Saturday, March 1, 2008

Welcome to La Escuelita De Dee: The History of South Texas, Volume 1, Chapter 1

Welcome to La Escualita de Dee. Today, we are discussing the History of Southern Texas. Everyone thinks they know this, however, most do not.
MSN Encyclopedia:
The Republic of Texas, which existed for almost ten years before becoming part of the United States, was beset by many problems, principally financial ones. Although Texas had much land, until it was farmed by settlers little money would be available. To farm the land, however, white settlers would have to remove the native inhabitants by force. The first Texas election took place in September 1836, and Sam Houston defeated Stephen Austin to become the first president of the new Republic of Texas. Although the new republic was recognized by the United States and by several European countries, Mexico refused to recognize it, arguing that the treaty signed by Santa Anna claimed territory that was not part of the original state of Tejas. The republic asserted that the Río Grande from its mouth to its source was the western boundary of the new country, which would have given Texas parts of present-day New Mexico and Colorado. Mexico maintained that the southern boundary of Texas should be the Nueces River and not the Río Grande. In 1841 a trading expedition of Texans was sent to Santa Fe as the first step in a plan to secure the western boundaries of Texas. The group was captured by Mexican troops, and the captives were forced to march to Mexico City, where the survivors of the march were imprisoned. Mexican soldiers also periodically crossed into Texas and for short periods occupied San Antonio, Goliad, and Refugio. Finally, in February 1844, the Republic of Texas and Mexico signed an armistice. Difficulties with Mexico did not prevent more land grants to those who settled in the Republic of Texas. The population increased from an estimated 35,000 to 50,000 in 1821 to between 125,000 and 150,000 in 1836. German immigrants settled in central Texas, and other Europeans also established colonies. Most of the settlers had come from the United States to get the free land Texas was offering. Most of these new settlers joined Houston and his political supporters, who wanted the United States to annex the republic. As the land was settled, Native Americans were forced out. During the Texas Revolution, Houston had negotiated a treaty with the Cherokee that reserved lands in east Texas for the Cherokee. Texans had not approved the agreement, and now the republic refused to honor it. As settlers moved in, some Cherokee took matters into their own hands. Perhaps as many as 300 Cherokee joined about 100 Mexicans led by Vicente Cordova to camp on an island in east Texas and announced that they did not support the republic. A Texas army attacked and arrested all the leaders, and distrust between the Cherokee and whites increased. In December 1838 the Georgia-born soldier and politician Mirabeau B. Lamar was elected president of the republic. Lamar had no sympathy for Native Americans. He ordered the Cherokee out of the country. The Cherokee resisted, but at the Battle of the Neches in 1839 they were defeated and forced to go north to what is now Oklahoma, clearing east Texas for white settlement.
The United States Senate rejected a treaty to annex Texas in 1844, but it reversed that decision the following year, and Texas joined the Union on December 29, 1845. Under the treaty of annexation, Texas was responsible for all debts incurred by the republic. Mexico immediately broke off diplomatic relations with the United States. U.S. General Zachary Taylor was ordered to the Río Grande to enforce it as the Texas boundary. Mexico, however, held that the boundary was the Nueces River and considered Taylor’s advance a provocation. Mexico sent troops across the Río Grande. Congress responded by declaring war on Mexico on May 13, 1846. Many Texans participated in the Mexican War. Members of the Texas Rangers, a group formed on the eve of the Texas Revolution by Austin to protect Anglo-Americans from attacks by Comanche and Apache, acted as scouts for U.S. troops. Mexico was not defeated until troops under General Winfield Scott invaded Mexico City, which fell on September 14, 1847. Under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 2, 1848, Mexico relinquished its claims to Texas, and the United States acquired land that would become the states of California, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Among the notable aspects of the treaty, it set the Texas border at the Rio Grande. It provided for the protection of the property and civil rights of Mexican nationals who would now be living on U.S. soil.

