Today in Texas History – January 23

 

From the Annals of Spanish Texas – In 1691, the Domingo Terán de los Ríos was appointed as the first governor of the Spanish province of Coahuila y Tejas. This is considered to be the beginning of Texas as a distinct political entity. Terán was charged with establishing seven missions among the Native Americans of Texas; to investigate troublesome rumors of French settlement on the Texas coast; and to keep records of geography, natives, and products.  Teran was experienced in governing the far flung provinces of the Spanish Empire as he had served as Governor of Sonora y Sinaloa in New Spain and had spent many years in Peru. Terán crossed the Rio Grande in May of 1691 and travelled across the state to the Caddo settlements on the Red River. By March 1692 Terán  was encamped on Matagorda Bay, where he received instructions from the Viceroy of New Spain to explore the lower Mississippi River. Terán never undertook that project and returned to Veracruz in April.  Terán failed to complete any of his intended mission beyond basic exploration.  He did not establish any missions and provided very little new information about the region.  Terán did write a lengthy report, defending his actions and detailing the dismal situation in East Texas.  The primary lasting impact of Teran’s exploration was to name the Texas rivers which continue to bear the names given by members of his expedition.  Which is a fitting tribute to a man named de los Rios.

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