The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898 Page: 11
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History of Texas Geography.
assertion of French dominion in 1682, and the permanent occupa-
tion and use which followed after 1699, severed the claim of Spain
to what was then called Florida. With this, perhaps the most im-
portant event in the history of the geography of the American con-
tinent, properly begins the history of the geography of Texas. Two
hundred years had now elapsed since the discovery of Columbus.
The splendid empire over which Charles V. and Philip II. had
reigned had now dwindled into a second-rate monarchy, and the
pretentious claims of Spain in the western world had been curtailed
by certain international laws to whose operations she had been sub-
jected by the nations of Europe. Her claims had been gradually
pushed down to the southern border of the continent, and France
now stood an impassable barrier between her possessions east and
west of the Mississippi river. Florida had now lost its identity west
of the Mississippi, and held a most slender tenure north of the 31st
parallel and west of the Perdido river.
In parcelling out the American continent among the nations of
Europe, two international laws had come to be regarded as binding:
One provided that occupancy of the continent at the mouth of a
river emptying into the sea entitled the occupant to all country
drained by that river; the other provided that when two nations
made discoveries on the same coast, the middle distance between
them became the boundary. Under the former, France acquired
her title to all the Mississippi river watershed, a title disputed later
in other regions, and by virtue of other claims, the merits of which
are immaterial to our subject.
La Salle named the country discovered, Louisiana. The French
colony located there grew and prospered to such a degree that An-
toine Crozat, the merchant prince of his day, sought and obtained
the privilege of its exclusive commerce in 1714, and engaged St.
Denis in furthering the enterprise. The establishment of a trade
with Mexico enlisted the energies of St. Denis, and he soon began
to project plans for a commercial connection with the inhabitants
of that distant region. His first step was the establishment of a
trading post at Natchitoches, on Red river. From that point he
had surveyed and marked out a highway from Natchitoches to the
Rio Grande, conspicuous in the subsequent history of the country
as the "old San Antonio road." He visited the authorities of Mex-
ico on the Rio Grande, and his negotiations finally resulted in the
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 1, July 1897 - April, 1898, periodical, 1897/1898; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101009/m1/21/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.