Southern immigrants to Texas had brought their slaves with them after 1820, but the plantation system for growing cotton had not penetrated much farther than east Texas in 1861, when the American Civil War began. Pro-Union sentiment was strong in west Texas, because of the proximity to Mexico and because west Texans needed federal protection against the attacks of Native Americans, and in central Texas, where German settlers opposed slavery. Houston, who had been elected governor in 1859, was a staunch Unionist and strongly opposed secession. Nevertheless, at a convention held in February 1861, delegates voted to secede and join the Confederate States of America. Houston, despite his long service to Texas, was removed from office. The majority of Texans supported the Confederacy once secession took place. General John B. Hood’s Texas Brigade and Benjamin Franklin Terry’s Texas Rangers made notable contributions to Confederate forces. Early in 1862 an expedition of Texas troops, under General Henry H. Sibley, captured Santa Fe, New Mexico, but they were later forced to withdraw.
After the Civil War, Texas grew rapidly. Between 1870 and 1900 the population of Texas increased from 19th in the country (818,579) to sixth (3,048,710). In the 1880s railroads opened new lands on the Great Plains and across Texas, and farmers flocked to those areas and planted staple crops—wheat, corn, and cotton—encouraged by new mechanical reapers, barbed wire (which helped control wandering cattle), and better farming techniques. In 1868 a reservation in the Indian Territory was set aside for the Comanche and the Kiowa, but they continued raiding across the border into Texas, and the Apache left reservations in New Mexico to raid into Texas. In the early 1870s, U.S. troops, which included the all-black 10th and 11th units known as Buffalo Soldiers, began a vigorous campaign to keep Native Americans on the land set aside for them. Federal forces also fought Native Americans with the assistance of the Texas Rangers. The most effective weapons against Native Americans on the Plains were the decision to exterminate the buffalo by General William Tecumseh Sherman and the expansion of the railroad into the West. These actions destroyed Native American food supplies and forced them onto reservations. It is estimated that almost ten million bison were killed between 1871 and 1880 for sport, for food to feed people laying tracks for the railroad, and for the animals’ hides. The cattle industry also grew after the Civil War. Since the days of the Spanish missions, there had been cattle in Texas, but because of the long distance to markets, the cattle had little value. Ranching had been neglected during the Civil War, and vast herds of wild cattle roamed southwestern Texas, where the famed longhorn breed originated. Before the Civil War, cowboys riding horses had rounded up the cattle and driven them from East Texas to Louisiana markets, but after railroads were built from Chicago to Kansas it was possible to send beef to the large Chicago market. The first major cattle drive all the way from Texas to Kansas took place in 1866. As the railroads pushed farther west, the cowboys drove their herds to the railroad terminal points, called cow towns. The cow towns Wichita, Dodge City, and Abilene became identified with cowboys and the cattle trails from Texas.

By 1890 Texas produced more than 33 percent of the cotton grown in the United States. The crop financed the growth of Texas cities, especially Dallas and Houston.
Among the few Civil War battles fought in Texas were the Confederate victory at the Battle of Sabine Pass along the Texas-Louisiana border, and the capture of Galveston by Union forces, and its recapture by the Confederates. Because soldiers had not yet heard the news that the war had ended, the last battle of the Civil War occurred near Brownsville more than a month after Confederate General Robert E. Lee had surrendered in Virginia. Black people in Texas did not hear of the Emancipation Proclamation—which President Abraham Lincoln had issued in 1863, to free the slaves in Confederate states—until June 19, 1865, when the Union Army landed in Galveston.
After the Civil War ended in 1865, the Southern states that had seceded from the Union were governed by a combination of appointed federal officials and the army until Congress readmitted them to the union. Ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, was among the requirements for readmission of the states. These amendments, respectively, prohibited slavery, gave citizenship to all born or naturalized in the United States while prohibiting political activity by those who had supported secession, and gave all citizens, regardless of color, the right to vote. The former slaves, or freedmen, were enfranchised (given the right to vote) by the 15th Amendment and, because the Democrats had led the South into the Civil War, blacks joined the Republican Party. Blacks, who could vote and hold office in Texas until they were disfranchised in the early 20th century, were the major source of Republican voting strength. They joined with Northern immigrants to the state and long-time opponents of Texas secession to elect Republican Edmund Davis as governor in 1870. The early success of the Republican Party in Texas was due primarily to a lack of unity on the part of white voters. Most whites objected to enfranchising blacks and joined the Democratic Party. When white Democrats did unite, they defeated Davis in 1874 but he refused to concede the election. He argued that organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, a secret terrorist organization that was dedicated to white supremacy, had intimidated black and other potential Republican voters. Angry whites armed themselves and went to the capital in Austin to force Davis to leave office. When he found no support from the federal government, Davis stepped down.
Next Time: Volume 1, Chapter 2: Mexican Sharecroppers in Texas and the Southern Border

24 comments:

Liquidmicro said...

