The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 29, July 1925 - April, 1926 Page: 85
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Early Art of Terrestrial Measurement and Its Practice 85
it. After their experiences in such matters had accumulated the
Spaniards, through the "Council of the Indies," prescribed a
standard procedure for the laying out of a town, and, for that
matter, laid down laws for nearly every other conceivable colonial
emergency. These rules were contained in a voluminous work,
called "Recopilacidn de las Leyes de los Indias."
There is of record the detailed instructions given the surveyor
at San Antonio in 1730 for staking out a villa for the coming
immigrants from the Canary Islands. Contained in these instruc-
tions can be recognized some of the principles of modern town
planning. The surveyor was told to arrange the streets so as to
bear North 450 East and North 450 West, the intention probably
being to have streets shaded in the summer, and protected in the
winter from the cold north winds. He was told first to establish a
plaza, or square, of certain dimensions, providing space on the east
for a church, on the west for a garrison and other public buildings.
A location for a customs house was to be left on the south. This
plaza was to be the civic center. The surveyor was further ordered
to lay out blocks about 240 feet square, one block for each family.
He should plow a furrow around the boundaries of each block, and
plant willows and other trees therein for their beauty, as well as
to mark the land. As an additional precaution for monumenting
the property he was to bury a stone exactly in the center of each
block. The immediate environs of the city he should set aside
for commons; beyond these he should stake out certain areas for
In 1793 another noteworthy distribution of lands took place in
Texas, when the missions at San Antonio were secularized. The.
Captain General ordered the mission lands subdivided and awarded
in fee to the mission Indians and other citizens. The Spanish
engineer who surveyed these lands or "suertes" was Pedro Huizar,
a kinsman of the architect Huizar, who is credited with the
sculpture of the San Jos6 mission.
The Spanish system of land measure was introduced into the
new world. It is still important in Spanish-American countries
and along the southern border of the United States. Documents,
appearing in many chains of title to land, make use of this system.
A brief description is given of the more common terms found
therein of Spanish origin.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 29, July 1925 - April, 1926, periodical, 1926; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117141/m1/99/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.