El Paso is located west of Odessa
along I-10, on the banks of the Rio Grande
near the New Mexico state line in El Paso County
, and is the county seat.
Earliest settlements date to the Juan de Onate Expedition in 1598. Spanish priests founded a mission in the area in 1659. El Paso means "the pass" in Spanish. Part of present downtown El Paso was in Mexico before the river changed course in 1864. The ensuing land dispute between the United States and Mexico was not resolved until 1963.
Today El Paso, population 563,662, is the largest city on the United States/Mexico border. Its recent economic growth is linked to an integrated international trade region with sister city Ju rez, Mexico. El Paso also emphasizes creation of high-technology jobs. Spanish is an essential business and cultural language in the area. El Paso's mean high temperature is 76.8 degrees and the low is 50.6 degrees. The University of Texas has a campus in the city.