"To farm the land, however, white settlers would have to remove the native inhabitants by force."

I think you need to do more studying and writing.


Spanish Texas was one of the interior provinces of New Spain from 1690 until 1821. Although Spain nominally claimed ownership of the territory, which comprised part of modern-day Texas, including the land north of the Medina and Nueces Rivers, the Spanish did not attempt to colonize the area until after discovering evidence of the failed French colony of Fort Saint Louis. In 1690, Alonso De León escorted several missionaries to East Texas, where they established the first mission in Texas. When native tribes resisted the Spanish presence, the missionaries returned to Mexico, abandoning Texas for the next two decades.

The Spanish returned to East Texas in 1716, establishing several missions and a presidio to maintain a buffer between Mexico and the French territory of Louisiana. Two years later, the first civilian settlement in Texas, San Antonio, was established as a way station between the missions and the nearest existing Spanish settlement. The new town quickly became a target for raids by the Lipan Apache. The raids continued periodically for almost three decades, until in 1749 the Spanish and the Apache made peace. The peace treaty angered the enemies of the Apache and resulted in raids on Spanish settlements by the Comanche, Tonkawa, and Hasinai tribes. Fear of Indian attacks and remoteness from the rest of the viceroyalty discouraged settlers from moving to Texas, and it remained one of the least populated provinces of New Spain. The threat of Indian attacks did not decrease until 1785, when Spain reached a peace agreement with the Comanche, who later assisted in defeating the Lipan Apache and Karankawa tribes which had continued to cause difficulties for Spanish settlers. An increase in the number of missions in the province allowed for a peaceful conversion of other tribes, and by the end of the eighteenth century, only a small number of the hunting and gathering tribes in the area had not been Christianized.

France formally relinquished its claim to Texas in 1762, when French Louisiana was ceded to Spain. Louisiana's addition meant that Texas was no longer essential as a buffer province, and the easternmost settlements in Texas were disbanded, with the population relocated to San Antonio. In 1799, however, Spain gave Louisiana back to France, and shortly thereafter Napoleon sold the territory to the United States. U.S. President Thomas Jefferson insisted that the purchase included all land to the east of the Rocky Mountains and to the north of the Rio Grande. The dispute was not resolved until 1819, when Spain traded Florida to the United States in return for recognition of the Sabine River as Texas's eastern boundary.

During the Mexican War of Independence from 1810–1821, Texas experienced much turmoil. Governor Manuel María de Salcedo was overthrown by rebels in 1810, but persuaded his jailer to release him and assist him in organizing a countercoup. Three years later, the Republican Army of the North, comprised primarily of Indians and Americans, again overthrew the Texas government and executed Salcedo. The Spanish response was brutal, and by 1820 fewer than 2000 Hispanic citizens remained in Texas. Spain was forced to relinquish their control of New Spain in 1821, and Texas becoming a province of the newly formed nation of Mexico, leading to the period in Texas history known as Mexican Texas.

Dee said...

Liquid,
My references are from the MSN Encyclopedia, while you are referening Wikipedia (an internet user type blog)

Dee said...

But to your point, your wiki reference is 1600 - 1821 while mine is 1836 - forward.

Dee said...

The other thing I wanted to mention Liquid is, I have been completing oral histories with some of my parents remaining siblings. I just finished another this weekend. Some of the information I learned about south texas history is very very enlightening and somewhat revelant to our current debate. I will be writing about this more once I transcribe my tapes and notes in the weeks ahead.

liquidmicro said...

If you are going to talk about Texas, then you should begin from its beginning and not from just the time of convenience.

Your statement of "To farm the land, however, white settlers would have to remove the native inhabitants by force." is construed to be very misleading, thus, what I was referring to. The people of 'New Spain' were the ones trying to claim the land and were trying to convert the native tribes.


