The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963 Page: 73
Notes and Documents
rhe frawt and First Srve of the
City of Sa# Autoio
Translated and Edited by LO TA M. SPELL
THE PECULIAR SHAPE OF THE CITY OF SAN ANTONIO as pre-
sented in the 1849 survey by the first city engineer has
never been satisfactorily accounted for. During the nine-
teenth century, the congress of the republic and the legislature,
district courts, and the supreme court of the state, as well as many
individuals, puzzled over the original boundary line of this--the
first city established in Texas. The mystery is solved by the report
of the execution in 1731 of orders issued by the king of Spain
and the viceroy of Mexico for the establishment of the villa of
San Fernando de Bexar.x The document not only clears up the
boundary problems but gives many interesting details of the
arrival and settlement on the west bank of the San Antonio River
of the sixteen families of Canary Islanders who made up the first
group of settlers.
As early as 1723 the king of Spain, in his desire to prevent
the encroachment of the French in the territory presently included
in the state of Texas, issued orders for the transportation of four
hundred families from the Canary Islands and other points, but
this order seems never to have been carried out. A similar order,
issued in 1729, resulted in the transportation of a group of Canary
Islanders to the port of Veracruz, from which point the party
traveled overland by way of Mexico City to Cuauhtitlan, where
a halt was made before the long journey northward was begun.
From the minute description of each member of the party,
made by order of the viceroy during the halt at Cuauhtitlan, it is
possible to picture the first settlers of San Antonio. The first family
'The original of this grant and survey was found among the heaps of manu-
scripts in the Public Library of Guadalajara by its Director, Luis M. Rivera. Realiz-
ing its historical importance, he called it to the attention of the editor of the
Gaceta Municipal of that city, who published it in Vol. IV, No. 11 (December 15,
192o). This translation of the transcription was made shortly afterward, but was
mislaid among other papers and only lately came to light.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963, periodical, 1963; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/m1/87/ocr/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.