San Fernando de Béxar (now San Antonio) was founded in 1731 between the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek, to the east of the presidio established at the same location in 1718. It was the first chartered civil settlement in Texas and was named in honor of the heir to the Spanish throne, the future Fernando VI. From 1773 until 1824, when Texas was joined to Coahuila, San Fernando served as the provincial capital. In 1718 Governor Martín de Alarcón established a settlement he called Villa de Béxar near the headwaters of San Pedro Creek, but civilian settlement did not materialize. Royal authorities, hoping to reduce the expense of a purely military settlement, decided on a plan to transfer 400 families of Canary Islanders to Texas, some of whom would be located near San Antonio de Béxar Presidio. The immigrants had rights as first settlers to form a town government, to receive generous land grants, and to carry the noble title of hidalgo. Logistical problems, Indian hostilities, and the unfamiliarity of the Canary Islanders with frontier conditions caused Capt. Juan Antonio Pérez de Almazán to locate the new settlers adjacent to the presidio.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
Jesús "Frank" de la Teja | © Texas State Historical Association
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