Bastrop (/ˈbæstrəp, -trɒp/) is a city and the county seat of Bastrop County, Texas, United States. Located about 30 mi (48 km) southeast of Austin, it is part of the Greater Austin metropolitan area. The population was 7,218 according to the 2010 census.
Bastrop is located near the center of Bastrop County along the lower Colorado River. The downtown business district of the city is located on a bluff on the east bank of the river, but the city extends to the west side of the river, as well. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.1 square miles (23.6 km2), of which 9.0 sq mi (23.3 km2) are land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 1.23%, is covered by water.
Spanish soldiers lived temporarily at the current site of Bastrop as early as 1804, when a fort was established where the Old San Antonio Road crossed the Colorado River and named Puesta del Colorado.
Bastrop’s namesake, Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop, was a commoner named Philip Hendrik Nering Bogel, who was wanted for embezzlement in his native country of the Netherlands. In Texas, he assisted Moses and Stephen F. Austin in obtaining land grants in Texas and served as Austin’s land commissioner. In 1827, Austin located about 100 families in an area adjacent to his earlier Mexican contracts. Austin arranged for Mexican officials to name a new town there after the baron who died the same year.
On June 8, 1832, the town was platted along conventional Mexican lines, with a square in the center and blocks set aside for public buildings. The town was named Bastrop, but two years later, the Coahuila y Tejas legislature renamed it Mina in honor of Francisco Javier Mina, a Mexican revolutionary hero and martyr. The town was incorporated under the laws of the Republic of Texas on December 18, 1837, and the name was changed back to Bastrop.
Overlooking the center of the town is the Lost Pines Forest. Composed of loblolly pines (Pinus taeda), the forest is the center of the westernmost stand of the southern pine forest. As the only timber available in the area, the forest contributed to the local economy. Bastrop began supplying Austin with lumber in 1839 and then San Antonio, the western Texas frontier, and parts of Mexico.
A fire in 1862 destroyed most of downtown Bastrop’s commercial buildings and the county courthouse. As a result, most current downtown structures postdate the Civil War. In 1979, the National Register of Historic Places admitted 131 Bastrop buildings and sites to its listings. This earned Bastrop the title of the “Most Historic Small Town in Texas”.