The city of El Paso has a rich history like other cities

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The city of El Paso has a rich history like other cities in Texas. From humble beginnings as a small Spanish settlement during their conquest of the New World to a bustling city literally right on the border between the United States and Mexico. El Paso has experienced much in its history. But that history hasn’t always been peaceful in the city’s existence. By examining the various conflicts that have taken place around El Paso and the role it has had in American history throughout it’s lifetime we can appreciate the history of this great city and the role it’s played in the 500 years of its existence. In 1598, the expedition of Don Juan de Oñate was the first European expedition to enter North American soil. After leading his men through a mountain pass, he later named “El Paso del Norte”. As time passed a small settlement slowly developed as more and more Spanish settlers moved into Texas over the years and it wasn’t until the year 1680 that “El Paso” would first feel an effect of war. The Pueblo tribe had long been chafing under the rule of the Spanish and rejected Catholicism that the priests had tried to convert them to in the various missions that had been established. Over the course of the revolt about 400 settlers had been killed as well as 21 priests. As the Pueblos continued their raids many frightened settlers fled to El Paso swelling its population by 2000 people until they could settle elsewhere. After the revolt, the Texas region became relatively stable again and for many years the region knew peace even during the Mexican Revolution. However, the Spanish never seriously developed El Paso and instead focused on El Paseo Del Norte which we know in the modern day as Ciudad Juarez. In 1804, settlers from the United States began moving into Texas as they had crossed the new territory and began marrying into many prominent Mexican families. It is important to note that El Paso was a vital town as it was a stop on the Camino Real which lay on the Santa Fe trail and thus a trade hub for travelers. El Paso was fortunate to be spared from the fighting of the Texas revolution since it was never originally considered to be part of Texas but rather part of New Mexico. It wasn’t until 1848, after the conclusion of the Mexican-American war that El Paso was brought into Texas. As before with the Texas Revolution El Paso was again spared from seeing any conflict yet there was one battle named the Battle of El Brazito in which several hundred El Paso militiamen participated in that occurred fairly close. In October 1846, Colonel Alexander W. Doniphan of the First Regiment Mounted Missouri Volunteers was ordered by United States Army General Stephen W. Kearney to rendezvous with General John E. Wool inside Mexico at the city of Chihuahua. After two months of marching and en route to Chihuahua, Doniphan’s regiment was attacked by a Mexican army about thirty miles from El Paso del Norte, about 9 miles south of Las Cruces, New Mexico, at Brazito on the Rio Grande. Since it was Christmas, Doniphan did not expect to see any fighting and had halted his men’s march at 1 PM that day. However, they spotted the dust cloud of a Mexican scouting party to the south and Colonel Doniphan promptly ordered his men to prepare for battle. Doniphan carried the day without loosing a single man. Unfortunately, not long after the conclusion of the Mexican War, due to the high cost of maintaining troops along the Mexican border the Army decided to relocate troops. Troops stationed at Fort Bliss moved 40 miles away from El Paso into a new fort named Ft. Fillmore which would remain garrisoned until it’s abandonment during the Civil War. Not long after the area was frequently raided by Indians with impunity as American troops were too far away to respond to calls for aid. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Texas joined the side of the Confederate States of America. Texas while not a major theater in the war, did see some fighting. In El Paso Confederate forces occupied Ft. Bliss until Union forces from the state of California invaded Texas after defeating Confederate attempts to attack the states of Arizona and New Mexico. The Union then reoccupied El Paso and Ft. Bliss until 1864.Life for El Pasoans was not much affected by the war as it was for other citizens of Confederate states. Texas itself was affected by the Union “Anaconda Plan” which was a blockade of the southern states by the Union Navy which would slowly cut off the Confederacy from supplies from Europe. El Pasoans were sympathetic to the southern cause and one of the prominent families in town at the time took active roles in the southern cause besides hosting fundraisers and charity events for the war. James Wiley Magoffin was a businessman who took over the post of Ft. Bliss (pictured below) after federal troops withdrew in 1861. As was befitting his rank of Brigadier General he was also given the task of enlisting men in a state militia that was called into action by Lt. Col. John Baylor. His company J.W. also supplied the Confederate army and his sons Samuel and Joseph also enlisted. Unfortunately, Samuel Magoffin would die in the bayous of Louisiana killed by a Union patrol. After the war Joseph Magoffin would continue to help El Paso grow by co-founding several businesses such as the State National Bank and served in various positions in the city government. The aftermath of the war saw El Paso’s population grow by a substantial amount. With the arrival of the Southern Pacific, Texas and Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroads in 1881, the population boomed to 10,000 by the 1890 census, with many Anglo-Americans, recent immigrants, old Hispanic settlers, and recent arrivals from Mexico. The location of El Paso as well as the arrival of wild newcomers caused the city to become a violent and wild boomtown known as the “Six Shooter Capital”” because of its lawlessness. During this period of growth