The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946 Page: 342
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
of San Antonio and Nacogdoches, which have been available
to students of history for years, have proved to be sources of
invaluable historical material.
The territory between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande
was a part of the province of Nuevo Santander under Spain
and of the state of Tamaulipas under Mexico. It will thus be
seen that the lower valley section of the Rio Grande was gov-
erned by a separate and distinct set of officials, under both
Spain and Mexico, and did not actually become a part of the
state of Texas until the close of the Mexican War, when the
Rio Grande was established as the southern boundary of the
United States by the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848. As
a consequence, Laredo, the only town then established in this
section north of the Rio Grande, received her decrees and laws
from Nuevo Santander under Spain and Tamaulipas under
Mexico, prior to coming under the government of the state of
For many years the Spanish Archives of Laredo were lost
to the student of history. Even their whereabouts was un-
known. It is doubtful whether prior to 1934 they were ever
examined by anyone other than an abstractor interested only
in land titles. Since boyhood days, the writer has been inter-
ested in Texas history. After listening to the early stories of
Laredo, he began collecting data on everything pertaining to
the history of the old town. According to common knowledge
the Spaniards were accustomed to set down on paper, and thus
preserve, a record of the conduct of their local government,
and it was certain that there were or had been archives of
the old town. In the course of efforts to locate these old
documents, there came to light an Act of the Legislature ap-
proved February 1, 1850, ordering the transfer of "all books.
papers, documents, or other property," in the county clerk's
office, "which formerly belonged to the town of Laredo," to the
city council.' This was the first clue to the whereabouts of the
original Spanish Archives of the ancient Villa de San Agustin
de Laredo. A search in the city secretary's office failed to dis-
close anything other than a recorded copy and translation of a
portion of the General Visita, the original charter of Laredo,
dated in 1767.2 But patient search in the county clerk's office
'H. P. N. Gammel, Laws of Texas, III, 533.
2Acta de la General Visita al Pueblo de San Agustin de Laredo, gen-
erally referred to as "General Visita of Laredo," Archivo General, Mex-
ico; copy and translation in city secretary's office, Laredo, also in Uni-
versity of Texas Library, and in General Land Office, Austin.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946, periodical, 1946; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146056/m1/397/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.