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1821 – 1836 1 Colonization and the Empresarios read pgs 106 112

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Texas History

Fort Burrows

1821 – 1836

5.1 - Colonization and the Empresarios

READ pgs 106 - 112
Texas ‘a second Eden’, a place where all the best things in life could be found.”

Stephen F Austin (SFA)
With the purchase of the Louisiana territory in 1803, the US increased its territory. Some people believed that the Louisiana Purchase should include Texas and the Pacific Northwest. Texas remained a part of Mexico until 1836. Moses Austin and his son Stephen brought the first American settlers into Texas in the 1820s. Although Texas eventually became a part of the United States, Spain’s influence is all around. Our first roads were built by the Spanish as they followed old Indian trails.

During the 1700s, few settlers lived in Texas. There were conflicts with Native Americans. As a result, Mexicans did not want to live there. In the early 1800s, more Mexicans moved to South Texas and they started cattle ranch on its grasslands. At the same time, a handful of Americans moved into East Texas and they built farms. Still, by 1820, only a few thousand settlers lived in Texas and about 30,000 Indians lived in Texas.

In 1821, Mexico became independent. Texas was part of the new country. The new government worried that the US would try to take Texas. Mexican leaders made two new laws to invite settlers.

The laws relied on people called empresarios, or contractors. The empresarios were supposed to put together business deals to settle the land. Each one promised to bring in a number of settlers within a few years. The government gave settlers title to the land. Title is the legal right to own property. Any American who settled would become citizens of Mexico.

Under this plan, everyone won (win/win). Mexico gained more settlers in Texas and the Empresarios could make money by selling the land. They also received land for their own use. Settlers got land at low prices and they also enjoyed no property tax for six years.


1820 – Spain approves Moses Austin’s colonization plan

1821 - Mexico gains independence from Spain

1822 – Stephen F Austin (SFA) brings his 1st colonists to Texas

Flag of the Mexican State of

Coahuila y Texas 1824-1836

1824 – Mexican Constitution of 1824

makes Texas part of the

state of Coahuila y Tejas

( Co-wee-la and Texas )

1828 – SFA receives the last of his five (5) land grants
Main Idea – Changes in Mexico promoted the colonization of Texas in the early 1800s


empresario –a person who puts together business deals

(Spanish for contractor)

title – the legal right to own a piece of property
trading post – a store in outpost, where trading/exchanging of ‘goods’ is done
Setting the Scene:

Jose Maria Sanchez of East Texas explored the land of the rolling hills and grassy prairies between the San Antonio and Trinity rivers. He wrote to the Mexican government, “ There is nothing that gives the traveler greater joy than the sight of a plain after coming out of the long, endless thick woods.” Not many Mexican people agreed with him. With few Mexican people wanting to settle in Texas, their government was concerned that Texas would become a temptation to other countries to send settlers. They must begin settling.
New Settlers

  • French threat – more Spanish missions / presidios

  • Spanish settlers – La Bahia ( today known as Goliad )

  • Pecan Point, TX – a loop in the Red River in Northeast corner of

Red River County ( Next to Bowie County; where AP McGill is from )

  • 1811 – a dozen criminals crossed the river into Pecan Point and were the 1st Americans to live in Texas

  • George and Alex Wetmore – set up a trading post

Texas at the End of Spanish Rule

  • In 1821, Mexico’s independence from Spain; about 2,500 Mexicans lived in Texas

  • 30,000 Indians in Texas

  • Most Mexicans favored ranching over farming; South Texas GRASSLANDS were perfect for ranching - East Texas held great promise for farming

  • More Mexicans settled in South Texas after 1821; few Mexican settlers lived in East Texas

  • Spanish Royal Governor – Manuel de Salcedo

  • No real changes to the people living in Texas

Effects of Independence on Colonization

  • To protect Texas from other countries, Mexico wanted more Mexican citizens to live there

  • They passed two laws to encourage settlers to move to Texas

  • Most of the new settlers were Americans

  • They had to become Mexican citizens before settling in Texas

Colonization Laws

  • Colonization Law of 1824

    • The state governor received the power to grant land

      • The colonization laws allowed empresarios to organize the settlement of Texas

      • In Texas, empresarios acted as land agents and helped settlers get started in Texas

      • They also handled relations with the Mexican government

      • Stephen F Austin (SFA) ( NEW DADDY) was the most successful Empresarios

      • His father, Moses Austin, paved the way for all of the Texas Empresarios

National Colonization Law

      • Colonization Law of 1823 – offered large amounts of land for not much money

      • Mexican people did not want to settle in Texas

      • Rule from Afar – lawmakers met in Mexico City to make key decisions about the fate of Texas

    • The Mexican government looked for new ways to settle Texas

    • Settlers from the US buy large amounts of land at a very low cost

    • They would not have to pay taxes for 6 years

    • In return, the settlers would become Mexican citizens

State Colonization Law

      • Gave states the right to set their own rules for colonization

      • The State Governor ( not the National Government ) NOW granted land contracts

      • The contractor would get families to move to Texas from the US

      • Agreed to settle a certain number of people in one place in a set number of years

      • The Mexican government would grant the settlers a title to a piece of land



Early 1700s










explores Texas

French explorer

LaSalle reaches Texas

Spanish settlers arrive in


1st people from U.S. arrive in Texas

George & Alex Wetmore set up a trading post at Pecan


U.S. drops its claim on Texas

Mexico becomes independent

from Spain

Mexico passes

its 1st colonization laws

Mexico passes its 2nd colonization law

1. How did the Colonization Laws of 1823 and 1824 encourage settlement in Texas ?

A. they made land in Texas very inexpensive B. they established presidios to protect settlements

C. they paid the settlers’ travel expenses to Texas D. all of the above
2. A title is the legal right to own___ ...

A. a pet B. a business

C. a piece of property D. slaves
3. What was the effect of Mexico’s independence from Spain, on Texas ?

4. What problems prevented Mexico from colonizing Texas with its own people ?


of 5.1

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