© 2000, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved
Colonial Life | Coahuila y Tejas--Index


Tejano Origins

 (From a May 4, 1998 article by Dr. Andrés Tijerina)
Provided courtesy of Randall Tarin from the files of Alamo de Parras 

This article focuses on Texas between 1821 and 1836 in an effort to provide structure for an understanding of the exchange of land, power, culture, and social institutions that took place between the two frontiers during those critical years. Historians have amply recorded the battles and the Anglo-American's military, economic, and political domination of the Mexican lands. But this study attempts to document the reverse flow in this interchange. It represents an attempt to demonstrate the two-way cultural exchange within a limited scope. The purpose today is to describe the basic institutions of Tejano life and culture and then to document their transmission to the Anglo-American frontier. Thus, it should provide a foundation for the study of the early Mexican-American culture in Texas and its influence on Texans of all ethnic backgrounds. Indeed, if Texas has lived under six flags, then it is time to tell her story under the Mexican flag.  I would like to acknowledge the guidance I received from David M. Vigness, Alwyn Barr, Nettie Lee Benson, and Joe B. Frantz.  Tejanos had a significant and lasting influence in the history of Texas. They gave unique reality to the larger historical forces which were centering on Texas in the early nineteenth century. When international events brought changes to the political status of Texas, Tejanos provided a vital continuum. Their local laws gave meaning and movement to national legislation. Their culture, their lives, their problems, and their solutions contributed much to the historical character of Texas. For these reasons, Tejano society must be studied and understood within the context of the broader historical perspective of Texas.

The theme of his paper is that there was a pattern of continuum in the government of Texas as it transitioned from the Spanish flag to its Mexican government, then to the Republic of Texas, and finally to its status under the United States. To understand Tejano origins in this period, it is necessary to review Tejano society and local government in the municipalities of Texas and the legacy of the Hispanic frontera concept. It is necessary to consider the evolution of the statehood of Texas under the Mexican republic and the legacy of Tejano statesmen. These were the people who wrote the laws which defined Tejano life and invited Anglo immigration. Tejano life under the Mexican flag is what made Texas so uniquely a part of the Hispanic tradition and yet, so distinctly apart from the Anglo-Saxon.

Spanish colonial administrators had originally settled Texas as a "buffer province" for northern New Spain. The Spaniards had learned from the Iberian peninsula centuries earlier to use a buffer zone between their own settlements and those of the Moorish invaders. They had learned to control a depopulated zone, or despoblado, for defensive purposes as they steadily reconquered their lands from the Moors. The Spaniards had established armed municipalities, presidios or forts, and missions within the despoblado. These municipalities, presidios, and missions constituted the defensive borderland or frontera. A second factor unifying the Tejano frontera was the mixture of the racial groups peculiar to Tejano settlements. Soldiers stationed on the frontera integrated socially into the Tejano civilian communities, reinforcing the unity of the different regions. And finally, the racial heritage of the Tejanos reinforced the contrast between them and the Anglo-American settlers daily arriving from the United States. Indeed, in its very settlement, Texas had developed a defensive governmental structure which was described by historian Herbert E. Bolton as being "almost wholly military."1-1

In 1718, the Presidio de San Antonio de Béxar and the Mission San Antonio de Valero were established in Béxar on the San Antonio. The founders later established the missions of San José, San Juan, Concepción, and San Francisco de Espada. The Béxar population fluctuated between roughly 1,500 and 2,000 throughout the years 1805 to 1833. Further down the San Antonio River from Béxar, near the Gulf coast was Goliad. The Goliad community was very similar to Béxar, particularly in the founding of the Presidio La Bahía del Espíritu Santo and its blending into the surrounding community. La Bahía appeared more dynamic than Béxar in many ways. Ironically, La Bahía had not become an official villa until 1820. Its population, which was in the villa surrounding the presidio and on neighboring ranches, had traditionally been about half that of Béxar. But within a few years, the population of the area began an upward trend. During this time, La Bahía changed its name to Goliad. Also at this time, Goliad was joined by the new settlement of Guadalupe de Jesús Victoria, which was founded nearby.

