Spanish Bluff

Product photo
Promotion: Nearby Map of Madison County

Santísima Trinidad de Salcedo—also known as Salcedo, Spanish Bluffs, or Trinidad for short—was a small Spanish villa on the east bank of the Trinity River located near present-day Madisonville, Texas. Spain founded Trinidad in 1806 as a joint military-civilian settlement. From the villa's establishment to its eventual destruction in 1813, the military served as the government of Trinidad and provided civilians with protection from Indian attacks. Civilians, for their part, supplied soldiers with food and skilled workmanship. Spanish officials in Texas hoped that this arrangement would lead to a permanent settlement that would serve as a waypoint between Nacogdoches and San Antonio and a buffer against United States expansion. It is unclear whether this experiment would have worked in the long term, as Trinidad was destroyed in 1813 in the revolutionary violence of the Mexican War of Independence. At its height, Trinidad had a barracks, a chapel, a schoolhouse, and around twenty civilian homes.

The civilians who settled Trinidad were an eclectic mix. Initially, twenty-three settlers from Louisiana and five families from San Antonio joined a contingent of Spanish soldiers in founding Trinidad in January 1806. Over time, the town grew and its demographics changed. As indicated by an 1809 census, most of the town's civilians, 60 percent, lived in Louisiana prior to the United States's purchase in 1803. Less than 20 percent were Spanish Texans by birth. Likewise, around 20 percent of the population was United States born. The remaining civilians hailed from Italy, France, Cuba, Germany, and Ireland. Although only one Indian woman resided in Trinidad, a number of neighboring tribes like the Coushattas frequently came to the villa to trade. The 1809 census listed only three mulatto slaves in Trinidad. Persons of African descent, however, were not an uncommon sight in the villa, as escaped slaves from the United States often made their way to Trinidad.

Continue Reading

Bradley Folsom | © TSHA

Handbook of Texas Logo

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Spanish Bluff is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Spanish Bluff is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Trinidad)
  • (Salcedo)

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated