Anahuac is a city in the U.S. state of Texas within the metropolitan area. The population of the city was 2,210 at the 2000 census. Anahuac is the seat of Chambers County and is situated in East Texas. The city is known as the "alligator capital" of the state due to the annual alligator festival.
The Mexican term Anáhuac comes from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. The name has various meanings, including "center", "world", and "city", but it also means "capital". Anáhuac is the pre-Columbian name of the Valley of Mexico and its former lake basins around Mexico City, often including the Lerma and Pánuco river systems. Despite the name, neither the city of Anahuac, Texas nor the immediate region were ever part of the Aztec Empire.
The first dwellers in this area were the Atakapan Indians as well as the Caddo. In 1721, Frenchman Jean Baptiste de La Harpe reached this area. The area became known under the name Perry's Point, named after Colonel Harry Perry (disambiguation), who erected a military post here in 1816.
In October 1830, Mexican Colonel Juan Davis Bradburn established a customs post atop the same bluff where Perry had camped. Bradburn's orders specified that the new post would be named Fort Anahuac. The soldiers erected two large kilns to produce bricks to build a more permanent fort. Fort Anahuac would still be intact today had it not been for the locals stealing the bricks and using them for their own home construction soon after the Texas Revolution; virtually all bricks were taken and none remain to this day. By March 1831, Anahuac comprised 20 houses and 7 stores. The town grew quickly. Soldiers were given 25 cents per day to use for food and other supplies, and they spent the money locally. By June 1, the town comprised over 300 civilians and 170 military personnel.
Two major events in 1832 and 1835, known as the Anahuac Disturbances (caused mainly by rogue white bandits from the Brazos Valley area), helped to precipitate the Texas Revolution that led to the separation of Texas from Mexico- one being the jailing by Mexican authorities of William Travis for illegal slave importation and the other being unfair taxation and duties on river traffic to the settlers by the Mexican Authorities as well.
The 1935 discovery of the Anahuac and Monroe City area oil fields brought a period of economic development. The Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge was established sixteen miles southeast of the city in 1963 by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. In 1989, the local chamber of commerce organized the first Gatorfest which attracted 14,000 people into the Fort Anahuac Park, and has been held annually since then. The Festival has expanded every year since and in 2010 hosted the largest festival in history with more than 30,000 people attending.
As of 2012 the city has occurred significant debts and is close to financial bankruptcy.