The first Europeans immigrants in Texas arrived involuntary November 6, 1528. They landed involuntarily, most likely on San Luis a small island just west of Galveston Island.
When Spanish arrived in Texas, they turned the Caddo word ‘techas’, which means “friend”, into ‘Tejas’ and began to use their word as the name for the entire group of Indians. The transition from ‘Tejas’ to “Texas” cam easily – since x and j have the same pronunciation in Spanish like English h -and appeared as early as 1689. Texas thus derived its name from a Caddo word, and the states’s motto, “Friendship”, still reflects that heritage.
The first European colonists to arive in the present Texas were the French in 1684-1685. Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur da la Salle brought the first group of 200 settlers. Unfortunately their expedition ended as a total disaster. The French expedition brought the attention of government of Spain to Texas.
Beginning with 1690 Spanish interest grew and the viceroy in Mexico City ordered the move to bring Christianity to Indians and prevent any future incursions by French.
Mission San Francisco de los Tejas established in 1682 was the first Spanish settlement in Texas. The goal was to bring Christianity to the Indians.
On January 23, 1691, the viceroy in Mexico City named Domingo Teran de los Rios as the first governor of Texas. The viceroy did not delineate specific boundaries for Texas. Through the province history as part of the New Spain, it began somewhere north of the Rio Grande , but in such unsettled region no exact line was necessary.
The relations between Hasinais Indians and the Spanish missionary deteriorated, and on top of that the heat and drought were killing the livestock, failed crops and epidemic diseases just brought the the end to this mission.
For 20 years after the retreat from Mission San Francisco de los Tejos in 1693, Spain did not engage in any important activity in Texas.
On May 1st 1718 spanish missionaries foundaded in central Texas a mission – San Antonio de Valero – that will become famous as the Alamo more than a hundred years later. A few days later Presidio San Antonio de Bexar was established a mile west of the mission.
In March 1722 the largest expedition ever enetered Texas from New Spain: 500 men, 2,800 horses, 4,800 head of cattle, and 6,400 sheep and goats. The expedition built a new presidio in east Texas at Los Adaes, which has been staffed with 100 soldiers. Los Adaes became the capital of Spanish Texas and remained until 1779
The first census of Spanish settlements, taken in 1777, enumerated a total population of 3,103. Approximately half of these were considered Spaniards (most of them born in America), Indians (mostly Coahuiltcans converts) constituted a quarter of the total; and those of mixed race such as mestizos (of Spanish and Indian parentage) and mulattoes (of Spanish and African parentage) amounted to nearly another quarter. There were only 20 slaves, mostly of African descent.
Information from ‘Gone To Texas’ book by Randolph B. Campbell
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