King Ranch, c.1,000,000 acres (404,700 hectares), S Tex., SW of Corpus Christi with headquarters at Kingsville, Tex.; one of the largest ranches in the world. It has several divisions, of which the best known is Santa Gertrudis, the "home" ranch. The Santa Gertrudis, the only true cattle breed developed in North America, was developed there. Thoroughbred racehorses are also raised. The ranch was founded in 1853 by Richard King, a steamboat captain. After King's death, the giant holdings were managed by his son-in-law, Robert Kleberg; later, Kleberg's son succeeded to the management. The property was divided in 1935, but the central ranches are still large enough to resemble a semifeudal domain. Profits from oil and natural gas rights and farming have been added to income gained from the great beef herds.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.