Victoria is a city in the U.S. state of Texas. It is the county seat of Victoria County. The population was 86,793 as of the 2010 census. The three counties of the Victoria Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 111,163 as of the 2000 census.
Victoria is located 30 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. The city is a regional hub for a seven-county area known as the "Golden Crescent", and serves a retail trade area of over 250,000 people. Victoria is known as "The Crossroads" because of its location within a two-hour drive of Corpus Christi, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin.
Mission Nuestra Señora del Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga was then established by Spain in Victoria County, in 1722. Also built on Matagorda Bay near La Salle's Fort Saint Louis, the mission and complementing Presidio La Bahia (fort) was intended to secure the Texas coastline from the French and to gather the local Indians. Being unable to attract the Indians to stay at the mission and due to tensions between the Indians and Spanish soldiers, the mission was relocated only four years later, to a more favorable location on the Guadalupe River. Artifacts from this settlement are currently on display at the Museum of the Coastal Bend in Victoria.
Moved in 1726 near Victoria, it was established among the Tamique and Aranama Indians in Mission Valley. Dams and stone acequias were built to carry water from the river to the mission. A ranching outpost was also built of mortar and stone at Tonkawa Bank, on the river about 12 miles distant. The presidio followed and was built at what was later to become Fernando De Leon's Ranch. The establishment prospered for 26 years, producing enough grain and hay to trade with other Spanish settlements. At this time, the foundation for cattle and horse ranching started.
A later colony was established by Martín De León in 1824, and was the only predominantly Mexican colony in Texas. Victoria was the center of the colony, which was part of an effort by the Mexican government to settle Texas. From March through November 1840, the government of the Republic of the Rio Grande operated in Victoria until the collapse of the Republic.