Texas Almanac, 1952-1953 Page: 38
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
38 TEXAS ALMANAC.-1952-1953.
Planting of the French Flag.
The-wanderings of these Spanish adventur-
ers had raised above the soil of Texas the
first of the six flags to fly over it. The sec-
ond flag, that of France, came with the
landing of Rene Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la
Salle, in 1685. According to the announced
purpose of La Salle's expedition, it was to
have established a French settlement at the
mouth of the Mississippi. Possibly La Salle
was driven on the Texas coast by adverse
winds. There is also evidence that he sailed
past the mouth of the Mississippi for the
deliberate purpose of establishing a French
post within striking distance of Spanish oper-
ations in northern Mexico. He, too, had
heard of the Seven Cities of Cibola.
Landing at the head of Lavaca Bay, La
Salle established Fort Saint Louis from which
he made a number of expeditions, some to
the westward apparently in search of the
gold and silver mines of the Spaniards, and
later to the eastward in search of the Missis-
sippi. La Salle was killed by one of his own
men during an expedition in 1687. The place
of the explorer's death is usually fixed at a
site near present Navasota. After the leader's
death the colony at Fort Saint Louis was
soon destroyed by- disease and Indians. Its
establishment in Texas had little direct re-
sults. Indirectly it had a permanent influence
on the chain of historic cause-and-effect, be-
cause it alarmed the Spaniards in Mexico
and made them give serious thought to the
matter of establishing settlements in the
great region north of the Rio Grande.
THE MISSIONS-SPANISH DOMINION
Until La Salle's venture into Texas the
Spanish civil and military authorities in Mex-
ico had directed their northward expeditions
into the basin of the Upper Rio Grande in
New Mexico. It was in this region, according
to persistent rumor, that the Seven Cities
of Cibola could be found. The priesthood,
knowing of the great Indian population of
the Texas coastal region, had urged that
settlements be made in this area for the pur-
pose of spreading the Christian religion. The
military authorities little heeded these ap-
peals until the French under La Salle gave
them reasons, other than -those offered by
the priests, for wanting to plant Spanish
sovereignty firmly in this territory.
Early East Texas Missions.
In 1689 an expedition by Capt. Alonso de
Leon, Governor of Coahuila, set out to find
and destroy Fort Saint Louis. The expedition
was accompanied by Father Massanet, whose
purpose was to establish a mission in Texas.
The abandoned Fort Saint Louis was discov-
ered in 1690, and the expedition of De Leon
proceeded eastward as far as the Neches
The first East Texas mission, San Fran-
cisco de los Tejas, was established near the
Neches, probably at a point near the present
town of Weches, in the northeastern part of
Houston County. This was in 1690, and a
little later in the same year the mission
Santisimo Nombre de Maria was established
near by. These missions were maintained by
a handful of soldiers and priests until 1693.
Fear of French infiltration from Louisiana
gradually subsided after the destruction of
Fort Saint Louis, and Spanish effort in Texas
The Naming of Texas.
One lasting development came out of this
expedition, however-the naming of Texas.
Up to this time there had been no name for
the approximate present area of Texas.
Mention has been made of Amichel, the name
applied by Pineda to the hinterland north
of the Gulf including present Texas. Other
early Spanish maps included in Florida all of
the land from the Cape of Florida to the Rio
de las Palmas (Rio Grande). Another early
designation, which was more nearly co-exten-
sive with the present bounds of Texas. was
Apacheria (Land of the Apaches), and the
name Nueva Felipinas (New Philippines) was
sometimes applied to the coastal territory on
both sides of the Rio Grande. Quivira was
still another name applied vaguely to the
territory north of the Rio Grande. In some
early references, Llano Estacado is applied
to a wide area of Central and West Texas.
though it now applies properly only to the
During the expedition of Captain De Leon
and Father Massanet, so the story goes, an
Indian was asked the name of his tribe, to
which he replied "Tejas." Apparently the
word, meaning friends or allies, referred to
an intertribal confederacy of the Hasinal
Caddoes. The exact meaning of the word, and
the exact procedure by which it came to be
applied to the region by the Spaniards prob
ably will never be known. It is noteworthy.
however, that Tejas or Texas has the same
stem used in the formation of the names of
a large number of Caddo tribes.
Probably the most definite thing that can
be said about the origin of the word "Texas"
is that it was an intertribal name or watch-
word of the Caddoes and first came into use
as the result of the expedition of De Leon
and Father Massanet. While the application
of the name to the territory is dated from
the expedition of De Leon and Massan et in
1689-90, it is interesting that Spanish explor-
ers applied the name "Teyas" to the Indians
of North Texas (probably the Wichita Cad-
does) a century and a half earlier.
Upper Rio Grande Missions.
It is interesting that the long sweep of
Texas from the Sabine to the Rocky Moun-
tains intersected two widely divergent routes
of Spanish missionary activity. Even before
the founding of San Francisco de los Tejas,
several missions had been established in the
Upper Texas Rio Grande Valley, along the
route of communication between Mexico City
and Spanish mission and military activities
in the upper valley around Santa Fe, New
Mexico. Thus, while the advance of civiliza-
tion in Texas has. been primarily from east
to west, nevertheless the very first stirrings
of religious and cultural effort were in the
extreme west. According to most dependable
historic records, the oldest missions in Texas
were San Antonio de los Tiguas, 1682, later
known as Nuestra Senora del Carmen, and
San Miguel del Socorro, 1682, in present El
Paso County, a short distance southeast of
El Paso. These missions were established in
connection with the settlement of Ysleta del
Sur and Socorro del Sur, mentioned pre-
viously as the oldest communities in Texas.
Several missions including Julimes and San
Cristobal were established in what is now
Presidio County near the junction of the Rio
Grande and Rio Conchos about 1683. Research
by Dr. Carlos E. Castaneda of the University
of Texas has revealed much additional infor-
mation about the mission activity in this
interesting locality, which must be listed as
one of the historic landmarks of Texas. The
location of the little city of Presidio, opposite
the mouth of the Rio Conchos on the Rio
Grande, probably was the site of an Indian
village for hundreds of years before the
coming of white men.
Other West Texas missions were estab-
lished as offshoots of missionary effort in the
Upper Rio Grande Valley, the farthest east
being that of San Clemente, 1683, located
probably near the junction of the Colorado
and Concho Rivers in Runnels or Concho
St. Denis-Spanish Look Eastward Again.
After subsidence of Spanish alarm over the
founding of Fort Saint Louis and the aban-
Here’s what’s next.
This book can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Book.
Texas Almanac, 1952-1953, book, 1951; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117137/m1/40/: accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.