Matamoros is founded in 1686 when Captain Alonso de León of the Nuevo Reino de León establishes the Congregación de los Esteros Hermosos. Because it was an ideal spot for raising cattle, its name is changed to San Juan de los Esteros Hermosos in 1774.
In 1793, missionaries from the Colegio de Zacatecas change the name to Nuestra Señora del Refugio de los Esteros. In 1826 it is renamed Matamoros in honor of the insurgent hero, Mariano Matamoros.
The residents called it El Refugio or Villa del Refugio. Flooding caused the original site of Villa del Refugio to be moved and in 1814 construction is begun in the main square, considered the highest point in the town.
1826: Villa de Matamoros
In 1826, Governor Lucas Fernández issues a decree assigning a new name to Villa del Refugio, Villa de Matamoros, in honor of the hero for Mexican Independence don Mariano Matamoros. In 1834 it is elevated to the status of “city” and still bears that name today.
1851: Why the “H” in Matamoros?
In 1851 the city of Matamoros is heroically defended against aggressors who had recently signed the Loba Plan. The troops under General Francisco Ávalos and Mayor Macedonio Capistrán manage to turn the enemy back.
Because of this victory the state and federal congress confer the titles of “Unconquered” (Invicta), “Heroic” (Heróica) and “Loyal” (Leal) on the city. The letter “H” before the name of the city refers to the title “Heroic”
1948 to 1962: The Cotton Age
The so-called Golden Age of Cotton from 1948 to 1962 was an economic boom time for Matamoros. Its effects were felt across all economic levels and the quality of the cotton produced was recognized worldwide.
Economic Activity Today
The main economic activities of the city are trade, services and agriculture, consisting principally of sorghum and corn crops. Additionally, there is a growing maquiladora industry.