The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972 Page: 462
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
stationed at Querdtaro, who between 1749 and 1755 established some
twenty-four villages that still exist today. By the time the Count
of Sierra Gorda, as he was titled, died in 177o, he had laid the hand
of Spain firmly over the broad region."
Or had he? Escand6n had organized the colony along military lines,
placing officers in control of local governments. He justified this
procedure as accomplishing the original goals of bringing to peace
the Indians who resided in the Sierra Gorda and Tamaulipa moun-
tains and of protecting the coastline. But his approach to government
was questioned, and political attacks were launched against him that
ultimately forced his recall to the viceregal court in Mexico City
to defend himself against charges of autocratic action. During his
absence interim appointees governed the colony. One of these, Juan
Fernando de Palacios, who was commissioned as an "official visitor"
with powers to innovate, established a more civilian-oriented gov-
ernment. He also introduced the flying company (compa~ita volante)
to maintain military defense in the more flexible political situation.'
But dangers continued and complaints of inadequate defense did also.
Indian threats came generally from the mountains in the south
and south-central region and from the broad plains in the north-
western and northern edge of the province. Escand6n had broken
up the resistance, to a large extent, among Indians in the Sierra
Gorda prior to his entrance into the Nuevo Santander area in 1749.
But the inhabitants of the other mountain groups, located in the
south-central area, continued to vex the Spaniards. Those Indians,
forced to abandon their valleys and plains and ascend the sierra as
the Spaniards approached, sallied from almost inaccessible retreats
to maraud, pillage, and kill with a fury and frequency that demanded
a positive response. Early missionary activity had proved inadequate
to the task of diminishing the hostility.
On the northern edge of the colony the Plains Indians began
making their presence felt. Chief among the nations were the Apaches,
Lipans, and Comanches. Ordinary settlers living on the northern
3The best account of the founding of Nuevo Santander is Lawrence F. Hill, Josd de
Escanddn and the Founding of Nuevo Santander: A Study in Spanish Colonization (Col-
umbus, Ohio, 1926).
'Gabriel Saldivar, Historia compendiada de Tamaulipas (Mexico City, 1945), 129. The
colony had been visited officially by Captain Jos6 Tienda de Cuervo and by Ingeniero
Agustin L6pez de la Camara Alta in 1757 and by Palacios, accompanied by Josd Osorio y
Llamas in 1768. The latter two were hostile to Escand6n's interests. Ibid., 98-99.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972, periodical, 1972; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101201/m1/474/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.