The Goliad presidiales contributed greatly to the population, and more significantly, they provided outstanding leadership among the Tejano community in general. Indeed, a steady flow of distinguished Goliad citizens emanated from the presidio. These included Carlos de la Garza of the well-known "Carlos Rancho" and Ignacio Zaragoza, who went on to become the victorious general at the famous Mexican battle of the "Cinco de Mayo." Another very important Tejano, though seldom recognized in history, was the former commander of the presidio, Rafael Antonio Manchola. Manchola became one of the most successful Tejano statesmen in Coahuila y Texas politics. He had arrived at La Bahía in 1822, served as a state congressman, and became the Goliad ayuntamiento president in 1831. Likewise, Captain José de Jesús Aldrete had retired as the presidio commander, and established a ranch in 1821 near the presidio. The Aldrete family later went on to settle in a new village known as San Patricío.  

When the Anglo first arrived in 1821, Tejano settlement consisted of three distinct and separate regions-the Nacogdoches region, the Béxar-Goliad region along the San Antonio River, and the Río Grande ranching frontier between the Nueces River and the Río Grande. Each of these populations fluctuated independently from the others; and yet, all of them shared certain characteristics in common.  The basic factor unifying the Tejano community was the military purpose of the settlements. All Tejanos shared a military background which had developed into a strong sense of mission to defend Mexico's northern frontera.  Ranches represented a significant social element in the Béxar-Goliad region. A belt of ranches extended along much of the San Antonio River between Béxar and Goliad. The ranchero move onto ranches indicates the Tejano value for the land and ranching lifestyle as opposed to living in town. This pattern of out-migration by the wealthy was later adopted by Anglo-American settlers who would learn like the Tejanos to prefer the Tejano ranch life to Anglo urban life. 

The northern region of Tejano settlements in this period was Nacogdoches. Removed in physical distance from the Béxar-Goliad region, Nacogdoches was also distinct in character. Unlike Béxar, Nacogdoches had no major presidio to feed its bloodlines. Instead, the Nacogdoches racial and cultural structure drew as much from its French and Anglo neighbors in Louisiana as it did from Mexico far to the south. Located on a well established trade route between Mexico and the United States, Nacogdoches lacked the comfortable inertia of Bexareño society. And Nacogdoches developed more than any other Tejano settlement the ability to remove its entire populace in time of attack and return when conditions permitted. Throughout its existence, the population of Nacogdoches ebbed and flowed, evacuated but never abandoned its frontier homeland.

To the south of the original Tejano settlements lived a third population which at the turn of the century was just on the threshold of an upward thrust from the Río Grande toward the Nueces. Formerly citizens of Tamaulipas and northern Mexico, these southern rancheros became citizens of Texas by virtue of the boundary claims by Texas to the Río Grande after the Texas Revolution. More significantly, they became Tejanos by settling lands under the new headright programs of the Republic of Texas. With these headright settlers came a wave of other immigrants from Mexico. All of these people, strongly Mexican, probably thought of themselves as "Mejicanos" rather than as "Texans." Nevertheless, they were closer to the Béxar-Goliad region than Nacogdoches was. All three groups had descended from the same families and bloodlines. And in any case, they all stood across the same cultural and racial lines from the Anglo-Texans after 1836. By 1835, approximately 350 ranches existed in this region, many of which provided the foundation for future Texas towns. The major ranches included San Diego, San Juan, Palo Blanco, Agua Dulce, El Sauz, Los Olmos, San Luis, Pansacol, Zapata, San Ignacio, and Los Saenz.

One of the first major events to affect Texas in the nineteenth century occurred when she was still a province of Mexico, or New Spain. In September 1810, New Spain felt the first tremors of a movement for freedom when a Mexican priest named Miguel Hidalgo began a movement which would lead to independence from Spain. As a result of the independence movement, Texas obtained its own provincial deputation which governed it until the promulgation of the federal constitution of 1824. This new constitution ended Texas' experiment as a self-governed province by making it a department of the new state of Coahuila y Texas. 

One of the most important facets of Tejano life was the Mexican form of local government which prevailed in the years between the consummation of Mexican independence in 1821 and the Texan Revolution in 1836. That government was an essential part of Tejano life because, based as it was in the Roman tradition, it set forth a "code" for society. From this code emerged the basic political principles to which the Tejano strove to adhere in the daily governance of their community. A survey of Tejano government then provides not only a study of that political philosophy, but a structural framework of Tejano life as well.

