Laredo ( lə-RAY-doh; Spanish: [laˈɾeðo]) is the county seat of Webb County, Texas, United States, located on the north bank of the Rio Grande in South Texas, across from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. According to the 2010 census, the city population was 236,091, making it the tenth-most populous city in the state of Texas and third-most populated on the Mexico–United States border, after San Diego, California, and El Paso, Texas. Its metropolitan area is the 178th-largest in the U.S. and includes all of Webb County, with a population of 250,304. Laredo is also part of the cross-border Laredo-Nuevo Laredo Metropolitan Area with an estimated population of 636,516.
Because Laredo is 95.6 percent Hispanic and Latino, it is one of the least ethnically diverse cities in the United States. When economic diversity, household diversity, and social class diversity are considered, Laredo is rated the 19th least diverse city overall out of the 313 largest cities in the nation.
Laredo's economy is based on international trade with Mexico. Most major transportation companies have a facility in Laredo. The city's location on the southern end of I-35 close to the manufacturers in northern Mexico promotes its vital role in trade between the two nations. Laredo International Airport is within the Laredo city limits, while the Quetzalcoatl International Airport is nearby in Nuevo Laredo on the Mexican side.
Laredo has the distinction of flying seven flags (the Flag of the Republic of the Rio Grande, which is now the flag of the city, in addition to the Six Flags of Texas). Founded in 1755, Laredo grew from a village to the capital of the brief Republic of the Rio Grande to the largest inland port on the Mexico–United States border. Today, it has four international bridges and one railway bridge.
Texas A&M International University and Laredo Community College are located in Laredo.
The biggest festival, Washington's Birthday Celebration, is held during the later part of January and the majority of February, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists. The Jalapeño Festival, Border Beer Fest, Stockmen's Ball, Princess Pocahontas Pageant, Mr. South Texas Luncheon, an air show, and two major parades are all held in conjunction with the Washington's birthday events.
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