Bexar: Profile of a Tejano Community,
JESS F. DE LA TEJA AND JOHN WHEAT*
M EXICANS SETTLED TEXAS A FULL CENTURY BEFORE THE FIRST
Anglo-American colonists arrived. Anglo-American settlement
began with the Mexican period of Texas history (1821-1836), a period
in which Mexican Texans, or Tejanos, witnessed many significant
changes in their region. By 1832, three years before the revolutionary
struggle in Texas began, these changes had both fueled the Tejanos' as-
pirations and frustrated their attempts to realize them. A major state-
ment in 1832 by Tejano leaders, reviewing their experience under the
Mexican republic, was a critical event in the history of Mexican Texas.
Yet historians have largely neglected the Tejano experience of this pe-
riod and focused instead on the story of Anglo-American colonization
and revolution.' In part this neglect stems from the traditional Anglo
bias in Texas historical writing, coupled with a language barrier that
has prevented many historians from using essential Mexican sources.
On the eve of the Texas Sesquicentennial, which commemorates the
passing of that era, it is important to understand the world of the native
Mexican communities of Texas, their people and institutions, their pat-
terns of community life, and their view of the broader world.
Chief among these communities was the capital, San Antonio de
Bexar, commonly known during this period as Bexar. Established by
*Jestis F. de la Teja is assistant archivist at the Texas General Land Office, where he is cur-
rently working on an inventory and calendar of the Spanish- and Mexican-period records of
the agency. He is also conducting research on social structure and land tenure in colonial San
Antonio for his Ph.D. dissertation in history at the University of Texas at Austin.
John Wheat has been archives translator at the Barker Texas History Center at the University
of Texas at Austin since 1978. In that time he has completed twenty-one volumes of Bexar Ar-
chives Translations. A professional archivist/librarian, historian, and Latin American area spe-
cialist, he has taught in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at UT, Austin,
served as a translator and interpreter of Spanish, and produced Spanish-language radio pro-
grams and concerts.
'Two unpublished works dealing with Tejanos during the Mexican Republic and early state-
hood years are Andrew A. Tijerina, "Tejanos and Texas: The Native Mexicans of Texas,
1820-1850" (Ph.D. diss., University of Texas at Austin, 1977); and Fane Downs, "History of
Mexicans in Texas, 1820o-1845" (Ph.D. diss., Texas Tech University, 1970). See also Arnoldo De
Le6n, The Tejano Community, x836-1900oo (Albuquerque, 1982), 1-22.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117151/. Accessed December 11, 2013.