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The Spanish founded a mission in the pine and hardwood forest area of eastern Texas in 1716, but permanent settlers did not arrive until 1779. The settlement was named Nacogdoches and served as a bastion against the French in Louisiana. After the Louisiana Purchase it was twice seized by U.S. raiding expeditions, first in 1812 and again in 1819. In 1820 about 100 American families were issued land grants there, but that settlement led to the Fredonia Rebellion in 1826. The city was active in the Texas Revolution of 1835-1836. Later peace returned to the region and after the state's first oil wells were drilled near the city in 1859, Nacogdoches' economy started booming.

The city is still growing and important industries include lumbering, livestock raising and processing and the manufacture of feed and fertilizer, brass goods and wood products. Tourism is also important. Within the vicinity are the huge Sam Rayburn Reservoir and many lakes.

Amongst the city's landmarks is a Spanish presidio that dates from 1779. It can be found on the campus of the Stephen F. Austin State University. Both Sam Houston and Thomas J. Rusk once lived in Nacogdoches. Four of the people who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence are buried in the city's Oak Grove Cemetery.

There are several hotels and restaurants in town. Nacogdoches is 240 km southeast from Dallas and some 1810 km southwest from Washington D.C.

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