VOL. XXXVI JULY, 1932 No. 1
The publication committee and the editors disclaim responsibility for views expressed
by contributors to THE QUARTERLY
FORERUNNERS OF CAPTAIN DE LEON'S EXPEDITION
TO TEXAS, 1670-1675*
FRANCIS BORGIA STECK, O. F. M.
During the mid-seventeenth century, mining enterprises and
punitive expeditions against marauding savages brought Spaniards
from central Mexico into northern Coahuila and across the Rio
Grande into modern Texas.' As Professor Herbert E. Bolton
correctly observes, central and eastern Texas would have been occu-
pied sooner or later by Spain "even in the absence of foreign
aggression."2 For several decades prior to the expedition of Alonso
de Le6n into eastern Texas, the Spaniards of Mexico were pursuing
friendly relations with Indian tribes in northern Coahuila and on
the banks of the Rio Grande below the Pecos. Repeatedly these
tribes petitioned the Spanish authorities to establish missions and
settlements in their country where, they declared, material resources
were rich and numerous Indians were eager to become Christians
and vassals of Spain. Steps to meet their petition were finally
taken in 1673, in which year also the conversion of these tribes
was entrusted to the Franciscans of the Province of Jalisco, some
of whose members had already been active among them. Most
*This paper, since revised and amplified, was read in April, 1932, at the
annual meeting of the Texas State Historical Association.
'In 1665, for instance, Fernando de Azcu6, alcalde mayor of Saltillo, led
an expedition across the Rio Grande into Texas. His purpose was to
chastise a band of Cataxtle Indians. See C. E. Castaileda, "Earliest
Catholic Activities in Texas" in The Catholic Historical Review (XVII,
Oct., 1931), Reprint, p. 9.-As to early mining enterprises, see H. E.
Bolton, "The Spanish Occupation of Texas, 1519-1690" in The Southwestern
Historical Quarterly (XVI, July, 1912, pp. 13-14).
2H. E. Bolton, "The Spanish Occupation of Texas, 1519-1690"-loc. oit.,
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101093/. Accessed July 13, 2014.