Six Facts About the Brazos River You Didn’t Know

Get to Know the History of the Brazos River With These 6 Facts

The Brazos River, which means the Arms River in Spanish, begins at the eastern boundary of Stonewall County at the confluence of Salt Fork and Double Mountain Fork. It runs for 840 miles across the state of Texas before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. It is Texas’s longest river and discharges the most water as well.


The Brazos River is rich with history, like the state of Texas itself. Here are a few facts about the river you probably did not know.

  1. The Brazos River has gone under many names. The Native Americans of the area called it the Tokonohono. Rene Robert Cavelier, one of the first Europeans to explore the area, called it the Maligne. The Brazos was originally called La Trinidad by the Spanish.
  2. What is today the Colorado River was first called Los Brazos de Dios, The Arms of God. However, this river was often confused with the Brazos River and its appellation passed on to the modern-day Brazos River.
  3. The first permanent settlement was San Felipe de Austin, which was founded by John McFarland at the Atascosito Crossing.
  4. Most of the Brazos watershed is good for farming or ranching. The most important products from the area are cotton, cattle, and oil.
  5. The Brazos was an important, pre-Civil War waterway. Originally, it was navigable from the Gulf of Mexico to Washington, a distance of 250 miles. Lubbock, Waco, and Galveston are three of the most important cities along the course of the river.
  6. The Brazos is maintained by the Brazos River Authority, which the Texas legislature established in 1929. The river has been dammed in several places for flood control and municipal use.

The longest river in Texas has a history to match its length. You can see it for yourself when you come along on a Waco River Safari. Call today!



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