The basic unit of Mexican government was the municipality. The jurisdiction of the municipio, as it was called, encompassed the city. But unlike a modern city, the municipality jurisdiction included the surrounding area as well, not unlike a modern American county.2   According to the dictates of the Spanish codes of the Recopilación a Spanish municipality should be governed by an ayuntamiento or city council, comprised of its own citizens. After allowing for the establishment of ayuntamientos in the older municipalities, the state government of Coahuila y Texas decreed in June, 1827, that each ayuntamiento should draw up and submit its municipal ordinances for approval in Saltillo. By 1834, all of the old Tejano municipalities had established a formal government. Each had a constitutional alcalde and the specified number of regidores. And each municipality laid out its own town plat, which was actually a square. The principal town square or plaza was in the center with perpendicular streets oriented to the four ordinal directions. Each city street as well as the plaza itself was set to standard measurements, so many varas or yards (approximately) in length and width. The east side of the plaza was designated for ecclesiastical structures such as the cathedral, the chapel, or the chancery. On the west side were the government and public buildings such as the casa capitular or state house, the customs house, and the governor's palace.3

The single most distinguishing characteristic of Tejano culture was the strong sense of community. The early Spaniards had brought with them a strong neighborhood concept of the barrio, which was reinforced, on the Texas frontera. Then as the early expeditions came in to settle Texas, the people came as whole families or communities. Some of these families grouped themselves around the early missions where they remained for decades. Others huddled around the presidio or in distant communities like Nacogdoches, where even the different races tended to be drawn together.i  To the nineteenth-century Tejano the barrio was home, and the vecindario, or neighboring populace, was family. It was not enough for municipal government to provide an alcalde as the leader of the town. Each barrio had to have its own resident comisario or "judge of the barrio." The comisarios, who saw to the social welfare and administrative matters in their respective barrios, were seen officially as the heads of these extended families. One Béxar ordinance described the comisarios as "the true Fathers of the vecindario in their respective territories."ii

Standard procedure in the management of a municipality's social functions called for the appointment of quasi-official committees, or municipal commissions. These commissions were composed of local government officials, professionals in the respective endeavor, and ordinary citizens. They were responsible for collecting funds, making necessary arrangements, and conducting the operations of the social function. One such municipal commission was the Junta Patriotica, or the Patriotic Committee. It was responsible for the operation of patriotic or civic endeavors. Their most common activities involved official celebrations, however, of such events as Constitution Day, the Feast of Corpus Christi, Christmas, Good Thursday and Friday, the Feast of San Felipe de Jesús, the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and Independence Day. Preparations for these events sent the city official busily buying the refreshments, renting a dance hall, and contracting for the musicians.

Mexican Independence Day was one of the major themes of the year. By 1825, it had been officially ordered that the 16th of September would be a national feast of "the first grito [proclamation] of independence." This celebration was a highlight of the year for Tejanos. The festivities involved a three-day celebration starting on September 15 with a torchlight parade, a cannonade and the ringing of church bells. The next day began with a solemn Te Deum mass, a day parade, speeches, and the official reenactment of the grito. Prisoners were released, troops paraded, and se-oritas were officially invited to the gran baile or grand ball, sometimes called a fandango. At the fandango, a señorita Tejana could dance and display her fine dress. The Tejana wore one of the most distinctive, though seldom recognized of Mexico's regional costumes (trajes tipicos). The formal announcement to the fandango was a colorful affair, much like a parade, called a convite or invitation. The young men of the city rode in a group on gaily decorated horses through the streets, playing the guitar and singing as they went. The third day terminated the activities with all the citizens dressed in mourning to attend a "mass for the departed."  Throughout all of these activities, the Junta Patriotica was responsible for refreshments, music, and official speeches.iii

Tejano water law also amply illustrates the Tejanos' development of local self-government. Their Hispanic background had given the Tejanos an highly developed philosophy on water management. Drawing on this tradition, the Tejanos created local water systems which they governed by basic principles of ancient law. In so doing, the Tejanos instituted the first adaptation of European civilization to the semiarid environment of Texas. More than a century later, the Anglo would add the advantages of technology to the acquisition and control of water. The result was a combination which would become one of the many distinctive traits of Texas. In fact, few institutions demonstrate as vividly as water law the historical genius of Texas for combining Mexican traditional culture with Anglo technology.

