Education in rexas during the
Spanish and M eican Periods
TEXAS was occupied by Spain primarily as a military
outpost to counteract the threat of French expansion
from Louisiana into Mexico. Throughout the Spanish
period, its chief function continued to be that of a barrier. The
missions were an integral part of this military policy. The In-
dians were to be Christianized, domesticated, and prepared for
the pueblo system. As the Indians came under Spanish dom-
ination, they were to be utilized as a fighting force, should the
necessity arise. The Indians were to be gathered around the
missions by force if necessary.
Every mission had an industrial school for instruction in the
practical arts of industry and agriculture. Fulfillment of a daily
religious routine was required, and a special Indian catechism
was adopted. The Indians also learned the Spanish language,
since it was used for all instruction.
The first of these mission centers was established in 1690o in
the area of the present town of Crockett. Within the next few
years, twenty-five or more missions were started in East Texas.
To a large extent, they were forts and were usually garrisoned.
In time interest in the missions waned. Despite a temporary
renaissance during 1720-1722, the missions fell gradually into
disuse. Because of the wild character of the Texan Indians and
the remoteness of the province from the more settled regions
of Central Mexico, the missions achieved no permanent results
in pacifying or educating the aborigines. From 1790 onwards
the missions were gradually secularized, their lands divided, and
efforts toward Christianizing and civilizing the Indians aban-
A permanent white population had, however, settled in Texas,
principally around the larger garrisons. The first such civilian
settlement was founded at San Fernando de Bexar (San Antonio)
in 1718. In 1805 the Tribunal del Consulado estimated the
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101119/. Accessed February 1, 2015.