Dee says: My references are from the MSN Encyclopedia, while you are referening Wikipedia (an internet user type blog)

Now its not a source for information, when before you treated it as the holy grail?

Liquidmicro said...

In 1821 Moses Austin secured a colonization grant from the Spanish authorities in San Antonio. He died from the rigors of his return trip from that distant outpost, but his son, Stephen F. Austin, had the grant confirmed and in Dec., 1821, led 300 families across the Sabine River to the region between the Brazos and Colorado rivers, where they established the first American settlement in Texas. Austin is known as the father of Texas.

In 1810 Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and his followers, many of whom were in Texas, tried to declare Mexican independence from the Spanish Empire. Although that revolt was crushed, unrest in Texas and in the rest of Mexico under Spanish rule continued. Several times Mexicans seeking freedom from Spain joined American adventurers to try to set up governments in Texas. In 1813, for example, the Republican Army of the North, led by Bernardo Gutiérrez, a Mexican liberal, and by Augustus W. Magee, a former United States Army officer, took control of Nacogdoches, Goliad, and San Antonio. The leaders declared Texan independence and adopted a constitution. However, on August 18, 1813, the revolutionaries were wiped out by Spanish forces at a battle near the Medina River.

The Texas Revolution broke out (1835) in Gonzales when the Mexicans attempted to disarm the Americans and were routed. The American settlers then drove all the Mexican troops from Texas, overwhelming each command in surprise attacks. At a convention called at Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas declared its independence (Mar. 2, 1836). A constitution was adopted and David Burnet was named interim president.

Texas State Library & Archives Commission

Like I said, you need to do further research, your article/story/encyclopedia information from MSN is incorrect.

patriot said...

All this conflict between Mexico and the Spaniards and yet Mexicans speak Spanish today. Too funny!

Dee said...

Liquid,
I love wikipedia. I use them for reference and agree your reference from wiki was a good one, but just prior to my encyclopedia reference.

Dee said...

Liquid,
The references in the encyclopedia are accurate and very comprehensive.

Take for example this quote from an earlier section of the encyclopedia -- many missions are still in place:
"In 1682 the Spanish established the first mission in Texas at Ysleta, a village near present-day El Paso, to bring Christianity to the native peoples."

Dee said...

more
"In 1716, fearing more French incursions into their territory, the Spanish re-created the eastern Texas mission system. More than 30 new missions were established, the most prominent of which was near San Antonio, which was founded as a Spanish town in 1718."

Dee said...

and more, including some of your references:
"Between 1800 and 1820 Spain’s weak hold on the province of Texas became even more insecure. During that time several expeditions by adventurers from the United States entered Texas. One of the earliest of these so-called filibustering expeditions (armed invasions by groups of private citizens) was led in 1800 by Philip Nolan, who was captured and executed by the Spanish. In 1810 Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and his followers, many of whom were in Texas, tried to declare Mexican independence from the Spanish Empire. Although that revolt was crushed, unrest in Texas and in the rest of Mexico under Spanish rule continued. Several times Mexicans seeking freedom from Spain joined American adventurers to try to set up governments in Texas. In 1813, for example, the Republican Army of the North, led by Bernardo Gutiérrez, a Mexican liberal, and by Augustus W. Magee, a former United States Army officer, took control of Nacogdoches, Goliad, and San Antonio. The leaders declared Texan independence and adopted a constitution. However, on August 18, 1813, the revolutionaries were wiped out by Spanish forces at a battle near the Medina River."

Dee said...

The NATIVES, are the natives who are a mestizo (indian-spanish) residents whose ancestors had farmed the land as natives. This encyclopedia statement becomes very, very relevant.
"The Republic of Texas, which existed for almost ten years before becoming part of the United States, was beset by many problems, principally financial ones. Although Texas had much land, until it was farmed by settlers little money would be available. To farm the land, however, white settlers would have to remove the NATIVE inhabitants by FORCE."

Dee said...

So keeping in mind the Mestizos and the Mission system, the oral history I conducted this weekend with my aunt becomes very relevant.

My aunt´s mother and her family grew up in Laredo. They worked for a group of nuns at their convent and my aunt´s mother was schooled by these nuns. This is where she learned to read, read the bible, learned her catholicism, lead the posadas during holiday times, etc. She taught her children all the nun´s taught her. They were taught in English. They kept both languages.

