Unit 4 - Section 1 Spanish Missions

Unit Four: Spanish Colonial
Section One Notes – Legacy of the
Spanish Missions
Where would you build a mission?
What would you need to make it
Settlement in the New World
For many years, the only people that were
exploring and sending people to the New World
were the Spanish. But by the early 1600’s, other
countries began to threaten their hold on the
New World, such as France and Great Britain.
Building Missions
In order to protect what they considered
Northern New Spain, the Spanish sent
missionaries to set up missions, or religious
communities, along the borderland. Though
they were built to secure Spain’s claim on the
land, they were also to spread Christianity to the
American Indians. They wanted the natives to live in
the missions and it was appealing to many of them.
Reasons to Live at the Mission
• Built by a river, so always near a good water
• Taught the Native Americans how to grow new
• Had dormitories, churches, workrooms, barns,
fields, and gardens
• Protected by presidios, or military bases, that
were built nearby
• Greater ability to trade with ranchos, or ranches,
in the area
El Camino Real
El Camino Real (which in English means “The
Royal Road”), or the Old San Antonio Road,
began as a simple footpath between Indian
villages throughout Texas. Later, the Spanish
established the expanded the road as a path
from Mexico City to the East Texas missions.
Once it was built, it led to the growth of more
settlement in Texas. Why do you think that
The Pueblo Revolt
In the late 1600’s, the Spanish started building
missions south of the Rio Grande and among the
Pueblo Indians in present day New Mexico. Still,
mission life was rough, and a drought and
religious tension caused problems. The Pueblo
Revolt occurred in 1680, forcing the Spanish
settlers out of New Mexico and parts of west
Corpus Christi de la Ysleta
In order to retake New Mexico, the Spanish
began building even more missions along the
Rio Grande River. Corpus Christi de la Ysleta
was the first mission built in Texas in 1682.
The mission was established near the Tigua
people, in order to attempt to persuade them
to live in the missions. Corpus Christi de la
Ysleta was located outside of present-day El
Paso, Texas.
French Settlements
As the Spanish were establishing missions in
Texas, France was also trying to claim land in the
New World. Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La
Salle had already claimed the areas surrounding
the Mississippi River for France. He then asked
for permission to set up a fort at the mouth of the
Mississippi River. Because a colony so close to Texas
would anger the Spanish, King Louis agreed!
Fort St. Louis
La Salle’s expedition left France in the summer
of 1684. On their way to the mouth of the
Mississippi River, they became lost and missed
their destination. Instead they landed at
Matagorda Bay in February of 1685. The people
decided to build a settlement several miles inland,
which they named Fort St. Louis. It took them over
a year to realize that they had landed west of the
Mississippi River.
Disaster at Fort St. Louis
Once arriving in Texas, the people on the La Salle
expedition encountered many problems. Hunger
and disease killed many settlers. They were also
frequently attacked by the nearby Karankawa
Indians. By July of 1685, more than half the settlers
were dead. La Salle decided to take a group with
him as they headed to Canada for help. On the way,
the men argued about how poorly things had
turned out, and La Salle was killed by one of his
Consequences of Fort St. Louis
Because the French had created a fort in what
was considered Northern New Spain, the
Spanish worried about the French taking even
more of their land in the New World. They
decided to send people to East Texas to continue
to colonize and claim that land for Spain.
Father Damian Massanet
Also known as Fray Damian Massanet, Father
Massanet was the first missionary to convince the
viceroy of New Spain that they should build
missions and colonize East Texas. In 1690, Father
Massanet was sent to East Texas with the viceroy
Alonso de Leon and 100 soldiers to build a mission
and presidio in East Texas. Many missions were
created in East Texas, but many failed quickly after
being founded.
Nuestro San Francisco de los Tejas
Built in 1690, Nuestro San Francisco de los Tejas
was the first mission built in East Texas, near
present-day Crockett. This mission was led by
Father Fransico Hidalgo. It was built there in an
effort to spread the Christian religion to the
local Caddo Indians and a nearby Hasinai tribe
(which the Spanish called “Tejas”, meaning
friend). After disease hit and the Spaniards
learned that the Native Americans did not want
to become Catholic, the mission failed and was
Nuestra Senora de la Purisima
This mission was built in 1716 on the Angelina
River in order to communicate with the Ainais
Indians in the area. Because the French
attempted to build Fort St. Louis in the area, the
Spanish were worried about the French soldiers
attacking their mission. The mission was moved
and reopened in 1731 in San Antonio. It is still
there today!
San Antonio de Valero
This mission was built in 1718 and is now
located in present-day San Antonio. Its site
was chosen because it was seen as a good
halfway point for travelers between Mexico
City and the missions in East Texas. The chapel
of this mission is famous and now known as
the Alamo.
San Antonio de Bexar
San Antonio de Bexar was not a mission, but a
presidio built across the river from San Antonio
de Valero. Both this presidio and the mission led
to the colonization of a civil settlement in the
area called San Fernando de Bexar. We now call
this settlement San Antonio.
Santa Cruz de San Saba
This mission and presidio was built in 1757 at
the request of the Lipan Apache. They told the
Spanish they wanted them to build a mission
in the area, and intentionally had them build it
on Comanche territory. The Lipans did this in
order to begin a war between the Spanish and
the Comanche, who were their enemies. The
mission was quickly destroyed, but the
presidio lasted for a few years.
This is what is left of the presidio of Santa Cruz de San Saba.
La Bahia
La Bahia, which included a presidio and a
mission near Matagorda Bay, was established
in 1722. It was created to settle the lands
between the Rio Grande and the Nueces
Rivers. The original site of the mission was at
the Guadalupe River, but José de Escandón,
the military commander and governor of that
area, moved the mission. We now call this
area Goliad, which was the site of a famous
massacre during the Texas Revolution.
San Juan Bautista
San Juan Bautista was built in 1700 near
present-day Eagle Pass along the Rio Grande
River. It was important because it was a great
stopping point for explorers coming into Texas
from Mexico City on their expeditions.
Antonio Margil de Jesús
Antonio Margil de Jesús was a Spanish Fransican
priest. He founded several missions in East Texas
including Nuestra Seńora de los Dolores and San
Miguel de los Adaes. After leaving due to
problems in East Texas, he later founded San
Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo, one of the five
missions that is still in San Antonio today.
San Miguel de Linares de los Adaes
This mission was built in 1717 and was about 15
miles from the French settlement of
Natchitoches in present-day Louisiana. It was built
at a time in history when France and Spain were
experiencing tension both in Europe and in the New
World. Not long after a war began between France
and Spain, the Spanish decided to name Los Adaes
as the capital of the new province (or colonial state)
of Texas.
Why would they do this?
The Chicken War
The Chicken War
• Cause - French soldiers began attacking
Spanish missions in Texas as a result of the
war going on in Europe between France and
Spain. One incident at the Spanish mission San
Miguel de Linares de los Adaes later labeled
the fight The Chicken War.
• Effect - Because the French were attacking
missions, all the missions in East Texas were
What do most of the missions have in
How did the geographic location of
the missions help with the
colonization of Texas?
What event happened in 1685 that
caused the Spanish to begin to build
more missions in East Texas?
What happened in 1718 that was so
important to Texas history?
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