Cke Spanish Archkives
SE B. S. WILCOX
AREDO is one of the few cities in the present state of Texas
which have archives dating back to the time of Spanish
control. Laredo, founded in 1755, is the only town on the lower
Rio Grande established under Spain that has had continuous
city government until the present time. Located on a high
bluff overlooking the Rio Grande and on the highway from the
interior provinces of Coahuila and Nuevo Reyno de Leon to
the frontier province of Texas, Laredo was destined to become
the logical gateway between two countries and two civilizations.
The story of the growth of Laredo, as revealed by the Span-
ish Archives of the town, is divided into two distinct periods,
Spanish and Mexican. The Spaniards endured the primitive
hardships and built the village in the wilderness in the period
from 1755 to 1820. The Mexicans, although the first hardships
of the pioneer days were over, had a much harder fight for
existence than either the earlier Spaniards or the later Ameri-
cans. The Mexican period of Laredo's history extended from
1821 to 1846, a short twenty-five years, but it was a time of al-
most continuous struggle with the barbarous Indian, coupled
with the hardships of war and the quartering and maintenance
of armies passing back and forth from the interior of Mexico to
the eastern province of Texas.
Before going into a discussion of the Spanish Archives of
Laredo, it may be well to give a brief outline of their history.
Texas under Spanish and Mexican governments comprised the
territory embraced in that portion of the present state north
and east of the Nueces River. The western boundary of the
territory ran approximately seventy miles north of Laredo.
Under Mexico the province was combined with Coahuila to
form the state of Coahuila and Texas. By this arrangement
there were three central points of government in the depart-
ment of Texas: San Antonio, Nacogdoches, and La Bahia del
Espiritu Santo. San Antonio and Nacogdoches continued as
centers of government until the close of the Texas Revolution,
but La Bahia ceased to function much earlier. The archives
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146056/. Accessed April 18, 2014.