Laredo is one of the oldest cities in the state. Bounded by Iturbide, Santa Ursula, Convent and Water sts, the San Augustin de Laredo Historic District encompasses what was the original city of Laredo, founded in 1755 by Don Tomás Sanchez de la Barrera y Gallardo. From 1839 to 1840, Laredo was the capital of "The Republic of the Rio Grande," an unsuccessful attempt to break with the government of Mexican President Santa Anna.
One of the most prominent buildings in the district is San Augustin Roman Catholic Church, established in 1778. This masonry Gothic style church has a large spire that rises over San Augustin Plaza. Many buildings in the district illustrate local building styles and technologies and reflect Spanish and Mexican influences. The majority of the residential buildings consist of a complex of masonry buildings around a courtyard. The Capitol of the Republic of the Rio Grande, a stone and adobe "L"-shaped building which faces the plaza, functions today as a museum.
The district is the last surviving example of a settlement from the colonization of the Lower Rio Grande (1728 to 1755), under the guidance of José de Escandon, Viceroy of Mexico.