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Age of Empresarios

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Age of Empresarios

Stephen F. Austin
Moses Austin became bankrupt in the United States financial panic of 1819. He decided to try to become an empresario under the Spanish flag. Spain had ruled Texas for nearly three hundred years and had been against immigration due to fear of filibusters. Moses Austin traveled with his slave Richmond to Mexico City to talk with Governor Antonio Martinez about his new carrier. Moses Austin colonization plan was rejected at first by Governor Martinez. Baron De Bastrop a friend of Moses Austin and Governor Martinez helped Moses convince Spain to allow immigration from the United States. He said that immigration and settlement of Texas would help Spain’s economy and the settlers would act as a buffer from Indian attacks on Mexico City, the capitol of New Spain. Moses Austin dies of pneumonia so his son travels with Erasmo Seguin to Mexico City to get the empresario contract switched to his name. Governor Antonio Martinez agrees to allow Stephen F. Austin to become an empresario. Stephen Austin selects the area between the Brazos and Colorado rivers for his first contract as an empresario. He chose this area because it was further away from the Comanche’s, rich soil, near rivers, great hunting and by the Gulf of Mexico which allowed him to have a port. Joseph Hawkins a friend of Stephen Austin loaned him 4000 dollars to help get supplies and a ship called the Lively for his new settlement .The Lively sinks at Galveston on its second voyage. In 1821 Mexico receives their independence from Spain and Stephen F. Austin is able to keep the empresario contract under this new country Mexico. In order to come live in Texas under the Mexican flag you had to promise to obey Mexican law and be Roman Catholic. Settlers came to live in Texas for adventure, but also land was cheap, 12.5 cents an acre. Most people who came to live in Texas came from the Southern part of the United States and they brought their slaves with them. From 1821 through 1827 relationships were good between Mexico and Texas. Mexico allowed others to become empresarios and the population of Texas increased during this time period. In 1823 Emperor Agustin de Iturbide was overthrown by the Federalists who believed that the national government and the states should share the power. The Federalist wrote the new constitution of 1824 for Mexico. Stephen F. Austin was given 100,000 acres of land for being an empresario. He was appointed judge of his colony and was allowed to have a militia to help protect his area between the Brazos and Colorado rivers. The first families to Stephen F. Austin’s colony are revered to as the Old Three Hundred. Stephen Austin is called the Father of Texas because he brought the first settlers from the United States to live in Texas under the Mexican flag.

Filibuster- an individual who carries out rebellious activities in a foreign country

Empresario- the Spanish word for a land agent whose job it was to bring in new settlers to an area and arrange business transactions

Petition- a request

Survey- measure for size and for boundaries

Title- proof of ownership

Frontier- the edge of settlement

Buffer- a shield

Tejanos- native Mexicans living in Texas

Squatter- a person who settled on land without a title to it

Militia- a group of citizens who are like an army but serve only when needed

Legislature- law making body

Centralists- believed power should be concentrated in the national government

Federalists- believed power should be shared between the states and national government

San Felipe de Austin- government center of Stephens Austin’s colony

Saltillo- the capital of the state of Coahulia y Tejas

Sterling Robertson- leader of the Nashville Company who opposed land claims of Austin

Baron de Bastrop- friend of Moses Austin and representative to the Coahuila and Texas legislature




United States


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