Brazos Santiago

The port of Brazos Santiago was located on Brazos Island in what is now Cameron County. According to a United States Coast Survey map in 1867 it was across Brazos Santiago Pass from the south end of Padre Island (at 26°02' N, 97°09' W). Before 1848 the port was wharves on the lagoon side of Brazos Island. Goods destined for ports up the Rio Grande had to be offloaded at Brazos Santiago because the bars at the mouth of the Rio Grande were too shallow for ships capable of plying the Gulf. Trade for Matamoros and interior Mexico was landed at the harbor on Brazos Island and then transported to Matamoros by oxcart. During the Mexican War Gen. Zachary Taylor established a supply depot on Brazos Island, which handled all American and north Mexico supplies, and several thousand American troops debarked from the port. After 1848 Richard King developed shallow-draft steamboats that could negotiate the shallow bars at the mouth of the Rio Grande. His boats could then offload in the lee of Brazos Island, go around to the Gulf side, and cross the bars and travel up the Rio Grande to their destination. By 1867 the north end of Brazos Island was a well-developed military port with three wharves on Brazos Santiago Pass, a railroad south to Boca Chica and on to Whites Ranch on the Rio Grande, four barracks, a hospital with four outbuildings, two gun emplacements, numerous warehouse buildings, and a lighthouse. After the Civil War the troops left Brazos Island, and the small town of Brazos faded away; most of the buildings were destroyed by the storm of 1867.

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Brazos Santiago is part of or belongs to the following places.

Adopt a Town

The Texas Almanac's Land Rush program lets you adopt the town, county, or lake of your choice and share your message with the world. 100% of the proceeds benefit education in Texas.

Currently Exists


Place type

Brazos Santiago is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Port Isabel)


  • Latitude

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Proud to call Texas home?

Put your name on the town, county, or lake of your choice.

Search Places »