The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907 Page: 2
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Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
was destined to contribute materially to the ultimate overthrow of
this empire. The fact that the final blow was delayed until a new
nation could administer it was due not to any lack of strength in
the situation of the colony, but to the peculiar social and political
ties that under Le Grand Monarque and his immediate successor
bound France to Spain. For this reason certain phases of Louis-
iana's territorial history under the Bourbon kings of France and
Spain are of importance, even if resulting in no definite limits
for the province, since they indicate in a general way what the
ultimate determination of those limits must be.
From their position at the mouth of the Mississippi the intrusive
French faced a double competition in their attempt to control the
surrounding Indians. Within less than a century the anvil of
Spanish conservatism, ineffectual but dogged, and the hammer of
English expansion crushed French control of the Mississippi, and
that great river became the unavailing barrier between the Power
of the Past and the Power of the Future. When the latter changed
its national designation, but not its stock characteristics, European
diplomacy offered the new nation an opportunity to make the vast
interior of the continent a political as well as a geographical unit.
Then the thin line of fortifications and settlements that imper-
fectly marked the western limit of France's colonial empire again
sprang into international importance. For this reason a compre-
hensive view of the early history of the Louisiana-Texas frontier
is necessary to a proper appreciation of the events following 1803.
By the middle of the sixteenth century Cabeza de Vaca had per-
formed his wonderful journey across the continent; while De Soto
and Moscoso in the east and Coronado in the west, unconsciously
carrying their explorations nearly to the same point, had pen-
etrated far into the interior and formed the basis for future claims
to the region away from the coast.' By the end of the century
Spanish power was strongly established in New Mexico, but to the
east it was still far south of the Rio Grande Valley. Spanish
writers believed, however, even at this period, that by means of
inter-tribal communication Spanish influence penetrated from New
'Bandelier, The Journey of Alvar Nuiiez Cabeza de Vaca; Bourne, Nar-
ratives of the Career of Hernando de Soto; both in the Trail Maker's
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 10, July 1906 - April, 1907, periodical, 1907; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101040/m1/10/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.