Updated: Sep 2, 2021
Bandera County, and the county seat of Bandera are officially known as the Cowboy Capital of the World.
What we today call Bandera County has been occupied for more than 10,000 years. Most recently the Lipan Apaches and Comanches called the land home before the arrival of Europeans. Spanish explorers arrived in the early 18th Century and the name Bandera is the Spanish word for flag.
.There are several stories about how the county got its name. One has it that a Spanish general named Bandera led a punitive expedition in the area against the Apaches after the Indians raided San Antonio de Béxar. Another is that after pursuing the Indians to Bandera Pass the Spanish left a flag or flags to warn them against future raids. And a third legend claims that in 1752 (or 1732) a council was held between Spanish and Indian leaders, during which the Spanish pledged never to go north of the pass if the Indians agreed to cease their raids in the south, and a red flag was placed on the pass as a symbol of the treaty. Regardless, by as early as 1842 the name Bandera was in use. The county was created by the Texas Legislature in 1856.
Today its economy is based around agriculture and ecotourism. 80 % of the county is ranch or farm land. It has several dude ranches, restaurants and dance halls which attract thousands of visitors every year.. It is also home to Lost Maples State Natural Area, the Hill Country State Natural Area, the Frontier Times Museum, and the site of Camp Montel, a Texas Ranger station dating from 1862.
According to the 2020 Census the current population of Bandera County is 20,851, an increase of over 400 since the 2010 Census.
Source: TSHA Handbook of Texas