Uvalde was founded by Reading Wood Black in 1853 as the town of Encina. In 1856, when the county was organized, the town was renamed Uvalde after Spanish governor Juan de Ugalde (Cádiz, Andalucía, 1729-1816) and was chosen as county seat. It is usually considered the southern limit of the Texas Hill Country or the most northerly part of South Texas. Historically, Uvalde is known as the Honey Capital of the World for production of huajillo (also spelled guajillo) honey, a mild, light-colored honey, dating back to the 1870s.
Uvalde was the home of John Nance "Cactus Jack" Garner, former Speaker of the House and Vice President of the United States. Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, actress Dale Evans, and former Governor of Texas Dolph Briscoe (after whom the post office is named), were born in Uvalde. The city is also home to the Grammy Award-winning Tejano/Norteño group Los Palominos.