Tag Archives: Spanish Colonial Rule in Texas

Today in Texas History – May 31

The Veramendi Palace doors are in the Alamo, along the east wall.  Express-News file photo

From the Annals of Spanish Texas – In 1783, Fernando Veramendi was killed by Mescalero Apaches near the presidio of San Juan Bautista in Coahuila while on a business trip to Mexico City.  Veramendi was born in Pamplona, Spain and moved to Texas in 1770 first settling in La Bahia.  While conducting business in San Antonio de Bexar he found a bride, Doña María Josefa Granados, and thus, married into one of the influential Canary Islands families who were the primary Spanish settlers of San Antonio.   Now well-connected, Vermandi opened a general store, lent money to other settlers, and acquired large tracts of ranch and farm land.  He built a large home on  Soledad Street that later came to be known as the Veramendi Palace. He was a civic leader and was elected as an aalderman in the ayuntamiento of 1779, and later as a senior alderman in 1783. He was killed while on a business trip to Mexico City. He had five children the most prominent of who was his son Juan Martín de Veramendi who served as governor of Coahuila and Texas in 1832-33.

Photo of the doors from the Veramendi Palace displayed at the Alamo.  The building was demolished in 1910.


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.

Today in Texas History – December 11

From the Annals of the Chiefs – In 1737,  Spanish military forces captured Cabellos Colorados.   CC was a Lipan Apache chief who had staged repeated raids on the Spanish outpost at San Antonio de Bexar.  The historical record on Cabellos Colorados is scant but his name appears in Spanish colonial records as figuring prominently in a number of raids.  There was a raid in 1731 and again in 1734 when his band seized two Spaniards. He was also reported as haven stolen horses from San Francisco de la Espada Mission and killed Indians from the missions of San Juan Capistrano and Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña. After more raids in 1736 and 1737, he was captured and imprisoned at Bexar until October 1738, when he was sent as a prisoner to Mexico City.

Today in Texas History – October 7

From the Annals of the Red River – in 1759, a Spanish troop led by Diego Ortiz Parrilla was defeated by a group of Native Americans at a fortified Taovaya (Wichita) village near Spanish Fort. Parrilla’s expedition was intended to punish the Norteños (in this case the Tawakonis, Tonkawas, and Wichitas) for their destruction of Santa Cruz de San Sabá Mission in1758. Parrilla’s force consisted of 400 troops from the provinces of northeastern Mexico and the Texas presidios and 176 mission Indians and Apaches.   The need for retribution was reinforced by continuing attacks.  In December 1758, a Comanche band accompanied by members of eleven other groups surprised a group of Apaches near the presidio and killed twenty-one. In March a native force reportedly made up of the same tribes responsible for the mission attack massacred nineteen men guarding the presidio’s horse herd, leaving only one survivor.

On October 7, the troop was attacked by sixty or seventy warriors who led the Spaniards into a well-laid trap.  In pursuit, the troop was led to a sandbank at the edge of the Red River, before the fortified Taovaya village.  The Spaniards attempted to withdraw to regroup but found the road cut off by mounted Indians firing muskets. The Spaniards were trapped in the sand with horses sinking up to their knees.  The resulting 4 hour battle went badly for the force.  Facing a superior force of Comanches, Yaceales, and Tawakonis, and Taovayas, the Spaniards were attacked from the fort and the field.   The troop eventually unlimbered two cannons but they did not affect the course of the engagement. The Apaches, Mission Indians and a number of Spaniards deserted. As darkness fell, Ortiz Parrilla managed an orderly withdrawal, leaving the cannons on the field but with losses of nineteen men killed, fourteen wounded, and nineteen by desertion.

Ruins of San Saba Mission from Texas Escapes.