My aunt´s father was born in MX but worked as a sharecropper. It is a very fascinating story, her life from then to now. I found the piece about her father moving from sharecropper to construction worker in San Antonio very relevant to our discussion. This occurred during the depression. I will be writing a blog on this sometime this week.

Anonymous said...

Dee

thank you so much for posting the history of texas.

there is so much to learn there -

however, the history of texas provides the best argument for expelling all 12 million of the undocumented here in the usa.

think about the analogy here - mexico allowed settlers from another country ( the usa ) these settlers never bothered to learn english or assimilate in to mexican society.

These white anglo english speaking settlers bred very rapidly . At the same time they were breeding rapidly they encouraged other english speaking people to illegally immigrate in to texas.

After the white english speakers grew to have large enough numbers, they picked up weapons, caused all kinds of problems for mexico, and ultimately led to the breakup of mexico

The immigration of people who didn't speak the language led directly to the collapse of many good things in Mexico.

Hmm - you don't have to be a scholar of history to see the analogies here

Anonymous said...

i encourage all readers of this blog to go to wikipedia and read up on the events leading up to the war of texas independence

the museum in the capital in austin also has background on this history.

i also highly recommend visiting the site of the battle of san jacinto - it is outside houston and is quite impressive

there are literally thousands of books on texas history and many museums all over the state

but there is no serious dispute among scholars that the influx of people who spoke a different language and then the decision of those immigrants to invite their countrymen to cross the border illegally, led to disaster for mexico.

Dee said...

Anon,
As always you spin your way.

However, as I related, many Mestizo families have lived from Texas to California since the 1600s. We continue to live here. We never moved. Historically, we have adapted to our ever evolving culture in America.

Talking to my aunt strengthens and broadens my perspective.

What was most fascinating for me this weekend was talking about the changes that occurred in the 1930s, during the Depression. My Aunt´s parents were sharecroppers on a farm north of Laredo. The farm owners kept a number of tenants on his farm. However, when the depression occurred, the farmer advised the sharecroppers to move. They did. They moved to San Antonio. My aunts father started working in Construction. He didnt like it because he preferred farming. However he needed to feed his family. Most of the mothers were stay at home moms, raising their children and teaching them their prayers. As most families in their neighborhoods, they were very Christian people. When my aunts mom became ill in the 1940s, my aunt and her sisters were pulled out of school, as teenagers. They started working at Kelly Airforce base working on machinery for the troops at war.

You see, San Antonio was always thriving and a hub of activity, as it is today. No change. No change in culture.

Life is so different than some spinners say.

Anonymous said...

Dee,

i can't speak for anyone else on this blog, but i think it is great that your family has contributed to the success of the USA.

Thank you for sharing your family stories


However, that doesn't change history. The historical fact is that the government of Mexico decided to allow English speaking people to move to Texas. The English speaking people in Texas flouted the law and invited their friends and relatives ( other English speakers ) to cross the border in to Texas. Then the English speaking people had very large numbers of kids and developed a sense of entitlement. And the end result was a disaster for Mexico - This is all a historical fact - go visit the museums in Mexico City - they give the same story in thos museums as you get in the museums in Austin or San Jacinto. The history is not in dispute -

patriot said...

There are areas in this country that are less like the dominant culture in this country, so what? That doesn't change the fact that historically and even now this country's identity is still based on Anglo culture.

Liquidmicro said...

Dee says: The NATIVES, are the natives who are a mestizo (indian-spanish) residents whose ancestors had farmed the land as natives.

The Spanish response was brutal, and by 1820 fewer than 2000 Hispanic citizens (Mestizo's) remained in Texas. Spain was forced to relinquish their control of New Spain in 1821, and Texas becoming a province of the newly formed nation of Mexico, leading to the period in Texas history known as Mexican Texas.

"To farm the land, however, white settlers would have to remove the NATIVE inhabitants by FORCE."

