low wage industries (particularly garment making), which drew thousands of Mexican immigrants. New housing subdivisions were built, expanding El Paso far to the west, northeast and east of its original core areas.

Since 1990, the local economy has been adversely affected by competition with low wage labor abroad, and the closure of the main copper smelter. The passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement has been a mixed blessing, with local transportation, retail, and service firms expanding, but with the accelerated loss of many industrial jobs. El Paso is very sensitive to changes in the Mexican economy and the regulation of cross border traffic; the Mexican peso devaluation of late 1994 and the temporary closing of the ports of entry and subsequent stringent controls of cross border traffic after the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack were felt strongly in El Paso.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "El Paso, Texas".

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