Settlement and Survival Along the Lower Rio Grande
The inception for settlement along the lower Rio Grande in the mid-18th century began with Spain’s viceregal government urgency to prevent France from establishing colonies further west into the region we now know as Texas. The Spanish intent on settling in the region had been sending missionaries in the early 1700’s to the Red River with the same goal.
In 1749, Spain appointed José de Escandón with a project to bring settlers north from the interior provinces of the Seno Mexican to the area between the Rio Grande and San Antonio river, known as Nuevo Santander. Small towns were established along the Rio Grande, including Laredo, Camargo, Mier, and Reynosa. While Escandón made some initial large grants of land, it was after the appointment of a royal land commission that the bulk of the leagues north of the Rio Grande were assigned to various applicants.
Those settlers formed not only sizeable settlements but ranches and farms. Join us for a virtual presentation and discussion with Mary Margaret McAllen exploring the success of these settlers and the arrival of newcomers over the next decades.
M. McAllen, Director of Humanities at the Witte Museum, was raised on a storied South Texas ranch. Her previous three books include the award-winning and best-selling I Would Rather Sleep in Texas (2003); A Brave Boy and a Good Soldier: John C. C. Hill and the Texas Expedition to Mier (2006); and Maximilian and Carlota: Europe’s Last Empire in Mexico (2014). She has appeared on the PBS series History Detectives and contributed to Henry Louis Gate’s Faces of America. After earning her M.A. in history, she taught as an adjunct professor of history at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her latest book is James Ferdinand McCan: Painting A Historical Portrait of Texas, 1895 – 1925.