The Spanish Mission

The Spanish Mission

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The Spanish Mission

During the 1600s to 1700s, the Spanish were settling Texas. They did this by building missions and presidios throughout the land. The purpose was to keep the French out and to change the Indians' ways of life. Some of these missions failed and some succeeded. All in all they were closed after years of trying to change the Indians.

The first mission built in Texas was Corpus Christi de la Ysleta. This mission was built in 1682 and built east of today's El Paso. Because it was out in the mountains and basins region of Texas, the weather must have been very harsh. Priests at this mission had been escaping from an Indian uprising in New Mexico. This mission was the first permanent European settlement built in Texas. Around this time La Salle's fort had also been built.

San Francisco de los Tejas is another one of the first missions. It was the first mission built in East Texas. It was called Tejas because they had met Hasinai people along the Colorado River. The word Tejas means "friend". The Tejas mission was built after the Spanish found out about La Salle's fort. Tejas was built out of logs, unlike many of the missions. This was probably so because it was built in the Piney Woods or Post Oak Belt subregion. Trees in these subregions are plentiful. Tejas had been intended for the Caddo tribe. The Caddo were the most advanced tribe and didn't need the food, protection, or shelter the priests offered. Without the Caddo's support the mission was failing greatly. The Spanish government decided to stop funding money for the mission. Before the priests went back to Mexico, they buried the bell and hoped to return one day.

The Spanish decided to build a settlement between New Spain and East Texas. It would be a midway stop. They decided it would be located on the San Antonio River. San Jose was one of these settlements. It was made of limestone and was built in 1720. A nickname it had was "The Queen of Missions". Close by was San Antonio de Valero, or also known as the Alamo. It had carvings in the windows and the doorways that were complicated and beautiful. The carvings were made when the limestone was just unearthed. When limestone is just quarried it's relatively soft.

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It hardens with age and exposure to air. Many missions were built on the San Antonio River. Missions in East Texas were moved to the San Antonio. Some of them changed their names. San Jose was the most successful mission in that spot. It led to the settlement of San Antonio later on.

When the Spanish built missions to change the Indians they didn't realize all the work it would take. The French weren't really a problem anymore. The Spanish government decided to close down the missions because they required a lot of time, work, and money. The results they got weren't worth the trouble. The missions that were failing were closed. The missions that were a success closed, although they took the land for the missions and split it among the Indians that stayed till the end. Some families that had ancestors at the missions still live there today on the land their ancestors recieved.
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