The Horcón Tract is a small tract of land (a banco) that, prior to 1905, was situated north of the Rio Grande in Texas, and included the town of Río Rico. In July 1906, however, the American Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Company dug a cutoff to shorten the course of the river, thus bypassing the tract. As a result, the 461 acres of the tract (including the former riverbed), upon several acres of which the town of Río Rico was situated, became located south of the river. The company was eventually taken to court and fined for the diversion of the river, but attention gradually faded, and the residents, being mostly of Mexican heritage, accepted the authority of the Mexican government. However, international law dictates that, unlike slow natural changes of a boundary river's course, sudden changes in course do not create a loss or gain of national territory. The United States never actually relinquished the land, and the issue was re-discovered decades later by a researcher. The Boundary Treaty of 1970 provided for the Horcón Tract to revert to Mexico upon the completion of two new flood control projects. Thus in 1977 the United States officially ceded the tract of land to Mexico. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling held that persons born in the Horcón Tract between 1906 and 1977 were in fact American citizens.
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