José de Azlor y Virto de Vera
José de Azlor y Virto de Vera, the Marquis of San Miguel de Aguayo, was the governor of the Mexican provinces of Coahuila and Texas between 1719 and 1722. During his tenure, Aguayo retook eastern Texas from New France without firing a shot. He established or reestablished seven missions and three presidios, and quadrupled the number of Spanish soldiers stationed in Texas.
|José de Azlor y Virto de Vera|
|13th governor of Coahuila (1st time)|
|Preceded by||Martín de Alarcón|
|Succeeded by||Blas de la Garza Falcón|
|10th governor of the Spanish Colony of Texas|
|Preceded by||Martín de Alarcón|
|Succeeded by||Fernando Pérez de Almazán|
During the War of the Quadruple Alliance, Great Britain and France, who were aligned together against Spain, attempted to take over Spanish interests in North America. In June 1719, seven Frenchmen from Natchitoches, Louisiana took control of the eastern Texas mission of San Miguel de los Adaes from its sole defender, who did not know that the countries were at war. The French soldiers said that 100 additional soldiers were coming, and the Spanish colonists, missionaries, and remaining soldiers abandoned the area and fled to San Antonio.
That year, Aguayo was named the governor of the provinces of Coahuila and Texas. He had volunteered to use his own money to reconquer Texas and raised an army of 500 soldiers. His departure was delayed a year, however, as he dealt with Indian troubles in Coahuila and a devastating drought that killed more than 80% of the horses he had purchased for the expedition. The drought ended with torrential rains, which made the journey impossible until late 1720. Just before he departed, the fighting in Europe halted. Felipe V ordered Aguayo against invading Louisiana, but to find a way to retake eastern Texas without using force.
The expedition took along more than 2800 horses, 6400 sheep, and many goats; this constituted the first large "cattle" drive in Texas. This greatly increased the number of domesticated animals in the region and marked the beginning of Spanish ranching in Texas.
In July 1721, while approaching the Neches River, Aguayo's expedition met Louis St. Denis, who had returned to the French and was leading a raid on San Antonio de Bexar. Realizing that he was badly outnumbered, St. Denis agreed to abandon eastern Texas and return to Louisiana. Aguayo ordered the building of a new Spanish fort Nuestra Señora del Pilar de los Adaes, located near present-day Robeline, Louisiana, 12 mi (19 km) from Natchitoches. The new fort became the first capital of Spanish Texas; it was guarded by 6 cannon and 100 soldiers.
The six eastern Tejas missions were reopened, and Presidio Dolores, now known as Presidio de los Tejas, was moved from the Neches River to a site near mission Purísima Concepción near the Angelina River. The Spaniards then built another fort, Presidio Nuestra Señora de Loreto de la Bahía, known as La Bahía, on the site of the former French Fort Saint Louis. Nearby they established a mission, Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga (also known as La Bahía), for the Coco, Karankawa, and Cujane Indians. Ninety men were left to staff the garrison.
In 1722 Aguayo returned to Mexico City and resigned his governorship. At the beginning of his expedition, Texas had consisted only of San Antonio and approximately 60 soldiers; at his resignation the province had grown to consist of 4 presidios, over 250 soldiers, 10 missions, and the small civilian town of San Antonio.
- Chipman (1992), p. 119.
- Weber (1992), pp. 165–166.
- Weber (1992), p. 166–167.
- Chipman (1992), p. 120.
- Weber (1992), p. 167.
- Chipman (1992), p. 121.
- Chipman (1992), p. 123.
- Weber (1992), p. 168.
- Chipman (1992), p. 126.