El Paso is the seat of El Paso County and has an estimated population of 598,590, making it the sixth-largest city in Texas and the 21st largest in the U.S. The metropolitan area covers all of El Paso County and has an estimated 736,310 citizens.
Located within the city limits is the autonomous Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Nation, with its own governing body. It is one of the few indigenous groups that have survived systemic abuse and disregard by the state of Texas. Archaeological evidence at the Keystone Wetlands and Hueco Tanks sites indicates thousands of years of human settlement by the Manso, Suma, and Jumano Indians within the El Paso region. The people ultimately assimilated into the local population, becoming part of the Mestizo culture that is prevalent in Mexico and visible throughout the Southwest. Although American traders and trappers had visited the area since 1823, American settlers began to stay for good after the Mexican Cession in 1848.
El Paso is home to the University of Texas at El Paso. Other colleges and universities that call the city home are the University of Texas at El Paso, Texas Tech University Health Science Center - El Paso Campus, and Western Technical College. Fort Bliss, a major United States Army installation, lies to the east and northeast of the city, extending north up to the White Sands Missile Range.
El Paso boomed into a sprawling city with the expansion of Fort Bliss from a frontier post to a major Cold War military center. The industrial economy was dominated by copper smelting, oil refining, and the proliferation of low wage industries (particularly garment making), which drew thousands of Mexican immigrants. New housing subdivisions were added that expanded El Paso greatly. Today, the city's economy is fueled with several large corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities to include Helen of Troy Limited - maker of personal health care products including OXO, Dr. Scholls, Vidal Sassoon, and Sunbeam labels. Other smaller companies doing business in the city are Spira Footwear, El Paso Saddleblanket Co., and the Farah Clothing Company.
El Paso's rich history can be experienced at The Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, The El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center, The El Paso Museum of Archeology at Wilderness Park, The El Paso Museum of History, Fort Bliss Museums & Study Center, The National Border Patrol Museum, War Eagles Air Museum, and the Railroad & Transportation Museum of El Paso. Other sites of interest within the city limits are the Tigua of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Nation, Ysleta Mission, the El Paso Zoo, Franklin Mountains State Park, Chamizal National Memorial, Union Depot, and the Sun Valley Factory Shoppes.