One of the largest of the border cities (and said to be the world's busiest border crossing), El Paso is a blend of the United States and Mexico, its history closely linked to that of Juárez. The region was once known as El Paso del Norte, for the route through the mountains from Mexico to the north. In the 16th and 17th cent. missionaries, soldiers, and traders came here. Although missions were founded at Ysleta and elsewhere north of the river, the major settlement was on the south (Juárez) bank. Not until 1827 was the first house built on the site of El Paso. After the U.S.-Mexican border was set, settlement increased, and the coming of the railroad in 1881 prefaced the arrival of cowboys, exiles, border traders, and adventurers. As a result of the settlement in 1963 of the Chamizal border dispute, a small area of El Paso was transferred to Mexico. In 1972-74, Mexican workers at the Farah manufacturing plant, a clothing maker, staged a major strike due to poor working conditions and low wages. The two-year labor action lead to significant improvements for its primarily female workers. In 2019, a mass shooting at a Walmart in the city lead to 23 deaths and 23 other injuries.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. Political Geography