Tejano water systems included the land units along the rivers called porciones, which were elongated land tracts. They included the dams, the irrigation canals or acequias, the aqueducts, and fields—many of which still carry water today. The influence of Hispanic water philosophy is fairly common in modern Texas, where vocabulary as well as law books include such words as suerte, porción, acequia, surco, agastodero, labor, arroyo, and canoa.

Education was another major area of concern to the Tejano community. No other facet of life was so exclusively dependent on local support. Through their local Public Education Commission or the Comisión de Escuelas, Tejanos continually strived to erect a viable education system. Their objectives guided the educational efforts of later Tejano generations; and their ideals created a prototype for the successful system which Texas boasts today.

Each municipality hired its own school teachers. Béxar hired José Antonio Gama y Fonseca, Victoriano Zepeda, and Bruno Huizar.iv  Goliad had a small school which served intermittently until 1821, employing soldiers from the presidio. Laredo established its school in 1825 when it hired Juan José Salinas as the teacher for twenty pesos per month from local contributors. One of the commendable efforts was that of Nacogdoches. In 1828, the Junta Piadosa began a determined effort in the community and in the state legislature to establish a school. Their proposals stimulated the legislature to initiate a new program of land grants for education. In fact, free education was one of the major provisions of a Tejano school ordinance entitled "Ordinance Which Shall Be Observed in the Public Free Primary School Dedicated to the Instruction of the Youth of the Vicinity of Béxar." But while Tejanos strived to stabilize life in their villas, they also had to provide for law and order for the surrounding ranchland as well.

The nature of the despoblado only compounded the challenge of life on the frontera. This hinterland held valuable resources, some of which were peculiar to Texas. To exploit these, Tejanos employed the Hispanic institution of the rancho. Indeed, some historians have viewed ranching as one of the most significant institutions on the Mexican frontier. No other place in the world had as many wild longhorn or as many mustangs as South Texas by the mid-eighteenth century. Indeed, mesteña is a uniquely Tejano word in the Spanish and Mexican dictionaries. The Tejano perfected horsemanship along with the branding, the round-ups, the cattle drives, and all the other aspects which have become hallmarks of ranching in the United States today.

In their efforts to incorporate the despoblado economically, however, the Tejanos confronted all of its hostile elements. Tejanos therefore had to extend their authority outward from the municipality and onto the despoblado. By incorporating it, Tejanos tended then to combine their livelihood with their defense. Thus, as they extended the ranch into the Texas despoblado, Tejanos provided for the emergence of a rural policeman. This policeman had the authority of a rural judge. He was called the Juez de Campo. In all of its uniquely Mexican forms, this institution was to survive with ranching as an archetype in the defense of the Texas back country. The Juez de Campo served to register the brands, regulate the sale of cattle, and to arbitrate disputes among the ranchers. And in his pursuit of cattle rustlers, the Juez de Campo, Tejanos played a major role in developing a unique frontier defense unit called a compañía volante or cavalry flying squadron.

Vaqueros in hacendado dressTejanos acquired their special knowledge of offensive cavalry tactics from the military squadrons of the frontera. The most important of these units was the flying squadron or the compañía volante which defended Texas and the surrounding frontera provinces. This unique type of military squadron structure was perfected during the liberalization of the independence years in Mexico. Tejano flying squadrons developed to the authority for extended pursuit and the authority to enlist the aid of comisarios, or to deputize citizens. Effective long-range pursuit was essential on the Texas despoblado, and it was a common method used by Tejanos. Their skill with horses lent them a natural mobility. Their experience with Indians and their knowledge of the despoblado made them formidable stalkers and scouts. And finally, their military ancestry and background had nurtured in them a familiarity with military organization, cavalry tactics, and particularly, a predilection for the offensive campaign.

