Río Rico, Tamaulipas

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Río Rico is a town located along the Rio Grande river in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. It is notable for its partial occupation of the Horcón Tract, a piece of land ceded by the United States to Mexico in 1977 under the terms of the Boundary Treaty of 1970.


In 1906, the Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Company performed an unauthorized diversion of the Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte), which moved a 413-acre (1.67 km2) tract of land, including Rio Rico, south of the river. The company was later fined, but the diversion of the river was allowed to stand if the company placed boundary markers, which it never did.[1]

The land was now physically south of the Rio Grande—the border between Mexico and the U.S. since 1845—and Mexican authorities unknowingly assumed control of the area, which became known as the Horcón Tract.[2] However, since the course change was due to man-made changes and not natural changes, international law dictated that the land remained US territory, a fact that was not in dispute. Something of a resort town grew up there during the 1920s and 1930s, with free-flowing liquor and gambling.[3]

The U.S. eventually ceded the territory to Mexico with the Boundary Treaty of 1970, and it was formally annexed by the state of Tamaulipas. The handover took place in 1977. After one local resident filed a lawsuit to prevent the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service from deporting him, the US courts ruled that all residents born in the city prior to 1972 could retain their US citizenship.[4] The ruling almost emptied the city of residents as they were now able to move to other areas of the United States as full citizens.[5]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Cook 1998, p. 300
  2. ^ McDonald, Laurier B. (2009). "Rio Rico, Texas". Handbook of Texas. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 
  3. ^ Castillo, Mariano (June 20, 2004). "Border town's story has more twists than Rio Grande". Rio Grande Valley Bureau. Archived from the original on February 7, 2008. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 
  4. ^ Miller 1985, pp. 13–21
  5. ^ Rohter, Larry (September 26, 1987). "South of Border Was Once North". New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 


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Coordinates: 26°03′22″N 97°53′24″W / 26.05611°N 97.89000°W / 26.05611; -97.89000