From Colony to Republic

Exterior photo of white chapel against blue sky

Spanish and Mexican Heritage

Woodcut image of Ignacio Zaragoza
Ignacio Zaragoza

Spanish explorers first set foot in Texas in the 1500s. Over time, mis­sion­aries, sol­diers and colonists followed.

Missions were hubs for churches, homes, and farm­ing and ranching. Early towns arose around them.

Missions did not always succeed, how­ever. Native Amer­i­can groups resisted Spanish control; rival European powers claimed territory in the region.

Spanish colonies in the New World grew over the centuries. Their residents formed dis­tinc­tive com­mu­nities and cultures. Breaking free from Spain in 1821, Mexico emerged as a new nation. Texas, its north­ern-most state, remained part of Mexico until 1836.

Goliad State Park & Historic Site

Established in 1749, Mission Espíritu Santo offers a glimpse into the reach and in­flu­ence of the Spanish Colonial Empire. The mission was also home to the first large-scale ranch in Texas.

Mission Rosario State Historic Site

An 18th-century mission once stood here. Its remains recall the Native American and Hispanic heritage of South Texas.

Mission Tejas State Park

Commemorated here, Mission San Fran­cisco de los Tejas was one of the first Spanish missions in Texas.

Zaragoza Birthplace State Historic Site

Local tradition places the birth of Ignacio Zaragoza - child of Texas and hero of Mexico - at this very spot.

Declaring Independence

Independence Hall

Fifty-nine men gathered in a small building at Washington-on-the-Brazos in March of 1836. Their purpose: to declare Texas independent from Mexico. The bloody battles that followed changed the map of North America. The war ended at San Jacinto in April, but disputes continued for years.

Monument Hill State Historic Site

A brazen band of Texas sol­diers stormed a Mex­i­can prison to retrieve the remains of the men who had died in the famous Black Bean episode. They brought them back and buried them on this very spot.

San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site

The 18-minute battle fought here between Texan and Mexican troops ended the Texas Revolution. The victory paved the way for an in­de­pen­dent Texas Republic.

Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site

Washington was at the political center of 19th century Texas. The town’s unfinished as­sem­bly hall hosted the Convention of 1836. There delegates signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. Washington was later the capital of the Republic of Texas.


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