Reasons for slow immigration from Mexico to Texas



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Chapter 2

Reasons for slow immigration from Mexico to Texas

1. Diseases and slight immigration of Europeans kept the population of Mexico low.

2. Mexican landowners sought to restrict immigration.

3. After Spain acquired Louisiana in 1762, it no longer needed East Texas as a buffer against French intrusions.

4. No religious dissenters in Spain sought a refuge.

5. No private land was available for small holders. The church and aristocracy dominated the society and the economy.

6. No joint-stock companies financed colonization. Tightly regulated trade limited the freedom for private investment.

7. Indians resisted Spanish settlement.


Frontier Institutions
1. Missions: Roman Catholicism was the sole religion. Friars imposed a strong discipline to de- culturize and convert the Indians. In the mid-1700s, “only one house of worship of any significance stood in Texas, the Church of San Fernando in San Antonio.”
2. Presidios: Frontier forts were for defense, trade, missionization, and as an enticement for settlers on the frontier.
3. Ranchos: Ranching was the principal livelihood of Tejanos. “The first persons to enter the ranching industry were the missionaries, those who had received the first land grants in Texas.”
4. Farms: “Farms in colonial Texas were of a hardscrabble, subsistence type that enabled their owners to eke out a living.
5. Towns: The Spanish established only four successful towns in Texas, Nacogdoches, La Bahia, San Antonio, and Laredo. Alcade (mayor) governed the municipjo (municipality) with the guidance of the ayuntamiento (town council), artisans, teamsters, day laborers, merchants, bakers, tailors, shoemakers, blacksmiths, and barbers.
Problems: Lack of sewage facilities, lack of medical care, crime, and Indian attacks.
Diversions: Folktales, corridos (story-telling ballads), religious holidays, fandango (festive dances), horse racing, and carrera del gallo (mounted vaqueros pulled the head from a chicken).
Communications were crude. The Camino Real (the King’s Highway) connected San Antonio with Mexico.
Frontier Society
1. The non-Indian population of Texas was 500 in 1731, 3,000 in the 1780s, and 4,000 in 1800.

2. Why slow population growth: high infant mortality, warfare with the Indians, low agricultural production, improper diet and hygiene, lack of medical care, and disease.


3. Mestizos descended from European-Indian parents. The process of racial and cultural unions (mestizaje) involved Europeans, Indians and some Africans. In the 1780s, espanoles (Spaniards) were one-half of the population. “In reality, few European Spaniards lived in Texas and those classified as such really belonged to the mestizo category.”
4. Peninsulares: European-born Spaniards who dominated the higher political offices. Criollos: American-born Spaniards. Mestizos: descended from Spanish-Indian parents. Indians and Africans were lowest in social status. In Texas, wealth was the most important factor determining status.
5. About fifty Blacks lived in Spanish Texas and most were not slaves. Black codes prohibited Africans from congregating or possessing firearms.


Tejanas status
Positives:
1. Fewer restrictions on the frontier

2. More opportunities: fighting Indians, ranching, farming, herding, and mercantile activity.

3. Had more legal rights under Spanish law than women in the French or British colonies: could be parties in suits, could hold or sell material assets independently of their spouse, and retained control over property they possessed before their marriage.
Problems:
1. Limited social mobility.

2. Little opportunity to establish their own vocation.

3. Often treated as objects by fathers, husbands, or other males.

4. Denied certain rights: could not vote or hold elective office; a man could legally prevent his wife from leaving him.


Indians
Indians living in the east and south of San Antonio displayed the most interest in the Christian missionaries. Some were sincerely interested in a spiritual experience; others wanted protection from enemy tribes; some, suffering from starvation and disease, needed the Spanish to survive; and some wanted to learn the skills taught by the missionaries.
Most tribes had no interest in submitting to the missionaries. The Karankawas were fiercely independent. Jumanos used Spaniards as protectors as they conducted trade with the Caddos. The Caddos, who were successful farmers and traders, had no need for the missionaries. “Ultimately, Native American peoples in Texas suffered irreversibly from such factors as frontier warfare, disease, and foreign violation of their territory.”

Bourbon Reforms
In 1762, France ceded Louisiana west of the Mississippi River to Spain to keep the area from falling to Great Britain. Louisiana shielded Texas from European enemies.
In the last 1700s, the Bourbon king, an admirer of the Enlightenment, instituted reforms to make Spain’s colonial administration more efficient and to restore Spain’s great power status.
As one aspect of a new Indian policy, the Spanish government forced the approximately 500 East Texas pabladores to evacuate. In the 1770s, settlers who had earlier been forced to leave East Texas founded Nacogdoches, the only successful civilian settlement in East Texas.
The Spanish government also began the secularization of the Texas missions. Secularization shifted the responsibility for financial support of the missions from the government to the parishioners. The policy assumed that the Christianized Indians could support their church. Several factors contributed to the “desertion of the missions”: European politics, a desire to convert mission land into private property, unhappiness of Indian converts, and the inability of the presidios to suppress the indios barbaros. The Comanches posed the greatest threat to the frontier settlements.
The three civilian settlements founded in the 1710s (San Antonio, Goliad, and Nacogdoches) survived. Residents of Nacogdoches continued to carry an illegal trade in horses and mules with Natchitoches. Throughout Spanish Texas, ranching persisted as the most secure means of making a living.

Mexican independence from Spain
Factors leading to a Mexican revolution:
1. Resentment of the Bourbon Reforms and the arrogance of the peninsulares.

2. European wars damaged the colonial economy and raised taxes.


3. Napoleon's conquest of Spain led colonies in the Western hemisphere to establish independent governing committees.
4. Some reformers demanded social justice for the lower classes. In 1810, a priest named Miguel Hildalgo y Costilla led a rebellion that challenged New Spain’s elite. In Texas, Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara, accompanied by Augustus W. Magee, a former U. S. Army officer, led the Republican Army of the North that captured Nacogdoches and San Antonio. At the Battle of the Medina River, royalist forces crushed the rebel army and restored the royal government’s control of East Texas.


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