The History of Aransas County
Aransas County, Texas
Come with us and learn about the history of Aransas County. From Native Americans to the first European settlers, to the Texas Revolution and beyond.
Before we dive into the history of Aransas County, we need to establish where Aransas County is and what its main features are.
Aransas County is located in South Texas along the Gulf of Mexico in the United States of America. Its county seat is the City of Rockport, Texas. Aransas County has a total area of 528 square miles. 252 square miles are land, and 276 square miles (52%) are water. Communities that make up the land are the Live Oak Peninsula, which contains the city of Rockport and the town of Fulton, the Lamar Peninsula which has Lamar and Holiday Beach, the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, and San Jose Island. Bodies of water bordering Aransas County include the Gulf of Mexico, Aransas Bay, Copano Bay, and St. Charles Bay.
Spanish conquistador and cartographer Alonso Álvarez de Pineda was likely the first European to encounter this land when he sailed along the Texas coast in the summer of 1519 and charted Aransas Bay. This name is derived from an outpost established during the Viceroyalty of New Spain called “Rio Nuestra Señora de Aránzazu,” which was itself named for the Sanctuary of Arantzazu, a Franciscan sanctuary in Oñati, Basque Country, Spain.
Early Map of the Gulf of Mexico
But way before the Spanish ships arrived to document and record our history books. Aransas County and its boundaries have been inhabited by humans and a great diversity of different species and fauna. Let’s dive right in…..
6000 TO 8000 YEARS AGO
Lots of people may not realize this but Aransas County has been the site of human habitation for several thousand years. Archeological artifacts recovered in the region suggest that the earliest human inhabitants arrived around 6,000 to 8,000 years ago. Subsequent inhabitants belonged to a culture known as Aransas. Campsites, some dating back approximately 4,000 years, have been found in Copano Bay and Aransas County.
The ancient history of Aransas County is something that is not only quite extensive but should be celebrated and preserved. Many artifacts have been preserved and can be found at The History Center for Aransas County and by members of the Aransas Historical Society. Thanks to archeological research, we now know a great deal about the people who inhabited this part of the world.