Spanish Archives of Laredo

About the Archives

The Spanish Archives of Laredo, informally called the Laredo Archives, cover a period from 1749 to 1872 and consist of 3,452 handwritten official documents totaling 13,343 pages.

Although the first document is dated 1749, the bulk of the collection begins in 1768, with the Spanish crown's granting of a charter for Laredo. The Spanish papers in the archives contain records of boundary surveys; land allotments; Indian raids; church, school, and social development; royal decrees and edicts; local laws and ordinances; civil and criminal litigation; census, tax, and trade statistics; and wills and estate settlements. This portion of the collection extends through the end of Mexican Texas in 1846, signaled by a document signed by Mirabeau B. Lamar, who commanded the American forces occupying Laredo.

The remainder of the collection covers the period between 1846 and 1872 and consists of a few documents, written mostly in English, relating to the affairs of the city and county. The documents of the Laredo archives are in chronological order. The documents range in size from a portion of a page to many pages.

After saving the documents from an order to destroy them, Sebron Sneed Wilcox and others spent years working to reverse the deterioration and put them in order. Those who have had access to the original documents have produced articles, books, and indexes about Laredo history and culture, census information, genealogy, conflict with Native American tribes and what life was like during the growth and development of this frontier town.

Indexes

From 1993 through 2005, Brother Robert D. Wood created seven indexes that listed the microfilm and file location, date and contents of the Archives and serve as the main finding aids for this collection. In 2015 the University of North Texas digitized the seven indexes and they are currently available on The Portal of Texas History. These indexes include a comprehensive index, Indexes to the Laredo Archives, along with indexes that focus on specific aspects of the collections:

Many of these indexes also include some translation (from Spanish into English) of the documents.

Acknowledgements

This collection is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (Texas State Library and Archives Commission). (2017)

Digitization of the Spanish Archives of Laredo was made possible through a TexTreasures grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and access is provided by The Portal to Texas History and the University of North Texas.



At a Glance