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Near Santa Maria in Cameron County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Near Routes of Alonso de Leon Expeditions
 
Near Routes of Alonso de Leon Expeditions Marker Photo, Click for full size
October 14, 2007
1. Near Routes of Alonso de Leon Expeditions Marker
 
Inscription. Spain's desire to colonize this area of the New World in the late 17th century was spurred by the fear that French adventurer Rene La Salle, who had landed on the Texas coast in 1864, was claiming vast areas for its bitter rival, France. In 1685, Spain's Mexican Viceroy directed Alonso de Leon to lead expeditions against French encroachment and protect Spain's claim by initiating the colonization of Texas.

De Leon's first expedition in 1686 followed the Rio San Juan to the mouth of the Rio Grande. In 1687 his second expedition crossed the Rio Grande near present-day Roma, made its way to the river's mouth, and proceeded up the coast to near Los Olmos Creek and Baffin Bay.

On his third expedition in 1688 de Leon captured Frenchman Jean Henri near present-day Bracketville. Convinced that the French had settled in Texas, de Leon led a military expedition in 1689 that crossed the Guadalupe river near present-day Victoria before discovering and destroying what remained of La Salle's Fort St. Louis settlement in the Matagorda Bay area.

De Leon led an expedition into southeast Texas in 1690 that established the area's first Spanish mission, San Francisco de Los Tejas, and eventually led to Spain's Great Enterprise of colonizing Texas.
 
Erected 1995 by Texas Historical Commission
 
Near Routes of Alonso de Leon Expeditions and other markers Photo, Click for full size
October 14, 2007
2. Near Routes of Alonso de Leon Expeditions and other markers
 
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Location. 26° 3.716′ N, 97° 47.044′ W. Marker is near Santa Maria, Texas, in Cameron County. Marker is on U.S. 281, on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in a roadside park, about 4.5 miles east of Santa Maria. Marker is in this post office area: Santa Maria TX 78592, United States of America.
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on May 25, 2009, by Robert E Arnold of Mission, Texas. This page has been viewed 1,468 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 18, 2009. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Pictures and text of the other markers in this roadside park. • Can you help?
 
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