The beginnings of Spanish settlement in the lower Rio Grande Valley




Crawford, Polly Pearl

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The present study constitutes a chapter in the history of the establishment of Spanish dominion in North America. It deals with the occupation of the Rio Grande Valley in the middle of the eighteenth century, as a result of the advance of Spanish conquest into the coast region lying between Tampico and Matagorda Bay. There is a regrettable lack of published information on the history of this region. Up to the present time the longest account in English, about twenty pages, is found in Bolton's Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century; the longest account in Spanish, about sixty pages, is in Prieto's Historia de Tamaulipas. The excuse for the present study lies in the abundance of manuscript materials in the archives of Spain and those of Mexico, Seccion de Historia and Provincias Internas, bearing on the subject. Practically complete transcripts of these documents are now available at the University of Texas. No fewer than five thousand pages have been used in this study. These records not only give interesting information on Spanish activities in the Rio Grande Valley but they reveal Jose de Escandon as one of the greatest and most successful European colonizers in the western hemisphere