Undoubtedly the flying squadron had extraordinary effectiveness on the despoblado in the nineteenth century. It effectively combined the principles of mobility, incessant pursuit, and the advantages of an offensive frontier guard. Considering the characteristics-good and bad-of the Rangers in mid-nineteenth-century South Texas, it appears that the Texas Rangers could well have represented something of a connecting link between the Tejano flying squadrons of the 1830s and the Rurales of the 1890s.

As Tejanos adjusted to their status as a department of Coahuila y Texas, they participated in writing the colonization laws that invited Anglo-Americans into Texas, and they committed themselves to an unfavorable status in Mexico. As Coahuiltejanos, they saw their prosperity in the success of Anglo-American colonization. In support of this colonization, they formed a legislative policy which was at the vanguard of liberal thought in Mexico of the 1830s. Indeed, they established in this effort some of the most beneficial legal institutions of their cultural legacy for Texas and the United States, such as their law which became the model for the American Homestead Law. But, their protective attitude toward Anglo-Americans led Tejanos into direct conflict with the more conservative centralists of Mexico and eventually alienated them from the growing centralist government in Mexico City.

But even as Tejanos began to conflict with the Centralist government in Mexico, they began to conflict with their new Anglo neighbors as well. For years Tejanos alone had resisted the intrusions of Anglo-American adventurers. Their supportive attitude toward colonization struggled against a strong cultural bias which made them perceive many Anglos as crude and asocial. Tejanos thus increasingly defined themselves as an entity different from Mexico and separate from the Anglo. Although Santa Anna and the Anglo-Americans in the Texas Revolution have held center stage in the story of Texas, Tejano politics was as much a factor as Mexican centralism or Anglo rebellion in determining the course of Tejanos and Texas.

By the time their state constitution was promulgated in 1827, the Tejanos and other liberal Coahuiltejanos had committed themselves to achieving economic prosperity through their state colonization program. Tejanos collaborated with a liberal group of thinkers who were the statesmen from Parras and Monclova. José María Viesca and his brother Agustín led the group in political ideology and power. Both served in national positions as well as state. They were intellectuals who promoted liberal political and scientific thought, and their family was known in Mexico as very liberal. Their family was described as "rich, large, respectable, learned, sensible, and honorable."1-2

One of the strongest motives which Coahuiltejanos had in supporting economic enterprise, self-interest, is most evident in their efforts to sponsor the cotton industry and to attract U.S. cotton planters to Texas. In this effort, the Tejanos sponsored pro-slavery measures to induce Anglo-American immigration, and similarly established a program of land laws as a foundation for settlement and prosperity. Some, such as the homestead protection, were developed explicitly to attract southern U.S. debtors. Many of their laws were based upon ancient Hispanic tradition; others were imaginative answers to frontier imperative. Almost all of them were continued under different titles by Anglo-Americans in Texas and the United States after 1836 as the Headright Land Grants of the Republic of Texas and the Pre-Emption Land Law.

Another Coahuiltejano law, issued as Decree No. 95 on July 3, 1829, granted the state the right to establish its own territorial limits. This law became particularly important to Texas when oil was discovered in the Gulf of Mexico near the Texas coast. Thus through the implementation and development of ancient Hispanic land policies, Coahuiltejanos provided a major impetus in drawing the Anglo-American tide southward to Texas.

Nevertheless, Tejanos at this time also began to conflict with their new Anglo neighbors. In one early incident, a tense situation between DeWitt's colony and the Tejanos erupted into open conflict within a year of DeWitt's arrival. In March 1826, the Tejano leader and empresario, Martín de Leon, sued an Anglo colonist in a dispute over livestock. And in October, De Leon went to confiscate some contraband goods which Anglo colonists had hidden in DeWitt's colony. Indeed, the commander of La Bahía Presidio, Rafael Antonio Manchola, escorted De Leon with an armed troop. When the colonists heard that the Tejanos were coming and that De Leon had sworn to return with DeWitt's head, the Anglo-Americans armed themselves for resistance. An armed conflict was averted, but the incident was only the beginning of a long series of conflicts between the Anglos and Tejanos for years to come.