NATIVE inhabitants actually refers to the Native Indian tribes, not what you are referring to. "The Federal government devised a policy of removal and relocation of native inhabitants. By treaty, land was acquired from the Indians, and the tribes relocated to a place specified by the government. Once Indian removal was complete, the land was surveyed and sold." This paragraph would be much better suited to your phrases above from MSN. It wasn't so much the settlers but the Federal Government that had a problem with Native Indians, and then it was to protect the citizens of the newly acquired territory.


Here is a good link for you:

Texas Independence from Mexico

Anon refers to Section 1.3 on page 3. "think about the analogy here - Mexico allowed settlers from another country ( the USA ) these settlers never bothered to learn English or assimilate in to Mexican society."

Here is another for you:

Indians and Spaniards in the Texas Borderlands

Excerpt:
"They offered Christian salvation to inhabitants they considered heathen, expecting to convert and subdue them. They offered no reciprocal benefits and saw themselves as a superior civilization. They did not understand native values, especially the traditions of matrilineal kinship and the importance of women in native customs. Spaniards had little concept of a kin-based culture, or one in which gender, rather than race or power, determined status."

Liquidmicro said...

My points being that you start to late in the period of Texas to make a fair and just "History of South Texas" as a Volume 1, Chapter 1. What you have printed should be more of a Chapter 3. To much of what led up to this point in time is missing for anybody to make heads or tails of what you are starting with. Your trying to substantiate "the stealing of Mexican land" as used by you PRO's. Anon makes a very good point. We should therefor not be making the same mistakes as the Mexican Government.

Dee said...

Liquid,
Mestizos are the natives to the land. Part Indian, part Spanish. Indian native tribes were all across the Americans. My mother has more Indian vs Spanish. My father has more Spanish vs Indian. Our family farmed the land for centuries.

patriot said...

Mestizos aren't truly native to this country or this continent as they are a combination of Spaniard and Indian. It was the full blooded Indians who were native to this country/continent.

Liquidmicro said...

Mestizos are NOT natives to the land, They are a mix of Native and Spanish. Mestizos at the time were part of the Mexican Texas Citizenry(2000 Hispanic Peoples, mostly of Spanish and Spanish/Indian caste at the time, Mestizo, Mullato, Zambo, criolo, etc.). The Texas Government under the leadership of Pres. Mirabeau Lamar, forced the Native Americans from their lands and pushed them into Oklahoma.

From your own posting from MSN, the following:
As the land was settled, Native Americans were forced out.

That means Native Indians and NOT Mestizos, Hispanic Citizens of New Spain, Mexican Texas, or the future Texas, where they would become known as Spanish Americans.

Meanwhile, in the United States the development of the Southwest, the Chinese Exclusion Acts and World War I intensified the need for cheap labor. Consequently, a great emigration began in Mexico, a combination of Mexicans being recruited by American agribusinesses and a need to escape the violence at home. No one knows
how many Mexicans entered the United States after 1910, or how many of those who came stayed, but in 1916 the Commissioner of Immigration said that more than 1 million Mexicans were in the United States. The number of Mexicans in Texas alone leaped from approximately 71,000 in 1900 to 252,000 in 1920. Many Mexicans came on their own, but thousands of others were recruited to fill labor shortages and break strikes. The Mexican immigration era of 1900–1930 qualifies as one of the most important population shifts in southwestern annals. Slightly more than 10 percent of Mexico’s population—approximately 1.5 million people—emigrated to the United States during these years. The significance of this period is shown by the fact that 94 percent
of the foreign-born Mexican population in the United States in 1930 had arrived after 1900. Some 62 percent of them arrived after 1915. (United States Department of
Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1930) The new arrivals far outnumbered the Mexican American population already in the United States. A tendency developed to call those who had been born in the
United States Spanish Americans, while the newer arrivals remained Mexicans. Much folklore has developed about how the population of the American Southwest was “Spanish” as opposed to “Mexican.”


Quit trying to substantiate your "Stolen Land" argument. Texas is unique in its history, such is the same for the southwest. However, Spanish Americans would be more rightful to claim the areas vs. Mexican Citizenry from south of the border.

Anonymous said...

patriot said...
All this conflict between Mexico and the Spaniards and yet Mexicans speak Spanish today. Too funny!

March 1, 2008 8:33 PM


Similar to America's conflict with England in 1776 yet most white American's today speak only ENGLISH, hmm puzzling

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