The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 25, July 1921 - April, 1922

The Southwestern IHistorical Quarterly

THE FOUNDING OF NUESTRA SENORA DEL REFUGIO,
THE LAST SPANISH MISSION IN TEXAS
WILLIAMI E. DUNN
Active research in the state and ecclesiastical archives of Spain
and Mexico during the past two decades has made it possible to
clear up many obscure periods in the history of that portion of
the United States that was formerly included in the Spanish
colonial domain. During recent years many scholarly books and
monographs have been written on a variety of themes in this
field, knowledge of which had previously been confined chiefly
to the realm of myth and tradition. Much yet remains to be
written in final form, but by means of the steady stream of docu-
mentary materials that have been obtained from foreign archives
by such institutions as the Library of Congress, the University
of Texas, and the University of California, the few remaining
gaps can now be bridged over.1
Among the interesting episodes in the history of Spanish Texas
on which very meager information in published form has been
available is that of the founding of the last of the series of mis-
sions by which the Spaniards endeavored to civilize the native
tribes in and to strengthen their hold on that province. This
belated mission, founded near the Gulf coast toward the close of
the eighteenth century and known as Nuestra Sefiora del Refugio,
represented one of the last flickers of ebbing Spanish energy and
initiative on the northeastern frontier of New Spain. So little
has been known about the history of this mission, however, that
even the date of its founding has usually been erroneously given,
while practically no details whatever have been available in re-
gard to the circumstances which led to its establishment. It is
the purpose of this paper to place on record the principal facts
1A recently published text-book on "The Colonization of North Amer-
ica" by Professors Herbert E. Bolton and Thomas M. Marshall (Mac-
millan, 1920) embodies the principal contributions that have been made
in the field of Spanish colonial history in the United States. It is the
first text-book to deal with American history from the continental rather
than the sectional point of view, and reveals the vast amount of research
that has been done in this comparatively new field.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 25, July 1921 - April, 1922. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101082/. Accessed September 18, 2014.