Victoria is a city in the U.S. state of Texas. It is the county seat of Victoria County. The population was 86,793 as of the2010 census. The three counties of the Victoria Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 111,163 as of the 2000 census.
Victoria is located 30 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. The city is a regional hub for a seven-county area known as the "Golden Crescent", and serves a retail trade area of over 250,000 people. Victoria is known as "The Crossroads" because of its location within a two-hour drive of Corpus Christi, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin.
Victoria is named for General Guadalupe Victoria, who became the first president of independent Mexico. Victoria is the cathedral city of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Victoria in Texas.
|City of Victoria|
Downtown Victoria in December 2007
Location in the state of Texas
|Coordinates: 28°49′1″N 96°59′36″W|
René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, established Fort Saint Louis as a French colony, from 1685 until 1689. It was built on Matagorda Bay near Garcitas Creek, in Victoria, Texas.
Mission Nuestra Señora del Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga was then established by Spain in Victoria County, in 1722. Also built on Matagorda Bay near La Salle's Fort Saint Louis, the mission and complementing Presidio La Bahia (fort) was intended to secure the Texas coastline from the French and to gather the local Indians. Being unable to attract the Indians to stay at the mission and due to tensions between the Indians and Spanish soldiers, the mission was relocated only four years later, to a more favorable location on the Guadalupe River. Artifacts from this settlement are currently on display at the Museum of the Coastal Bend in Victoria.
Moved in 1726 near Victoria, it was established among the Tamique and Aranama Indians in Mission Valley. Dams and stone acequias were built to carry water from the river to the mission. A ranching outpost was also built of mortar and stone at Tonkawa Bank, on the river about 12 miles distant. The presidio followed and was built at what was later to become Fernando De Leon's Ranch. The establishment prospered for 26 years, producing enough grain and hay to trade with other Spanish settlements. At this time, the foundation for cattle and horse ranching started.
A later colony was established by Martín De León in 1824, and was the only predominantly Mexican colony in Texas. Victoria was the center of the colony, which was part of an effort by the Mexican government to settle Texas. From March through November 1840, the government of the Republic of the Rio Grande operated in Victoria until the collapse of the Republic.
Victoria is located on the coastal plains of Texas about 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and 20 miles from the nearest bay waters. It lies along and just to the east of the Guadalupe River. The topography is mostly flat to slightly rolling with an average elevation of 95 feet. Most of the city is underlain by smectite-rich clay which is locally capped by silt or fine sand; the high shrink-swell potential associated with smectite creates major challenges to urban infrastructure. Vegetation in better-drained areas consists primarily of short grasses with post oaks and other small timber and brush. Moist sites can grow tall forests dominated by elm and pecan.
Victoria has many performing arts and theatre events and venues. Theatre Victoria offers six productions in a season that runs from July to May. Performances are held in the newly renovated Leo J. Welder Center, a fully equipped, modern performing space located downtown. The Victoria Symphony Orchestra and Victoria Ballet provide several performances each year.
For a week each June, the Victoria Bach Festival welcomes musicians from across the country to fill theatres, churches, and outdoor spaces with engaging musical performances.
Several museums are located in Victoria. They include the McNamara House (a social history museum), the Nave (art), the Children's Discovery Museum, and the Museum of the Coastal Bend (MCB). The MCB showcases the rich multicultural heritage of the region, and includes prominent displays of artifacts found from La Salle's colony in the late 17th century.
Presidio La Bahia and Mission Espiritu Santo is located a short 30-minute drive from Victoria. La Bahia is the best-preserved Spanish presidio in the United States, and Espiritu Santo is an excellent example of an early Spanish colonial church and mission.
Victoria's 562-acre (2.27-km2) Riverside Park is home to the Texas Zoo, which houses more than 200 species of animals and plants indigenous to Texas, exhibiting them in their natural habitats. The park is also home to more than 15 baseball fields which are occupied during the spring and summer by teams from the Victoria Metro region. Also in Riverside Park on the Guadalupe River is the Victoria Paddling trail. This 4.2-mile stretch of the Guadalupe River is bordered by scenic soft banks rather than the limestone bluffs of the Hill Country.
Boating and freshwater fishing are available at two area reservoirs, Lake Texana and Coleto Lake. Many residents also take advantage of the nearby Gulf of Mexico. Port O'Connor, 50 miles to the southeast, is renowned for bay, off-shore and wade fishing.
Three golf courses are located in Victoria: the Victoria Country Club, Riverside Golf Course, and Colony Creek Country Club.
The major shopping center is Victoria Mall.