Posted: 8/09/17

Fall Offers Rare Opportunity to Explore ‘History of Laredo’ at TAMIU


Regents Professor Dr.  Jerry Thompson
Regents Professor Dr. Jerry Thompson  

A rare opportunity to explore the multi-faceted history of Laredo led by one of the nation’s most acclaimed historians, Dr.  Jerry Thompson, is on offer this Fall at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU). 

TAMIU’s Office of Continuing Education is launching a series of non-credit classes this fall, inaugurated by “The History of Laredo,” led by Dr. Thompson, TAMIU Regents Professor of History.

The class will be held on Saturdays from August 26 to December 9 from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.  It will include lectures, field trips, speakers, and presentations.  The cost for non-credit enrollment is $200.00 per person with 40% of the fee supporting a TAMIU scholarship for a graduate history student.

Thompson said the class takes a survey approach to the colorful and eventful history of Laredo’s border community.

“We’ll travel all the way from the Coahuiltecans and the First Americans of the area, to Cabeza de la Vaca and the exploration of the area by the Spanish.  I’m also going to be joined by several experts on the Borderlands and their topics of expertise.  Spanish colonization and the settlement of Nuevo Santander by José de Escandon, as well as the founding of Laredo by Tomas Sánchez de la Barrera y Garza, will be studied.  The Mexican Era, the Texas Revolution, Republic of the Rio Grande, the tragic US-México War of 1846-1848, as well as the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo will be emphasized.

“We’ll look at the importance of Fort McIntosh and the US military frontier, as well as the role of Tejanos in the American Civil War.  The growth of partisan politics in the community that resulted in the bloody Bota-Guarache gun battle on San Agustín Plaza in 1886 will be discussed, as will the social and economic impact of the arrival of railroads on the Rio Grande.  And no history of Laredo would be complete without the lively politics of the 20th Century, moving on to the phenomenal economic growth and various challenges the city now faces in the 21st Century,” Dr. Thompson explained.

Thompson, an expert on the Civil War in the Southwest, has taught in Laredo for the past 50 years.  He is author or editor of 26 books on the US-México borderlands and a recent Pulitzer Prize nominee for his biography of José de los Santos Benavides, “Tejano Tiger: José de los Santos Benavides and the Texas-México Borderlands, 1823-1891” (Texas Christian University Press).

He has received the prestigious Pate Award twice—in 2016 for “A Civil War History of the New Mexico Volunteers and Militia” (University of New Mexico Press) and in 2006 for “Civil War and Revolution on the Rio Grande Frontier.” He is regarded as one of the country’s leading Civil War historians, especially of the Southwest Campaign. Thompson is one of only a handful of writers to twice receive the Texas Institute of Letters Best Non-Fiction Award and the only two-time recipient of the Tejano Book Award.

Among other publications are “Civil War in the Southwest, A Wild and Vivid Land: An Illustrated History of the South Texas Border,” “Fifty Miles and a Fight: Samuel Peter Heintzelman's Journal of Texas and the Cortina War,” and “Into the Far, Wild Country: True Tales of the Old Southwest.”

He has also authored an award-winning biography of Juan Nepomuceno Cortina and, with Larry Jones, a history of the Civil War on the Rio Grande.

Thompson has been a cherished part of the TAMIU faculty since 1987.

To register and for additional course information, contact TAMIU Office of Continuing Education at 956.326.2838, email ce@tamiu.edu, click on http://www.tamiu.edu/ce/index.shtml, or visit offices located in Student Center 118.