The Tejano [teˈxano] (Spanish for "Texan") are residents of the state of Texas who are culturally descended from the original Spanish-speaking settlers of Texas and northern Mexico. They may be variously of Criollo Spanish or Mexican American heritage but may not necessarily be directly descended from the original settlers.
|7,951,193 (2010 Census))|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Texas (Especially San Antonio, El Paso and South Texas)|
|English (Tejano English, other American English dialects)
Indigenous languages of Mexico
|Predominantly Roman Catholic and Judaism|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Californios, Hispanos, Mexicans, Spaniards, Basques, Canarians, Texians, German Texan|
Historically, the Spanish term Tejano has been used to identify various groups of people. During the Spanish colonial era, the term was primarily applied to Spanish settlers of the region now known as the state of Texas (first it was part of New Spain and after 1821 it was part of Mexico). After settlers entered from the United States and gained the independence of the Republic of Texas, the term was applied to mostly Spanish-speaking Texans, Hispanicized Germans, and other Spanish-speaking residents. In practice, many members of traditionally Tejano communities often have varying degrees of fluency in Spanish with some having virtually no Spanish proficiency though still considered culturally part of the community.
Since the early 20th century, Tejano has been more broadly used to identify a Texan Mexican American. It is also a term used to identify natives, as opposed to newcomers, in the areas settled. Latino people of Texas identify as Tejano if their families were living there before the area was controlled by Anglo Americans.
A dilemma arose a few years ago debating if West Texas residents (born and raised), were considered to be Tejanos. A board committee composed of Odessa and Midland members came to conclusion that people from West Texas are not considered Tejanos as they are categorized as Mexican American people. People with last names such as: Hernandez, Rodriguez, Moreno, Prieto, Subia, Martinez, Diaz, Castro are considered to be fully blooded Mexican as these family groups migrated to West Texas from Northern Mexico in the early 1700s.
As early as 1519, Alonso Alvarez de Pineda claimed the area which is now Texas for Spain. The Spanish monarchy paid little attention to the province until 1685. In that year, the Crown learned of a French colony in the region and worried that it might threaten Spanish colonial mines and shipping routes. King Carlos II sent ten expeditions to find the French colony, but they were unsuccessful. Between 1690 and 1693 expeditions were made to the Texas region, and they acquired better knowledge of it for the provincial government and settlers who came later.
Tejano settlements developed in three distinct regions: the northern Nacogdoches region, the Bexar–Goliad region along the San Antonio River, and the frontier between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande, an area used largely for ranching. These populations shared certain characteristics, yet they were independent of one another. The main unifying factor was their shared responsibility for defending the northern frontier of New Spain. Some of the first settlers were Isleños from the Canary Islands. Their families were among the first to reside at the Presidio San Antonio de Bexar in 1731 (modern-day San Antonio, Texas). Soon after, they established the first civil government at La Villa de San Fernando.
Ranching was a major activity in the Bexar-Goliad area, which consisted of a belt of ranches that extended along the San Antonio River between Bexar (San Antonio area) and Goliad. The Nacogdoches settlement was located farther north and east. Tejanos from Nacogdoches traded with the French and Anglo residents of Louisiana, and they were culturally influenced by them. The third settlement was located north of the Rio Grande, toward the Nueces River. The ranchers there were citizens of Spanish origin from Tamaulipas and (what is now) northern Mexico, and they identified with Spanish Criollo culture.
In 1840 the northern Mexican states of Nuevo León, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas seceded from Mexico to establish la República del Río Grande (the Rio Grande Republic) with its capital in what is now Laredo, Texas. They did not maintain this status and became part of Mexico again.
By 1821 at the end of the Mexican War of Independence, about 4,000 Tejano lived in Mexican Texas alongside a lesser number of foreign settlers. In addition, several thousand Mexicans lived in the areas of Paso del Norte (now El Paso, Texas) and Nuevo Santander, incorporating Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley.
During the 1820s, many settlers from the United States and other nations moved to Mexican Texas, settling mostly in the eastern area. The passage of a national colonization law encouraged immigration, granting them citizenship if they declared loyalty to Mexico. By 1830, the 30,000 recent settlers in Texas (who were primarily English speakers from the United States) outnumbered the Hispanos Tejano six to one.
The Texians and Tejano alike rebelled against attempts by the government to centralize authority in Mexico City and other measures implemented by Santa Anna. Tensions between the central Mexican government and the settlers eventually resulted in the Texas Revolution. The revolution raised tensions in the area between the Tejano and Texians.
