The Spaniards introduced two different types of cattle, from Andalusia and Extremadura, the intercrossing of these resulted in the so-called Texas Longhorn, long-horned cattle that lived wildly in northern New Spain, the territory of Coahuila-Tejas, northern of Nuevo Santander.
The Apaches were the first hunters of Longhorns, an activity that was later carried out by New Spaniard cowboys who traded with their skins and meat for consumption in the Franciscan missions and presidios, established in Texas in the last decade of the 17th century. Apaches, Comanches, New Spaniard cowboys, and Mexican ranchers inspired cowboys, American immigrants who assimilated Tejas customs.
Cristóbal de Oñate accompanied Nuño de Guzmán to the conquest of the West, territory that they would call Nueva Galicia, later he headed towards the Northeast, but interrupted his path when he found very rich veins of silver, in what would be Zacatecas, this made him one of The world’s richest men; He married Catalina de Salazar, daughter of the viceregal treasurer, the now noble family would be known as Los Cadena.
Juan de Oñate y Salazar, son of Cristóbal, was trained in arms from a young age and carried out campaigns against the Chichimecas that ravaged the Spanish settlements; he found many silver mines, which further increased the family fortune. The young man sought to conclude his father’s work when in 1606 he headed north in search of the «Great Kingdom of Tejas.»
Juan de Oñate colonized the territories of New Mexico and Tejas with the capitulation of Felipe II given to him in 1595, with the aim of spreading the Catholic faith among the Native Americans and establishing new missions. Expedited functions would be completed by the Franciscans a century later with the aim of monitoring the New Spanish territories from French intrusions.
New Spain put aside its interests in Tejas to favor a treaty with France on the border with Louisiana, due to the constant attacks of the Apaches on the Missions in Nuevo Santander, Coahuila, Chihuahua, and Tejas; the inhabitants of the Tejan presidios had to defend themselves with stones, bows, and arrows, lacking weapons, attempts at future expeditions ceased.
In the second half of the 18th century, border conditions in northern New Spain had deteriorated to such an extent, due to Indian depredations and the management of the presidios, that the Spanish crown considered it necessary to order an examination of the entire border, with the objective of relocating presidios to reinforce it.
The task was assigned to the Marquis of Rubí, to investigate this problem and propose solutions; He began his research in 1766, accompanied on his journey by the royal engineers Nicolás de La Fora and Joseph de Urrutia who helped him by drawing prison plans and drawing maps.
Rubí began his inspection in Querétaro and then in Zacatecas, on April 14, 1766, Nicolás de Lafora, also kept a journal of the expedition, joined him in Durango; after several months they arrived in New Mexico, Sonora and Coahuila, arriving at the mission of San Antonio, Texas in July 1767, finishing their study on August 4, 1767, in Laredo.
Rubí’s inspection lasted twenty-three months, during which he traveled approximately 7,600 miles. The inspection revealed a desperate situation among the most northern settlements of New Spain. Ammunition and labor were very scarce, such a big problem for a region under a constant threat of Apache incursions.
In Santa Fe, New Mexico found that colonists relied on bows and arrows to defend themselves, and the Los Adaes Mission was even worse, having only two muskets for 61 men. The San Sabá Mission conditions had deteriorated so much that Rubí ordered the settlement abandoned, declaring it indefensible.
On April 10, 1768, Rubí recommended that New Spain reorder its border defenses along a string of fifteen presidios, each about 100 miles apart, that would stretch from the Gulf of California to the mouth of the Guadalupe River in Tejas. , a line that resembles the current border of Mexico and the United States, advised that only San Antonio and Santa Fé be maintained and insisted on the complete abandonment of Tejas.
On September 10, 1772, the New Regulation for Prisons was decreed, as a result of the Marquis’ recommendations, a new line of defense was established, fortification plans were prescribed, the line of fortifications was based on 15 presidios located at intervals of 120 miles from the Gulf of California to the Gulf of Mexico. Spain lost interest in colonizing and defending Tejas, as its border had been extended to the French territory of Louisiana in 1763.
The new regulation had a huge impact in Tejas, as it ordered the abandonment of all missions and presidios in Tejas, except those of San Antonio and the Bahía del Espíritu Santo (as auxiliary), the strengthening of San Antonio by designating it as the new capital of Tejas, the elimination of soldiers and settlers in East Tejas, and the implementation of a new Indian policy aimed at establishing good relations with the northern nations at the expense of the Apaches.
The settlers dispersed and founded the city of Nacogdoches in 1779, which would be the cradle of the independence riot of the first Texan revolution with a new state that lasted a month, which they called Fredonia in 1826.
In 1819 the United States and Spain signed the Adams-Onís Treaty establishing the border and implementing a new colonization policy due to the insistence of Mexican delegates financed by Americans and invited foreigners settled in Louisiana to colonize Texas. Political instability made Madrid’s efforts based on repressing the independence movement.
In 1821 Mexico had 2,500 inhabitants in Tejas, derived from it the Colonization Law was promulgated on August 18, 1824, to increase the population and improve the economy, facilities were granted for the purchase of land in exchange for work; After 9 years the independence revolt began, it would lead to the Independence of Texas in 1848.