Across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, Matamoros' commercial importance centers around the border crossing trade. The "Maquiladora" assembly plant industry hosts US companies such as Delphi, Tyco, Symbol Technologies and many others. Their production is a very important factor in the economies of both cities.
Other economic generators include the production derived from the vast sorghum fields found south and west of Matamoros for miles along the coastal plain before sighting the Sierra Madre Oriental in the western horizon. Sorghum is used industrially for cattle feed and other important agri-businesses.
During the Mexican-American War of 1846-48, the Matamoros/Brownsville area witnessed troop leadership by Ulysses Grant under General Zachary Taylor and Robert E. Lee under General Winfield Scott.
Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza was born in 1829 in what is now Goliad, Texas when it was "Mexican Territory". He studied in the seminary in Matamoros and subsequently moved to Monterrey. He was the hero of the "Batalla de Puebla" defeating Napoleon III's troops in Puebla - east of Mexico City - in 1862. The newest bridge between Matamoros and Brownsville was inaugurated in April 2001 and named in Zaragoza's honor.
During the US Civil War, Matamoros' port at Bagdad on the Gulf of Mexico, served as the export conduit for cotton produced in the Confederate States whose ports were under siege by the Union troops.