Tejanos were very much aware of the widening cultural gap between them and the rest of Mexico as well. As the political situation worsened after the Law of April 6, 1830, Tejanos in Bexar, Nacogdoches and Goliad drew up memorials in 1833. The Goliad memorial is perhaps the most revealing of Tejano sentiments at the time. It began with a declaration of the social contract and ended with a threat of secession by the same sanction.

"If the people who are ruled by despots are permitted the natural right of revolutionary measures against their oppression then those people, who by their own consent live under the divine republican system, have also had conceded to them by the political compact the right to petition as a primary measure which they may use toward remedying the evils which afflict them, whether those evils originate from the inertia of the laws, by the ignorance of the Legislators, or by the ineptitude of their governing officials."

In a classic Mexican phrase of protest, the Goliad leaders exhorted "Basta ya." [Enough]  The allusion to "ignorant" legislators was certainly not lost on Santa Anna. Unfortunately, however, as Tejanos protested through the chain of command within the Mexican government, Anglos under new leaders from the United States took matters into their own hands, and worked independently from Tejanos. Texas finally arose in arms, but the people of Texas stood in separate camps. With the fall of the Alamo and Goliad to Santa Anna's forces in 1836, the Tejano experiment with liberal legislation was forever at an end.

If life had been difficult for Tejanos before the coming of the Anglo-Americans, it was even more so after 1836. In 1836, Tejanos discovered that Mexican centralists presented just as much a threat to Tejano security as foreign enemies. They realized that the Texas frontera was not simply a frontier boundary or buffer zone, but a separate entity between two frontiers. The Texas Revolution and the Mexican War brought years of turmoil for Texas and for Tejanos. The Tejanos, who could claim Texas in 1820, had lost that claim by 1836. The Anglo-American population poured into Texas after the revolution, making the Tejanos a distinct minority in their native land. Tejanos remained in large enough numbers, of course, to provide a degree of continuity of their Mexican culture in Texas. Those who had held their ground during the revolution and those who returned afterward continued the process of cultural transmission to the incoming order.

The most traumatic effects of the revolution were the initial wave of racial conflict and the resulting land exchange between Anglo and Tejano. At first, men fought for political principle, but soon political principle became racial polarization as well. Tejanos quickly were forced to choose sides. Those who did not voluntarily side with Mexico were either forced to do so, or were subjected to harassment. Tejano leaders like Juan N. Seguin and Fernando de Leon of Victoria were harassed by Mexican Centralists and by Anglos as well. The entire town of Goliad was stripped of its arms and its Tejano leaders physically abused by a Mexican general in 1835. When the Texas army arrived there a year later, Anglo troops crashed, robbed, and plundered the homes, driving Tejano families out.  Similar conditions prevailed at Nacogdoches where Tejano families were continually robbed of their livestock, grain, and belongings. Many Tejanos such as Carlos de la Garza, Vicente Cordova, and eventually Juan N. Seguin turned against the militant Anglos. Hundreds of Tejano families, however, scattered onto the ranches and eventually into Coahuila and Tamaulipas. Enough Tejano families remained throughout the wars, however, and many were able to regain their lands, and even to become competitive ranchers and merchants after the Mexican War, particularly in the region south of the Nueces River.

There the campaigns of the Mexican War actually spurred the population growth along the Río Grande. The most immediate effects of General Taylor's occupation, for example, was to stimulate trade and introduce some semblance of order-albeit military-to the region. Even as the war raged in Central Mexico, the modern towns of the Río Grande region were being born. From the old ranches eventually grew the new American towns of Corpus Christi, Eagle Pass, Brownsville, Edinburgh, and Río Grande City. The San Patricío land district of Texas was finally organized into several new counties. An American diocese was created, an official census was taken, and American city governments were organized with new government officials, including some old ranchero patriarchs. By 1848, the number of Tejanos was in an upward swing, led particularly by the robust ranch frontier of the Río Grande.v

The distinctiveness of Tejano culture is in its combination of conflict and heritage. Conflict inhered in Tejano life on the frontera. From their first settlement on the Texas frontera to the post-revolutionary decades of unrest, Tejanos knew conflict in their daily lives. Defense had become a part of their unique culture. Their heritage was more than simply Mexican. It was a Mexican heritage which retained significant aspects of Indian and Spanish culture and developed under constant conditions of conflict.