In 1915 insurgents in Mexico wrote a manifesto that was circulated in the town of San Diego, in South Texas. The manifesto "Plan de San Diego" called on Hispanics to reconquer the Southwest and kill the English speakers. Numerous cross-border raids, murders, and sabotage took place. The Texas Rangers suppressed the insurrection. Tejanos strongly repudiated the Plan. According to Benjamin H. Johnson, their desire to affirm their United States loyalty resulted in their founding the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). It was headed by professionals, business leaders, and progressives, and it became the central Tejano organization promoting civic pride and civil rights.
Other sources attribute the founding of the organization in 1929 largely to Tejano veterans of World War I who wanted to improve civil rights for Mexican-American citizens of the United States, who were socially discriminated against in Texas. Only American citizens were admitted as members and there was an emphasis on education and assimilation for advancement.
In 1963, Tejanos in Crystal City organized politically and won elections; their candidates dominated the city government and the school board. This move signaled the emergence of modern Tejano politics. In 1969–70, a different Tejano coalition, the La Raza Unida Party, came to office in Crystal City. The new leader was José Angel Gutiérrez, a radical nationalist who worked to form a Chicano nationalist movement across the Southwest, 1969-79. He promoted cultural terminology (Chicano, Aztlan) designed to unite the militants; his movement split into competing factions in the late 1970s.
Etymology and usageEdit
In the Spanish language, the term tejano is used to identify an individual from Texas, regardless of race or ethnic background. During the Spanish colonial period of Texas, most colonial settlers of northern New Spain – including Texas, northern Mexico, and the American Southwest – were descendants of Spaniards.
Tejanos may identify as being of Mexican, Chicano/Mexican-American, Spanish, Hispano, or/and Indigenous ancestry. In urban areas, as well as some rural communities, Tejanos tend to be well integrated into both the Hispanic and mainstream American cultures. A number, especially among younger generations, identify more with the mainstream and may understand little or no Spanish.
Most of the people whose ancestors colonized Texas and the northern Mexican states during the Spanish colonial period identified with the Spaniards, Criollos, or Mestizos those who were born in the colony. Many of the latter find their history and identity in both the history of Spain, Mesoamerica and the history of the United States, as a consequence of the participation by Spain's colonial provinces (Spanish Texas and Spanish Louisiana) in the American Revolutionary War.
Ethnic and national originsEdit
In the 2007 American Community Survey (ACS) data,  Tejanos are those Texans descended from pioneer colonists of the Spanish colonial period (before 1821) or descended from Spanish Mexicans and Mexican immigrants.
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Colonial Tejanos, who can be correctly identified as Tejano Texians, are descended from the colonists who pioneered Texas as citizens of the Kingdom of Spain through the Spanish Colonial Period starting in the 17th century through the 19th century up to the Texas Revolution, and who were generally of only Spanish heritage, or Hispanicized European heritage, including Frenchmen like Juan Seguin, Italian like Jose Cassiano, or Corsican like Antonio Navarro. Spanish post-colonial settlers stayed in Texas as refugees fleeing Spanish Civil War, and their descendants were even added to the Tejano population. Also represented are Germans, who were heavily concentrated in the Edwards Plateau. The region's Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Danes, Dutch, Swedes, Irish (see also Irish Mexican), Scots, Welsh, and Anglo Americans – who arrived in the 19th century – were also considered Tejanos, as they were Hispanicized. The former two ethnicities (with Germans) would contribute greatly to Tex-Mex music. Some Arabs are also considered Tejanos after Arab Mexicans settled Texas during the Mexican Revolution. Natives of Texas with Spanish surnames and with Native American-Hispanic, and non-Spanish white American blood may be considered Tejanos as well.
Crypto-Jews, (see Crypto-Judaism) are descendants of Spanish Jews who were compelled to become Christian. They choose to remain hidden since the Spanish and Mexican Inquisitions, but practice secret Jewish rites in privacy. (Library of Congress, Microfiche 7906177). Safarditas are found particularly in the northern state of Nuevo León, Mexico, the American Southwest i.e., New Mexico, Arizona, and South Texas (formerly part of Nuevo León, Spain/Mexico and Tejas).
Genuine Tejano music is related to, and sounds more like, the folk music of Louisiana, known as "Cajun music", blended with the sounds of Rock and Roll, R&B, Pop, and Country, and with Mexican influences such as Mariachi. Sunny and the Sunglows, including Rudy Guerra, were originators of the genre. The American Cowboy culture and music was born from the meeting of the European-American Texians, colonists mostly from the American South, and the original Tejano pioneers and their "vaquero" or "cowboy" culture.
