Sabine River

State: Louisiana, Texas

Lat/Long: 31.8667, -93.8833

The Sabine River is a river that flows southeast and south through the states of Texas and Louisiana which, from the thirty-second parallel southward, serves as the boundary between the two states. The Sabine rises northeast of Dallas in three branches, with a fourth branch joining the river forty miles downstream. It flows 555 miles southeast, emptying in Sabine Lake, which drains into the Gulf of Mexico. Native American Indian cultures flourished in the Sabine River region until the sixteenth century, when contact with white settlers brought disease that devastated the native population. The first Europeans to see the area were Spanish explorers in 1519. Spanish explorer Domingo Ramón gave the river its name in 1716. The river grew in importance after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819 made the Sabine the border between the United States and Spanish Texas. After Texas achieved its independence from Mexico, the Sabine became an important waterway for the transportation of lumber and cotton from the interior to the Gulf of Mexico. During the Civil War, a Confederate victory at the Battle of Sabine Pass in 1863 kept the river open to Confederate vessels looking to evade the Union blockade.

Arthur C. Benke and Colbert E. Cushing, eds., Rivers of North America (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2005), 208-9; Christopher Long, "Sabine River," Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, accessed 27 May 2020,