The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

SILENT YEARS IN TEXAS HISTORY
C. E. CASTANEDA
Like a blinding flash, like a bolt out of a clear sky came the
news of La Salle's colony in Texas. It electrified Spanish officials
both in Spain and in America. The daring of the French attempt
called forth superhuman efforts. The little settlement on Garcitas
Creek was considered "a menace which threatened the safety of
the Indies and of the whole Spanish empire." No sooner was the
news transmitted to the viceroy in Mexico by special courier from
Vera Cruz than an expedition was immediately ordered to search
the Gulf coast and find the intruders. Within three months after
the capture of the French corsair in 1685, off the coast of Campeche,
when, through the declaration of one of the prisoners, it became
known that an attempt to establish a settlement in Texas had been
made by the unfortunate La Salle, a maritime and a land expedi-
tion were ordered to find the French settlement. Before a year
passed three different expeditions were undertaken by land and sea
to search for the little colony. Then followed in rapid succession
the De Le6n and Terim expeditions and the first official occupation
of Texas became an accomplished fact with the establishment of a
presidio and several missions.2
Up to this time casual references to Texas and the various tribes
that roamed over its vast expanse is all that we find in the docu-
ments and accounts of that time, but from the appearance of
La Salle the history of Texas becomes audible. The woods resound
with the activity of the missionaries and the soldiers, and a new era
is noisily heralded, as it were, by the ill-starred La Salle and the
followers of De Le6n.
For five years, from 1689 to 1694, the story is filled with details,
with dramatic interest, with the sorrow and pathos of the survivors
of the little French colony, with the patient, nay, heroic efforts of
the missionaries against adversity and against the indifference of
'Consulta de la Junta de Guerra, A. G. I., Audiencia de Mexico, 61-6-20
(Dunn Transcripts, 1685-88).
2For a detailed account of how the news was obtained of the La Salle
expedition and the strenuous efforts made by Spanish officials to locate and
drive out the French from Texas see Dunn, Spanish and French Rivalry
in the Gulf Coast Region of the United States.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117143/. Accessed April 28, 2016.

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