St. Denis Finds a Mission

The Spanish Return to
The Spanish ignored most of Texas for more
than 20 years.
The few Spaniards that did stay built
Mission-Religious communities used to
convert American Indians to Catholicism, and
eventually, to develop settlements in the
These missions were the one thing that
represented Spanish government in Texas.
Spanish Missions
Father Francisco Hidalgo – established and
built missions in Texas.
Spain cut off his funding, so he turned to the
French who recently had claimed ownership
to Louisiana.
Such a request was daring because Spain
and France had been long time enemies.
None the less, Father Hidalgo sent a letter to
the French governor of Louisiana requesting
money for his missions.
A New French Threat
Spanish/French Territories
The French trading post was in the
Mississippi River Valley. They would trade
with the Native Americans.
 Spain prohibited the French from trading
in New Spain.
 The French governor of Louisiana viewed
this request as an opportunity to open
trading in Texas.
Trading Posts
The French governor of Louisiana sent an
experienced explorer to find Father
Hidalgo and give him money and support.
 Louis Juchereau de St. Denis was sent on
the mission.
Finding Father Hidalgo
Frenchman St. Denis arrived at the first
Spanish mission he found with a load of
goods for trading.
 The Spanish commander of the mission
arrested St. Denis for trespassing.
 The Spanish commander treated St. Denis
 St. Denis eventually married the Spanish
commander’s stepgranddaughter!
St. Denis Finds a Mission
The Spanish commander had to send St.
Denis to Mexico City for questioning.
 St. Denis told Spanish officials that he
was searching for Father Hidalgo.
 Spain considered a French man in Texas a
 They built a new mission with a large
◦ Presidio-a military base be a mission to
protect from attack.
Spanish Rulers hear of St. Denis
The threat of St. Denis forced the Spanish
to give Father Hidalgo the money and new
missions he requested.
 The Spanish were determined to firmly
establish a mission system in Texas. (San
Father Hidalgo Gets His Wish
In 1716 Spain approved a plan to build a
large presidio outpost along the San
Antonio River.
 They built many missions around the San
Antonio presidio.
 Spain soon established missions from East
Texas to the Rio Grande River. (Present
day border between Texas and Mexico)
San Antonio Settlements 1716
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