Tex-Mex cuisine is characterized by its widespread use of melted cheese, meat (particularly beef), beans, and spices, in addition to corn or flour tortillas. Chili con carne, crispy chalupas, chili con queso, enchiladas, and fajitas are all Tex-Mex specialties. A common feature of Tex-Mex is the combination plate, with several of the above on one large platter. Serving tortilla chips and a hot sauce or salsa as an appetizer is also a Tex-Mex development. Cabrito, barbacoa, carne seca, and other products of cattle culture have been common in the ranching cultures of South Texas and northern Mexico. In the 20th century, Tex-Mex took on Americanized elements such as yellow cheese, as goods from the United States became cheap and readily available. Tex-Mex has imported flavors from other spicy cuisines, such as the use of cumin. Cumin is often referred to by its Spanish name, "comino."
A common Tex-Mex breakfast dish served is a "breakfast taco." A breakfast taco consists usually of a thicker-style flour tortilla or traditional corn tortilla and is served using a single fold as opposed to the burrito-style method of completely encasing the ingredients. Some of the typical ingredients used are: eggs, potatoes, cheese, beans, bacon, sausage, barbacoa, and can be eaten using variations of these elements. Breakfast tacos are traditionally served with an optional red or green salsa.
Daniel D. Arreola states that a line of demarcation in the "South Texas Mexican" food region is based on those who use "taco-burrito" or "taco-barbecue". To the west of this line, Mexican food served in a flour tortilla is often called a burrito, due to the influence of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. To the south and east of this line, the same food may be simply called a taco, showing a Tex-Mex influence. To the north, barbecue sandwiches are more popular, reflecting the influx of European, European Americans, and African Americans.
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Most of the Tejanos are concentrated in southern Texas, in historic areas of settlement and closer to the border. The city of San Antonio is the historic center of Tejano culture; Bexar County and Duval County have some of the historically highest concentrations of Tejanos.
Tejanos of Colonial origin or descentEdit
Settlers and descendants:
- A. H. Cadena y Lopez
- Gaspar Flores de Abrego
- Ignacio Lorenzo de Armas
- Simón de Arocha
- Santos Benavides
- José María Jesús Carbajal
- Henri Castro
- Jacob De Cordova
- Juan Curbelo (Tejano settler)
- Juan José Elguézabal
- Blas María de la Garza Falcón
- Manuel N. Flores
- Salvador Flores
- José Antonio de la Garza
- Rafael Gonzales
- Juan Leal
- Eva Longoria
- Antonio Rodríguez Medero
- Antonio Menchaca
- Juan Moya
- Ramón Músquiz
- Jose Antonio Navarro
- Antonio de Olivares
- Antonio Rodríguez Medero
- Salvador Rodríguez (regidor)
- Francisco Antonio Ruiz
- José Francisco Ruiz
- Salvador Rodríguez
- Don Tomás Sánchez
- Juan Seguín
- Erasmo Seguín
- Vicente Álvarez Travieso
- José de Urrutia
- Jaci Velasquez
- Juan Martin de Veramendi
- Tomás Felipe de Winthuisen
- Ignacio Zaragoza
- Lorenzo de Zavala
- Adina Emilia De Zavala
- Natalia Anciso
- Gloria Anzaldua
- Linda Arsenio
- Tony Ayala, Jr.
- Paulie Ayala
- Devendra Banhart
- Santa Barraza
- Roy Benavidez
- Alexis Bledel
- Shelbie Bruce
- George Prescott Bush
- Vikki Carr
- Elsa Salazar Cade
- Jason Castro
- Richard E. Cavazos
- Rudolph B. Davila
- Paula DeAnda
- Jade Esteban Estrada
- Elida Reyna
- Madison De La Garza
- Freddy Fender
- Hector P. Garcia
- Roberto Garza
- Selena Gomez
- Alberto Gonzales
- Alfredo Cantu Gonzalez
- Henry B. Gonzalez
- Nicholas Gonzalez
- Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez
- Eddie Guerrero
- Roland Gutierrez
- Laura Harring
- Flaco Jiménez
- Armando Lichtenberger Jr.
- Sebastián Ligarde
- Carmen Lomas Garza
- Felix Longoria
- Diana López
- Jose M. Lopez
- Trini Lopez
- Los Lonely Boys
- Art Martinez de Vara
- Susana Martinez
- Lydia Mendoza
- Nina Mercedez
- Ramón Núñez
- Lupe Ontiveros
- Federico Peña
- Jennifer Peña
- Bobby Pulido
- John Quiñones
- A.B. Quintanilla
- D'Nika Romero
- Raini Rodriguez
- Rico Rodriguez II
- Robert Rodriguez
- Valente Rodriguez
- Efren Saldivar
- Ricardo Sanchez
- Sarah Shahi
- Abel Talamantez
- Lee Trevino
- Jose Francisco Torres
- Marcos Witt
- Jesse Borrego
- Gustavo Sorola
- Patricia Vonne
- Chris Pérez
- DJ Kane
- Carlos Coy (South Park Mexican)
- Chingo Bling
- La Mafia
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