The story of the Tejano culture is definitely not one of decline. The Tejano population dwindled in relation to the flood of Anglo-Americans who poured into Texas, but the Tejanos and their families remained in the Texas Republic. In fact, the strongest surge that Tejano population experienced was between San Antonio and the Río Grande after 1836. More significantly, the Tejano culture has been adopted and spread by the Anglo-Americans themselves. Because Texas was the first Mexican state settled by the Anglo-American tide, Texas probably had a greater influence initially on that westward-moving frontier. The use of words like lasso, corral, and mustang in distant western states like Wyoming and Montana indicate the extent to which the tools, techniques, and animals of the Tejanos have spread across the United States. With those tools and animals, of course, spread the laws for water, land, and resource management. Aspects of Tejano life have colored and benefited American life. The tremendous herds of Tejano cattle provided beef for a steak-and-hamburger-eating nation in its dynamic industrialization phase. And Tejano laws laid much of the foundation for a prosperous Texan society. Indeed, the history of Texas can never be complete without the story of her original founders---the Tejanos.


1-1     Herbert Eugene Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century: Studies in Spanish Colonial History and Administration (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970), 4-8.

1-2     Ildefonso Villarello Vélez, Historia de Coahuila (Saltillo, Mex.: Escuela de Coahuila, n.d.), Appendix; Barker, The Austin Papers, Vol. I, pt. 1, p. 694. 

2     C.H. Haring, The Spanish Empire in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1947), 159.  

3     For the best overall description of municipality establishment, see Gilbert R. Cruz, Let There Be Towns: Spanish Municipal Origins in the American Southwest, 1610-1810 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1988), pp. 6, 68. Coahuila y Texas, Ordnanzas [sic] municipales para el gobierno y manejo interior del ayuntamiento de la ciudad de San Antonio de Béjar (Leona Vicario, Coahuila: Imprenta del Govierno, 1829); Coahuila y Texas, Ordenanzas municipales para el gobierno y manejo interior del ayuntamiento de la villa de Goliad (Leona Vicario, Coahuila: Imprenta del Govierno, 1829); Ethel Zivley Rather, "DeWitt's Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, 8 (Oct., 1904), p. 121; Wilkinson, Laredo, p. 38.  

i     None of the Texas missions had a total population of over one hundred by the close of the eighteenth century according to the figures in BA, Texas Mission Census, Dec. 31, 1804. Although few Spaniards lived in the missions, they often outnumbered the Indian neophyte population, as seen in Missions Espada and San Juan above. For the fusion of calpulli and barrio, see MacLachlan, Tribunal of the Acordada, p. 15. 

ii     BA, Béxar Municipal Regulations, Mar. 20, 1825; Coahuila y Texas, Ordenanzas municipales de Goliad, Article 39.  

iii     BA, Gaspar Flores, "Address to the People of the Province of Texas," Dec. 5, 1824; Francisco Javier Bustillo, Receipts, Dec., 13, 1824; Gaspar Flores, Receipt, Dec. 22, 1824; List of National Holidays, June 16, 1824; Eugenio Flores to Junta Patriotica, June 24, 1828; Junta Patriotica, Proceedings, Sept. 12, 1829; José Antonio Saucedo to Juan Martín Veramendi, Sept. 24, 1825; Kennedy, Texas: The Rise, Progress, and Prospects, p. 397.  

iv     BA, Refugio de la Garza, Report, July 28, 1831; Béxar Ayuntamiento Account Book, Jan. 2, 1826; Cox, "Education in San Fernando," pp. 45-49. 

v.     Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage, VII, pp. 112-114; Seb S. Wilcox, "Laredo during the Texas Republic," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, 42 (Oct., 1938), pp. 104, 105; Frank Cushman Pierce, Texas' Last Frontier: A Brief History of the Lower Rio Grande Valley (Menasha, Wisconsin: Collegiate Press, 1917), p. 138; Stambaugh, Lower Rio Grande Valley, pp. 88-92; González, "Cameron, Starr, and Zapata Counties," p. 26; Pierce, Texas under Arms, pp. 151, 152.

© 2000, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved
Colonial Life | Coahuila y Tejas--Index