The Province of Tejas in late 18th-century New Spain.

The Province of Tejas (alternative spelling Texas) was a province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain in the 18th century. The province was named after the Tejas Indians of the Gulf Coast, who were the target population of the first Spanish mission to be established in the area in 1690, near what is now Henrytown. Although the initial mission was unsuccessful, the Spanish succeeded in establishing several settlements based around missions and presidios, or forts.

By the time of the North American Rebellion in the mid-1770s, the largest settlement in Tejas was San Antonio, near the headwaters of the San Antonio River, with a population of Spanish settlers and Hispanicized Indians of approximately 1350. The other chief settlements of Tejas were Espiritu Santo, located 100 miles downstream from San Antonio, and Nacogdoches, an abandoned mission near the headwaters of the Neches River that was re-occupied in 1779. Sobel mentions a settlement called San Xavier, but that was abandoned by the Spanish in the 1750s.


The Mission San Antonio de Valero.

When a group of rebels from the former United States of America arrived in Tejas at the end of the Wilderness Walk in 1782, they established a settlement near Espiritu Santo which they named Jefferson City after Thomas Jefferson. As more Anglo settlers arrived in Tejas from the newly-established Confederation of North America, the area of Anglo settlement became known as Jefferson. When the Anglo settlers ended Spanish rule north of the Rio Grande during the Trans-Oceanic War, the name Tejas fell out of use.

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