Download the latest version of Adobe Reader click on the icon below:
Bexareño heritage comes from these Texans of Hispanic descent who were not only part
of the founding of San Antonio de Béxar and the Villa of San Fernando, but who fought
for Texas Independence in 1836. The term “Tejano” only began to come into use during
the period just prior to the Texas Revolution between 1821 and 1836.
Many Anglo-American settlers, led by Stephen F. Austin, began to settle along the
Brazos River in 1821 when Texas was controlled by The Republic of Mexico, recently
independent from Spain. By 1830, the 30,000 Anglo settlers in Texas outnumbered
the Tejanos six to one.
The origin of the name “Tejas” or “Texas” comes from the Spanish pronunciation of
a Hasinai Indian word meaning "friends" or "allies." In the 17th century, the word
Tejas was used by Spanish explorers and settlers to refer to the Caddo Indians of
east Texas. The names Tejas and Hasinai were used interchangeably by early Spanish
explorers who knew the westernmost Caddo Indians as "the great kingdom of Tejas"
José Antonio Menchaca, a third generation Bexareño and a Tejano army officer, who’s
family received a grant from the Spanish Crown in 1762 was a true Texas patriot throughout
his life. He fought in the battle of San Jacinto, served several terms as alderman,
and participated in the defense of San Antonio when General Adrián Woll led a Mexican
army into Texas in September 1842.
During the Republic of Texas only four Tejanos (from the Bexar District) succeeded
in gaining election to the Texas Congress: José Antonio Navarro, José Francisco Ruiz, Juan
Seguín and Rafael de la Garza.
The Republic of Texas was a sovereign nation from 1836 to 1845 which claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present state of Texas, as well as parts of present-day New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming based upon the Treaties of Velasco between the newly created Texas Republic and Mexico. Among the fifty-six men who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836, three were Hispanic: two Tejanos, José Antonio Navarro and José Francisco Ruiz, and the new Republic's first Vice President, Lorenzo de Zavala.
While seven Tejanos fought and died along side Anglo-Americans at the Battle of the
Alamo, men from San Antonio rode on with Juan Seguín and Manuel Flores and figured
prominently in the victory at the Battle of San Jacinto. Captain Juan Seguin commanded
these brave native Tejanos as members of the Second Regiment of Texas Volunteers.
One of the first Texans to reenter San Antonio after San Jacinto was Colonel Seguin.
He took possession of the city on June 4, 1836. He had been named military commander
and provisional mayor of San Antonio.
As early as 1824, Miguel Ramos Arispe, author of the (Mexican) Constitution of 1824,
referred to the citizens of Texas as Tejanos in correspondence with the town council
of Bexar. Hispanics in Texas identified themselves simply as Tejanos as early as
January 1833, when leaders at Goliad used the term.