Bastrop is a city and the county seat of Bastrop County, Texas, United States. Located about thirty miles southeast of Austin, it is part of the metropolitan area. The population was 5,340 according to the 2000 census, and had grown to 7,218 by the 2010 census—nearly twice the population of the early 1970s.
Spanish soldiers lived temporarily at the current site of Bastrop as early as 1804, when a fort was established where the Old San Antonio Road crossed the Colorado River and named Puesta del Colorado.
Bastrop's namesake, Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop was actually a commoner named Philip Hendrik Nering Bogel wanted for embezzlement in his native country of the Netherlands. In Texas, he assisted Moses and Stephen F. Austin in obtaining land grants in Texas, and he served as S. F. Austin's land commissioner.
In 1827, Stephen F. Austin located one hundred families in an area adjacent to his earlier Mexican contracts. Austin arranged for Mexican officials to name a new town there after the baron who died the same year.
On June 8, 1832, the town was platted along conventional Mexican lines, with a square in the center and blocks set aside for public buildings and officially named Bastrop, but two years later the Coahuila y Texas legislature renamed it Mina in honor of Francisco Javier Mina, a Mexican martyr and hero. The town was incorporated under the laws of Texas on December 18, 1837, and the name changed back to Bastrop.
The first edition of The Bastrop Advertiser and County News (now The Bastrop Advertiser) was published on March 1, 1853, giving it claim to being the oldest continuously published weekly (semi-weekly since September 5, 1977) in the state of Texas.
A fire in 1862 destroyed most of downtown Bastrop's commercial buildings and the county courthouse. Thus, most current downtown structures post date the Civil War.
In 1979, the National Register of Historic Places admitted 131 Bastrop buildings and sites to its listings. This earned Bastrop the title of the "Most Historic Small Town in Texas."
On September 4, 2011, a wildfire started when 2 separate fires merged into the largest wildfire. The first fire started in the community of Cirle D-KC Estates near the Bastrop State park and the other fire starting approximately 4 miles north. On September 6, two lives were lost as well as 600 homes with 0% containment. On September 7, firefighters on the ground were able to get 30% containment. On September 11, fire crews had the fire 50% contained and had already lost more than 1,500 homes. On September 17, a light rainfall had come into the area helping fire crews fight the flames. The fire was 85% contained. The fire continued burning until October 10 when fire officials declared the fire 100% contained. The cause of the fire was from sparks from damaged power lines. This was the worst and most destructive wildfire in Texas history destroying 1,691 homes, killing 2 people, and causing $325 million of insured property damage. The severe drought in Texas at the time plus strong winds from the gulf caused by Tropical Storm Lee helped fuel the fire.