Tag Archives: Tejano history

Celebrating Texas’ Tejano Heritage

In This March 7, 2012, photo from Austin, Texas, workers erect a monument to Tejano settlers, Spanish and Mexican explorers who trail-blazed what would become the Lone Star State.The massive granite and bronze memorial is set to be officially unveiled March 29 on the South lawn of the state Capitol. (AP Photo/Will Weissert)

This week Texas’ Tejano settlers – that is, the state’s original inhabitants, after the Indians – will finally be recognized.  State leaders will dedicate a granite and bronze memorial to the Spanish explorers who established vast communities long before the likes of Stephen F. Austin or Sam Houston were even born.  Since 2002, the Texas Tejano organization has endeavored to get the true story of our state’s history to include the Spanish settlers.  Spaniards had reached Texas by the 1580’s; the entire southwestern region of what is now the United States and all of México formed what was then called “Nuevo España,” or “New Spain.”  They built entire towns, complete with churches and functioning governments, and later began intermarrying with the region’s indigenous peoples.  They took a term that various native peoples used for friend – tejas, tayshas, texias and thecas are among the varied translations – and used it to create the state’s name.  None of it is something Texas schoolchildren have traditionally learned, but that’s changing.  One of my own paternal ancestors, Marcos Alonzo de la Garza – Falcon, was born in Spain around 1550 and arrived in South Texas some 30 years later; so the event this week in Austin has personal significance for me.  I’m definitely glad, though, that México lost Texas to the United States in 1836.  But, the Lone Star state’s expansive and diverse history can’t be denied.

 

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