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Port Aransas, Texas, a city in Nueces County, is located o Mustang Island which is just north of Padre Island, and is, in fact, the only town on that island. In 1519, a group of Spanish explorers led by Alonso Alverez de Pineda, explored the coast from Florida to Vera Cruz and mapping the area, including what is now called the Aransas Pass. In 1720, French explorer Pierre-Jean de Beranger was sent to find a place to establish a colony along the coast and he re-discovered the Aransas Pass. Between 1800and 1820, the area was the stomping grounds pf pirates looking for treasure. The notorious pirate Captain Jean Lafitte and his crew particularly liked Mustang Island, and numerous legends say that he buried a large treasure chest in what is now Port Aransas. The first settler, according to the records, was an Englishman named Captain Robert Ainsworth Mercer who established a sheep and cattle ranch in 1853 when the whole island was home to large herds of wild horses. The post office was founded in 1888 and the community was officially named Ropesville. The name was changed to Tarpon in 1896. Finally, on April Fool’s Day of 1911, it was named Port Aransas. Due to the beach and the climate there, it soon became a resort town. The town was incorporated in 1925 with a population of fifty. According to the census of 2000, the population was 3,370 people, but the population swells wildly to around 60,000 during spring break and summer months.

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