San Antonio in Bexar County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
The isolated Spanish outpost established a short distance northwest of here in 1718 was soon relocated to a more protected area between the river and San Pedro Creek in today's center city. The mission and its religious community were placed east of the river, while soldiers and civilian settlers took up residence at the presidio west of the river. They were joined in 1731 by sixteen families sent by the King of Spain from the Canary Islands to build a new civilian settlement that they named the Villa de San Fernando. As the population increased, other small communities, including La Villita, spread beyond the old town. When the missions became parish churches in the 1790s, their surrounding lands were distributed to individuals and families for farms and homes. These diverse settlements were united in 1809 as one town, the Villa de San Fernando de Bexar. It was later renamed San Antonio, the name the Spanish had given to the river and first mission a hundred years before.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 21, 2018
1. River Communities Marker
Location. 29° 25.907′ N, 98° 29.267′ W. Marker is in San Antonio, Texas, in Bexar County. Marker can be reached from Lexington Avenue north of Avenue A, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located on the San Antonio River Walk, on the south side of the river,
1/10 mile east of the Lexington Avenue bridge. Marker is a short walk from the 107 Avenue A parking lot. Marker is at or near this postal address: 107 Avenue A, San Antonio TX 78205, United States of America.
Courtesy: San Antonio Public Library, Texana/Geneology Department
2. Marker detail: Villa de San Fernando, circa 1860s
The parish church of the Villa de San Fernando, completed in 1755, is pictured here in the mid-1860s. The villa was laid out from the front door of the original church, a spot marked today by a plaque in the floor of San Fernando Cathedral.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The River in the 1900s (here, next to this marker); The San Antonio River (here, next to this marker); The River in the 1800's (here, next to this marker); Missions in the San Antonio River Valley (here, next to this marker); The Hugman Dam (a few steps from this marker); Mayor Maury Maverick Mural (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named The San Antonio River (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); Navarro Street Bridge (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Antonio.
More about this marker. This marker is one of five adjacent San Antonio River historical markers at this location.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. San Antonio River History
Also see . . .
1. San Fernando de Béxar. 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.
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. (Submitted on July 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
By Courtesy: Institute of Texan Cultures, San Antonio
3. Marker detail: Property owner receiving a deed
Spanish authorities provided each Canary Island family with a town lot in the new Villa de San Fernando and outlying agricultural land. This modern illustration, by José Cisneros, shows a property owner receiving a deed.
2. The First Civil Settlement in Texas. The first Spanish-speaking settlers began to group around the San Antonio River in 1718 when the mission and presidio (fort) were established. The first settlement, called the Villa de Bexar, was little more than civilian housing for families of soldiers stationed at the presidio, and did not qualify under Spanish law as an official town.
In 1722 the Marques de Aguayo urged the establishment of an officially recognized civil settlement to strengthen Spain's claims to Texas. Within a year the King of Spain made a formal proposal to Spaniards
living in the Canary Islands to settle in New Spain. It took six years for the expedition to be fully organized, and on February 14, 1729, the final orders for embarkation were issued. (Submitted on July 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
By Courtesy: Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin
4. Marker detail: 1830 map, drawn by Mexican Col. Ignacio Labastida
This 1830 map, drawn by Mexican Col. Ignacio Labastida, clearly shows some of the communities that were joined under the name San Antonio-Villa de San Fernando (Bejar), San Antonio de Valero (Alamo), and La Villita. East is at the top of the map.
3. The Name "Bexar". In the days prior to the Texas Revolution, San Antonio was known by several names, names such as; San Antonio de Béxar, La Villa de San Fernando, San Fernado de Béxar, San Antonio de Valero, La Villita, but most commonly known as La Villa de Béxar or simply Béxar.
Not until Texas won its independence did the town come to be known as San Antonio. A charter incorporating the city of San Antonio was approved December 14, 1837 by the Congress of the Republic of Texas. It replaced the original charter granted to the Canary Islanders by the King of Spain. Within the year it is replaced by a second Act renaming the City of Bexar, the City of San Antonio. (Submitted on July 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Colonial Era • Hispanic Americans • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels •
By Cosmos Mariner, May 21, 2018
5. Marker detail: Spanish Governor’s Palace
The captain of Spanish troops lived and worked in this building constructed in 1749 on the west side of the presidio. It was restored in 1929-30 and is known today as the Spanish Governor’s Palace.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 21, 2018
6. River Communities Marker (wide view north along San Antonio River; this marker far right)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 15, 2019. This page originally submitted on July 2, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 45 times since then. Photos: 1. submitted on July 2, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.